In their book Reorg, published by the Harvard Business School Press, authors Stephen Heidari Robinson and Suzanne Heywood write, “A successful reorg can be one of the best ways for companies to unlock latent value, especially in a changing business environment – which is why companies are doing reorgs more often.”
However, they go on to acknowledge that most workplace reorganizations “just don’t work.”
Their findings are consistent with our observations and experience, which indicate barely 20% of reorganization efforts deliver the expected benefits.
But it’s important to recognize that the concept itself may not be at fault, but rather the execution. In fact, too many implementations begin prematurely, thus sealing the fate of those involved.
Here are a few key steps that can help ensure your reorganization effort will be successful:
- Start with a comprehensive design that includes the strategic engagement of leaders at all levels, and that takes into consideration the critical processes that create value for customers.
- Use flow charts or value-stream mapping to identify critical processes as well as those that are error-prone or that fail to add value so your plan can encompass the redesign of both the processes and the organization.
- Select an Implementation Team with overall responsibility for every step, and begin with an “impact assessment.”
- Communication must be open and widespread throughout the process so that people at all levels are aware, on-board, and prepared for the upcoming changes. Be sure to include reasons for the reorganization and appropriate information about the implementation plan in this ongoing communication.
- Provide training for people in new or redesigned jobs.
- Provide coaching to help people at all levels make the transition.
- Follow-up, to ensure that any gaps in the implementation plan are closed.