Does Your Organization Design Match The Culture You Want?

Sure, if you want to forge your culture to become more innovative, dynamic, or customer-oriented, you can work on your values, your people’s behavior, and their mindset.

In all likelihood, you will closely partner with your HR Department to conduct a needs analysis and design a sound culture initiative to get the ball rolling.  From there, you might find yourself engaging external coaches and consultants to implement various programs and ultimately monitor the results.


Since the field has started to look at organizations as growing organisms rather than a clockwork-like mechanical construct, learning and development as well as corporate culture initiatives have been booming.


What we tend to overlook however, is that a culture change requires a behavior change – and what ultimately drives behavior are structure and processes. In other words: What drives behavior are the daily routines, which guide our work.  


The question therefore is: If you want e.g. a culture of innovation, do you truly have the right processes in place to drive the behavior that can ultimately produce innovative results?  If you want a customer-oriented service culture, do you have the procedures in place that may result in both, customer and employee satisfaction? Moreover, do you always know exactly what the sets of behavior might be that bring the desired results?   


When we talk about organization design, we think exactly about these questions: Which behavior would drive the overall business goal and strategies best and how can we create processes in an organization that evoke and support that desired behavior?


In order to know which organization design or workflow suits an organization best, we need to understand the following things:


  • Which design and corporate culture does your overall strategy call for? In the end all three need to align.
  • Which agility level do your employees have? In other words, to which extent are your teams self-organized and self-driven?
  • Which workflows drive the best results in the fastest possible way? Are there redundancies? Are there crucial steps that are not addressed at all? Is there a backup for the most vital parts of your workflows?
  • Which leadership mentality do you have in place? An agile mindset requires agile leadership. A focus on service orientation may be best complimented with a servant or transformative leadership model.
  • How many hierarchy levels do you have? How many does your desired end result call for?
  • Which are the features of the current organization design and culture model that need to be preserved? Which success factors need to be fostered through the design more?


While many of these questions can be asked for both your culture initiatives and your supporting organization design, both need to align with your overall strategy to ultimately lead to the desired result and continued success.

Topics: Culture Of Innovation, Agile, corporate culture, Organization Desgin

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