New organization design guidelines

Yesterday I was working with a client group to develop their internal organization design framework and methodology. I had my two organization design books with me and was explaining that many of the tools that I was suggesting be adapted for their use appear in the books.

One of the participants asked what I would do differently if I were writing the organization design books again. A great question since it's a constantly moving field. It reminded me that earlier this year I was talking at a conference on the future design of organizations and I looked again at the deck I'd prepared for that. In it I proposed five new guidelines for organization designers:

1. Design from the outside in
2. Design from networks not structures
3. Design for and with multiple stakeholders
4. Design to make positive contributions socially, economically, culturally, environmentally, politically for all stakeholders
5. Design for an emerging future not a desired future

Each of these means a different way of thinking about organizations – their purpose and the way they operate in a global context. So we had a sidetrack conversation on what these guidelines might mean for the client as potentially designing with these in mind would provide a radical track that they didn't know if they had the will or capability to go down. However, the conversation opened up questions on what would prevent them taking a different approach and what, if they were driven towards it regardless, would help them get there. I'm meeting with them again in a couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to seeing how their thinking is developing on this. Meanwhile I'm wondering if I should/will convert the slide deck into an article.

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