Organization design case simulation

Yesterday I was working with a client on developing a case simulation for training purposes. It's been a fascinating exercise. The client has recently designed and introduced an in-house organization design methodology with toolkit. It has been piloted on several projects in various business units and is gaining an internal reputation for 'this is the way to restructure, upsize/downsize, start a new business unit, etc.' which is great – particularly since it takes a whole systems approach and is not focused on fiddling with the organization chart.

It is a four phase methodology (define, design, deliver, develop) and next week line managers and HR business partners are being trained in the design phase – having already been trained in the define phase. The training program is in two parts: part one focusing on the approach and describing the tools, and part two being a two-day case simulation where participants get to practice what they have just learned via a scenario that simulates a real situation they are facing.

The case focuses on redesigning a marketing department poised to enter a new territory. During the case they practice how to review the findings of the define phase and reach consensus on these – as they inform the design approach. They then have to develop design criteria for the new design, map the core processes and work out how to bundle the work in order to generate various organizing rationales. The next step is to determine which organizing rationale is the most appropriate to take forward into determining structures by assessing against the design criteria, and various other measures.

Participants will be working in design teams of 6 – each having been allocated a part to play. There are eight segments to the simulation each led by one of the group of six (the facilitator role rotates through the group so as a person is facilitating their 'character role' drops out). The roles have been designed to ensure that facilitators get practice in handling diverse opinions, managing conflict, and so on.

So today the material is being finalized and printed up. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with the participants and what their feedback is on it.

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