The accountability conundrum (again)

Tomorrow’s Organization Design Forum’s peer-to-peer consulting session in which I’m in the hot-seat has been drifting to front-of-mind over the last couple of weeks: prompted by first, a coaching session on how to frame the question in a way that the peer group can tackle it, and then by getting a Zoom invite to the … Continue reading “The accountability conundrum (again)”

Accountability: is it a design concern?

We've had several discussions this week on 'single point accountability'. This sounds straightforward as a concept. Like financial accounting, 'accountability is about giving a reckoning of the actions taken-—and the actions not taken-—that led to the final outcome. Just like in accounting, where your balance sheet must add up correctly, there also has to be … Continue reading “Accountability: is it a design concern?”

The Sacred Tenet of Accountability

Ron Ashkenas points out in an HBR article 'One of the most sacred tenets of management is the need for clear accountability. As such, organizations spend enormous amounts of time and energy defining jobs, roles, and goals -— and then figure out who to reward or punish when things go well or poorly'. I'm sensitized … Continue reading “The Sacred Tenet of Accountability”

Puzzling over the hidden matrix

I’ve been puzzling over a matrix organisation again.  (See my earlier blog Matrix structures: the pessimism advantage) Talking about a matrix seems to elicit the Marmite response – love it or hate it.  Apparently whether you love or hate Marmite is down to your genes.  I wonder if the same can be said for a … Continue reading “Puzzling over the hidden matrix”

Evaluating organization design work

(Each of my blogs in August is an edited extract from my book Organisation Design: the Practitioner’s Guide.  This is the third – from Chapter 8) In organization design work there is often little appetite to evaluate whether the work has led to performance improvements.   But there are many benefits in doing an evaluation, for … Continue reading “Evaluating organization design work”

Matrix structures: the pessimism advantage

Matrix oganisations have been loved and hated in varying proportions over the years.  They are problematic because their key feature, involves managers in two reporting lines: ‘vertically’ often along functional lines and also ‘horizontally’ (laterally) along project, product, client or geography lines.   The intended purpose of this dual reporting is to increase lateral co-ordination at … Continue reading “Matrix structures: the pessimism advantage”

Complexity and organisational processes

Do you have a criteria or approach for assessing/measuring the complexity of business functions? This question came to me from a consultant redesigning a business unit.  The proposed new design increases the number of functions reporting into the current Director.   He wondered if the size of the unit would be too much for him.   The … Continue reading “Complexity and organisational processes”

Hierarchies and networks

View story at Oday Kamal observes that ‘The tension between hierarchy and networks is fundamental in charting the course of the future of work.’ And then asks several questions: ‘How can beneficial networks be nurtured in organizations? Where does a legacy hierarchical structure and a nascent network intersect and support each other? How can … Continue reading “Hierarchies and networks”

Empowering: is it a control device?

Someone sent me a note asking 'I wonder if you are interested in writing a blog for the resource pack for the Culture tool? It is missing a few stories about how others 'do things'. I thought of you for the bit on empowering.' The Culture Tool is a discussion diagnostic where teams talk about … Continue reading “Empowering: is it a control device?”