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”

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?”

Change, transformation, tools, levers and systems

I'm wondering whether the phrase '70% of change efforts fail' is down to not knowing how to get from a design to an implementation – so things stall at the point of a detailed, tested concept design. The 30% that don't fail may have cracked the process of a) planning to get safely from current … Continue reading “Change, transformation, tools, levers and systems”

Transformation is a team sport

Like many organisations intent on using new (digital) technologies to improve business performance, we've got a strapline running that 'Transformation is a team sport'. The 'rules' of the sport include three that are particularly relevant to organisation design: 1. Working across silos: 'knowing that your customers care less about the different lines-of-business within your company; … Continue reading “Transformation is a team sport”