in Leadership

The Quest of Better Outcomes: Hierarchy And Process

In quest of better outcomes (efficiency, results, productivity, improvements etc.), a lot of companies focus on restructuring their organization structure (hierarchy). Periodically, they overhaul their structure, add new positions and assign new/diverse responsibilities to people.  Tuning hierarchy and structure of the organization for better outcomes is just one part. These structural changes won’t produce the desired outcomes if the flow (process) aspect is not addressed.

Why? Because, work flows horizontally. Between teams. Between members of the teams. Between different departments. Work flows from one team member to the other. The intent, intensity and diligence with which they execute that piece of work, and how well they are equipped to execute largely determines quality of the outcomes. In my view, a lot of quality related problems can be traced to gaps in this lateral movement of work.

You need best people for sure. But to enable them for better performance, to make them effective, a system needs to be created. A system comprising of interconnected processes that act as a tool people use to execute their work. I have said this before – any organization that aims to deliver high performance consistently cannot ignore the power of process.

So, even when you frequently overhaul the structure of your organization, do not forget to think about the process aspect. How would work flow? Who will do what? How will activities be performed?

Hierarchical overhauls are no silver bullets. Long term improvements (and their benefits) can be realized if you are ready to invest time in creating systems that helps you sustain, scale, deliver and create a better future for your organization, yourself and your people.

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Check out the latest edition of “Carnival of HR” at John Hunter’s Curious Cat Management Improvement blog. The edition features my post “Setting Expectations on Behaviors You Value: 5 Pointers” along with other excellent thoughts on HR, OD and Leadership.

  1. Master piece topic with a master piece content! A very important topic brought forward. I have seen this kind of structural changes happen in organizations with less focus on 3 main things:
    1) Work Flow structure
    2) Information Flow Structure
    3) Processes

    These are things which at no stage could be overlooked for any scale of organization. Very rightly stated here that:
    “any organization that aims to deliver high performance consistently cannot ignore the power of process.”

    Thanks for sharing this informative post Tanmay.

    Regards,
    Jay Chhaya

    • @Jay – Thanks for the comment. In my view, when we create a system, it automatically addresses process, information flow and work flow. It is critical to think about an organization as a coherent system and not just a collection of teams loosely connected to each other via org structure.

      Best,
      Tanmay

  2. @Glyn – Thanks Glyn for taking the time to comment and sharing that wonderful article on Deming Learning Network.

    I am so glad the ideas in my post resonated well with you.

    Best,
    Tanmay

  3. Excellent point!

    Re-orgs are costly. Quiet often the strategy changes, people are expected to align to new strategy, work differently, teams get split up or merged and priorities change. Most re-orgs I have seen don’t produce results. It is extremely important to have an efficient work-flow.

    I sometimes wonder about an organization with a loose and nimble structure with a solid work-flow and technologies that enable such an efficient work-flow. Not aware of such an organization, though.
    .-= Vamsi´s last blog ..Hard facts =-.

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