We enjoyed a very informative and insightful presentation by US-based consultant, Greg Thompson at our April ODA breakfast event.
Greg generously shared his expertise on organisational design, providing practical tools and approaches on how to align all parts of the business to ensure they achieve their strategic or competitive advantage.
He advised that, whether working as an internal or external consultant, taking a structured and systematic approach to organisational design, is critical to its successful implementation. Greg said there were over 30 design models being used in the US and Europe and that he uses the STAR model, developed by Jay Galbraith. He explained that he liked it and found it simple to use, and that there is not necessarily a right way or wrong way but importantly, that we use a model consistently to help work out what ‘levers’ need to be pulled.
Greg peppered words of wisdom like these throughout his presentation, sharing with us the benefits gained from his extensive experience as an organisational design and development consultant for the past 26 years. Many of us commented how helpful it was to hear from Greg about what tools and approaches he has used and what he has learned over his years of practice.
We looked at macro and micro levels of organisational design and Greg defined these:
Macro: How will the senior leadership team choose to compete effectively in their marketplace? Would it be through geography and territory, customer or industry segment?
Macro design is formal and occurs at the enterprise strategic level and often external consultants are engaged to assist senior leadership design or redesign the organisation at this strategic level.
Micro: How we ensure that we effectively align our internal organisational capabilities and resources, within and across Operations and Functions.
Micro design can be formal and informal and focuses on identifying and solving complex internal misaligned ways of working related to the enterprise strategy.
It is this level of organisational design, – micro-org (re)design – that Greg focussed his presentation on. Greg explained that during this phase, usually after the external consultants have gone and the organisation is left to implement the redesign, is where a concentrated and systematic alignment effort is crucial.
Greg provided examples of how some organisations have realigned their practices to their strategy, key internal consultant skills required (e.g. contracting, data collection and analysis, feedback, planning, evaluation), and various practical tools for micro-(re) design, including STAR-model interview and focus groups questions that can be used.
It was terrific to work in small groups, to meet other practitioners and share our experiences of implementing micro-redesign in various organisations, what has worked, what challenges we have met and different things we have tried.
We agreed that Greg’s session was super informative and helpful. We liked the discussion about the ‘dance between macro and micro design’, the practical tools that Greg shared plus his insights and experience and connecting with people doing similar work.