Get Your Structure Right, Then Add People

Posted on 19. Aug, 2015 by in Strategic Planning

Employee RetentionI often hear clients say things like: “we need to figure out where to put Phil.” This usually happens in a state of transition, but not always.

Frankly, this concept frightens me because it can be a destructive way of developing your company. Don’t get me wrong — when an employee garners this level of respect, it’s almost always a good thing! My concern is simple: organizational structure must come first, people come second.

This may sound terrible, but it’s based on proven principles. In the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) process, we teach a tool called the Accountability Chart (AC). I tell my clients that the AC is like an Organizational Chart, only on steroids!

Organizations have needs. If you supersede the organization’s needs for the perceived needs of your “good” people, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.

The basic principles of the Accountability Chart

All organizations at their root-level have three primary functions that make it run: Sales/Marketing, Operations, and Finance.  On top of that, every great organization has another function we call “Integrator.”  The Integrator is the person who helps all the main functions work at their peak performance. They have their eye on the ball — making sure everything is in perfect harmony, or at least as “perfect” as possible.

In addition, half the time there is a fifth function, i.e., the “Visionary.”  The Visionary is the person focused on the BIG picture and “what’s possible.”  They’re looking ahead, offering bold ideas — some of which can seem downright bizarre!  But they keep the business relevant and sustainable for the long-term.

Why structure first?

The needs of the business must come first. It’s only then that you can gain the clarity of what kind of people you need to move the organization forward.

Chances are that Phil is the right person for the organization, i.e., he fits the culture like a glove. But that’s only half equation. You also must know that Phil can adequately fill (no pun intended) a seat in the organization. You can determine this by clearly identifying the right structure for your organization.

Master this discipline and you’ll be firing on all cylinders — keeping the competition in the dust!


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