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[Guest Post] 4 Insights Into Building a Better Organisational Structure With Customer Feedback

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The only reason we collect customer feedback, including Net Promoter ® is to understand how we can improve the customer experience and lift profits. Often this impacts the organisational structure, but driving change in this area can be difficult.

Beatrice Hofmeyr having identified this issue and is doing something about it. She is currently collecting practical, best practice techniques from real Australian organisations. In today’s guest post Beatrice provides some great early findings from the project.

Please welcome Beatrice Hofmeyr…

The interest in organisational design has been growing over recent years amongst Australian business executives. One of the reasons for this is our organisations have become more complex as we attempt to respond to customer feedback and market pressures.

No longer does the assumption apply: “All you need are good people”. They will make any organisational structure work.”

But if just having good people is not enough what is?

To answer that question over the past 3 months I have interviewed 23 executives from private and public sector organisations with a cross section of industry and size. Industries represented are financial services, retail, aviation, professional services, resources, technology, property, telecommunications, construction, FMCG and gaming.

The data I received is so valuable that I decided to write a book about it titled: “Innovative Organisational Design for Australian organisations”.

It has been a fascinating process and I can summarise my insights thus far.

Poor Organisational Design Leads to Poor Customer Service

Without exception, the contributors I have interviewed are passionate about organisational design but have common frustrations. The general consensus is that business understands that poor organisational design leads to poor customer service, confusion, duplication, frustration and kills productivity.

Organisational design is often equated with organisational re-structure – the infamous “sticks and boxes”. Often the structure, or people within the structure are blamed for performance issues and a re-structure is seen to be the “fix”. Politics get in the way of delivering deep change, and my contributors expressed frustration with the way organisational designs are implemented.

We all agree that we want to find better ways to design and implement.

The Language We Use Is Part of the Problem

My contributors and I grappled with decoding the jargon of organisational design. We have different definitions for key concepts, making it difficult to understand each other and speak the same language.

For example, organisational design sometimes means purely organisational structure, other times organisational design means the complete “people-part” of target operating model design (with process and technology as streams alongside).

Still other times organisational design is regarded as everything one does to align the organisation with strategy – in effect strategy implementation in its broadest sense.

You Need a Roadmap for Organisation Design

The conclusion we reached is that we need a straightforward roadmap for organisational design.

A roadmap is a graphical representation of the interaction of key business concepts showing their interrelatedness and their sequencing. A roadmap facilitates communication and decision making.

There was consensus that if we are to create an organisation design roadmap, it would have to be straightforward, no-nonsense, practical and user-friendly for any executive to pick up and assimilate quickly. Tools, templates and checklists would be key features.

Co-Design Lifts the Prospects of Success

Generally speaking the way we currently engage staff in designing new business and operating models is best described as “representation”.

The most common approach is to have representation from senior levels of the organisation but to rely quite heavily on external expertise in shaping the design. When a design is around 80% complete most organisations open it for comment to a broader staff audience, and then refine the design based on this feedback.

However, from my experience and that of some of my contributors, authentic co-design makes good business sense.

Co-design is based on systems thinking and focuses on bringing the people who know the business best into the early stages of the design process, and shaping the design with their full participation. I believe that co-design gives one a much better chance of a well implemented operating model that delivers actual business value.

Subscribe for Updates on This Research

There are still plenty more interviews to do but I’m excited about progress to date. If you would like to be kept up to date with the progress of my research, and the development of the roadmap and other tools, please subscribe to updates Journal at http://eepurl.com/WF3Yb

About Beatrice Hofmeyr

Beatrice Hofmeyr

Dr. Beatrice Hofmeyr’s experience spans 20 years in the fields of Organisational Improvement and Business Transformation, across public and private sector organisations. Beatrice specialises in all aspects of Organisation Design including target operating model design, organisational structure, value stream mapping and performance metric design.

I've created a step by step guide to implementing an Effective Customer  Feedback process: Download it Here

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