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Rethinking Organisation Structures – 21 Eye-Opening Questions That Need To Be Asked

Written by: Sandeep Jain, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Sandeep Jain

In the dynamic landscape of escalating costs and the compelling need to divert resources to market and customer-focused activities, scrutinising organisational structures and design is paramount. This activity is even more challenging for an existing organisation of a specific scale, as like many other things, organisations also get used to a particular way of working. Functional leaders and senior managers start believing that there is no way to optimise the organisational structure or to create efficiencies as the baggage of the current ‘way of working’ weighs very heavily. Leaders struggle to look beyond the current structures and entrenched in familiar ways, they often overlook opportunities for optimization. 

A businessman clutching a folder and a document symbol represents the conceptualization of a document management system.

Some thought-provoking questions can transcend conventional thinking and unlock the true potential of an organizational re-design project.

Here are 21 open-ended questions which can compel respondents to think and respond rather than just reacting with a ‘no or not applicable’. While I expect that these questions would apply to reviewing most organisation structures; feel free to tweak these if you think that this will help you contextualise the questions better for your organisation.  

List of 21 Questions (Please sound off the respondents that No, none and not applicable is not an acceptable response!):

  1. What strategies can we implement to better align our organizational structure with our long-term strategic goals?

  2. What opportunities could help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your overall function and each sub-function? 

  3. What non-value-added jobs are being done in your function/sub-function today, especially those that could be automated by leveraging technology?

  4. Which jobs are being done in your function/sub-function that are not commensurate with the grade of employees who are doing these jobs?

  5. Where could there be task overlap or duplicity between your function/sub-function and another function/sub-function? 

  6. How can we leverage cross-functional collaboration to enhance efficiency and innovation within our organization?

  7. What are the opportunities to combine jobs in your function/sub-function?

  8. Which are the positions in your function/sub-function where you are not able to measure the work outputs or where you don't have defined KPIs?

  9. It seems that there are a few positions (with examples from the ‘as is’ analysis) where the span of control is less than ‘x’ or some sub-functions where there are ‘y’ levels what could be the ways to expand the span of control to a more optimum level or minimise the number of layers, maybe by combining roles/jobs/critical tasks or eliminating un-necessary supervision or duplication of responsibilities?

  10. Please list the examples of people in your function who have remained in the same job but have received two or more promotions. How could you expand the roles of these people to commensurate with the elevated position?

  11. What jobs are being done in multiple locations but could be centralised by creating a shared service centre?

  12. How would you draw your function/sub-function org chart, if you were starting with a blank sheet of paper?

  13. Are there any emerging technologies or trends that could disrupt our current organizational structure, and how can we adapt proactively?

  14. Kindly let us have your specific views on possible opportunities in other functions (beyond yours) that can be leveraged through more efficient organisation design—especially, think about automation, overlap or duplicate responsibilities/work content. 

  15. Which parts of your function/sub-function were more efficiently structured in the two previous organisations that you worked for? What inspirations could your current function/sub-function draw from the same?

  16. Which is your function's three least and the most value-adding jobs?

  17. Which jobs/positions could be outsourced to third parties, resulting in a more efficient structure for your function?

  18. What will set you/your function apart from others, now and in the future? 

  19. How can we ensure diversity and inclusion are integrated into our organizational design to promote creativity and problem-solving?

  20. What differentiation and capabilities of your function will prepare you to deliver on your value proposition, internally and externally, over the next 3 to 5 years?

  21. How can we measure the success and effectiveness of our organizational structure redesign efforts, and what metrics should we track?

Use the above questions to interview functional and sub-functional (department) leaders to get great insights on how they think and what value they or their functions can contribute towards the overall organisation re-design objective. When you make them think, recommend and be part of the way forward, you make them take more ownership of the redesign process, thus exponentially increasing your chances of success. 

In conclusion, the journey towards organizational excellence begins with a willingness to challenge the status quo and embrace change. By asking the right questions and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, leaders can unlock the full potential of their organization's structure. Each question posed in this article serves as a catalyst for transformation, igniting a spark of innovation and paving the way for a future where agility, collaboration, and strategic alignment reign supreme.

Let us remember that the true power lies not only in the answers we seek but, in the courage, to ask the questions that have the potential to reshape our organizations and drive lasting impact in an ever-changing world. 

Reshape your future-ready organisation structure one question at a time!

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Sandeep Jain Brainz Magazine

Sandeep Jain, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sandeep Jain | Leadership Coach & Strategy Consultant | CEO, Value-Unlocked Private Limited

After +25 years in various finance and business leadership roles across Asia-Pacific, Sandeep now runs a boutique strategy consulting and leadership coaching outfit, Value-Unlocked Private Limited.

Sandeep's purpose is to help organizations and individuals bring to life the amazing success stories they want to script for themselves, and he delivers this through coaching, consulting and facilitation.

As a coach, Sandeep primarily works with CXOs in organization-sponsored engagements and with senior teams on agendas around leadership, strategy, purpose and values, business growth, etc. On the strategy consulting side, he helps companies deliver on their transformation agendas through interventions around route-to-market, portfolio optimization, operational efficiencies, leveraging industry-ready technology solutions, cost savings, and organization re-design.

Sandeep also works as a business coach with aspirational business owners who want to scale up, innovate, professionalize and create an owner-independent business and as a mentor-investor-advisor with start-ups.

Sandeep has also recently authored a book Chase the Change which deals with personal growth and helps people own the change that they want to make in their work, life and relationships.



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