How to attack what Jim O’Toole characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny for custom”

9781633692237_p0_v1_s192x300In Reorg, Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood introduce and then thoroughly explain a five-step process by which to complete organizational transformation. I agree with them that, in order to get it right, those involved should have a solid business rationale for their efforts.

“Focus on delivery as much as — or more than — the design itself. Recognize that there will be issues along the way; learn from previous reorg mistakes in your own organization and from the experience of others, Accelerate the process to minimize the upset for your colleagues and to deliver the business results you need as soon as possible. [This reassures senior management and encourages those who produced the results.] And finally, step up to the plate: lead your own reorg. Don’t outsource to others.”

I presume to add a caveat of my own. Contrary to what many executives think, there are no IT, HR, or financial issues; there are only business issues.

Here is the five-step process on which Heidari-Robinson and Heywood focus:

1. Construct the reorg’s profit and loss: Explicitly define value; identify costs and risks; and set an accelerated timeline.

2. Understand current weaknesses and strengths: Identify strengths to preserve; make sure you hear everyone’s views; and triangulate with analysis.

3. Choose from multiple options: Don’t skip steps 1 and 2; cover people, process, and structure; explore different options; and have leadership debate now.

4. Get the plumbing and wiring right: Plan in parallel, implement as a revolution; give leaders a stake in the new organization; identify the 80% to change, do that in 100% detail; and create the cookbook.

5. Launch, learn, and course-correct: Measure both outputs and inputs; conduct a 5,000 mile check; change the way of working; and capture the lessons.

As I indicated earlier, Heidari-Robinson and Heywood thoroughly explain this five-step process. Their book is a brilliant achievement.

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