The growing organization

One of the biggest challenges business leaders face, is how to deal with a growing organization – how to divide up teams and set clear accountabilities. Many businesses start small, with the team fitting into a single office. However, once there are more employees than what can fit into a single office, both customers and employees seem confused about how to navigate the organization.

The growing organization is like a growing organism

We can take a clue from nature to solve these problems, says Verne Harnish in his book Scaling Up. Human organisms are made up of billions of cells. And not just a few specialized ones for a good reason: A single cell can only get so big while staying healthy. Once it reaches a certain size, the outer membrane won’t have enough surface area to bring in nutrients and eliminate waste to support the cell. Then, the cell will start to die from the inside out (like big bureaucracies!).

The cell must divide

The teams (or cells) in a growing organization must divide, similar to a cell in a growing organism that must divide, to function in a healthy way.

Moreover, just as no cell can be too far from the blood supply, no team can be too far from the action of the marketplace. Also, a team should not be so big that it becomes unresponsive. Remember Amazon’s “two pizza rule” – no team should be so big that it can’t be fed with two pizzas.

The main principle for growing organizations

The main principle underpinning effective organizational design is this:  Divide big teams into smaller ones.  In addition, every employee should be as close as possible to his/her customer.

Therefore, align teams around projects, product lines, customer segments, geographical locations, etc.

In summary, get everyone in the growing organization into small teams and as close to their respective customers as possible. Hereby, you increase the surface area of the company, giving the maximum number of employees a chance to interact with the marketplace.

CoLAB and growing organizations

Are you facing challenges around how to divide the teams, and how to divide the work among the teams in your (growing) organization?

CoLAB has a #bestpractical approach to assist leadership teams with these challenges.

Why not set up an obligation-free 20-min call with our expert facilitator, Barend Cronjé?  Use the opportunity to discuss your challenges, and explore how CoLAB can help you.  Click HERE.

The CoLAB group serves its’ clients through 3 specialist practices:

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