“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”.
This saying is one of my favourite internal dialogues when listening to justifications of structural changes and reporting line changes in businesses.
Don’t get me wrong, there is an important driver, often strategic, which provides the initiative to make changes in a workplace. How common is it to hear comments to the effect “we had this structure years ago and we changed it and now we are revisiting it again?” Of course, things change, and we need to revisit the past, but it also happens because companies don’t effectively risk assess their new structure and/or have the right talent to make the new structure work. We also tend to get so caught up in implementing the change that post implementation reviews and risk mitigation is not deployed.
Confidential matters aside, when implementing structure change, don’t forget it has most probably been thought of before. Seek out people with the history, find what worked and what didn’t and put strategies in place to ensure the change endures. Play the devil’s advocate and “think bigger”. Change (in particular), structural change is hard for many employees; reduce the risks and prevent the past from repeating itself. Cynicism will reduce, engagement will increase, and employee led competitive advantage will improve.