EP 74: Designing Our Organizations for Success

Designing Our Organizations for Success

Does the design of your organization have an impact on how your leaders lead? Absolutely! How our organizations are designed has a tremendous amount of influence over the motivation of our teams, including our leaders. So, how can we ensure that there is clarity around our organization’s values and motives? In this episode, I will be sharing how to create an organizational design that up-levels your people to where they are doing their best work all the time.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • The importance of having clarity around our organization’s values and motives. (1:25)
  • How to create a well-designed and clear strategy within your organization.  (3:30)
  • How to reduce the friction that causes our people to reach burnout. (6:30)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Allow teams to work independently with accountability. (17:26)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Be clear on what you’re asking individuals to do. (17:05)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“If we don’t have clarity around what we are doing or how that specific project links back to what the organization is doing or our own personal values, we’re probably not going to be very motivated to do it.” - @TraciLScherck Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Podcast Transcript for EP 74: Designing Our Organizations for Success


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Traci Scherck: Does the design of your organization have an impact on how your leaders lead inside the organization.

Traci Scherck: You know from our research and working with our clients and the research that we have done the answer to that question is yes, and that is exactly what we are going to talk about today.

Traci Scherck: On episode number 74 of the talent optimization podcast my name is Tracy Scherck and i’m the chief talent officer here at elevated talent consulting.

Traci Scherck: And when we look at organizational design, how are our organizations designed how our teams designed, what does that look like actually something that we have a tremendous amount of conversations about.

Traci Scherck: When we are working with leaders inside of organizations and the question to that may be why.

Traci Scherck: And here’s the deal if we don’t have clarity over what it is that we are doing and how that specific project or tasks that we’re doing.

Traci Scherck: Links back to what the organization is doing and links back to our own personal values are probably not going to be very motivated to do it.

Traci Scherck: One of the things that we think about when we look at structure systems and people, and you know and as we’re accomplishing these key goals.

Traci Scherck: As the old 80 20 rule right so hey what percentage of the work that we’re doing is really having the most impact on those that we’re serving.

Traci Scherck: And what do we like doing let’s face it, I don’t know about you, but if I dig through my to do list, and I look at when I can like kick things off and get them done really fast they’re things that are meaningful to me they are things that.

Traci Scherck: I typically enjoy doing or they’re kind of like at that edge of i’m not sure if I can do it, but I think I can I want to prove to myself that I can.

Traci Scherck: And when I see the eyeballs light up with the individuals that i’m working with whether it is our team here on elevate a challenge, whether it’s a client that we’re working with.

Traci Scherck: Whether it’s you know i’m walking into an organization or after a speaking event and I hear someone say.

Traci Scherck: hey you know what that thing that you said on your podcast was really meaningful to me and here’s how it impacted.

Traci Scherck: Those are the things that have me really excited to continue to do really great work right.

Traci Scherck: And when we think about that, I want you to think about what that is for you, and if your organization design allows your people to.

Traci Scherck: Be up level to where they are doing their best work all the time, so we’re going to kind of back into this and one of the there was a McKinsey study that that specifically looked at.

Traci Scherck: The most important steps that organizations specifically take to get to get the most mileage right and what they found in in this came from.

Traci Scherck: The Defense industry, but what they found is the most important step for procurement department is having a clear compelling a well designed strategy.

Traci Scherck: So when you design your organization, do you know exactly what it is that you’re solving for when you are looking specifically at your teams and at.

Traci Scherck: You know your organizational structure, what are you designing, for you know and i’m going to challenge a bit the org structure that we have, which is the hierarchical organizational chart right.

Traci Scherck: And yes, we use or charts and we work with our clients on our charts because there’s what’s best known right now, but we know that that goes back centuries right we’ve had organizational charts for centuries.

Traci Scherck: And if you think about project design and when you design a project versus when you design an organizational chart what’s the difference right the differences.

Traci Scherck: In those really complex organizational charts we have a lot of bureaucracy, which means we’re not getting things done and we’re actually draining individuals.

Traci Scherck: talents because we’re not using them in the way that’s going to move them forward.

Traci Scherck: We spend you know I think the last thing that I read was billions and billions of dollars and meetings every single year that aren’t getting anything done so, how do we design our organizations in order to really get to.

Traci Scherck: What it is that we’re trying to accomplish so this starts with what is your business strategy and does every leader inside your organization understand.

Traci Scherck: How that business strategy links to the business results inside of the organization as a whole.

Traci Scherck: And then let’s go, you know down a level to each individual team does each team understand how the strategy that they’re executing inside their specific team aligned back to what the business strategy is.

Traci Scherck: And those goals that that that organizations doing, and when we can look at this a little bit differently, instead of just hey financial numbers, or whatever, that is, and put it into a project perspective.

Traci Scherck: I you know, this is something that aaron talks about in.

Traci Scherck: brave new work, and that is specifically when we can look at things in terms of projects, what is the project that we’re working on.

Traci Scherck: it’s a shorter period of time, we can see very clearly a beginning a middle and an end.

Traci Scherck: To every project and, yes, you can do this with accounting, you can say hey a p&l is a project we’re going to look at it on a monthly basis.

Traci Scherck: We can do this if you’re in construction, you can look at it by a job and say every job is a project we’re going to look at it in this period of time, and we can even break it down further.

Traci Scherck: If we’re looking at let’s say a construction project for building a home, we can look at it, as far as the different phases of the project, we can look at it.

Traci Scherck: As far as the different parts of the home there’s many ways we can break it into projects when we break it into projects we can give individuals.

Traci Scherck: Very specific deliverables that they have to hit within specific periods of time a specific quantity.

Traci Scherck: In that process right, so we have the quantity, we have the quality and then we have a process, those are key outcomes that we’re going to look at.

Traci Scherck: So when we’re designing our organizations, we really want to think about how do we reduce the friction that has individuals get burnt out within that.

Traci Scherck: When we can reduce that friction and increase the individual’s own autonomy and.

Traci Scherck: Decision making an ensure that they’re kind of at that level where they can start to make some of those key decisions to move things forward, the first thing is, we have to trust our people right.

Traci Scherck: So when we’re designing our organization, are we instilling that culture of trust, or we instilling a culture transparency or we you know instilling This distrust of you know what I don’t believe I can trust the guy to swing a hammer, I don’t.

Traci Scherck: I don’t believe that I can trust somebody to actually go out and serve a client without double and triple checking this thing right, we have to give them the.

Traci Scherck: ability to make mistakes in when we make mistakes, we have to create a system or a structure where mistakes can be known to everyone inside the organization.

Traci Scherck: So we can all up level it so every single person isn’t making that same mistake so.

Traci Scherck: As we talk about how do we design our teams and again as leaders in the organization, how do we inspire leaders.

Traci Scherck: We inspire leaders, by taking the pressure off of them and saying they don’t have to have all the answers they have to trust their people.

Traci Scherck: And the more they can trust their people move their people forward, the more likely they are going to be successful, because we’re removing the bureaucracy we’re removing.

Traci Scherck: The need for them to double and triple check everything because we’re holding individuals accountable and having them own their own projects and.

Traci Scherck: i’m hearing some of you say Tracy that’s not possible there’s no way I can trust the guy because he came in and he can’t even swing a hammer.

Traci Scherck: or there’s no way I can trust this individual because they sent something out with 72 spelling errors, the other day well here’s the deal if they believe there’s always a safety net there.

Traci Scherck: they’re probably not going to do it on their own if their hand has been slapped every single time a mistake is happen versus having the moment.

Traci Scherck: they’ve they’re not currently in a situation where they’re being held accountable for those things, and given the ability to step into being their best self and doing their best work.

Traci Scherck: So let’s really kind of look at these three areas we’re going to talk about today so organizational design, which is how are we creating value through the structure systems and people in our organization.

Traci Scherck: I really want you to think about this through project work so.

Traci Scherck: These are creating you know inclusive teams that are going to execute a specific project, because when we have all these other teams we’ve got safety we’ve got project management we’ve got HR we have accounting.

Traci Scherck: You know yada yada all the different layers we’re adding additional levels of bureaucracy without really even realizing it So how do we create project teams, where we can build these.

Traci Scherck: ideas and build these systems that are absolutely necessary into the project team, which means that we.

Traci Scherck: are going to you know, develop the programs we’re going to train on the programs we’re going to let individuals, make the decisions at the lowest level possible.

Traci Scherck: And that a lot of times will look like them coming and saying hey, this is what I intend to do right the intent based leadership.

Traci Scherck: And you know where that really came from is turn the ship around right with Dave marquet, and you know what is that intention that the individuals have and does that align with the business outcomes in the business results that we’re looking towards in our organization.

Traci Scherck: So one of the things that we’ve done really successfully with our clients we’ve been designing teams is we’re asking them a series of questions and one is what is the problem that the business of solving to.

Traci Scherck: What is the problem that the team is solving.

Traci Scherck: And how does that align to the problem that the organization of solving so and you’ve heard me say this before right.

Traci Scherck: So we’re going to start at the top, what does the organization do then we’re going to go down to the team level, then we’re going to go down to you know the individual level and everything has to align up.

Traci Scherck: Then we’re going to look at what traits do we need on this team to execute the strategy, so let me give you an example, so if we have.

Traci Scherck: A very specific project team that has let’s say building a house right, so we need to have somebody that is going to lead that that project team.

Traci Scherck: And when I say lead that they’re essentially setting a timeline they’re setting what needs to happen they’re working with others without their that key person.

Traci Scherck: That the individuals on that team is working directly with So these are self managing teams right so they’re working within this team they know exactly what they need to do they know the budget.

Traci Scherck: They know the timeline they know what the plan is that those things are absolutely outlined at the very, very beginning, remember what we said, you know that came from you know, a McKinsey study.

Traci Scherck: Which is the most important step is having a clear compelling and well designed strategy so when these teams go to work they’re already given a clear compelling and well designed strategy that they need to execute.

Traci Scherck: that’s allowing them to play to their strengths within that and get rid of all the bureaucracy of all the other things that are happening around that because it’s it’s within that self contained team.

Traci Scherck: And then so it’s knowing what are the traits we need on this team, and so we need the execute or right hey and then we also need.

Traci Scherck: What are the specific things the specific jobs that individuals are doing well, we know we need a carpenter we know we need an architect, we know we need an electrician we know we need a plumber we don’t need to dry well right.

Traci Scherck: You know, we need a painter we know we need somebody to put siding on the House, we know we need somebody to lay the tile we know we you know, so we have that list of things that need to happen.

Traci Scherck: And they are assigned in a way or somebody may say hey you know what these are the things that you know I always.

Traci Scherck: build things but i’ve never finished them let’s say from the drywall in the meeting and the painting, and maybe that’s something they want to take on, or maybe it’s not.

Traci Scherck: But it’s aligning what are their strengths, how do we get them to the edge of their work right, so that they can get in that process.

Traci Scherck: Of flow and really get things done and be proud of it right and that’s something so important, is when we can complete that project and be proud of it, how are we celebrating those key successes.

Traci Scherck: So again, those five questions i’m going to read them again just so you have them is what is the problem, the business of solving what is the problem, the team is solving.

Traci Scherck: What traits do you need on the team to execute the strategy what skill sets do you need on the team to execute the strategy, then you need to look at the jobs on the team and what do the specific jobs or functions mean.

Traci Scherck: So we’ve talked about how do we design it putting it into project based work, so we have a very clear beginning middle end, you know what and we can focus on what we’re doing right now.

Traci Scherck: versus all the things that are in front of all the things that are behind because when we focus on too much we go into overwhelm and we stopped and our people do that too.

Traci Scherck: So the third kind of topic that we want to talk about today is designing the culture of our work.

Traci Scherck: And we want to give individuals, the tools and the container to do their best work.

Traci Scherck: Johann hari and stolen focus talks about how we as a society are decreasing our competence by doing so much that we’re no longer innovating.

Traci Scherck: So when designing your teams in your workplace structure, are you giving individuals, the key goals that they need and allowing them to focus on only one thing at a time.

Traci Scherck: You know, because when we can focus on just one thing at a time without constant pings and pulls and everything else we’re much more likely to get that thing done and get it done incredibly well because we’re focused.

Traci Scherck: And we want to have a goal that is meaningful to that person right, so what is what’s meaningful to that person, so that they can do that one of the examples that you’ll have gives that I absolutely love, he said hey.

Traci Scherck: If a frog is focused on a fly they’re going to pay much more attention to the fly than they are going to Iraq, why because the flies meaning to them.

Traci Scherck: The fly is meaningful to them, because the fly is lunch, the rock isn’t going to do anything for him.

Traci Scherck: So when we think about that, when we’re designing our structure and designing our organization need to ensure we’re putting the people in the right roles.

Traci Scherck: Based on what’s meaningful to them, and this is an alignment between personal career goals and what the organization needs out of the job right, we need to make sure we’re aligning those things together.

Traci Scherck: And then the third thing that Johan talks about is ensuring that the goals are at the edge of our ability it’s not too easy and it’s not too overwhelming.

Traci Scherck: And when we’re designing teams that’s what we can do is, we can design it so we’re at an edge but it’s not too much right and this becomes a part of.

Traci Scherck: talent pathway planning which you’ve heard us talk about on this podcast before and i’m sure will again.

Traci Scherck: So, as we close out our conversation today the key things that we were focusing on as we design our teams and really ensure that our.

Traci Scherck: managers and leaders in our organization have the ability to to lead those teams really well as ensuring that that structures in place for them right.

Traci Scherck: So how we design has a significant impact when we’re designing we want to ensure we have clear compelling and well designed strategy.

Traci Scherck: And when we look at it in terms of project work versus just a job we’re able to have very clear beginning middle end.

Traci Scherck: and motivate individuals during these shorter sprint’s so that they can complete those things and celebrate the successes.

Traci Scherck: And then, once, when we look at the culture of the work that we’re designing ensuring that we are designing it so that it’s meaningful to the person and the organization, the alignment that we talked about at the beginning.

Traci Scherck: And that we’re focusing on one thing at a time and that we’re ensuring we’re not overwhelming folks with too much at once.

Traci Scherck: So with That being said, a key takeaway for our executives listening in is be clear on what you’re asking individuals to do.

Traci Scherck: Ensure that they understand it, and it fits the goals of the organization, so that you, as the executive can hit those key goals.

Traci Scherck: And then the second piece is to create structures in the second pieces for HR is to create the structures that allow teams to work independently with accountability.

Traci Scherck: So we want to get hyper focused on clarity and alignment, so that you can reward the right things right as HR so often we’re focused on things aren’t important to the executive, or where.

Traci Scherck: We feel like we’re in a sandwich between what our staff needs and what our organization needs, and when we can get really clear on what that is and reward the things that are most important.

Traci Scherck: To the individuals on next month we’re talking about diagnose, how do we understand what people need and want we’ll circle back around to this during that conversation so with That being said, I hope that you have a fantastic week.

Traci Scherck: If you have not yet checked out our membership program our talent optimization membership program we hold office hours once a week on Monday is at one o’clock central.

Traci Scherck: If you are looking for a little bit of additional support with what you’re doing and designing your team’s your your strategic and tactical HR questions or anything related to predictive index.

Traci Scherck: That membership program will give you additional trainings that go deeper into what we do on our podcast along with that live support on a weekly basis check that out on our on our page and we will see you next week thanks so much.