Over the last couple of years we have talked to many CEOs of companies that are rapidly growing. They all want to build scalable adaptive organizations that are focused on executing the organization's strategy. Their focus comes from carefully cascading strategy into the smallest of teams. Their adaptability comes from a high level of autonomy of employees. Autonomy within the frame of a clear strategy. But they use a different way to structure their organization to create a higher pace of growth. And this is how they do that:
More and more of these successful scale ups use a strategic rhythm in their organisation to help the company focus on their strategic goals. They implement “Scaling Up” working with OKR’s or a quarterly strategic sprint rhythm to review strategy and to define midterm (3/5 years) short term (1year) and quarterly priorities.
Such a strategic rhythm creates a tremendous amount of focus on what to do and what not to do in the organization. And due to its periodical character it also creates agility. Strategy is no longer cast in stone for 5 years but it becomes a logical plan that is reviewed every 3 or 4 months and new priorities are defined.
A third advantage is that if you work with a quarterly strategic rhythm it helps you define smaller projects that are actually reachable. It creates a great sense of accomplishment and confidence in the organization.
Most of the above-mentioned fast growing organizations, structure their work through clearly defined roles and circles (groups of roles that serve a common purpose) and they have a transparent governance process that helps them to improve the structure whenever it is needed. They have implemented the principles of transparency and accountability into their organization structure.
“Since we work with roles and circles it is 100% clear who is accountable for what and there is no more finger pointing if stuff goes wrong,” adds one of the CEO’s Soople spoke to.
Working with a transparent governance system creates clarity about who is accountable for what and it also creates adaptability in organizational structure. Most traditional organizations are reluctant to change their structure because it is complex and has a lot of internal impact. The fast growing scale up’s (that we talked to) however see organizational change as a given. They can easily alter their structure based on whatever the organization needs or whatever the world that surrounds them is asking for. And this makes them far more responsive. So how do they do that?
Traditionally organizations are structured around skill silo’s. They have departments built around skills like Marketing, Sales, Finance Frontend, Backend, UX, etc. These departments are mono-disciplinary teams and they tend to have a very specific view on the company based on their common skills.
These mono-disciplinary structures cause organizations to struggle with the alignment of departments around their strategic goals and even their customers because they have their own targets and incentives that do not necessarily motivate working together. This is a serious issue if you want to grow fast. Just setting smarter targets is not the solution. The solution lies in bringing various skills together to solve a complex problem and thus leaving the traditional structure behind.
More and more organizations adopt the idea of multi-disciplinary teams that actually create value for clients or the organization.
For example the product development is no longer a team of engineers but it is a team that contains a variety of roles like marketing, sales, engineering, production and finance. Together they have the knowledge to create a profitable and successful new product. And the team has one common purpose. This idea can be implemented throughout the organization if you think of it.
Some of the fastest growing scale ups that we talked to are taking this even one step further. They translate their strategy into their organizational structure. They have a number of objectives or mid term goals that need to be released to execute their strategy. They build multidisciplinary teams around those strategic goals and themes. And instead of making those project teams operate in the shadow of the traditional mono-disciplinary structure they make these teams dominant even over the traditional structure. This way it becomes very clear where the priorities of the organization lie.
➡️ You can implement such a Strategically focused structure starting with just one team. It does not have to be big, you can start small and focus on realizing 1 strategic project.
➡️ Start with a clearly defined strategic goal.
➡️ Engage a leader/strategist who understands the strategic impact of realizing this goal.
➡️ Let the strategist assemble the team and gather the various skills that are needed to execute.
➡️ Set clear goals for every team member and/or skill
➡️ Create transparency about performance by meeting and evaluating on a (bi)weekly basis. Use the learnings from this experiment to improve and move forward and roll out through the entire company.
How can we realize complex strategic challenges if there is insufficient incentive for skills based departments to work together.If we have a number of strategic goals that we need to focus on to realize our strategy, why don't we see that reflected in our organizational structure. Let’s build multidisciplinary teams around our strategic themes / goals and give them the authority they deserve.
Get to know SOOPLE who helps fast growing organizations understand how autonomy can be the ultimate accelerator for growth. By creating:
1. Hyper focus on executing strategy throughout the entire organization,
2. Total transparency about performance and roles and accountabilities,
3. A culture of psychological safety and vulnerability.
SOOPLE has a team of experienced consultants who are experts on autonomy and who are passionate about their customers success.