For some people it must seem like a merry-go-round when they experience the upheaval of round after round of restructuring, redeployment and redundancies. Every few years the company is turned upside down and yet often doesn’t seem to gain the benefits.
This must cause a lot of confusion to those in charge. They do their best to streamline the organisation, to cut costs and to introduce better ways of working. Why is it that their efforts often don’t seem to work as well as they would like?
Perhaps these changes would work better if talent were at the centre of strategy. If you take somebody who isn’t as highly productive in one area of the organisation there is no guarantee that that they will do better in another. How can you tell if you will ruin somebody’s high-performance by tweaking their responsibilities? How can you tell who to keep and who to let go?
Think of the public sector, most have faced extreme cuts in funding and it looks set to continue. Like many organisations in recent years they are faced with having to deliver more, with less and less resources.
It is simply not possible to do this by cutting costs alone. In my opinion it requires a change of thinking, yet provides an opportunity to come out of this downturn with a much better and stronger organisation.
When it comes to redeployment, moving people around like pieces on a chessboard may allow you to keep a few pieces in the short term but can cost the game in the longer term. Like any game of chess, a good strategy and thinking ahead will help all concerned.
For employees being redeployed, getting to understand how to get into and stay in flow can be very enlightening and really change their attitudes about their situation. If there is a suitable position then it’s clear to everybody why they are suited – and perhaps were not suited to previous posts!
If there are no suitable positions within the organisation they may wish to go and be in flow somewhere else. Where you do have high performers being redeployed then you can ensure that they are not placed somewhere that will take them out of flow and they can continue to add value.
I talked recently with a HR professional that is being ‘restructured’ into a new role, which they are very clear doesn’t suit their strengths. Their boss isn’t listening and they are concerned that their good performance will suffer as result of this change.
What would really help is for there to be more exploration about the roles within the new structure where as a team, they discuss where they each add the most value to each other and other teams.
This is itself is very powerful. The more an organisation can help its staff to be in the right roles with the right accountabilities, then the more they get to keep staff where they can be in flow and really add value. Not only is this likely to reduce the stress of everybody involved, it’s also likely to reduce the cost of redundancies.
In addition, you can watch productivity soar, even with people who may have struggled in the past.
Plus there is another benefit in that people who are working in flow are likely to be more motivated and feel better about themselves. This can really help to reduce resistance to change and help to keep the workforce more flexible and change ready.
If regular restructuring is happening because teams are initiating it to stay in and accelerate flow and better serve their customers then that’s great. A very different story from the ‘well that didn’t work, let’s try this’ approach that I suspect is all too prevalent in many organisations…