Is organizational structure important?

In many organizations we spend a significant amount of time reviewing the organisational structure, tweaking it, changing it, or completely reorganising it completely.

Over the last 20 years I have been through over 30 significant organizational structure changes.

I am not convinced that any of these changes were fully responsible for any improvements that were achieved.

In most cases I would say, the improvements achieved were due to changes in personnel and changes in attitude rather than the change in structure.

Often these organizational changes confused the business and made it more difficult for them to do business with us.

For me I am a firm believer that its people not structures that are important.

In football if you didn’t have a good team, one that wasn’t any good at either passing or shooting, then you wouldn’t look at changing the formation, i.e. organizational structure, in order to improve the result.

You would look at improving the personnel through improving their skills or you would look to replace them with better players who did have the required skills.

Yet, in IT we continue to focus on organizational structures, trying to find the optimal formation for our potentially under performing players.

In my opinion it would be a much better investment if we looked to spend all that effort on improving the team rather than focusing on restructuring the organization.

Organizational structures don’t achieve things, people achieve things.