The gap between theory and practice …

… can only be filled by the right people.

I seem to be doing more and more work in organizational design and if there’s anything I’ve learnt, it is as follows:

  • if leadership (the people directing the managers) doesn’t back it, don’t bother doing it;
  • if management (the people who will actually operate the design) doesn’t back it, get it or are capable of implementing it, don’t bother doing it (AKA no design ever survives a poor manager);
  • if the people in the design don’t have the capability and the motivation to do it (or can’t be trained to it, haven’t been hired for it or cannot be found in the market for it), don’t bother doing it;
  • if there are untouchables (people an organization can’t sack for one reason or another), seriously re-consider doing it (you don’t change your organization to fit personalities, you manage the personalities to fit the organisation).

Doesn’t matter how strategically aligned, efficient or elegant your design is, there’s really no point in implementing it until you get the above right first.

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