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Organisational Design

Aligning the design of a firms IT and other business support functions to the strategic objectives of the business

While a well designed structure is not a ‘silver bullet’ to success, it is a key building block to ensuring organisational effectiveness.  Within an organisation, structure dictates the relationship between authority and accountability; therefore, it also determines how effectively people function. As such a strong team can only perform within the constraints of the structure they are operating within.

However, when reviewing the design of an organisation it is critical not to focus on structure (roles and reporting lines) alone as the solution.  A number of factors are key to successful organisational design, these include:

  • Leadership

  • Decision making and structure

  • Work process and systems

  • People

  • Culture

As such Change Harbour’s analysis takes these into account where and when appropriate.

Our methodology applies the following principles when making recommendations for change within any organisation.

Structure should support strategy: It is essential that the organisation be designed to enable it to pursue the firm’s vision.  The structure of an IT department (or other business support function) should look very different in a business that strategically operates on a global basis, to one that operates as a series of independent franchise offices.

Clear roles and interdependencies: Roles should be clarified and overlaps of responsibilities between jobs removed to avoid confusion and increase efficiency.

Defined responsibilities: It must be made clear who makes decisions, who shares decision-making and who provides input into decision-making processes.

Empowerment: Explicit decision-making authority should be aligned to accountability/responsibility in order to empower people to be innovative and to take the appropriate level of risk.

Execution: The number and level of responsibilities for individuals should be balanced with their skills, competencies and available time.

Examples of our projects include:

  • The development and implementation of an organisational strategy for all global business support functions for an international law firm.

  • The integration of international law firm business services functions following merger.

  • The design of a new business innovation and transformation function for a multinational law firm.

  • The review and re-design of an IT function for a UK headquartered firm.

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