The importance of organizational structure and a master plan is illustrated in many everyday life situations. Sit back for a moment and ask yourself this question about your business or organization: What gets done the most around here? The vital or the urgent? Many entrepreneurial efforts are not nearly as profitable as they could be because their organizational structure enables dealing with the urgent at the cost of executing the vital.
It is difficult to correctly evaluate some of the organizational structure unless sources are completely uncovered. I had a vivid example of this with a recent roof remodel on our home. During previous years, we experienced leaks each rainy season and kept patching them ourselves. Our home is a long single-story older home built in the 1950’s. It’s unique, yet brings its challenges because of its shape, size and architecture. This summer, we knew it was time to tackle the roof to have it totally redone instead of just patched.
It was a very wise decision. When uncovering the roof, each section had multiple layers of varying heights that were not connected correctly, providing places for water to gather and seep into our home. On a roof, even a height difference of one-half inch can present problems, creating streams and pools of water sitting on the roof during a hard rain. If we hadn’t completely uncovered the roof, tearing off the layers, we would not have seen the great disparity in the sections beneath the surface.
We speculated why this variation in the layers occurred. There had been several add-ons to our home throughout the years, mimicking the haphazard evolution of an organization, typically developed with no master plan or organizational structure for the complete project. For each addition, the incomplete consideration of the connecting sections provided a variance of thickness with multiple types of materials used on the roof which insured that water would not be effectively moved off the roof.
Beneath the Surface
In the same way, many small businesses and organizations experience problems beneath the surface with multiple layers of leadership, projects and protocol. If there’s no solid organizational structure in place to create a clean and even connection between people, departments and projects, pools of undone activities and details gather to leak and rot. The add-ons become like room additions with no solid architectural plan of connection. The only true remedy to create sustainability and solutions is to step back and create a strong foundation and framework to build upon.
Our roof is now done-all 8,500 square feet of it. It was a very large project with many areas that needed patched and some areas that even needed built up to allow a smooth runoff of water. An additional benefit of our properly structured roof are the new fascia boards, now evenly connected all around the rim of our home. It has made a huge difference in the beauty of our home exterior, but more importantly, to the efficient functionality of our home.
4 Steps for Creating Organizational Structure
Here are four very basic steps for creating organizational structure:
One: Evaluate the surface problems. Just as we noticed the leaks, evaluate the leaks in your business where the vital actions continually get postponed.
Two: Tear off layers to uncover areas beneath the surface that aren’t connecting with the main plan or mission. This will require being honest with yourself about issues you have perhaps been secretly avoiding. The result may mean changing personnel or revising job descriptions.
Three: Re-evaluate your master plan. Re-writing is a common principle in writing books and songs. It is also extremely necessary in most areas of business planning and structure development as people, projects and events grow and evolve.
Four: Start building! If you don’t start, you’ll never finish!
An organizational structure and a master plan can be adjusted. Our roof contractors had to adjust the plan for our roof as they came across unknown areas. The same principle is true in life and business. Every relationship, contract and situation is different. As areas are uncovered, adjust and re-build. Doing so definitely keeps life interesting and exciting! Build on!