Stop restructurations and start transformations

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restructuring

Because of the crises we can see lots of businesses focusing on restructurations. Despite of the fact some try to find the response through innovation (product, marketing, service) there are at least as many businesses that still try the old way and think restructuration is the only way out.

The old reflex of restructuration

This approach makes sense in some ways. Value creation levers are changing and businesses find themselves with too many resources in declining fields and not enough in emerging ones. We also have to admit that effective collaboration allows to do more with less and implies new structures. But, sadly, these are not always the prevailing reasons and the most common approach is a raw cost-driven one without any global vision on value creation processes. Keep the same logics and slim down. People are moved from one box to another but nothing changes at the macro level.

So I call Lou Gerstner for help.What did he say ?

I don’t want to use the word reorganization. Reorganization to me is shuffling boxes, moving boxes around. Transformation means that you’re really fundamentally changing the way the organization thinks, the way it responds, the way it leads. It’s a lot more than just playing with boxes.

I remind you that, at the moment Gerstner wrote these lines, he’d took over a crazy liner that was heading to an iceberg and was a couple of weeks from bankruptcy. He changed the business model of the company, questioned some assumptions about the company’s culture, mission and activities and the way people should work to create value.

From restructuration to transformation

That’s the situation many businesses are facing today. The goal is not to optimize what’s existing but redesign and transform it. It’s not a micro level cleaning but the need for a new macro vision. A transformational approach as it’s written in Jane McConnell’s Digital Workplace Trend Report. A need everyone mentions but very few actually deal with.

One can move people, lay them off but if the operating system does not change, the problem will remain. Just remind one thing : the zero cost organization exists : it does not produce anything and does not have employees. It costs nothing but creates nothing either because it has disappeared.