Changing the organizational chart does NOT equal operational excellence.
Structure is not the enemy, or the Holy Grail – it is only a tool that supports the brand. Structure provides the foundation for resource management and reconciliation – only! Agencies that are masters in the Art of Operations can work in any “structure.” Operations knowledge, information reporting, metrics and incentives are the key to understanding what structure will work best for your firm. Developing a comprehensive operations strategy is the first step.
Complexities and Issues Associated With Re-Structuring
Approaching a “blank-page” solution as an organizational exercise and should involve all levels of the firm. The business strategy, the work and the process should drive the structure – and it should be clear to staff how and why solutions were developed.
Most re-structuring efforts fail due to top-down solutions – not gaining the involvement and support of managers and staff. The agency leaders start with inflated expectations on the expected results and will attempt whole scale change by supremacy of their position. They didn’t approach the change as an evolutionary process where the solutions are developed organically. Most of the time the agency leadership fails to understand, or think-through, the myriad of new issues that are created – often resulting in creating a larger mess where the staff is confused, key talent ends up leaving and much of the agency energy is absorbed into non-value added activities.
The flipside to this top-down solution is what we call Analysis Paralysis. Leaders end up spending too much time thinking instead of testing/acting.
To create an effective Operating Strategy you need not just management commitment, but support from the staff as well. This ensures resources, decisions, momentum are maintained throughout the change process.
Leadership must have a clearly articulated vision for the firm, and the mission, goals and objectives have to be tangible and understood by all levels of the organization. The role of leaderships should be to motivate and energize the staff and the goals have to be achievable. Simply claiming that you will be the “Best Creative Agency in the World” is not enough.
By incorporating all operational components and organizational levels the staff will take ownership of the change. Leaders and change agents (proactive members of the staff at all levels) will be actively engaged.
When thinking about your operational strategy you need to closely examine:
- Types of client(s) being serviced
- What do you say you do …
- What are you known for …
- Relative role/power of functions in the agency (e.g. account service vs. creative)
- Depth and breadth of resource pool
- Systems for information availability
- Proximity (staff, offices, clients)
Revisiting Your Operational Strategy Can Have Dramatic Results
Our clients have realized tangible results in profitability, productivity and employee morale. On a larger scale, we have successfully designed and implemented new organizational structures, created long-term systems strategies, streamlined work processes by 30% to 50% and created the forms and tools to support process improvements. More narrowly focused projects have included designing a production billing system, moving a creative production process from manual to electronic-based, and improving employee productivity.
Sanders Consulting Group has identified five primary types of organization structures in the marketing communications industry.