High performance organizations: more than meets the eye

Much organizational work focuses on the “macro” structure, i.e., what are the major functions or buckets of work, and how should these be arranged. However, there is another critical dimension to consider: the “physics” of the structure, i.e., how to ensure that the organization is properly stratified to correspond to the varying levels of complexity of work to be completed, as well as ensuring that staff are properly matched to the complexity of work in the required roles, and demonstrate needed behaviours.

If the organizational system is not designed properly, then there will be dysfunctional and inefficient behaviours within the system that may be attributed wrongly to the individuals rather than to the shortcomings of the system itself, and corrective actions may not yield the desired results. In turn, there are optimal behaviours required of managers and staff within a well-functioning structure, beyond subjective assessments of what works best, which often vary widely from person to person.

All of this is to say that there is a science to organizational structure, and a science to high-performance behaviours within a structure, that are often not well-understood or practiced.