Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Best practices for building a better table of organization – 5: building functional flexibility from a stable organizational core

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on December 3, 2011

I have in effect been trying an experiment here, developing two separate but deeply interconnected series in coordination with each other and with each examining a separate aspect of one larger set of issues. One of these series has focused on compensation policy and on the individual positions included on a table of organization (see HR and Personnel, postings 63 and following) and the other on tables of organization as a whole (see HR and Personnel, postings 65 and following). I have finished my compensation policy series at least for now and will at least for now finish my table of organization series with this installment. In effect, the two actually comprise a larger single 11 part narrative and this is installment 11 of that.

To further clarify what this posting is built upon, I specifically note:

Best Practices for Building a Better Table of Organization – 4: building the functionality and value driven organization and
Developing a Rational Compensation Package Policy – 6: developing a functionality and functional-needs based compensation policy – 2.

And I start with a functional organizational model that I have been developing – the specific goal and priority based functional assembly, organized around a charter (see Tables Part 4 for pertinent definitions and Compensation Part 6 for further explanatory details.)

As noted in previous series installments, these assemblies of employees are groups that are brought together to complete specific tasks and to reach specific business-prioritized goals. They are time-limited in nature, formed to complete specific business priorities, or to advance them to some specific benchmark goal. Then they are dissolved and those employees are freed up to work on other tasks, and if needed in other functional assemblies.

The details of this would all be spelled out in the functional assembly’s charter:

• Outlining what is to be accomplished, and with what priority, and with any required timeframe parameters spelled out.
• With performance benchmarks for tracking progress and for identifying where and how that may be breaking down.
• And with benchmark achievement measurable too, so to form a basis for rewarding exemplary performance and in accordance with any extra value created. There, by way of example, simply achieving a goal ahead of schedule can sometimes add tremendous value in and of itself and certainly for time sensitive, high value, high priority tasks.

The basic idea of the charter is that it insures that these groups of employees are working on the right things, and that when they have completed these tasks they effectively move on. If a member of a functional assembly is needed after that as an in-house consultant needed to maintain or fine tune the results obtained and with that not included in the original charter, the stakeholder for this work would negotiate a new charter with that employee and with their supervisor – the manager of their table of organization team.

• So a charter might organize the work of a group of employees, brought together to achieve some specific set of benchmarked goals.
• Or a charter might address the engagement of a single employee as an in-house consultant.
• Charters and the assignments they formally describe can follow each other in succession as links in a chain.
• A charter would spell out what portion of the included employees’ time would be devoted to that work, with their being available for other tasks for the balance of their time on the job.
• And a well drafted charter would provide for overtime requirements as well. Specific negotiations to manage overtime requests would be handled directly by the employee and their supervisor in coordination with the stakeholders of the tasks that the functional assembly is set up to resolve. If they need assistance in reaching agreement, Human Resources would become more directly involved, providing arbitration capabilities if need be. This, I add, would be done according to the functional assembly model too and with Human Resources the stakeholder for this arbitration process.

Basically, what I am doing here is to re-imagine the organization, how it is structured and how it functions – and on better aligning structure with business processes and functional goals-oriented action. I have only started what would be a much more comprehensive operational discussion here and simply note in that regard:

• One of the most significant failings of the standard model table of organization is that so much is simply taken for granted. That is why this model creates disconnects, inefficiencies and risk management issues – all of which serve to erode and undercut competitive efficiency.
• One of the virtues of the paradigmatic organizational model I discuss here is that even just seriously considering it would force a manager or business leader to more analytically reconsider the organization model they currently use and as benchmarked against real world empirical data. Business stakeholders would then decide what parts of which approach would make the most sense for their business – and hopefully benchmark and validate that as it actually works too.

I am certain to come back to the core issues that I have been discussing here, and to the issues of functional assemblies and their charters. A goal in developing this approach would be to systematically cover all of the operational and due diligence issues that would present themselves in productively building this approach to organization into a business. I will simply add as a final thought that the approach I cite here would very overtly work for a consulting business – bringing them to use their own tools and capabilities they offer their customers, in-house too. But this same organizational approach would work for any business or organization that seeks to develop and provide a unique value proposition and that has to organize and prioritize what it does to succeed at that.

You can find this and related postings, and for both the Best Practices for Building a Better Table of Organization series, and the Developing a Rational Compensation Package Policy series at HR and Personnel. You can also find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 2 and the first 200 postings in this general directory at Business Strategy and Operations.

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