Author: Jon Aldazabal

Managers of a growing number of companies and institutions are realising that their current organisational design is a suit that’s starting to get a little tight. The time of manufacturing and/or service provision in large series with little variation which gave meaning to hierarchical organisations structured by functions has been on the decline for some time now.

A greater need for customer focus, the reduction of deadlines for launching new solutions onto the market and the need for greater flexibility are causing, and will continue to cause, the shift of classic functional structures to other more flexible ones, made up of interdisciplinary work teams and with greater market orientation.

There is evidence that organisations made up of small teams achieve greater results and achieve them faster, not least, they integrate people better as they are able to reach levels of professional performance and personal satisfaction which are higher than in classic structures. The creation of a sense of purpose is the key element that ensures above-average performance and conventional hierarchical structures are proving to be inefficient in this sphere.

Transition implies changing the departments and functions in order to form teams that are aimed at the type of product, the client profile or specific market, and restructuring the departments that serve third parties in market-oriented teams.  Some of them are permanent, others will adjust or dissolve once the objectives of the projects for which they were created have been achieved.

The implications of these new forms of organisation will bring about the modification of the leadership style, the policies and ways of evaluating people’s performance and different focuses in the management of said people’s career curves.

It’s clear that, in organisational structures with a greater level of decentralisation, the leadership role changes substantially. The administrative and regulatory leadership roles will give way to profiles aimed at impelling a business vision and strategy on the one hand, and team leaders and project managers on the other.

In line with the general strategy will be the teams who define the objectives and make relevant decisions in order to achieve them. For this reason, it will be important to adequately define each team’s mission, to delegate responsibility and establish clear and complementary roles within them. Evidently, structures of this type call into question the need for middle management, who could come to lead teams or develop other functions.

The participation of people in different teams will cause the descriptions and titles of jobs to be much broader. Career curves, their participation in different teams with different objectives and the need for them to be involved in the work carried out will require them to be provided with continual learning opportunities through the combination of emerging conventional and digital training.

If the mission of an employee, up until now, has been to make their manager “happy”, in the future it will be to be valuable for the rest of the members of the teams in which they participate. In terms of incentives, the productivity of teams and not people or departments will become measurement factors.

It’s no longer worthwhile for a few to think and others to act, it’s simply not enough. We need future organisations and not organisations of the future. Today, not tomorrow.