Blog post

Organizational Design Essentials: Part One, The Approach

By Marc Brown | November 02, 2018 | 0 Comments

MarketingMarketing Leadership and StrategyMarketing Organization and Talent

I have written many blogs, conducted numerous inquiries, and published research on organizational design. It’s arguably one of the hottest topics that marketing leaders are looking for answers, admittedly not as hyped as AI, blockchain, data science, or the others topics hitting the marketing buzzwords charts.

But, organizational design done well can deliver significant improvements to team performance because it optimizes the alignment of the organization with its mission. Organizational design enables companies to better integrate their people, processes, and structures in support of their marketing strategy. This can raise marketing’s delivered business value, drive growth, and improve customer experience, personalization, staff morale, and engagement while lowering costs. However, marketing leaders should not forget that organizational change is a complex undertaking with no guarantees.

So, how do you get started? How can you determine what is needed? Is a change in order? What should the future organization look like or act like? These are many of the questions I hear on a weekly basis. Given the frequency this topic comes up, I figured I’d share my thoughts through a multi-part blog series that discusses the approach, risks, and elements marketing leaders need to follow to evaluate, plan for, roll out, and manage a new organization design.

The Approach

Ultimately, any leader thinking about changing their organizational design needs a comprehensive, trusted approach. Follows these seven golden steps to reshape your team effectively:

  1. Identify strategic goals and aspirations from your marketing strategy.
  2. Analyze your ‘as-is’ organization thoroughly before making any changes.
    • Identify and document key issues or gaps and alternative resolution options
    • Identify risks of change. Change management will be one of the most critical aspects of your rollout.
    • Develop a business case for change.
  3. Use a structured method for redesigning your ‘to-be’ organizational model. Maybe even multiple approaches (by corporate or functional alignment, by focus area, etc.) to provide the broadest view of options.
  4. Re-evaluate your operational processes more than boxes and lines.  How your team works will be more important than how it looks.
  5. Focus on hiring, partnering, and developing talent to meet your marketing objectives.
    • Evaluate current versus long-term team skills/capabilities.
    • Develop soft-skills, specialized and broad Fat-T skilled marketers.
    • Find the right partner to fill gaps you won’t.
  6. Define KPIs that measure short-term and long-term success.
  7. Manage transitional risk.

Keep in mind, you need to have a clear view of your marketing mandate and strategy defined before embarking on organizational changes.  To learn more about accountable, actionable marketing plans, see “Use Gartner’s Marketing Strategy Framework to Build Accountable, Actionable Strategic Plans (Gartner subscription required).”

And stay tuned for my weekly blogs on organizational design. Parts 2 through 6 will discuss change management, finding your ‘to-be’ structure, reshaping your processes, aligning your people, and supportive technologies.


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