Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


S3 - Systems, Structure & Scale

Volume: February 2023

In today’s highly competitive, technology driven marketplaces, adjusting and sustaining your organization’s business model is imperative. Any organization that has not deeply examined their business model in the past 12 months is already behind the competition. For purposes of simplifying the complicated, this narrative addresses three key areas for leaders to consider when maximizing their organization’s model.

  1. Systems. From an analysis standpoint this can address processes and procedures, as well as automated systems and technology protocols that make your organization efficient. When was the last time that your organization critically evaluated the top three “systems” that are essential to success? If a savvy competitor entered your marketplace today, would they be utilizing systems and protocols similar to what you have in place? If either of these questions make you a bit nervous, the odds are good your organization is due for some self-examination. Tip: Don’t go on a witch hunt if some of your procedures and systems are outdated. Just make certain you drive an analysis that keeps the internal workings of your organization competitive. 
  2. Structure. It’s very easy for organizations to experience a problem and to throw additional staff at the issue. Concurrently, as people are longer tenured or show skills in mission-critical areas, they are often launched into leadership positions prematurely. Sometimes they are a terrific fit and thrive, other times they struggle and so does their team. Typically leaders move people around based on their perception of the person’s skills, personality, or the organization’s needs. Ultimately what occurs is an organizational structure that is not optimized for nimbleness in a changing marketplace. Tip: Step back and give yourself an opportunity to engage in a Blank Org Chart Exercise. In the process, you will create a structure that aligns five key areas:

Structure → Talent → Coaching & Development Plans → Career Paths → Succession

  1. Scale. Once systems have been examined/enhanced and a strategic structure is in place, you can think about scale. What type of scale does your organization need in the marketplace to compete effectively? What scale is necessary to maintain your independence? (If independence is desired). What scale and ease of acquiring other organizations is needed if what you lead is an aggregator? Tip: An organization that has proper systems, structure and scale in place is well prepared to engage in a robust, action-oriented, strategic-planning process. This allows your organization to expand, sustain or defend with maximum results.         

Bottom Line: Get the right people in the right places in your organization. Provide training and development that will help everyone grow in their current capacity. Examine the systems and procedures in your organization and throw out the archaic. Streamline for efficiencies, while leveraging every technological breakthrough possible. Lastly, make certain your business model is scalable. Only mergeable, scalable organizations will be able to keep pace in a vibrant marketplace that constantly pushes boundaries and grays lines. Here is the good news, you are a savvy leader who is action-oriented. Bravo! Go forth and help your organization self-examine in a healthy, growthful way. Lead change. And help your people realize that nimbleness leads to sustained success.  

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