How do I get Rid of the System of Hierarchy in my Workplace?
Assess your Organisational Readiness
Why is a Hierarchical Structure a Problem?
- Increase decision-making times - People tend to report to their manager every problem that occurs and check what steps they should take.
- Strangle creativity - People become less and less creative they put into practice what they already know instead of experimenting with something which may not work.
- Encourage people to avoid responsibility for fear that they will only be blamed for committing mistakes
- Disempower the people in your organisation. People within hierarchical structures tend to:
- Feel that they are less and less useful
- Believe they are not contributing
- Feel they have nothing to be proud of
- Do not enjoy what they are doing
- Brood over almost everything
- Find work unfulfilling
- Lack self confidence - Self confidence and self esteem erodes over time.
- Lower staff morale
An ever more demanding competitive environment requires ever higher levels of business performance. The traditional management model of the manager in control and employees under control is no longer effective in today's increasingly complex and dynamic world. Organisations recruit people in order to take up responsibilities and contribute something to the business - Hirearchical structures and the command-and-control mind-set that goes along with it make it difficult, if not impossible, for this to occur.
By contrast, there is real performance leverage in moving toward a flatter, more horizontal mode of organisation, in which cross-functional, end-to-end work flows link internal processes with the needs and capabilities of both suppliers and customers.
How do I go About Flattening my Organisational Structure?
In order to create an empowered workplace, management's role must change from a command-and-control mind-set to a responsibility-oriented and supportive environment in which all employees have the opportunity to do their best.
Empowerment is not giving power to people, rather it is releasing the knowledge, experience and motivation that they already have.
Efficiency and creativity, action and emotion, strategy and implementation, bottom-line results and investment in the future must no longer be polar opposites. They must be integrated into the daily routines and future ambitions of every thing that is done in your organization.
Take a Snapshot of your Current Situation
Assess whether your organisation needs to change and whether it is ready to change. See Assess your Organisational Readiness..
If you answered "yes" to the majority of the "External Drivers for Change", "Internal Indicators of the Need to Change" and "Indicators of Organisational Readiness" questions, then you are ready to consider the change. It is a good idea when you develop your change strategy to develop plans for turning the "no" answers into "yes".
If you answered "yes" to the majority of the "Indicators of a Lack of Organisational Readiness", then you have some major barriers to overcome before you are ready to consider the change. It is a good idea when you develop your change strategy to develop plans for turning the "yes" answers into "no".
Describe your Future and Current States
The clearer you can describe your future and current states, the more successfully the transition will be managed.
Obtain Management Buy-in and Commitment
Management's thinking is the first thing that needs to change. Power is something that very few people like to give away. Management needs to be results focussed: It has to let go, stand back from the action and that can be very difficult to do. Fear of losing control, mistrust, lack of confidence, fear of change and the inability to delegate may hinder your efforts to flatten your organisational structure. Prior to implementing any strategies, interventions (change workshops, training) may be required to provide management with the skills and the incentive to enable self-management and to the roles they need to perform.
Implement a Change Strategy
You need to develop an overall strategy with clear, well defined goals. Your strategy needs to include the following elements:
- Open sharing of business information
- Clearly defining purpose and values
- Aligning employees goals and roles with the organisation's purpose and values
- A plan to move the organisation through the five stages of self-managed teams
- Stage 1: The typical hierarchical structure where the leader provides one-on-one supervision;
- Stage 2: The leader evolves into a group manager whose role is making the transition into team coordinator/coach;
- Stage 3: The group manager becomes the team coordinator and provides a structure for self-managed team members to receive the necessary training to take on more leadership tasks;
- Stage 4: The team assumes most of the duties previously reserved for the group manager, who now becomes a boundary interface;
- Stage 5: The group manager (i.e., the team coordinator) is a resource for the team.
- Review and feedback processes
Review and Change your Strategy
Undertake regular reviews. This requires discipline!
These reviews are designed to adapt to the changing issues facing your organisation and celebrate successes. There is no "one size fits all"! These reviews help you to:
- Refocus strategic goals and galvanize for never-ending change without sacrificing your organizationīs core values
- Identify, use and adapt the unwritten rules that drive your organization and use them to gain leverage
- Galvanize action toward your organization's vision without having to wait for a crisis
- Align your operations - Change policies and structures simultaneously, while avoiding performance disruption
- Make your people the agents of change, not its victims by changing the way they think about their day-to-day actions
- Instill a continuous learning mindset aimed at sustaining high performance
A Note of Caution - The Purpose should not change! Keep your eyes focused on your ultimate purpose(s). You need to keep the desired state firmly in sight, this will also mean that changes in processes, time lines, and who does what become less remarkable.
Get in Touch with Jump
The Jump team has been developing successful business solutions for over 15 years. We specialise in practical and workable solutions that ensure your business objectives are achieved, relationships are improved and individuals are empowered. Phone us on +64 6 754 8987 or +64 27 450 5271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Jump will come to you, assess your needs and develop a solution tailored to meet your objectives.
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