A healthy organization has good systems and structures.
That statement will surprise some of the people who have worked with me in the past. I can be known as someone who runs from rules at times. I always say a stop sign in a parking lot is a suggestion. “Wet paint” signs to me actually read “Test me”.
But an organization is only as healthy as the systems and structures put into place. I’m not always the best ones to create them, but I recognize the need for them.
I have learned through the years of leading that the healthiest organizations continually evaluate their systems and structures. They do so with a few goals in mind.
5 goals for systems and structures:
Empowerment. Good systems and structure eliminate bureaucracy and put more authority with the people actually doing the work.
Communicate. People will always feel like there are things they don’t know. This is especially true during times of fast growth or constant change. Leaders have to constantly tweak systems and structures so the “needed” communication flows freely.
Accountability. This one you have to tread with carefully to avoid creating controlling environments, but people need boundaries within which to work. Again, these are not meant to control. Make sure that is clear. Yet, good systems and structures provide checks and balances along the way to ensure everyone is making progress.
Scalability. The structure at its’ best should allow you to do more work, faster and easier.
Protection. The people and the organization are “covered” by good systems and structures. You’ve got to have these. I always say, “I don’t want us to end up on the front page of the newspaper.“ To guard against that we need protection that the structure can provide.
Based on these five goals, is it time to evaluate your systems and structure?