Has your firm recently undergone a reorg? If so, you’re in good company. Reorganizations, or reorgs, are a common business practice. And with change accelerating in almost any industry you can think of, we expect them to become more and more common. Think about the disruption being caused by electric and autonomous cars in automotive; by regulatory challenges in banking; by shale resources in oil and gas; and by a groundswell of public dissatisfaction in political institutions, to name just a few. All will require companies — and governments — to rethink the ways they are organized.
Did your reorg meet your expectations? If not, again, you’re in good company. Reorgs can deliver significant value, yet they often cause misery. Some academic studies suggest that the psychological impact of uncertainty during a reorg can be even more distressing than an actual layoff. And the longer that badly planned reorgs drag on, the more the misery endures and the longer it takes to see the business results the reorg was intended to bring about. McKinsey research shows that only 16% of reorgs create value and deliver expected results within the expected amount of time.
It’s no wonder then that the people involved in most reorgs want to put the event behind them as soon as possible, and why they seldom — if ever — pause to assess how it went.
But that would be a mistake. It’s important to confirm that the reorg is delivering what you expected and to make the necessary course corrections if not. As Nancy McKinstry, the CEO of Wolters Kluwer, told us: “It is unrealistic to expect the new organization to work perfectly from the beginning. You have to live with and digest it, and rapidly course-correct when you find issues.” This does not mean that you need to do a 180-degree flip-flop in the design as soon as you encounter a problem. Rather, the secret is to spot the teething problems of the new organization and fix them as soon as possible, in line with the logic of your original plans.
To get a sense of how successful your recent reorg was, take the survey below. By completing it, you will be able to benchmark your company’s reorg against a number of best practices, identified in our book, ReOrg: How to Get it Right. The survey will give you an instant rating against the benchmarks, and a sense of where you stand against other companies, to ensure that your next reorg, when it comes, will be successful. By participating, you will help us continue to develop the science of reorgs so that companies can deliver more value and upset people less.