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Structure Isn’t Strategy…..

by David Brock on May 17th, 2018

In a recent conversation, a colleague made a very astute observation, “Structure isn’t strategy, structure it there to support the implementation/execution of strategy.”

It was so simple and obvious when he stated it, but too often, I think we forget this as we drive performance in our organizations.  We make our strategy about the “structures” we put in place–whether it’s the organizational structure, or the methodologies/tools/processes we use.  They become the ends, in themselves, rather than the means.

As things move forward, and we struggle to meet our goals, we focus on these structures, often loosing site of what we are trying to do and why.  We never revisit our strategies, focusing instead on the structures we have put in place.  Inevitably, all our work on structure doesn’t achieve the outcomes we want.  We have lost sight of the fact the issue may not be the structures, but the strategies themselves.

There’s also a tight linkage between the strategies and structures.  Sometimes, we focus all our efforts on the strategy, failing to put the right structures in place to implement/execute our strategies.  We try to move forward, but fail, because we haven’t put the right structures in place.

Ultimately, we learn that one doesn’t make sense without the other.  We need strategy, we need structures, we have to understand each, how they interlink, and how we optimize both to achieve our goals.

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2 Comments
  1. Brian MacIver permalink

    From experience, and as a disciple of Mintzberg’s “Emergent Strategy”, all too often Structure ‘constrains’, as well as ‘supports’ Strategy, in Business (and Sales).

    Constraint, may be good if you’re going down the wrong path, but it can inhibit innovation, and miss opportunity.

    Flexible Structure, allows, indeed encourages emergent strategy. It ‘fits’ action to reality, and it keeps purpose in view, and that is good in Business [and Sales]

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