#AlignmentAtWork: Adaptable Structure

*This blog post is part of the #AlignmentAtWork mini blog series*

A significant factor in working towards professional alignment comes from working at companies and organizations that have adaptable structures.

Before I get into the adaptability of organizational structures, I want to briefly discuss the type of structures that workplaces adopt.

  1. Hierarchical

  2. Cross-Functional

  3. Process-Based

Hierarchical structures are what most companies and organizations functioned with for hundreds of years - there is a direct chain of command from the top of the organization to the bottom, everyone knew exactly who they reported to and their responsibilities at work was based on the positions that they held, producing more professional specialists.

Cross-Functional structures are organizational structures that create working teams across employees of different functional areas that help in organizational problem solving, decision making and development. There may still be a hierarchical structure setup but much more working across offices and departments.

Process-Based structures are structures organized according to key processes. They are horizontal and flat in structure and are geared towards providing excellent customer service and products. This encourages more teamwork across teams and more communication.

A lot about alignment in the workplace means just adapting to the times. Organizations that still operate from strict hierarchy are stunting their employees' progress and their success because we no longer live in a world where this organization structure works effectively. When it comes to meeting the needs of today's people and customers, "what has always been done" does not stick like it used to. Employees leave positions and organizations because they do not feel valued or part of a system that contributed to the direct success of the organization.

Businesses developed in the past decade and in the upcoming decade will be prioritizing flexibility, autonomy, and agility - and it's not just coming from the "leaders" of the project, department, or division. Adaptable structures allow for more communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and customer service skill building for all professionals - whether they are upper level or entry level.

Reflect on the business that you work at/for/with. How are they organized? Who makes the decisions and what is the decision process? Is there opportunity to move around within the organization? Are there working silos? How is leadership for and across the organization demonstrated?


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