Aligning organizational designs and systems
Organizational life is littered with cynical jokes about leaders tinkering with the designs and systems for which they are responsible while missing the bigger picture. In anxious times, they are accused of ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ or ‘rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic’. Many such jokes relate to leaders’ apparent tendency to change the people in their teams or organizational structures when they start a new job or come under pressure for poor performance. This cynicism is not entirely misplaced; many such organizational changes are highprofile but shallow reactions to short-term pressures, undertaken without clear articulation of how improved performance will result. So how should leaders approach such issues?