Over the years I’ve experienced my share of business reorganizations. In the early days at Microsoft, I had nine offices and five different managers in my first two years. I knew there was a reorg coming if I came to work and found moving boxes leaning up against my desk….
Today, new knowledge transfer tools give executives the advantages of better reorganization that include skill profiles not just headcounts and job titles. At The Steve Trautman Co. we’ve helped many firms use knowledge transfer to plan for or smooth out the wrinkles after a merger or reorg. Using a workforce risk assessment tool, like our Knowledge Silo Matrix (KSM), leaders can see just where the critical talent in an organization lies. And, with Skill Development Plans (SDPs), managers can do a very thorough job of clarifying where specific tasks will land when the dust settles. If employees need to leave old tasks behind and pick up new ones in the new structure, they can move on more quickly with a solid plan. For example…
A Client’s New Twist on the Old Reorganization Method
Recently, one of our clients at a utility in California announced that he was going to reorganize nearly all of his 350-person engineering team. He had inherited the structure and it needed to be updated to reflect his strategy.
As a seasoned veteran of more than 30 years, this executive has been through many reorgs in his career, but this time he tackled it in a new way. He added a twist to the familiar approach of laying out the old org chart, with its list of headcount by job title, and marking it up. Instead, he pulled out his Knowledge Silo Matrix (showing the technical expertise of each of his engineers) and ran some scenarios.
With the data from the KSM, he could see clearly what would happen to the expertise level on a team if he pulled out one individual. He could also see instances where several individuals with similar profiles could either be separated or brought together depending on the need. For his newest engineers, he could make sure that each of them was deployed in a group that had designated mentors to provide career development opportunities. For his highest risk silos, he could ensure that the current expert was teamed up with one or more employees who could be developed for backup.
In the end, he said it was the quickest, most straightforward, and balanced reorg that he’s ever done.
For an introduction to these tools, try our free do-it-yourself KSM and start learning how you can lead a better reorganization.
SUMMARY: End the “One potato, Two potato…” reorganizations that lead to talent loss and slower ramp-up to productivity: use knowledge tools to reorganize with skill profiles not just headcounts and job titles.