Delivering a successful restructure

Today in our sector, restructures are commonplace. Reasons for frequent restructure are vast and varied, from new leaders wanting to do things differently or to make their mark, to changes within the business and a need for continuous improvement and innovation, to responding to competitor and market activity.  

Yet restructures aren’t for the faint-hearted – they can massively impact on business as usual as well as take their toll on the mental and emotional wellbeing of those involved.

So before undertaking a restructure, be sure to stress test the purpose of the restructure and make sure you can answer the ‘why?’. Strong and constructive challenge at the outset of the thinking can help to determine whether a restructure really is the right solution. Or whether behavioural or cultural interventions could be equally or more effective than a functional restructure to effect the desired change.

I recently discussed the role that leaders play in designing and delivering successful restructures with a number of my clients, and considered aspects of management, process, personal attributes and culture.

From a process perspective, clear, consistent and regular communication and a detailed timeline are imperative. Leaders need to ensure that there is adequate buy-in and support from HR teams and that all relevant stakeholders are properly engaged in the restructure process.

In terms of managing a restructure, it is important not to underestimate the associated risks and to be realistic about the time needed for implementation. It’s also worth considering how you can effectively manage the pressure to ‘prove’ the value of a restructure.

Restructures certainly don’t have to be a negative experience and leaders can use positive energy, a clear vision and potential opportunities to motivate others. Remember the change curve – people need time to process change and progress through the various stages of change at their own pace. And don’t be afraid of frequently repeating the vision, the purpose and what the changes mean for individuals and teams – people need clarity before, during and after a restructure.

And finally, what personal attributes do leaders need for a successful restructure? Well honesty, authenticity and vulnerability all go a long way to bringing people with you and dealing with each individual situation that arises in a bespoke way, rather than making assumptions about what people will think or do will help to avoid any unwelcome surprises along the way.

Lisa Russel is an Associate Partner Consultant with THINK Consulting Solutions. To meet Lisa, click here.