Structure for Agility – Take Opportunity from Change

Structure for Agility - Take Opportunity from Change

The agile dual organisational structure is a model where organisations have two separate and complementary structures:

·      The hierarchy for managing the day-to-day business and

·      The creative network for innovating change towards a strategic vision

This can be particularly advantageous for UK SMEs, which often have limited resources and need to be able to adapt quickly to change.


It allows organisations to focus on both the present and the future.

The day-to-day structure can focus on managing the current business, while the change structure can focus on implementing new initiatives and strategies.

It can help organisations to be more agile and responsive to change.

The change structure can be used to quickly test and implement new ideas, without disrupting the day-to-day business.

It can help to build a culture of innovation and experimentation.

The creative network structure encourages employees to participate and really engage with the change, think outside the box and come up with new ideas for improving the business.

How to implement the dual organisational structure

To implement the dual organisational structure, UK SMEs need to follow these steps:

Create a Sense of Urgency

That means the leadership team needs to create a genuine sense of urgency that gives drive and momentum to the proposed change program.

Create a guiding coalition.

Establish a group of trusted leaders from throughout the organisation who are responsible for overseeing the change process.

The more diverse the better.

The guiding coalition should be made up of people who are committed to change and who have the trust of stakeholders and the authority to drive decisions.

Develop a strategic vision for your change.

What does the organisation want to achieve through change?

The vision should be clear, concise, and inspiring.

You need to engage your entire workforce at the emotional level, communicate for buy-in and keep doing that.

Empower employees to act on the vision by recruiting a creative network.

Employees need to be given the authority and resources they need to develop and implement the vision.

Internally recruit a creative network that sits alongside your organisation’s hierarchy.

They have different goals.

The hierarchy is optimised for stability and reliability of delivery.

The creative network is diverse and organically formed from your organisation’s people, from throughout the enterprise, and will work up and innovate towards the strategic vision.

Allowing a significant proportion of your organisation to participate in the creative network means you have lots of peoples’ experience, commitment and creativity working towards a common goal.

One notable case had over 60% of its people involved in the creative network.

This also goes a very long way towards buy-in.

Remove obstacles.

You also need to ensure that leaders remove obstacles to the change and provide training and support towards it.

Ensure that both systems and structures are adjusted to align with the ultimate strategic vision, otherwise it’ll be difficult to sustain.

Communicate the vision.

Once the strategic vision has been developed, it needs to be communicated to all employees – and more often than you think.

Use innovative, multi-modal techniques to frequently communicate with your employees not only about the strategic vision but also about the output from the creative network.

This can be done through meetings, “town halls”, and other, inventive communication channels.  (One company used TV program formats to liven up the message and engage its people).

Remember that you need to have the overwhelming majority of your organisation on-side to make the change stick.  51% doesn’t cut it.

Circa 16% are likely to take significant effort to align with the change, and of those some will never fully accept it.

You need to consider how you lead the management of this dynamic.

Celebrate short-term wins.

This will help to build momentum for change and keep employees motivated.

Don’t leave it to the last minute to recognise achievement.

Set time-limited and audacious incremental goals and set the creative network to achieve them.

People positively respond to being stretched.

It encourages creativity, enthusiasm, ownership, and drive.

Set the bar high and the time to achieve the incremental goals ambitious – 90 days keeps focus.

The seemingly impossible can often become the latest achievement.

Celebrate it and move on to the next audacious 90-day goal.

Consolidate gains and produce more change.

Once some initial successes have been achieved, it is important to build on those successes and continue to keep the momentum behind the implementation of the change.

You know that change is constant.

Is your organisation optimised to constantly take opportunity from it?

All of the preceding well help you achieve organisational agility.

One thing may fall off the radar.

That’s the dual structure itself.

It’s the theme of this article and it’s vital to restate its importance.

To take opportunity from your constantly changing environment and market, yes you need great leadership, committed employees, aligned systems and structures.

But the dual structure itself needs to become a permanent feature.

Your hierarchy sits alongside and is in constant communication with your creative network.

The members of the creative network rotate over time to keep it energised, fresh, and innovative.


Not really.

At some point in their history most organisations will have had both.

It’s just that the creative network tends to eventually become overwhelmed by the hierarchy.

To restate:

The latter is about reliability and stability.

The former (the creative network) is about agility and innovation.

You need both to effectively prosper from accelerating change (and that’s the environment we’re in now).

Anchor new approaches in the culture.

Once change has been implemented, it is important to ensure that it is embedded in the organisation’s culture.

Your culture, systems, the dual structure, and most importantly, your people and stakeholders all need to be aligned the new paradigm.

Tips for UK SMEs implementing the dual organisational structure

Here are a few tips for UK SMEs implementing the dual organisational structure:

Seek support.

Collaborating with a specialist change consultant will produce better results and RoI.

They’re independent, objective, have the specialist knowledge and network to support your change.

They will usually charge a fixed fee that is but a small percentage of the overall value of your proposed change.

Their reputation relies on doing a good job for you.

Start small.

Don’t try to change everything at once.

Start with a few key areas where you want to see change.

Be patient.

Change takes time.

Cultural change takes time, lots of time.

Structural change takes time.

Don’t expect to see results overnight.

Communicate regularly.

Keep employees constantly and honestly informed of the change process and their role in it.

Seek feedback.

Get feedback from employees on the change process and adjust as needed.

Celebrate successes.

When you achieve a success, celebrate it!

This will help to build and maintain the internal momentum and appetite for change, and creating opportunity and competitive advantage from change is, after all, well worth celebrating.

Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI CMgr MCMI

Kotter Change Leader Program Certified

Principal Change & Transformation Consultant – The Sixsess Consultancy

#change #transformation #kotter #competitiveadvantage #dualstructure #leadership #changeleadership

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