Archives for posts with tag: organizational structure

1891622bdd866cb7eea2e4f9699c65d3295673b2_m

Google that question and you get thousands of of answers. Books have been written about it, about any Social Media conference will have a session about this topic and you can find daily new blog posts discussing the organizational model for Social Media. The majority claim Social Media should be centered around the marketing department, a vocal minority thinks PR is best suited for this task, some outliers think customer services are best equipped to deal with individual inquiries.

Some of my favorite experts believe Social Media is so revolutionary, such a fundamental game changer to the future of business that it had to start with the CEO and work down from there, utilizing the power of the whole organization.

Brands can add value to the community through content.

And that is an important skill of marketing people.

Real conversations should be between real people.

And that’s where the customer services team shines.

People desire an authentic dialogue with the whole company, including CEO.

That’s where it’s beneficial to make the whole organization social.

All true. Where do we go from here?

How about starting with the customer?

There’s not one customer in the world who cares what department owns Social Media.

They have their own reasons to visit social properties and, from time to time, to interact with a brand: They might want convenience, reassurance, discounts, exclusivity, etc. Customers only care about ownership when the engagement they are looking for is dysfunctional: When they express criticism on Facebook and get no response from qualified individuals, just the unicorn response: “Look at me, we are beautiful.” When the YouTube video is just another self-indulgent promo. When the Twitter feed is a pure push marketing platform.

The owner of a social platform has to be the best qualified person/department to deliver the best experience to the audience.

Ownership of platforms should not be a departmental/divisional question, it should be a customer experience question. When you want to deliver a press-focused presence on a platform, it makes no sense for the marketing department to own it. A customer services platform shouldn’t be run by PR people.

From a strategic point of view this adds a layer of complexity, particularly when it comes to aligning departmental goals. But, let’s repeat this slowly: Goals shouldn’t be about the department, they should be about improving the customer experience.

The discussion of Social Media ownership will continue for the foreseeable future. And the answer remains the same: There’s only person who really owns the social platform, and that’s your individual customer.

73033736bc6d4ee9d7647da410c3b147157ba7e9_m

It’s a mindset, not just a strategy you deploy.

When people have back pains, you can pitch them to lose weight, start working out, do Yoga or Pilates (after all, this will prevent of having back pains on the future), but the majority are just interested to stop the immediate pain.

We need band-aids. It just seems we have too many band-aid people in our organizations. If we focus too much on band-aids and let our organization be defined how we react to emergencies, is it any wonder we don’t have enough time and effort left to focus on a strategy that would eliminate the need for having a constant deployment of band-aids in the first place?

We need to diminish the importance of the band-aid culture before we deploy a rehab strategy that leads to constant change.

116875a0f1c36d9b84d736af448d29fe7768379d_m

I’m attending the premier credit union conference in the United States, in one of the premier resorts in Florida. When I asked for an umbrella during a massive storm, they said, “We have umbrellas. Just not enough.” And he walked away.

Oy.

Just about every organization has front-line staff. Sometimes, they are merely used to keep the riffraff out of the organization.

Most of the times, they determine the tone of the organization. If you have someone answering your phone, interacting with your clients – people that took a lot of time to come to your place – you should do a basic cost/benefit analysis.

If your receptionist greets 100 people a day, that’s 20,000 people yearly. Should you invest money to transform all of those interactions into something spectacular? Why hiring the cheapest person when you can invest in a truly remarkable experience? And transforming customers into ambassadors.

tumblr_ky7r79jz2W1qzhdtio1_500Image: Courtesy of 25.media.tumblr

Enterprises change at a breathtaking pace, reorganizing too often. Wasting a lot of time, energy, money and morale in the process. in the middle of a market tornado, enterprises try to reach a “stable state”. We would argue, enterprises should strive to reach a dynamic state. A state where adaption doesn’t equal reorganization. Such an organizational design is already being utilized.

The Multidimensional (MD) Design

The Multidimensional Design was originally developed at Dow Corning. It eliminates the need to reorganize when faced with a significant internal or external change.

The need to organize comes from the need to divide labor. To organize is to divide labor among different individuals or groups and to coordinate their activities in such a ways as to obtain a desired output. The more divided the labor, the more coordination is required. There are only three ways of dividing labor, meaning only three types of organizational unit:

a)    Functionally defined units (Purchasing, R&D, Industrial Relations, etc.)

b)   Product- or service-oriented output units (the magazines of a publishing company, the coffee of Starbucks)

c)    Market- or user-defined units (units defined by the geographic areas they sell in)

Most enterprises have all three types of units. Their importance is often ordered in the structure of most organizations. If product uniqueness is most important, then product-defined units dominate. If costs are the primary concern, functionally defined units rise to the top. All reorganizations involve changing the relative importance of the three criteria used in dividing labor, that is, changing the organizational levels at which units of the three types appear.

If units of all three types are established at a particular level of an organization, as their relative importance changes all that is required at that level is a reallocation of resources among them. Their reorganization is not required. Therefore, if the three types of unit are established at every level of an organization, the need to reorganize at any time is completely eliminated. Units of any of the three types can be added or subtracted without requiring reorganization; the organization’s structure remains the same.

Conventional representations of organizational structures do not indicate the interactions of the units. Three-dimensional representation of an organization makes it possible to show explicitly the interactions that should or do take place between units.

Product- or Service-Define Output Units

In a multidimensional organization, product- and service-defined (output) units consists of a management and only a small supporting staff, but no other personnel, and no facilities other than what is required to house this small staff of people. They are responsible for providing or arranging for all the activities required to make their products and services available to customers. These units obtain income from sale of their products and services. If they require more capital than they generate or accumulate, they can apply for it from a higher level of the organization. They are expected to treat such funds as loans or investments. They must pay for their use, one way or another.

Function-Defined Input Units

Units whose outputs are consumed primarily by other internal units are functionally defined , or input units. Functional units are often divided into two types, one defined as “operations” and the other as “service”. Operation units are ones that have a direct effect on the output (operations) of the organization, for example, manufacturing, maintenance, and purchasing. Service units have no such effect; they affect the nonoperational behavior of other units; they affect the nonoperational behavior of other units. Functional units are free to both purchase whatever they need and to sell whatever they produce or provide, either internally or externally. Their purchasing and selling decisions are subject to intervention from above and to compensation for such intervention when appropriate. They receive the income that their sales generate, and they pay the cost of whatever they purchase.

Market- or User-Defined Units

Market units – units that are defined by the users by the users they serve – have two complementary functions. First, they sell the outputs of any other unit in the organization that wants to use their services, as well as selling outputs externally. Second, market units also serve as advocates of the users in the markets for which they are responsible. They should not only represent the company in the market, but also the market in the company.

Market units evaluate the activities and outputs of other internal units from the point of view of potential and actual users of the organization’s outputs, who are outside of the organization and are affected by these outputs. For that reason, market units operate as consultants to the executive office and other unit heads.

Performance measures

A uniform, explicit, and operationally unambiguous measure of performance – which incorporates some function of the amount of profit generated, for example, return on capital employed – can be applied to units at every level, including the executive office. This makes possible comparison of the performances of units at all levels and discourages make-work and bureaucracy. However, profit is by no means the only important performance characteristic. Recall that in socially-systematically conceived organization, development of the organization, its stakeholders, and its containing system are its overriding objectives. Although profit is necessary for corporate development, it is not sufficient.

In our next installation, we discuss a plan being a system of solutions.

Previous installations can be found here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7, Part 8, Part 9.