Designing an agile and effective company structure for the future

Nine Feet Tall proved to be an extremely valuable partner throughout this process. Had it not been for their direction, composure, communication and values-based approach, we would not have gotten through this difficult period as smoothly as we have done.

Arne Knaben, MD UK & Ireland, Volvo
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How we work with you

We design with transition in mind. You’ll benefit from our extensive experience with turning strategy into operational excellence and learn how to avoid the common pitfalls which lead to ineffective and unsuccessful redesigns.

We will use a systems thinking approach to shine a light on the processes that help to deliver value for your customers/clients and start to build organisational principles around this, so it’s not just the structure we are assessing but the entire organisation.

We will make sure there is focus and attention given to the hard elements (structures, process, policies, JD’s etc.) and soft elements (culture, values, behaviours, attitudes etc) within your organisation.

Together, we’ll work collaboratively to develop a design that generates the best possible value, services, and experience for all based on your specific organisational needs. With the right organisational design, your business can be agile and efficient, responding to changing external factors, internal demands, and realising cost savings along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you approach organisational design?

With an open mind and a clear vision. Understanding where you want your organisation to be in the future is absolutely vital to the success of your redesign; without a goal to work towards, it’s difficult to review with a critical eye or strategise with purpose.

What is the process of organisational design?

Organisational design usually requires a large-scale review of all elements of your organisation, from the wider structures, policies and practices in place down to ‘unwritten’ company culture, individual performances and reward systems that work to support them. There are three steps to the organisational design process: consideration, planning and support. We will talk you through these steps in more detail during our proposal process.

Before you do anything else, consider the impact that any changes you make will have on your organisation and the people within it. You can do this by evaluating your existing design, examining factors like your company size, your current strategy and your market environment, to identify areas of improvement and envision a new path for your organisation.

The next step is to plan how you get there, gathering input from every department to ensure a collaborative approach that works for everyone. This goes hand in hand with the final step to successful organisational design: support. Not only will your team provide valuable insights into your company processes and feel included in the design process which helps to boost morale, but your new vision for your company will be effectively communicated across your entire organisation.


Why is organisational design important?

Organisational design is an essential part of ensuring your company’s future success. The benefits of organisational design are simple:

  • Faster growth
  • Better decision making
  • Improved efficiency
  • Greater visibility of your organisation
  • Reinforced vision for your organisation’s future
  • Growing a culture of continuous improvement
What are the different types of organisational design?

There are two main approaches to organisational design. A hierarchical approach works from the top-down, using an inflexible management structure, whereas an organic approach focuses on flexibility, collaboration and participation across the organisation.

There are several frameworks within these two approaches that could work for your business. If you’re curious about which would suit you best, get in touch with our team who will be happy to discuss your organisational vision.

What are the challenges in organisational design ?

When it comes to envisioning where you want your company to go and planning how to get there, it can be difficult to strike the right balance across your organisation.

Differentiation vs Integration

During the organisational design process, you may find it tricky to navigate the tension between differentiation and integration.

For your organisational design to be successful, differentiation (the process by which resources are allocated to tasks and people are divided into departments and hierarchies across an organisation) has to work hand in hand with integration (the process of coordinating tasks, functions and divisions so that they work together rather than in isolation) to ensure that every member of your team is contributing to a united list of objectives.  Achieving the right balance here is key to narrowing the gap between where your organisation sits currently and where you want it to sit in the future.

Centralisation vs Decentralisation

Balancing centralisation and decentralisation is also essential to the success of your organisational design. Centralisation, an organisational set up where authority to make decisions lies with the managers at the top of the hierarchy, is useful for several reasons including company evaluation, process and system standardisation and activity coordination, but can also be detrimental to individual initiative, team morale and customer experience.

This is where decentralisation comes in: by diverting some of that authority to managers at all levels rather than focusing it all at the very top of your company hierarchy, you can increase the opportunity for innovation, generate greater insights into your company and help streamline decision making.

Leadership problems and conflicting priorities

It is possible stakeholders within your organisation’s hierarchy may be resistant to the implementation of decentralisation, which can make it difficult to put a new organisational design in place. Authority figures could also have differing opinions on what the organisation’s priorities should be, which can derail the organisational design process.

The best way to combat internal problems such as these is to prioritise good communication and feedback between every member of your organisation, from the stakeholders to the individual team members. When it comes to changing the way you do your business, keeping each employee in the loop can help to maintain personal investment as well as improve motivation and morale.

Emotions may run high

Sometimes people shy away from restructures because of the negative connotations. We can help quell that anxiety. There are three core motivations for design, only one is for cost saving purposes and is likely to result in redundancies but for the most part, OD is about ensuring organisations reach their full potential.




Our insights

  • Why Organisational Design is so important in 2024

  • Implementing a new Organisational Structure – how to make it a success

  • Organisational Design – top tips to get it right

  • 5 Signs Your Organisational Culture Needs an Overhaul

  • Organisational Design – 9 common mistakes to avoid