Monday, 20 September 1999
When did you have your last reorganisation? A year ago? A few months? Are you in the middle of one at the moment? And... did it yield any results yet? A rake, organisation chart

The figurehead of a reorganisation is a new org-chart or rake as it is popularly called. Such a rake is a simplification of reality. The relations between departments are lost. Customers and suppliers are absent.

  1. Each hierarchy is a simplification of reality
  2. Simplifications lead to deficiencies
  3. Deficiencies lead to problems.
It does not matter much into which rake a reorganisation results. Every new rake is a new simplification of reality with new deficiencies and problems.

The solutions is obvious: Abolish the rake. Get rid of the org-chart as we know it and let's move on to a organisation structure that does match reality. The alternative: a conglomerate of cells, an organisation structure that matches the business process naturally. The organisation structure of a eatshop Every cell is a collective of one or more individuals that has client-supplier relations with other cells.

It is a working system. In Malaysia I've run several times into this organisation form, especially during lunch hour.

  • A customer orders a delicacy at one or more hawkers.
  • A customer orders tea or another beverage, directly at the shopowner.
  • A hawker rents space from the shopowner, the supplier of infrastructure.
The combined qualities of the hawkers attracts customers. The customer couldn't care less about the lack of hierarchy and upper management. The customer orders a dish, and that's all there is to it. Quality is guaranteed. A hawker must supply constant quality in order to bind customers.

The fierce competition forces the hawkers to maximum efficiency. Their organisation is very lean and mean indeed. There is no overhead what so ever. A new cell structure Everybody works, directly or indirectly, with maximum commitment for the customer.

For example, a reorganisation of the rake at the top of this page could result into the structure shown here. Complex? Well, just as complex as reality.

Lots of strength with your final reorganisation. Final? Yes, that's what I help you hope for.

Till next week!

Special thanks to Kever & Chung Chun Yew for their inspiration and explication