Is your organisation structured to manage change?

By Martin Egerström

Is your organisation structured to manage change?

If your organisation has passed its start-up phase, it’s most likely structured and optimised to achieve efficiency. Like the vast majority of mature companies you almost certainly also have a hierarchical structure for decision making, run by managerial processes such as planning, budgeting, measuring and problem-solving. All necessary to make things work on a day-to-day basis—without them, things will be chaotic and almost impossible to manage. However, that which makes organisations efficient and easy to manage is often also what makes them rigid and reluctant to change once a need or an opportunity presents itself.

With the world changing at the rate it is today, the hierarchy structures we’ve built up within most companies in order to optimise efficiency really can’t keep up. They don’t allow enough ‘windows’ to be open to the outside world for identifying the rapidly accelerating shifts and trends constantly emerging. And even if a great opportunity for your company is identified, how do you get this well tuned, highly efficient managerial structure to change fast enough, before the window closes?

It doesn’t mean that what you are doing is wrong, it just means that your current way of doing things may need to be complemented by something new. 

The first step is often just to recognise that your current organisational structure wasn’t built for, or indeed ever meant for, managing change and to take advantage of new opportunities. It was built for defending the status quo and to make your organisation more efficient and effective than your competition.

If you think about it, it’s all natural: People are by nature reluctant to change, we like to do things the way we know. It feels good to be in the comfort zone, and as long as things are working just fine we see no reason to look for alternative ways. Additionally, when people are part of a typical hierarchal organisation that expects them to work within clearly defined processes, chances are that nobody but the top management is listening to the outside world to find new opportunities. And when a company has found a new opportunity, it will find out how hard it is to implement the needed changes. The forces working against it can be incredibly strong.

Nevertheless, if you don’t spend a few minutes every day thinking about how someone could out-compete you and make your business obsolete—chances are that, sooner or later, someone will do it for you.

So there is a double-reason for most companies to add something new: To increase chances that your organisation sees new opportunities before your competitors do, and when you do see them, to be able to capitalise on them.

It’s not easy to run the day-to-day business machinery as efficient as possible at the same time as being as receptive to change. But we are sure that most mature companies regardless of industry need to realise that something new is needed. And then to find out what works best for them. 


For many companies, the answer may be to run a bi-modular organisation with one part of the organisation operating autonomous and being structured more like a start-up. All-in-all in order to be able to take advantage of new opportunities as they present them selves, while the rest of the organisation is focused on optimising the legacy business.

Regardless, one opportunity that is most likely still out there for your specific organisation, as for most companies, is the opportunity to use online better than everyone else in your particular industry.  No consultant firm in the world will be able to do all the heavy lifting and work for you. But if you think it is important for you and your organisation, and need inspiration and guidance on that journey, you are more than welcome to get in touch with us. 

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Want to know more? Through our digitalisation guide: what, why, when and how to use it you'll find much more to read!

Martin Egerström
Project Manager at Zooma 2005-2022.
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