Implementing a successful reorganization

N°261a – Synopsis (8p.) – Reorganization
Implementing a successful reorganization
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In a context of permanent change, companies need to reorganize frequently—but results are rarely satisfying. How can you maximize your chances of success in a reorganization initiative?

How to implement a successful reorganization? Most leaders will face this question at least once in their professional life. It is even likely to emerge multiple times, given the relentlessly increasing pace at which enterprises must adapt to the mutations of their environment. It thus concerns an increasing number of managers, at all hierarchical levels, who are expected to contribute to the enterprise’s agility.

Yet, even if reorganizations are becoming banal, they remain a feared exercise, even for the most experienced leaders. Indeed, their success is everything but assured. They destabilize both the organization and the people. They are time and energy consuming. They generate stress and anxiety, or even conflicts. Frequently, operational priorities are relegated to the background. Some people—including among the executive team—resist change. Talented individuals leave or get demotivated. The repercussions of the transformation in progress upon the quality of service frustrate customers. Moreover, if the reorganization takes a bit too long to bear fruit, it can prove obsolete while barely achieved!

All these difficulties contribute to the fact that the majority of reorganizations are perceived as failures. Only one in six reorganizations generates the expected results within the imparted time, according to a McKinsey survey. According to another study, from BCG, less than half of the leaders having conducted a reorganization over the past few years consider it a success. In a significant number of cases, reorganizations have even destroyed value—by lowering productivity, leading to market share losses, or by affecting lastingly the staff members’ motivation.

Unfortunately, there is no miracle recipe to successfully implement reorganizations. The success always depends on a delicate balance between rigorous preparation and speedy execution, between the impulse given by the leadership and the mobilization of field staff, between methodical deployment and flexibility to adjust the trajectory. The aggregated experience of leaders and of specialists in enterprise transformation nonetheless enables a few best practices to be identified that considerably increase the chances of success.

In this synopsis:
- Communicate effectively during a reorganization
- Four best practices to implement successful reorganizations
- Favor sustainable changes in behavior

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