Everything is structural. Behaviours, personal and organizational issues are never situational, but always related to the underlying structure. The underlying structure gives rise to patterns, which give rise to situations.
Change always happens only at the level of the underlying structure.
Structural Consulting enables you redesign the underlying structure to better achieve your goals and outcomes. And move from oscillation to advancement.
How it works
In Structural Consulting we go back to first principle.
“To understand some phenomenon or set of phenomena, first rid your mind of all preconceptions.”Descartes
By stripping away conceptual coverups and assumptions, we observe actual reality. We can now actually think, not just categorise and compare as consultants usually do.
The structure of organisations
What drives what
These 4 drivers need to be aligned. All goals must be consistent through this hierarchy and support higher oder goals. Arrows downwards: Drive – Arrows upwards: Support.
What is the purpose of the organisation? Why does it exist? Making money is not a purpose. A statement is less important than the essence. The purpose needs to be tangible in any decision the organisation makes.
2. Business Strategy
Purpose drives strategy. What do you need to do to achieve your purpose? How do you sustain operations to provide the services? How do we create wealth to achieve the purpose (offer goods and services).
11 Questions for clarity:
- What is our offering?
- Who are our customers?
- What do they want?
- What do we want?
- What is the match between our offer?
- How do they know about us?
- How do they obtain our offering?
- What is the current market?
- What is the future market?
- How will our offerings change?
- Where are we going?
3. Organisational Strategy
How to get that business strategy done. Actual goals and actions. With due dates and accountability. All goals must align and support higher order goals and the purpose.
4. Local Strategies
Telescoping: An action of the organisational strategy becomes a goal at the lower level.
Structural Conflict in Organisations
Every time we have a conflict, there are 2 competing goals: 2 different structures seeking equilibrium. And therefore paralzying each other.
Illustration: 80% of people who diet, have more weight after. The cause is not the diet, its the structure:
Another illustration with an organisational background. The organisation wants to expand and makes the decision. At some point it does not have anymore resources to accomplish that growth. Therefore it must limit the growth. To then at some point have the desire of expansion again.
Another dynamic which often plays out is the following. There is the desire for change, which leads to change efforts. At the same time there is the desire for continuity. The more the organisation moves towards change, the more tension builds towards continuity = a structural conflict. With this structural conflict you will never land either on continuity or change.
When you are in the structure, it’s very difficult to recognise where you are. But from outside it is far easier. These structural dynamics play out over a period of 2 to 5 years or longer.
Every structure just seeks equilibrium. It is nothing personal, it is purely structural, or physics.
How to change?
Sustainable change comes only from recognising the conflicting structures and the leadership deciding which of the competing goals is more important. And then establishing structural tension towards that goal. The conflicting dynamic becomes an action step to be managed in the Master Tension chart.
Outcome of Structural Consulting
A tension seeking resolution structure that will resolve for your purpose.
- Outcome: What is the outcome you are after?
- ‘Current Reality’: Where are you in relation to that outcome?
- Action Steps: What actions do you need to take from here?
Each member of the organisation should know what the purpose and outcome is. To be aligned. To then indeed create the outcome that you as an organization want to create.
Interested in alignment towards your purpose?
If you need more clarity on your situation and want to change gears from oscillation to advancement, let’s connect here and discuss how I can support you.