Written by Ed Callahan on June 1, 2010

You simply can’t run your business well without surrounding yourself with great employees, your “People”. To grow, you have to be able to delegate, and to delegate you have to have get the “right people” into “right seats”. With the right people in the right seats, you know they will execute those tasks you delegate well, and you can “let go of the vine”.

One of the five leadership abilities you must master to grow your business is your ability to structure your organization. If you suspect that your company’s structure has evolved into something less than optimum, you probably have some restructuring work to do. Consider the following thoughts and advice.

Company structures often evolve and develop in ways other than by intention. Family members are sometimes given jobs that are too big for them. New employees are given titles and responsibilities which overlap with existing employees as part of a package to induce them to join the company. Owners who started out doing almost everything still do a little bit of a lot of jobs. Can you relate?

Structuring a business needs to be intentional, thinking in terms of what it will take to advance your business to the next level. This can be a challenge to think it through, so here’s my advice:

  • Start with your current leadership team and a clean sheet of paper. Forget about who is currently sitting in what seat – no one has a seat, including you.
  • Think forward 6 to 9 months about what your company would optimally look like if you were able to design it now from scratch. What are the major functions of your ideal business, the major things you will need to do well to be the business you want to be? These functions will fall into 3 categories: Marketing & Sales; Operations and Finance/Administration. Draw a separate box/seat for each of your major functions.
  • For each box/seat, list the major things you expect the person to be responsible for when they take the seat. Do this in bullet point format, condensing your expectations to three to seven clear bullets per seat. Shoot for no more than five if you can. Less is more.
  • Place one and only one person in each of these key leadership seats, being sure the person absolutely shares your core values (right person) and absolutely gets it, wants it and has the capacity to do what the seat requires. Again, only one leader in each seat because, if two people are in charge, no one is in charge.
  • Above that horizontal row of leadership seats, draw one additional seat for the one person who will be responsible for overseeing and integrating all these major functions to assure that they operate harmoniously, again making sure the person possesses your core values and is a great GWC match.
  • From there, have each leader repeat the exercise for their respective functional part of the organization, creating only the essential seats, defining the responsibilities for each seat and filling the seats with right people who GWC.

Structuring your business intentionally and properly will help to get you to the next level. It may require some tough decisions, but it will be well worth it.

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