May 20, 2013 Tony Morgan

6 Questions to Shape a Healthy Organizational Structure

One of the three core areas of consultation that The Unstuck Group provides to organizations is a staffing and structure review. Because we produce a custom structure for every organization, I don’t have any templates to share with you.

What I can offer, though, are several questions that shape how we arrive at our recommendations. Whether you are operating a church, non-profit or business, these same principles about creating a healthy structure will certainly apply.

  1. What is your strategy to accomplish your vision? We base the structure on the core strategy. One of the most frequent questions I get is can we review the staffing structure first? I never do that, because the ideal structure is always based on a clearly defined strategy. For organizations that have not clarified their strategy, we offer the Strategic Planning Process.
  2. What are the strengths of your current team? We review not only the roles people currently fill but also the way each person is wired up. We lean on Leading From Your Strengths for this. What are their gifts and skills? What are their experiences? How does their personality impact their contribution? What are they most passionate about? We try to make sure current staff are in a role that is a best fit for them and the organization.
  3. What’s the leadership capacity of people on the team? We pay attention to the 4 Stages of Leadership to determine who has the capacity to lead tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands. There’s no assessment to determine leadership capacity. It’s all based on looking at how a leader has demonstrated leadership capacity in the past — that’s the best predictor of how they’ll live out their leadership role in the future.
  4. Have you developed a senior leadership team? No matter what size the organization, it’s never too early to begin establishing team-based leadership at the top of the organization. I, of course, shared my philosophy on this in my eBook, Take the Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps to Building a Healthy Senior Leadership Team.
  5. Does every program, service or product connect to the senior leadership team? In other words, nothing stands on its own. Particularly in churches, it’s not uncommon for ministries or programs to be independent and unconnected to the leadership team. Again, this is why we focus on making sure the structure supports the strategy.
  6. Does your structure support future growth? When we complete our staffing and structure review process, we typically recommend a future structure that would support the organization if it was twice its current size. This helps to identify future leadership gaps and begins to help the organization begin to prioritize leadership roles as financial resources become available. We want to help organizations begin to make decisions today that will influence their growth tomorrow.

There are a number of other factors we consider depending on the nature and size of the organization, but these six questions shape the foundation. Let me suggest, as well, that if you are in a high growth situation, you may need to review and adjust your structure every one to two years.

Still not sure where to go from here? Let us help you take your next steps. Let’s talk about how we can help you complete a staffing and structure review for your organization.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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