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  • Writer's pictureMike Bensi

Avoid These Five Common Pitfalls When Restructuring Your Team

I have to admit, I'm a big fan of Ben Franklin's saying "A place for everything and everything in its place." At home, my self-diagnosed OCD loves it because everything has a place to be stored. When it isn't in use, you put it back where it belongs. Or that's what I try to tell my kids. Again. And again. And again.

Working with my clients, however, I use this saying when thinking through team structure. Creating a picture through an organizational chart or others allows leaders to identify a place where performance resides within each core area of the business.

And as the business grows, we need to ensure that we update this structure as things change - market demands, customer needs, and internal expansion.

However, when we are growing, we tend to leave things laying around that we don't really need. This could look like having more resources allocated to areas of business that aren't a priority - or aren't growing. Or having an overwhelming number of direct reports, when the leader needs to be more externally facing.

Before you update your team structure, prepare yourself by pondering how you can avoid these pitfalls:

Looking at people first. I also love the saying that we need to "put the right people in the right seats." This is incredibly important - later. The primary concern is to identify the seats you really need. When we are pivoting or changing, prioritize the "what" versus the "who".

Looking to the past. You've powered your way to performance using the structure you've preferred for past years. However, don't get paralyzed in old ways of working. Create a pure start by focusing on the prospective changes you see internally and externally down the pike.

Forgetting the purpose of the role. Over time, we can grow pleased or comfortable with "the way we've always done things around here". As you identify the needs for your team structure, identify "What are the high level areas that impact the business?", "What is mission critical?", and "What authority am I willing to release?"

Failing to addressing personality needs. Prior to pulling people into the picture, we still have another prerequisite - personality. Will the role require someone with the ability to be results focused or process focused? Fast paced or consistent?

Aiming for perfect. Your previous picture of your team structure wasn't your only picture. And neither will this one be your final portrayal. Be pliable in receiving feedback on your new structure in order to prepare for the next phase.

Avoiding these pitfalls can allow you to avoid the pain and peril when you pull into your next point of pivoting.

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