Updated: May 5
Restructuring anything is a delicate process that can be very intimidating to even the most seasoned people.
Restructuring requires a lot of reflection, adopting innovative ideas, planning, and putting new things into place. Then, change management comes into play because you need to measure the old gains against the new gains (whatever your new is) to find out exactly how much progress you are making over time. Restructuring can be in any area of your life, for a business, parenting or family, or a ministry team. Within any of these scenarios you may find yourself in the position of needing to restructure some things. This is not a task for the faint of heart nor for the unskilled. It takes courage to look at what exists and even more courage to let go of what is no longer working or necessary. Restructuring an organization or even a family is a delicate process that involves gaining new knowledge and can be very intimidating to even the most seasoned leaders and people. As such, it is important to know how to go about doing so to avoid making mistakes that could cost you time, money, positions, and most importantly valued relationships. This is not a tell all blog,
but it can get you going in the right direction.
Restructuring usually means shaking up the status quo and challenging your way of being and this can be uncomfortable.
Restructuring usually means shaking up the status quo and challenging your way of doing things in ways that will evaluate your current way of thinking, question your courage and your comfort zones. Challenging your present situation can also be stressful on the healthiest relationships too. It can be difficult to move forward with an unorthodox idea, a new process or way of being especially if it is something that is unprecedented. In addition, it is especially hard when you have people around you that are married to an old way of doing things or grandfather clauses. What is more, the status quo is just that—the current situation—and the current situation is not always a helpful measurement for growth.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”- Neale Donald Walsch
Good will always get in the way of great when you are afraid to innovate.
Sometimes, a shake-up is needed to push us out of our comfort zones and give space to grow to our full potential. When we become risk averse, we rule out possibilities and possibilities can lead to breakthroughs. The fear of the unknown can make restructuring seem scary, but it is worth facing those fears if it leads to short/long term improvement, better relationships, or profit.
If you are going to restructure, you need to do it well or else everything will fall apart.
Perspective matters. Your attitude about change matters. As you decide to move forward if the idea of change consumes you in a negative way you will sense feelings of staleness even burnout and remain uninspired, unmotivated, and unfulfilled which can lead to anger or frustration. When you start to restructure your organization or your life, it is important to do it in a way that energize you and those around you to get excited about the future. If you do not, everything will fall apart. Why? People do not inherently like change, we are hardwired to protect our “now” more so than riding gallantly into our future. And when we feel threatened, we stop innovating and building and our brains start managing for personal risk looking to fight, flee or freeze. Another downside, people in your inner circle or your team will get confused about their roles and responsibilities amid unforeseen changes, and some may leave entirely because they feel unseen among all the change. Some may feel frustrated about leaving the old ways or like they are undervalued and unappreciated for what they have done in the past in the wake of all the talk about a new direction.
On the contrary, some people cry out for change but when it happens, they whine about all the effort and energy it takes to maintain the new way of doing things. Why is this? Because some people like the idea of change but not the work or work ethic required to begin and maintain the change. This usually means they were not mature enough to manage what they asked for or their character was not refined enough to maintain the changes, they cried about having.
Moreover, if your restructuring is done well and with balance, people will be inspired by what they are learning during this period of change. Some change breeds a sense of freedom because old barriers have been removed from the desired outcome. People will be motivated to work smarter and more strategically as they feel more empowered to make gainful decisions and accomplish goals. Some of the upshots of restructuring well:
Openness and honesty
Others become invested in the vision
Others work can contribute to their personal success and the success of an organization
In short: put people and resources in the right places in your life and in business. Put qualified people in responsible positions with the understanding that relationships (business or personal) come with rights as well as responsibilities. Folks should know up front what is expected of them so that they can give their best efforts to gain the best outcomes. They should also be given the opportunity to feel like they have some choices in the changes, so communication is key. People should never have to read your mind especially if you are a leader. When it is clear to people that they have options, they are more likely to give it their best because they are not being told what to do. This is when everyone feels like an important part of the machine instead of just another cog trying not to get broken or be worn out over time. It is of the utmost of importance that everyone on board understands who they are and what they bring to the table, so their strengths are maximized along the journey. Now this does not mean they will never have to do "other things", but it does mean a team, a family or organization is stronger and better when each person's individual contributions and unique talents are used and developed in a way that results in innovation and growth. Think about your relationships, do you have the same conversations with a 5-year-old that you do with a 40-year-old? Of course not and this is why differentiation is so important to progress.
To effectively restructure, you must adopt a growth mindset and give permission to experiment and adapt.
To effectively restructure, you must adopt a growth mindset and give yourself permission to experiment and adapt. In many cases, this will require you to shift the way you think about failure. If a new idea does not work out quite like you planned, that is okay! You can still learn from it and use it as an opportunity to gain experience. By creating space for experimentation and creating an environment where failure is not only accepted but encouraged, you will be more willing to take risks with innovative ideas.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts."
This mindset is invaluable when collaborating with teams!
When collaborating with teams they should know that they have the power to adapt their ideas, as necessary. During organizational restructuring, it is often expected to produce original solutions for problems that are unique to the context or organization—but that does not mean these solutions cannot change over time. If something is not working well after trying it for a while or if there are better ways of doing things now than when you first started out--that is normal! A team should always feel psychologically safe to bring up innovative ideas and improve processes without wondering if they will feel threatened in any way.
When restructuring, start with the mission and vision!
When starting to restructure or reorganize, look at your vision and mission. What are you trying to accomplish? Take time to review what you have been doing and how it has been going. How is your way of being and doing fulfilling the mission?
Asking these questions is a wonderful way to start thinking about what the future looks like for you or your company. You might find that there are some problems that need attention before working on restructuring or reorganizing. Define what those problems are and write them down so you can have a clearer picture of what needs work. Share these problems with trusted sources to gain wisdom or another perspective.
When outlining problems look at your “big why” the defining reason you do what you do-it is something that changes your life and the life others. Your “big why” keeps you moving forward and focused when trouble shows up at your door and if you are human, it will. When defining problems, also consider setting some goals for your new life changes or organization. Goals will give you clarity on where you want to be in the future, whether it be three months from now or six years (or both). Bold goals will give direction when making decisions during the process of change. Note: Gleaning from others’ success is fine but understand that comparison is a killer of joy and jealousy is a destiny thief. During a time of restructuring things do not worry about other people’s goals and progress but truly make sure you are in alignment with your new direction and focus on showing up fully for what is going on in your life, business, or ministry.
If you do not understand why, you do what you do then how can you ever hope to restructure anything?
If you do not understand why, you do what you do, then how can you ever hope to restructure your life or business. Restructuring is hard! It is a lot of work that can involve a lot of people and can take several months to years. The good news is that understanding your purpose and vision makes the process of restructuring much more manageable.
It is hard to restructure if you do not know what you are trying to accomplish. This can often lead to frustration and wasted time when you try different things only for them not to work. For example, if your goal is to help people who are in need but your organization does not have a clear strategy on how exactly it will achieve this, then even if the people volunteer their time and money, it would still be hard for them to accomplish this because they don't know what they should be doing or where they should be going. There is nothing worse than driving behind someone who has no idea where they are going! If people are giving up their resources (time, money) without any clear idea on how these resources will help others in need then it will become harder for them to continue volunteering until eventually they burn out altogether! This example applies to employers and employees, marriages, and friendships as well. Where there is cloudy vision and a non-existent path to get there people will start taking the exit ramp! This applies to your personal life as well- if you never take the time to reflect on why you want something or how you will get it and what it takes to get there you will remain stuck, unfulfilled, and just as important those you are called to impact will miss out on your ability to bless them.
Once you have defined the "why" then think about the unique gifts and talents at the table.
Once you have defined the "why" behind your restructure then think about resources, gifts, connections, money, and talents. What strengths do you have at your disposal to help achieve your mission? Do you have people around you that bring a fresh perspective? What is their passion? How much money do have for the changes you intend to make? If you do not already know the answer to these questions, then you should take some time to get to know them better. As an example, I took a certificated leadership course to invite new perspectives and improve my skills considering the twin pandemics, global changes, hybrid work, remote teams and so much more. It is important to hold yourself accountable to personal development and growth if you expect your organization to grow.
How does each person's strengths contribute to achieving your mission? What adjustments need to be made? Are there people in places where they should not be?
Do a self-assessment-where are your strengths and where do you need help to be successful? A good tip I learned: A solo-preneur is a person who is in business for themselves and does everything to run that business for themselves. A true entrepreneur understands you do not go as far as your dream you go as far as your team. Obtain good, qualified people with like passion and values to move the vision and services forward. If you are threatened by people who either know more than you or are good at what you are not good at your business will only go and grow so far until it hits a stalemate. Once you have a good understanding of the skills and attitudes that each person brings to your organization, it is time to look at how those strengths are being utilized to help achieve your goals. If a team member has a valuable skill set but is working in an area where he or she is not utilizing that set, consider moving him or her to another position. Similarly, if someone is struggling in his or her current role but excelling elsewhere, consider shifting his or her focus. Sometimes the most effective way of maximizing your team's abilities is also the simplest: make sure everyone has an area within the organization where they can be most useful, happy and fulfilled
Look at these tips to remain on track:
Communicate often and be strategic-share quality information and only meet when necessary. If it is a personal change schedule uninterrupted time for yourself to read, write, research etc. so that the change does not overwhelm the rest of your life. Keep your promises to yourself! With a team, do not over meet and spur burnout during times of change this will create tension, bring about project weariness, and cause others to quit.
Have a safe space for acknowledging feelings-If it is a personal change go to therapy or talk to trusted sources, you need a place to plan and vent. Put it all out on the table, if you do not you will undermine productivity, risk low morale throughout the changes and forego good relationships and/or talent.
Invite others to help solve problems-You may be the boss of your business, but no one has all the answers. Looking from the outside in others can see what you need too because they are not leading the charge of change. Find a consultant or even a coach to navigate unfamiliar territory so you do not waste time or lose ground. And it is a proven fact- sometimes people have better ideas than you. While executive decisions are a must a collaborative environment is the birthplace for innovation and getting things done. Collaboration offers people a stake in what they are doing, and they are not likely to throw it all out the window if they are being acknowledged and their input is being valued.
Have a plan but do not throw flexibility out the window-Change is inevitable so plan for it to happen, if you do not your plan will be thrown off course each time something out of your control takes place. Have the flexibility to detour when and where it is necessary and still meet your desired outcomes.
Bring in the experts-You may need outside resources from experts to drive substantial change or investments in yourself to get to the mental shift you need to execute goals and get rid of unhealthy mindsets and unnecessary tasks.
Celebrate-When people are celebrated, they feel happy and valued so do not wait until the restructure is complete to show appreciation to yourself and others during times of change. Celebration can be the fuel that each of us needs to keep a good attitude and good momentum during the process of restructuring.
Do not be afraid to try out new things—even though it may seem intimidating at first, diversifying responsibilities in your life or on a team can work wonders for morale and your overall productivity, progress and profit!
Now it is time for the hard part - letting go of what no longer fits.
You have realized that it is time to restructure, and you are feeling all the feels about it. This may be your first rodeo, maybe not. Regardless, a lot of questions are running through your mind: What does it look like? How do I get there? How do I keep team morale up? Should I call my mom? Should I call my friend and just go on vacation?
This is one of the hard parts—letting go of mindsets, structures, systems, and even people who have served faithfully but are no longer a fit. In my experience this will happen organically throughout the changes you are set to make, the things not working will be apparent. What do I mean? Look at what systems are not a fit any longer for the work you are trying to accomplish- do they need to be upgraded or changed all together? Do the people who scream “but we’ve always done it like this” seem open to change or would be it best to come to the agreement that it is time to cordially part ways with being cubicle buddies. It could mean letting go of someone who is not a great fit for a new team and role, or someone who is perfectly competent at their job, but has become jaded in their approach. They are just not a culture fit anymore. It hurts to give people sad news—but know that the right thing does not always feel good.
Believe me it is not the end of the world when this happens, this time of letting go gives way for people to truly do what they want and find happiness on their terms or make others miserable either way it is their choice. I know this sounds hard however when you are hoping to make lasting and profitable change that will serve your “big why” if you are not honest with yourself and others you set yourself and/or your organization up to fail. There is so much wisdom in counting the cost of change at the front end of a thing versus getting halfway through and realizing you have caused more damage because you were not honest about what you needed or did not need to be successful. The word integrity has the connotation of soundness of moral character, but it also means being whole and entire -you should know what it takes to be whole, entire, not lacking in your life on your team. One of the big reasons big ventures, people, companies, families, friendships, and ministries fail-lack of understanding about what it takes to be undiminished, whole.
The key to making this step a win...
is to recognize that just because something worked in one season does not mean it will work well in the next. Overall, you will need to make tough decisions about the work and changes taking place, as well as about roles and responsibilities. Another key here is to focus on what is most important right now in your life and/or business and do whatever it takes to ensure that you have the time, resources and people you need around you to be advantageous at each level of restructuring.
Even though you might be letting go of some business partners, employees, accounts, remember that this isn't personal. In some cases, it is about business in other cases it is personally about moving your life forward to accommodate the better days you see for yourself. A big part of restructuring is about positioning yourself for prosperity, wellness and sustainability-caring, harnessing and protecting your contribution to society is one way to do that.
Here are some coaching questions you can ask yourself to move forward:
What would be the impact on you and others if things do not change?
What is one step you could take right now that would indicate you are moving forward?
If a friend were in your shoes, what advice would you give them?
If I do not let go of this what will I happen? If I do not let go of this what will I gain/lose?
How can I let go of this while honoring the past and moving forward to the future I envision?
What is the good news in this situation?
How is this short-term discomfort supporting my long terms goals and joy?
In business, if someone has been a great fit but does not fit into your current structure or goals, be honest with them about why the road ends here. Keep in mind that their skills may be better suited for another field or industry (in which case they would appreciate hearing about potential job prospects), or they may not be ready for a leadership role just yet (in which case you could offer to help them hone their skills until they are). Personally, maybe you will be traveling for work and will not be able to take as many unscheduled calls from people. Maybe a friend keeps crossing your boundaries and you need to create space in the relationship for your best health and wellness. Whatever the reason, being candid will result in mutual respect and enable all parties to move forward with the knowledge they need to be successful. I am a big proponent of giving space in relationships as to not be so common with the goodness or the greatness of others in our lives. Sometimes we are so close to a person we forget to appreciate them and their personal boundaries, in which case a restructure is necessary to birth a new respect that will cause the relationship to bloom again.
Here is one hard-earned piece of advice from a person who has experienced the re-structure process a few times: Pray, ask for wisdom, and know when to let go. Understanding when and how to let go creates capacity for new and while new can be scary, it is necessary. Remember restructuring is delicate process so study about the new direction you are taking and understand that courage is not always the absence of fear. Also know that people who are truly in your corner, will show up in one way or another!
Standing up for change sometimes must take place with your voice shaking and your knees knocking but it must take place. Change must take place so that what is right can take place, so that equity is available, profitability is gained and systems that no longer serve value are done away with. You must decide between keeping old paradigms, unremarkable results and being unfulfilled and courageously championing change. It is not easy, but I will say it again, restructuring will be necessary to embark on one or more of new paths of justice, fairness, self-acceptance, the best business practices, the best teams, successfully serving others and/or cultivating the most reciprocal, beneficial personal and business relationships you have ever experienced.
Until next time,