Do execs give a shit about organizational structure? (They should.)

Ted Bauer
6 min readJul 8, 2022

Are we about to embark on a sea change around organizational structure?

Deloitte just did a study of 7,000+ companies in 130+ countries (it’s called Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2016) and above you can see what the leadership of various companies was worried about. There’s the normal caveat here: a lot of times, senior leaders in a company are concerned about money, revenue, growth, and fiscal metrics — to the exclusion of virtually everything else. But… that’s not a cool thing to say on a business trends/needs survey research concept, so they say stuff like “Engagement!” Then, moments after talking with Deloitte, they run to their 2:30 and breathlessly analyze financial metrics. This does happen. Same deal: dating surveys now reveal that ‘funny is the new sexy,’ but very ugly funny men and women probably still don’t go on a lot of dates. People talk from both sides of their mouth.

But still: look at the top four here.

  • Organizational structure
  • Leadership gaps
  • Culture
  • Engagement

I don’t see any financial metrics mentioned in there!

Why are we starting to care about organizational structure?

Josh Bersin, who spear-heads a lot of this type of research, kind of breaks down what the core problem is for most organizations here:

The problem we face, however, is how we coordinate and align these teams, how we get them to share information and work together, and how we move people and reward people in a company that no longer promotes “upward mobility” and “power by position” in leadership.

I can simplify this even more. Most companies operate from one specific goal, even if they claim other goals:

  • Make money

OK. So let’s say that’s your true goal and you lip-service purpose, mission, vision, talent strategy, engagement, culture, etc. Let’s say that’s the type of organizational structure you have. I get it, and I’ve worked in those places, and oftentimes they are very financially successful — and since our definitions of success with regards to business usually center around

Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.