“Restructuring”, this term can often be a source of fear and foreshadowing of bad news such as redundancies or radical changes in the company. From my point of view, it should rather be a sign of renewal and significant improvements for all the employees in a company or a project. Some of the resulting choices are certainly not always easy to make and to implement, but they are often accompanied by their share of good reasons.
In this article, I am going to expose the five essential points for restructuring your organisation, after a takeover, at the creation of a startup or even after years of managerial routines.
1- Your employees
Having started my introduction by reassuring you about the term “restructuring”, you must ask yourself why this first point involves employees.
Restructuring does not necessarily mean mass redundancies, although I would like to point out that this is sometimes necessary. It can also be a sign of a change of direction for your working partners if some people are not necessarily valued in their current position. This aspect can thus lead to execution errors and/or demotivation and therefore loss of performance. If your team does not perform, you are the first to blame!
I often use the example of one of my previous work experiences at Trivago, where I noticed the poor performance of one of their salespeople. In my opinion, he was going to be fired. However, the company decided instead to transfer the employee to another department, which was communicated as a promotion. As a result, the employee was able to perform better, benefiting from a more suitable daily activity.
It is therefore important to take this into account when restructuring, because without a strong workforce, you will find it difficult to achieve and follow your mission/vision and therefore your objectives. As stated at the outset, redundancy can and should be a solution if something prevents your organisation from growing and your employees from fulfilling their work.
2- Your organisation
It is particularly following an acquisition that we realise that the recently acquired company is not structurally up to date. Whether it is at the administrative or operational level, a company that is not clearly organised will not be able to evolve properly and will be a source of frustration.
This also applies to your personal life. Let’s imagine that you have a sporting objective. In order to reach this goal, you will have to train regularly, eat properly and get good quality sleep. All this requires a certain amount of organisation.
It is exactly the same for a company, from the smallest to the largest. We are fortunate to live in a time where a lot of tools and technical resources are available to help us organise our work, so why not take advantage of this and make life easier for everyone?
3- Your IT
This is the most important point because it requires the most work to set up and is generally the most expensive one. Many companies accumulate what is known as “technology debt”. To be brief, as an entrepreneur, you make the decision to not update technically your organization. As a result of this decision, you may save money in the short term, but, later, you will have a boomerang effect with the appearance of problems that may prove serious, such as security flaws or obsolete systems blocking the growth of your business.
Keep in mind that technology is a way to increase the value of a company, even if the latter does not benefit from core business tech. It is therefore recommended to surround yourself with competent people in this field who can set up a team capable of reorganising the entire infrastructure of an entity. Ideally, this team should also be present in case of due diligence to avoid unpleasant surprises and thus to quantify a possible technology debt.
4- Your partners/suppliers
Whether you have key co-operators such as suppliers or business partners, it is necessary to provide an update and see which ones are really useful to you. A bit like the facebook friends you sort through from time to time. Some partnerships may stem from a legacy from one of your predecessors. Not necessarily knowing the source of this partnership, it is important to challenge it and, if necessary, cancel it. Indeed, the relationship that you are going to set up with a partner or a supplier will probably be different from that implemented by someone else.
So, remember to measure the effectiveness and the return on investment of a collaboration, because a professional relationship can be a considerable waste of time. You will therefore not be able to allocate time for a task that is more valuable. The legal nature of contracts, often a source of unpleasant surprises, should also be ensured.
5- Your mission and vision
This guide, almost spiritual in some companies, is the real source of your strategy. “Show me your mission/vision and I will tell you what kind of company you are”. If this sentence makes sense it is because it is directly linked to the four previous points. Companies, startups and other projects that do not have a clear and well thought-out vision or mission are often societies where there are gaps in terms of staff, organisation, IT structure and key partnerships.
In addition, they can be poorly structured and communicated, often because they are the mission and vision of a single person and not those of a group of individuals forming an entity. So, make sure you have this guide established and communicate it to everyone in your organisation. If necessary, do not hesitate to modify or adapt it.
By monitoring these 5 main points during a revamp, you will be able to pinpoint potential problems. It is up to you to find solutions and to implement and test them. Restructuring work does not stop at pointing out faults. It is, for the most part, about putting forward solutions and ensuring that these are implemented, tested and, if necessary adapted.
This is not an individual work, you must act as a team in terms of implementation and take full responsibility for your decisions. Indeed, this sometimes thankless task is necessary during several steps of a company or a project cycle. It is up to you to decide whether you take the easy way out, creating a hurricane of changes and redundancies, or the way of analysis and teamwork which, in the long term, will also determine the type of company in which you will evolve with your team.
Listen to the related podcast on the B.O.L.D channel by Audacia.
Vice-president at Audacia Group
François Bonvin’s career has always been rich in experiences: as an entrepreneur developing the core software for Base7booking, as a mentor at the GENILEM Association and as Director of both Stickerkid and Stickeryeti brands. Thanks to his many achievements, coupled with his excellent interpersonal skills, he is now vice-president of Audacia Group.