There are several ways to organize a company; you may choose to organize by function, by business unit, which is common in larger organizations, or by using a flatter structure. Whatever model works best for your company, it’s important that the structure is intentionally designed and not just a haphazard arrangement of functions that have been organized just to get the work distributed. Every role and function in a company should be included, and nothing should be left out.
That an organization should be meticulously crafted might seem obvious to a professional who works in a well-ordered corporate structure. However, for a growing company, the complexity is immense as workloads increase. What should go where? Who should do what? These are the types of questions that a newer company is constantly confronting to make sure all the work is done well and efficiently. Often, these questions are asked when it’s too late, and a problem has arisen, such as an activity that should have been completed and wasn’t or something that wasn’t finished on time.
Selecting the right organizational scheme for your company and then aligning all roles, functions, and responsibilities is one of the most important tasks any business leader has. The structure itself is the source of all the actions and activities that emanate from the company. How effective these actions are will depend on how well the company’s structure has been designed. Finding the configuration that works for your company is not a one-time event; the company has to be constantly analyzed and structured to satisfy the inevitable changes that come within every business.
Everything in Its Place
At Celaque, we are organized by function. When a company is organized in this manner, all the functions should be carefully mapped, placed within the right unit, and streamlined. We have strived to ensure that the units encompass all the possible activities within a company but do not overlap.
We are organized into six departments in my company:
Just coming up with the departments required considerable analysis. Furthermore, we were simultaneously implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, NetSuite, which required that we organize each of our different transactions by department, adding in more pressure to define all the roles. After researching other real estate developers, I discovered a similar structure that I thought would work well for us and used that as a model for the six departments we currently have.
We have since been placing each of the company’s functions within these units. Most of the work we do fits neatly within these six categories. Whenever we come across a task that doesn’t clearly fall within one of the departments, we ask where it makes the most sense for it to be placed. The goal is for the activity to be streamlined and make it clear from the beginning who is responsible for each task. Once it is properly placed within a department, we also ask how a given activity might affect the next department and how it all fits in within the greater company.
Sometimes, we find that a role was originally placed in one department, yet it no longer makes any sense there, so we move it. Once we find something that doesn’t work, we adjust it immediately. Other times, we organize the role or responsibility around a person’s strengths. For example, our marketing is managed by our Developments Manager, who also happens to be a civil engineer. He has a natural affinity for marketing and does a great job.
Refining an organizational structure is a never-ending process. Circumstances change, people transition, and the structure must be updated to remain relevant. This work is essential because how you structure your company will determine the types of outcomes it will have. The structure itself may not be perfect, but in my mind, the most important thing is that it is organized: that everything has a place, and roles and responsibilities are clear. As the company grows, you may find that it is necessary to become more decentralized or vice versa. That can be altered if needed. The work needs to get done, and with a clear structure, it is much more likely that you will have the results you require.