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Old Structures Can Suffocate Execution
Sometimes a team fails to stay on topic. An organization might need more consistency in approaching a problem. Maybe the issue is a simple lack of discipline to follow through on an issue. In such cases, we see leaders create structure to address the need.
Structures come in many forms. They can include rules, outlines, media, policies, processes, agendas, and checklists, among many other examples. When designed and used effectively, structures provide the guidance, discipline, and consistency necessary for achieving great results. All teams and organizations invent and utilize structures to promote the outcomes they desire.
Sometimes, we never outgrow the need for a given structure (think an alarm clock and meeting agendas). However, in other instances, the dependence on a structure gets in the way of progress as our goals and outcomes change over time. When we rely on old structures that no longer serve their original purpose, they become roadblocks, creating bureaucracy that suffocates execution.
The best leaders are highly inventive, creating new structures to provide the consistency and discipline the organization requires. Those same leaders are also on the lookout for existing structures to dismantle and throw away.
Any time a leader senses that bureaucracy is creeping into decision-making and everyday execution, the likely culprit is an outdated structure that needs to be reworked or discarded. A good rule of thumb is not to create a new structure without first eliminating an old one. We hope you don’t need a reminder (structure) for that.