View from the Top


Consider the chief executive’s perspective. When a CEO looks at the company, several features stand out most sharply. These are the traditional components of corporate structure: divisions, functional departments, strategic business units, and subsidiaries. They are the activities over which the chief executive has responsibility. They form the mental model the top leadership has of the business. Most companies take these components for granted as their basic subunits.

Unfortunately, these components cloud more than clarify the perspective most essential to the intelligent resizing of a company’s work.

When changes are made in a company’s strategy, or when changes outside its control make readjustment or retrenchment necessary, the lines and boxes on the company’s organization chart are also frequently shifted. These moves usually seem to make good sense at the time—from just following function, after all—but as the retrospective research indicates, moving the boxes and redrawing the lines do not always pay off.

This happens because, frequently, the wrong question is being asked. The search is usually for the “best” organizational configuration: flat, functional, divisional, matrix, or some hybrid. This issue, which eventually does need to be addressed, is premature if it is the first thing that comes to mind when considering the company as a whole. It diverts attention from careful consideration of the “functionality” that the “form” is being adapted to. It also makes the company susceptible to the management fad of the moment, so that a means because the goal: how can we flatten our structure, use cross-departmental teams, or become an information-based organization? These are all potentially useful tactics, but for what end?

This type of organization, driven from the top down, is one that deals with the structures for doing things, rather than the things that need doing. Its view of the boxes on the organization chart too often goes no deeper than the head count the boxes contain. This perspective is troublesome and can be misleading, but even more dangerous is the viewpoint provided by some contemporary forms of strategic planning.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Emotional


Unless you are more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, minding your own business will be emotionally taxing. The mental and physical energy you put into it will at times leave you quite spent. If you don’t know how to refuel and refresh properly you’ll find yourself constantly out of sorts, fuzzy-minded, and ripe for depression. Even when things are on track, if you’re the type who has a prosperity for “borrowing trouble” the mere responsibility of failure is enough to keep you skittish and in knots. Of course, when problems arise matters can become all the worse since the buck both starts and stops with you. If you have only yourself to kick for a problem and lack a healthy sense of self, you could end up abusing yourself. Needless to say, when things go away through no fault of your own, the frustration, if not properly handled, can be devastating. Moreover, until your business begins to pay off you will be susceptible to bouts of doubt and second-guessing that can be debilitating.

 If after having counted all the costs you’re still undaunted about starting a business either immediately or in the near future, then it’s time to get all your ideas and expectations down in black and white by drawing up a comprehensive business plan.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight