How To Get It Right

Stephen Heidari-Robinson, Suzanne Heywood

Publisher: Harvard Business School, 2016, 252 pages

ISBN: 978-1-63369-223-7

Keywords: Organizational Development, Change Management

Last modified: Feb. 26, 2018, 11:23 p.m.

A practical guide in five steps.

Most executives will lead or be a part of a reorganization effort (a reorg) at some point in their careers. And with good reason — reorgs are one of the best ways for companies to unlock latent value, especially in a changing business environment.

But everyone hates them.

No other management practice creates more anxiety and fear among employees or does more to disrtract them from their day-to-day jobs. As a result, reorgs can be increadibly expensive in terms of senior-management time and attention, and most of them fail on multiple dimensions. It's no wonder companies treat a reorg as a mysterious process and outsource it to people who don't understand the business. It doesn't have to be this way.

Stephen Heidari-Robinson and Suzanne Heywood, former leaders in McKinsey's Organization Practice, present a practical guide for successfully planning and implementing a reorg in five steps — demystifying and accelerating the process at the same time. Based on their twenty-five years of combined experience managing reorgs and on McKinsey research with over 2,500 executives involved in them, the authors distill what they and their McKinsey colleagues have been practicing as an "art" into a "science" that executives can replicate — in companies or business units large or small.

It isn't rocket science and it isn't bogged down by a lot of organizational theory: the five steps give people a simple, logical process to follow, making it easier for everyone — both the leaders and the employees who ultimately determine a reorg's success or failure — to commit themselves to and succeed in the new organization.

    • Introduction: A Practical Manual for Your Reorg
  • Part One: Why Reorgs Are So Difficult
    1. The Data: What Works and What Doesn't
    2. Communicating to Stakeholders: The Rules of Engagement
  • Part Two: A Better Way: The Five-Step Process
    1. Step 1: Construct the Reorg's Profit and Loss
    2. Step 2: Understand Current Weaknesses and Strengths
    3. Step 3: Choose from Multiple Options
    4. Step 4: Get the Plumbing and Wiring Right
    5. Step 5: Launch, Learn, and Course-Correct
    6. Bringing It All Together
  • Appendix A: Cost-Drive Reorgs
  • Appendix B: M&A-Driven Reorgs
  • Appendix C: The Legal Context of reorgs in the European Union
  • Appendix D: Templates and Checklists for Managing Your Reorg



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Mediocre **** (4 out of 10)

Last modified: Oct. 7, 2020, 9:16 p.m.

Well, what can I say. A couple of old McKinsey consultants decide to write a book on re-organisation, and ticks all the boxes you learn in any decent business school.

A bit boring, nothing new, but decently written.

I had expected more.


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