A Different Approach to Corporate Structure
An enduring challenge in many organizations is determining how to approach the important but elusive notion of organizational structure and meetings. How should teams and departments be populated? What should their charter and purpose be, and how does this integrate with other teams and departments? What level of organizational authority will they have? How often should they meet and how long should these meetings be? Who will lead these meetings and how will follow-up and execution of decisions made be handled?
During a recent leadership team meeting of equity owners, the subject of meeting efficiency came up. After a robust discussion, we determined that two separate meetings, each shorter in duration and with a tight, focused agenda would be established. These two, “O’s,” Ownership and Operations, soon gave way to a third “O,” Organization. Here’s how it works.
Ownership meetings are held with a pre-determined level of frequency (probably quarterly). Agenda items include issues pertinent to owner/investors and only that. There are no day-to-day items discussed here (these are reserved for Operational meetings). Examples of Ownership meeting agenda items include return on assets, and investment, future capital requirements, overall organizational performance (again, through the lens of owners/investors), strength of the balance sheet, treasury management, executive performance, possible merger/acquisition opportunities, succession planning, etc. Consider the way a Board of Directors agenda might look.
Oh, and speaking of Boards of Directors, I’m not sure why more privately held organizations don’t have a Board of Directors, or at the very least, a Board of Advisors. The benefit of objective, experienced input can be invaluable, and Boards can provide this.
Operations meetings are the place to focus on processes, systems, technology, financial results, and other performance targets.
Organizational meetings are the place for in-depth analysis and review and should focus on recruitment, on-boarding, retention, and development: supervisory, management and leadership development; and organizational culture. These are critical leadership issues and are not to be left to HR.
Each of these “Three O’s” require the active input, support, and commitment of leadership.
For more information on ways to better organize your organization’s structure and performance, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.