6 Field-tested Steps to Restructure Your Team

chart showing Steps to Restructure Your Team

The Definition of Organizational Structure
Effective organizational structures help teams to perform beyond the sum of their parts.  Before embarking on steps to restructure your team, leaders should be clear about what their current and desired organizational structure encompasses in terms of goals, roles, tasks, and processes used to organize the flow of work.  This includes the underlying relationships and beliefs required to get work done on a day-to-day basis.

Steps to Restructure Your Team
Periodically and for a variety of reasons, it makes sense to reorganize your team to unlock value or to fix a problem.  While team reorganizations sound like a relatively fast and concrete way to solve complex problems, a recent McKinsey survey found that over eighty percent fail to deliver the desired benefits on schedule.  And teams that have been through a reorganization often report higher levels of stress, lower levels of productivity, and decreased levels of employee engagement.

So while structural change sounds like a smart way to improve collaboration, communication, and performance problems, team reorganizations are fraught with performance and people challenges.

The Top Reasons to Reorganize Your Team
As with any change, there is typically a specific catalyst that drives the need to restructure a team.  The most common reasons reported by our clients include:

  • Realigning functions and people to new strategic directions
  • Adapting to changes in leadership
  • Solving collaboration, communication, decision-making, or performance problems
  • Reducing costs
  • Refocusing priorities
  • Unlocking potential in terms of efficiency or effectiveness
  • Keeping up with the fast pace of external change
  • Aligning confusing or contradictory goals, roles, scope and success metrics

Why Up to 80% of Team Reorganizations Fail
Any reorganization upsets the status quo.  And change is likely to be at least resisted and at worst feared and fought.  Like most major corporate change initiatives, team reorganizations typically fail due to employee resistance driven by a combination of:

  • Lack of a compelling reason for the change
  • Unclear vision for success
  • Ambiguous or misaligned goals, roles, or success metrics
  • Contradictory cultural norms
  • Misaligned leadership
  • Insufficient resources or capabilities
  • Inability to monitor progress and continuously improve

Six Field-tested Steps to Restructure Your Team
Whatever the reason and whatever the final configuration that you take steps to restructure your team, in order to minimize disruption and maximize efficiency and efficacy, you cannot afford to get your team reorganization wrong.  You need to:

1. Begin with the End in Mind
When it comes to redesigning your team, form follows function. Form follows function is a principle of architecture that states that the shape of a structure should be dictated by its function.  Before you start rearranging roles and shifting responsibilities, make sure you are crystal clear about what you are trying to accomplish, how it ties into the overall strategic priorities, and why it is meaningful, urgent and important.

While it is easier to draw new org charts than to agree upon the critical few strategic priorities that matter most, make sure you know how the new goals, roles, tasks, processes, success metrics, and interdependencies will directly help people and the business better execute your strategy

2. Actively Involve Key Stakeholders
To achieve meaningful and lasting org. changes, those affected should be as actively involved in the design process as possible.  Your key stakeholders need to understand why change is needed, buy into how the new ways will improve their circumstances, and actively participate in the effort to define and live new goals, roles, scope, habits, and mindsets that support the new org. structure.  The key is to go slow to go fast.

Too many leaders jump to org. charts and people before they have clearly defined where the team is headed, how the team fits into the overall corporate strategy, and how success will be measured.  How can you actively involve your stakeholders?

3. Take Workplace Culture into Account
We define workplace culture as how work gets done on a day-to-day basis. Shuffling team roles and responsibilities is going to inevitably upset many norms.  Individuals and teams may worry about losing their status, their turf, their job, and their hard-won experience.

For a team to come out on the positive side of a restructuring, your team health must be strong enough and your cultural norms must be aligned enough with your objectives to create a solid foundation for lasting change.  Is your team’s culture healthy and aligned enough to support a reorg?

4. Choose Capable Change Leaders
To minimize resistance and confusion, be sure that you have the right people in the right leadership positions. They need to have the confidence of their teams, the willingness to listen and consider their team’s concerns, and the flexibility to adjust as needed to the specific issues that affect their team members.  They need to be able to motivate their employees and guide them through the transition from the old to the new.

Do your leaders have what it takes to handle a reorg?

5. Encourage Cross-Functional Relationships and Collaboration
Often, the purpose of a re-organization is to break down silos within and across functions. If this is the driving force behind your reorg, make sure that everyone understands the day in and day out expectations of collaboration, that you model and reinforce the desired behaviors, and that you foster the kind of open communication that supports strong relationships.

6. Recognize and Reward
How do you continue to progress in the right direction? By recognizing and rewarding desired behaviors and by having meaningful consequences for undesired behaviors.  Be clear about what behaviors will support the change you seek and then encourage those behaviors with appropriate incentives and rewards.

The Bottom Line
If there is any ambiguity or dissension regarding who does what, when they do it, how they do it and why they do it, the chances of your team reorganization delivering the results you want are greatly diminished.  No organizational change should be attempted without clearly understanding the goals and being fully prepared.  Follow the steps to restructure your team.  Don’t sabotage performance by ignoring the basics of successful change management during a reorg.

To learn more essentials for leading change, download the 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership

Comments are closed.

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources


Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager


I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

Maya Paul
HR Director

PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office


LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich


Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

Evaluate your Performance



Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.


Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.




Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.




First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.



Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.


Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.