What do you think about when you hear the term fruit basket turnover? Where did that phrase come from anyway? At our organization, that’s the term we’ve used for decades to describe a massive reorganization.

Fortunately, unlike many companies, our efforts to restructure have not been designed to respond to downturns in the business or resulted in layoffs. We restructure for different reasons. Here’s a partial list…

Growth – Whatever structure you have, even if brilliantly designed, will become obsolete if your organization grows. Incremental growth may mask the need for new structure in the short run. However, significant growth, whether slow or fast, presents new challenges that can be easily addressed with a new structure.

New Opportunities – When you started your business or your team, you organized based on your current realities. If you were forward thinking, you may even have structured your team for some growth. My guess is you encountered new realities you did not anticipate. This may be a reason to rethink how you are organized.

Capacity Constraints – Many leaders will take on more and more responsibility over time. At some point, this becomes counter-productive. A leader with too many day-to-day management responsibilities will have difficulty leading well. When you reach your personal limits, or hopefully before, a new structure can expand your capacity.

Leadership Development – Sometimes, reorganization is needed to provide sufficient challenge and development for an emerging leader. We learn most of what we know about leadership from actually leading. If you have an emerging leader on your team and want to accelerate his or her development, you may want to change your structure to provide them with something to lead.

Fresh Eyes – From time to time, a change in structure can revitalize an entire organization. Not because the former structure was bad – because the new leader(s) has fresh eyes. Also, new structure with new people in new roles can often create a different set of questions. It is staggering to me how often the new and the innovative comes from those NOT closest to the work. There’s HUGE value in fresh perspective.

Don’t become a prisoner of your current structure. Structure should enable, not inhibit, the accomplishment of your goals. If you feel as if you’re stuck, you can ask this question:

If someone from outside the organization was brought in as new leadership, what changes would they make to our structure?

If you can imagine the changes an outsider would make, why not step up and be that leader? Every fruit basket turnover I’ve ever experienced had one thing in common: a courageous leader. That could be you![GLS_Shield]

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Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.