Guest AuthorRavi Santhanam

Is Your Team Structured To Take on Covid 19?

By | Ravi Santhanam | Executive Coach – Leaders & Teams

Is your team structured to take on the volatility, uncertainty, chaos and ambiguity unleashed by Covid 19? Before we get to this question, let us ask ourselves, where are we now, where are we coming from and where are we headed.

We are in an unstable and unpredictable phase, that I would label as “Present Abnormal”. We got here from “Past Normal” the reasonably stable / predictable world that existed till February 2020. And, over time, we will overcome Covid 19 and get to a different but reasonably stable / predictable world, that I will label as “Future Normal”.

Let us now reframe the main question into three sub questions.

Qn 1: What was the team structure, you had, during the stable “Past Normal”?

Qn 2: What is the team structure, you need, for the unstable “Present Abnormal”?

Qn 3: What would be the team structure, you will need, for the stable “Future Normal”?

Let us take up Question 1 first – What was the team structure, you had for the predictable “Past Normal”?

Your team, that performed so well till Feb 2020, was broadly structured like a football / soccer team, and rightly so. You had forwards, midfielders and defenders, like a football team.

Forwards: Typically Heads of Sales, Operations and R&D, who boldly charged into the opponent’s territory, to score goals.

Midfielders: Typically Heads of Marketing, Procurement and the CEO, who support the Forwards as well as the Defenders.

Defenders: Typically Heads of Quality, Process Design, Finance and Accounts, who along with the Internal Audit (the goal keeper), protected your business.

And you will probably revert to a similar and well defined structure, as and when a relatively stable “Future Normal” emerges.

That leaves us with Question 2 – What is the team structure you need, for the unpredictable and unstable “Present Abnormal”?

Given that the “Present Abnormal” is volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous, you need a structure, where every member of your team, is playing both offense and defense! Yes, you need a team where everyone is a forward as well as a defender and they collaborate amongst themselves without the need for midfielders.

Is this practicable? Does such an organisation, where every member of the team, is at once playing both offense and defence, exist? Yes, it does. Watch a game of Basketball and you will see it in action!

A quick comparison of the Football and Basketball, is telling!

Football / Soccer: The game is fast. The field is large. There are 11 players to a side. And there are 4 major positions; goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and forwards. The roles of each position are highly specialised. For example, a defender may be a “Sweeper” or “Winger” and so on.

Basket Ball: The game is even faster. The court is smaller. There are 5 players to a side. And there are 5 positions; Center, Power Forward, Small Forward, Shooting Guard and Point Guard. All five positions are responsible for both offense and defense.

How is your team structured today? Is it structured, to take on the challenges of Covid 19? You are the Leader. Your call – You decide!

Republished with permission and originally published at Ravi Santhanam’s LinkedIn

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