When I was living in Paris, I went to museums on a regular basis. You kind of couldn’t help it. They were everywhere and always so inviting.
The nicest thing about them is that they make sense. They’re accessible to everyone - from school outings (which I remember as a kid) to the generally-interested-public (the category I put myself in) to the professionals and experts (of which I am definitely not one).
That’s why the article about the recent reorganization of exhibits and works by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) caught my eye.
They’ve done a reorganization that, to the paper’s art critic, not only doesn’t make sense, it makes everything worse.
Evidently, according to Mr. Knight, it’s because it’s trying to be everything to everybody…which makes it, to his way of thinking, nothing.
And that got me thinking about how organizations structure, organize and reorganize themselves.
What a mess.
Executives like to say that their organizations grow “organically.” In fact, not so much. They grow - but, more often, their structure arises and expands because someone has an agenda that necessitates a new function or department to be established. Or a new location. Or division.
The other option in reorganization-ville is that there are a bunch of competing agendas that lead to a structure that serves the silos* and power bases of the executives rather than the customers - even though more often than not, “serving the customer” or being “customer-centric” is the way it’s positioned.
Again. Not so much.
That’s why the article about LACMA caught my eye…especially when Mr. Knight writes:
Art museums have two audiences — one general, who may or may not have a genuine interest (there’s got to be someplace to take the in-laws over the holidays); the other a dedicated art audience, who range from passionate enthusiasts to committed professionals. “Rome” [ed - the exhibit he’s writing about]throws that dedicated core constituency overboard.
Lose the core and the museum is in trouble. The trick is to serve both publics at once. And a prime service of a great museum is to help transform the general public into an art public.
Change the word “public” to “customer” and you’ll see where I’m going.
People may come to your organization. That’s the hope. The goal, however, is to make them come back forever and stay.
Your organization should, in all functions and at all levels, reflect that focus. Otherwise, like LACMA, you’re going to lose the folks you’re trying to keep. You don’t want that trouble.
The good news is, it’s avoidable.
Just keep asking: Why?
Why are we doing this reorganization?
Why will it serve our customers? Our suppliers? All our stakeholders in and out of the enterprise?
Why will it help our financials?
Why will it make our teams work better?
You get my drift. Also, it’s important to note that I’m not asking “How.” Because “how” gets you into tactics and that’s not where you want to be when you’re structuring your organization.
It’s a strategic decision. So, keep asking “Why,” keep your eye on your customers - internal and external - and you’ll nail it.
* To read the LQ Think Piece about Organizational Silos and what to do about them, subscribe below to our twice monthly XMO newsletter for Executives, Managers and Owners.