Viewpoint - Why Structure Motivates

Viewpoint - Why Structure Motivates

  • Date: Monday 20th July 2015

If you are a small business and operate in a fairly unstructured way, you are not alone.

During our HR Advisor audit we ask the questions: Do you have an organisation chart? Does everyone have a job description? Do people have regular chats about the business and how they fit into the bigger picture?  More often than not, the answer to these questions is ‘No’.


So why do SME owners shy away from structure?


Some of the most common arguments against a formalised structure are:


  • It adds red tape and paperwork. We don’t want to be too corporate.
  • There simply is no time to think about these things.
  • We’ve never done it before and it hasn’t done any harm.
  • ‘Dave’ would get really upset if we put on paper that ‘Alan’ is his manager. He sees himself as equal in the structure.
  • It’s impossible to sum up certain jobs in a job description because some employees just deal with anything and everything.

Whatever your reasons are, lack of structure in an organisation should always be challenged.


If you are a fan on the Bear Grylls’ Island survival programme, you would have seen that groups select leaders; it is human nature to assign positions according to strengths. Once a group starts moving past the ‘storming’ stage, stops bickering and progresses into a state of ‘norming’, tempers seem to calm and individuals are more content with their assigned responsibilities.


Bruce Tuckman’s Group Behaviour Model:

As a business owner you may think that this happens naturally. However, experience tells us that this is not always the case. By depriving your staff of a clear direction and sense of purpose you risk not progressing past the ‘Storming’ stage.

Some simple measures can ensure your staff feel accepted and comfortable within their role without adding too much paperwork:


  • Create job descriptions: These don’t have to be longer than a page or two and can contain a closing statement of ‘You are required to undertake any additional responsibilities as reasonably requested’. Discuss the job specification with the job holder and get their input on what the role looks like in reality. You might just come across some areas where efficiencies can be implemented.
  • Create a basic structure: This is not about ‘who is more important’ – it’s about who is accountable. If you work towards your ISO or IIP certification you will already know that it is vital to establish areas of authority and responsibility. 


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