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  • Writer's pictureLata Hamilton

HOW TO: Lead your team's restructure

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

During a restructure, staff will look to their leader to guide them through the transition. But let's face it - this can be tough! Learn how to grow your confidence and your credibility through the restructure process and be a strong leader for your people through this challenging change.

So I get it! Restructures can be really tough. Not only is there so much work in planning, costing and delivering that amazing operating model, but also often you have to deal with the turbulent, emotional rollercoasters of your people. Now, it can be tempting to pass that responsibility of supporting your people through your restructure, perhaps to your project partners, your HR leaders, your IT Team if it’s a head-count reduction due to automation, or even external consultants helping you out on this particular change. Research in 2006 shows that people are nine times more likely to adopt a change and engage with a change if their own Line Manager is the face and voice and advocate of that change. So what I would say is: "Don't outsource it, EMBRACE IT!

I'm Lata Hamilton, Change Leadership and Confidence expert. And this is the second article in my 15-part Reimagine Restructures Blog Series. I'm going to give you three tips today that will help you to navigate your way through owning your own restructure. 

Prefer to watch the 5 minute video? Jump over to my Youtube Channel.

IDEA #1: Processes matter

So Tip #1 is to own your own business processes and business change. Yes, be the Sponsor of the change. But also, be the sponsor of the actual business processes that are going along with the operating model changes. And actually get more involved with the process mapping, business improvement, process improvement activities and workshops, and be an active participant. At times, you might even just want to be a fly on the wall.

Getting involved means that you are able to understand more at an operating level of your team, the ins and outs, the nitty gritty. You can hand-on-heart know that the operating model that you are putting forward, or that your team of leaders is putting forward with you as the Sponsor, is actually really going to be the best thing for your organisation, and for your people. It's about building that credibility up within yourself and creating a level of authenticity through the changes that you're proposing. 

But if time is one of your problems, what I'd ask you is: "If this restructure failed, how much time would THAT cost me?!" It's about absorbing what’s really going on. And, therefore, what’s going to be the best plan and structure for the future based on what’s needed out of those processes.

thumbs up leader

IDEA #2: Responsibility is a skill

So Tip #2 is to build your “responsibility muscle”. The leadership mindset is a really unique mindset. Because leaders OWN their own successes, AND their mistakes. So doing something like a resiliency course or some sort of training that will help you to become more agile, to deal with ambiguity, to be able to work through challenges faster, and to be able to fail fast and feel comfortable and confident doing that, can help you to build that responsibility muscle. Because building this responsibility muscle will essentially give you the COURAGE and the CONFIDENCE to BE the face and voice of your restructure. 

IDEA #3: See the future

And the final idea that I have for you is to lead a “visioning exercise” with your group of leaders. This is to build consensus around what you're all trying to achieve together, coming up with ideas of how they think that the team or the organisation should look in the future. And what I would say is: do not outsource the leading of this particular workshop. Lead it yourself, even if you use the support of a vision setting expert. 

Again, you must be involved. Because what will happen through the course of this visioning exercise is that your direct reports will actually start to see for themselves:

  • what’s working and what’s not

  • what should continue into the future and what can be let go, decommissioned, left behind

It  will get a level of buy in and a level of engagement from the leaders who are probably going to be helping you create the new structure. And if you do this upfront, it can be a really powerful tool to get everybody on board with the same story and the same picture to be able to share that with the wider team. 

So these are just three tips for you to start stepping up and really being that face and voice of your restructure. By all means, leverage the skill sets, the advice, the expertise of your project partners. But leverage them, and use them to propel you into a platform to own your own restructure.

I'm Lata Hamilton - the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, a Change Management consultancy specialising in digital transformation, operating model changes, and new ways of working and leadership.

Grab my free Creative Launch Ideas Guide with 53 ways to bring your next Change and Transformation to life - download it here.

And if you'd like my help with your next change or building leadership capability for your team, get in touch with me here.


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