Designing The Corporate Center To Scale The Organization

July 23, 2019

The design of the corporate center is a key part of the scalability puzzle. Business growth often results in excess layers, duplicated work, and unrewarded complexity in the functions. While this can be tolerated during time of rapid expansion, if left unaddressed it soon becomes a drag on the company. In this program, Amy Kates shared the frameworks and methods that Kates Kesler uses to design functions end-to-end to support efficient growth. Participants gained insights into the diagnostic questions to ask and the tools to bring to business leaders. Amy delivered insight around how to design functions to support a growing company to both integrate and to scale. In depth, she covered the following topics:

  • Challenge of scaling a business
  • New role of the center
  • End-to-end function design framework

Amy provided insights on the following:

  • Distinguishing between corporate and business functions and what organizations require from each to properly structure and run a company
  • Understanding the consequences of not designing the functions in the business
  • Uncovering the underlying tension between agility vs. leverage in organizational design
  • Reframing the role of the center and avoid the centralized vs. decentralized debate
  • Utilizing the center to build the network across operating units
  • Creating a service delivery model to ensure service to the customer is delivered
  • Using the Function Design Framework: every piece of work has a home
  • Designating what work to keep in the center and what to put down in the operating unit
  • Creating a functional blueprint to avoid duplication of the same work in each layer

Some of the questions that were discussed during the roundtable included:

  • What if certain areas of the corporate center are more open to redesign than others? Is it all or nothing or can it be effectively piloted in one area of the corporate center?
  • How do we apply agile design and deployment across the function verticals?

Some of Amy’s key takeaways and closings remarks

  1. Build the network: reframe the role of the center in service to the operating units.
  2. Use a common language and framework across all functions.
  3. Do not duplicate work at each layer.

The full recording, slides, and answers to the above questions are available to EN members. Contact us to join the conversation. 

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