Three ways structure ensures you execute on your plans.

Owner/Principal Consultant - The Curiosity Company


I get it. Nutting out how a thing will be done, who will make decisions, what the deliverables will be, how much you can spend and how you’ll determine if you’ve delivered what you set out to (and then checking if you did) are boooorrr-ing

It is – genuinely, there is no judgement here – much more interesting to just do the work. To be in the drama and energy of the thick of things. But. Without the structure and discipline piece – the governance of ‘how we do things’ – you set yourself up not necessarily for failure (though it’s more likely – and also if you don’t know what your deliverable will be or how you’ll measure it you won’t know if you succeeded or not). But certainly for reduced impact, lost dollars, reduced capacity. I am not talking about shiny frameworks you’ll never refer to again; I am talking about making operational governance decisions that the organisation communicates, understands, and follows. Planning and structure provide the groundwork for building a great and innovative culture. It does it in the following ways:

  • It allows people to get on with things and feel like they have agency in their work. What we’re talking about here is providing staff with a framework to make good decisions, act on them themselves, and know when and where to go when they need assistance or have to escalate. Good structures allow people to make decisions within their realm of responsibility. It means they feel safe because they know what is expected of them. It makes it clear what skills they might need to develop or what learning they might need to undertake if they don’t understand the entirety of the process, and it means there is a process they and those around them are accountable to.
  • You can ensure your roles are cost-effective and designed so that you have a good sense of what capability is needed and the functions you need each person to undertake. Why does this matter? Often in for-purpose organisations, I come across roles where people are being paid (rightly) for their key skill set but spend much of their time on lower-level work. The reasoning for this is often ‘well, we don’t have much money, everyone just needs to chip in.’ And this is always true to an extent, but it is also a false economy. It is disengaging for the employee and not a great use of their time or your money. When you nut it out and determine how much you need of what type of work, you can make workforce decisions that ensure you’re getting the most valuable contribution from everyone.
  • You reduce your capacity to build capability. If it’s not clear what you’re delivering and how you intend to deliver it, it’s not clear what skills you need to develop or hire in, what technology you could harness to deliver more for less or how you could increase the quality of the work your teams are doing. You can’t discover and harness what ‘best practice’ means for your business (don’t get me started in ‘best practice’… just know that emulating the likes of Google et al. is unlikely to be best practice for another one other than Google et al. Best practice for your business is based on the context of your business, its resources, its values, its capability etc.)

This doesn’t mean you have to have a rigid, hardline approach to structure and governance. If it’s broken, fix it. Iterate it. Co-design it with your workforce (and with your clients where it impacts them). Discipline is not a word that is always associated with the kinds of ethos that are common in for-purpose organisations (‘We’re all a big family, and we’ll work it out’, ‘Clients/patients before all else’, ‘Just Get It Done’, ‘Consensus at all times, and so on.) But done thoughtfully, it can support all those approaches. As this excellent article by HBR explains, the most impactful and innovative organisations are flexible, but more than that, they are disciplined.

If you need assistance with designing your operational or accountability structures, please reach out, I’d love to work with you.



Ari Siggins

Owner/Principal Consultant - The Curiosity Company

Ari Siggins MHRM GAICD CAHRI launched the Curiosity Company in 2018 after seeing a gap in the Human Resources support available for smaller, for-purpose business (both for and not-for-profit). She's driven by an appreciation of the importance these organisations play in our communities and a belief that great workplaces not only deliver better results, but spill over to boost the overall life satisfaction for their staff.

She has sat in C-Suite roles overseeing HR and operational functions within the NFP and healthcare sectors and is a Non-Executive Director bringing expertise in People Governance to the Boards she is involved with. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Social Science with a major in philosophy and ethics, a Master of Human Resources Management, She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Certified Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Where needed, Ari draws on a network of trusted, skilled partners to deliver any services outside her scope of deep expertise, so you can feel confident you're getting the best possible advice.

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