Are you injecting effective processes into an ineffective business system?

By Pam Lewis, DB & Associates


The art of creating a ‘requisite organisation’ is to develop a strong hierarchy of accountabilities that will support effective, efficient processes and stimulate and encourage the behaviours required for sustained success.


Organisations tend to morph themselves into something that hinders people from working together effectively. They often acquire too many layers; undefined working relationships, strange concepts of leadership, unclear roles and accountabilities, and chaotic compensation systems to name a few. Inserting effective processes and good managerial leadership behaviours into an ineffective system renders them short-term at best.

The solution lies in ensuring that your organisation is fit-for-purpose and able to do business with efficiency, competitiveness, and initiative. The achievement of a requisite organisation is not just executive accountability but a moral leadership duty.


What does a requisite or fit-for-purpose organisation look like?

  • STRUCTURE: It has a universally applicable structure comprising of a clear and minimal hierarchy of managerial layers, accountabilities and authorities, with well-defined working relationships and teams, accountable leaders, and clearly established and levelled functions

  • ALIGNMENT & PROCESS: It has organisational-wide values and vision which are aligned to all working levels, and a detailed system of managerial-leadership processes including two-way teamwork, context setting, planning, assigning task, personal effectiveness appraisals, coaching and mentoring, continuous improvement, merit recognition, manager-once-removed leadership, talent pool analysis and development, and clearly symbolic leadership

  • REMUNERATION & REWARD: It has an equitable differential structure with pay linked to layers and levels, and which takes individual effectiveness into account

  • PEOPLE: It has a system of evaluating individual current and potential capability as well as skilled knowledge and commitment to give practical meaning to having the right person in the right position, as well as for retention of a sound talent pool

What a Requisite Organisation (RO) brings to the table

A powerful way of distinguishing among the very different natures of relationships that are required for an organisation to function optimally, for example, manager-subordinate relationships, partner relationships, and customer relationships.


It teaches the ‘how’ in redesigning of organisational roles and compensation/reward schemes, so they operate in harmony, instead of undermining each other. It involves a shift in managerial accountability. Every manager is accountable not just for overseeing subordinates, but for the results of their subordinates. Instead of blame becoming pervasive, a culture of accountability, coaching, support and training becomes second nature. A matter of principals In essence, RO is centred around setting the organisation up with a minimum number of levels of hierarchy (fit-for-purpose), with no ambiguous chains of command; each person knowing exactly to whom and for what he/she is accountable for.


There are several concepts and principles connecting people to the world of work that must be taken into account when building a requisite organisation, including:

  • Understanding the nature of human work, decision-making, and problem-solving

  • Understanding the nature of capability and people’s capacity to handle complexity

  • Matching work complexity, the strata of an organisation, and people’s capabilities

  • Understanding the nature of individual development and how their potential matures over time

  • Principles of fair recognition and differential compensation

To be precise Any true science must have a language of clearly defined concepts and components. Without clear meaning, it is impossible to test propositions, or to talk to each other with any hope of understanding. It would definitely be impossible to train people in its application. Unfortunately, a lack of clarity pervades the field of management science. We work in a ‘conceptual swamp’. Lack of precision and understanding of organisational language, concept and terminology confuses and distorts good judgment.

Precision in terminology and concept will enable the people within your organisation to think rigorously and constructively together about the organisation, and to have meaningful conversations about sustaining its requisitions. For the successful building and sustaining of an organisation along RO principles, concepts and methods are used specifically as they are designed with terminology and symbolism becoming part of the common language and makeup of the organisation.


Experience is the best teacher RO training and coaching is a must to ensure the consistent implementation of principles; it must also occur on various levels within an organisation.


Custodian level training Custodian level training is aimed at leaders and specialists in the organisation who are held accountable to ensure the nature of work and relationships required across the organisation are clearly defined and set up in a way that ensures best operational results and long-term effectiveness. The target audience includes organisational development practitioners, HR practitioners, specialists, and consultants who are charged with providing specialist knowledge and consulting services to the organisation with a view to creating and retaining its requisite nature. In summary, custodian training is applicable to those who are held accountable for creating and sustaining a requisite organisation.


Application/operational level training Requisite organisation forms a framework for organisational effectiveness. Application level training is designed and built into management-leadership capability training wherever possible to provide foundation level knowledge and skills to all applicable individuals within the structure. It’s centred around the idea to educate for sustainability. The target audience includes all managers who are responsible for maintaining or guiding a requisite department, unit or team.


Ongoing coaching Managers are taught to carry out ongoing coaching with people reporting to them to ensure that accountabilities, roles and responsibilities, and working relationships are understood.


Structure breeds trust and flexibility RO sounds like building rigidity, but paradoxically, the day-to-day effect is quite the opposite – it provides a strong framework within which people feel comfortable enough to be flexible. It provides a sound foundation for the organisation to be flexible and move quickly when it comes to decision-making. It also diminishes micromanagement through the clarification of accountabilities, roles and responsibilities.


People tend to feel cared for and experience being able to work to their full potential due to the certainty that is created by a sound framework. There is no more guessing what a manager wants or having to lie to "make the numbers” just because you "aren't really accountable for results that are ‘someone else's’ problem". The fact that your manager is being held accountable for your results in the long-term gives you a built-in incentive to keep the numbers honest and the business growing.


About the Author Pam Lewis has 18 years of experience in organisational development across various industries. Her expertise extends to people, processes and systems in key areas of organisational analysis and design, talent management and capability assessment, and related project design and management. Pam now offers her wealth of expertise, knowledge and experience as an Associate at DB & Associates helping businesses deliver value, unlock potential and motivate individuals and teams towards personal and collective growth and success.

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