Financial Data
Updated 26 Feb 2020

Strategy, structure, and task-led environments are key to people success

Building a structured environment is key to business success even if it means separating your teams. 

Geoff Prissman, 05 December 2016  Share  0 comments  Print

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We’ve been criticised for separating our various teams, not just in different offices, but in different buildings. However, we’ve seen a really positive impact on our business by giving different operations and different personality types the structures and spaces that they need to get their job done to the best of their ability. 

Team separation = structured spaces

Our teams are 10kms apart. We’ve got our logistics, operations and finance teams in one building, designed and equipped to meet their needs, with sales and marketing and our research and development team in a different environment; designed and equipped to meet their needs. 

Related: The five fs of strategy

We’ve taken the view that these different teams need diverse structures much as a school does – you don’t do art in the math class, and you don’t do accounting in the physical education gym. 

The more process-driven teams can remain focused on their tasks, while the creative sides of the business have got the space and environment that they need to thrive off each other in a way that will stimulate innovation and original thinking. 

Separation anxiety 

What we have learned through some tough lessons, however, is that the teams do need to get together from time to time – taking a break, if you will – to make sure that everyone is aligned on the Slo-Jo vision.

On occasion, we do a ‘deep dive’ on this, particularly after we asked the eight members of our executive team what everyone else did, and nobody could answer properly. We sent everyone away to research and build a full profile of their colleagues and their role, and then set aside a day for sharing these and discussing them.

Related: Tips to make teams work

This is a particularly extreme example, but I firmly believe that just because you’re in the same building as all your colleagues doesn’t mean that you’re going to be spending quality time with them.

I’ve seen people sit next to one another and never communicate. The only way to keep a consistent culture, and to have everyone experience a sense of belonging, is to emphasise communication and relationship building – all the time.

We’ve taken the conscious decision to focus on our strategy, and let that lead our structure. With these two vital parameters in place, our teams have the guidance and the environments that they need to do their jobs to the best potential.

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About the author

Geoff Prissman

Geoff Prissman is a serial entrepreneur, foodie and family man. Geoff spent 13 years as CEO of a furniture manufacturing and Imports company. His business acumen and development can in large be attributed to the extensive periods he spent in Italy focusing on furniture innovation and design – this later translated into his passion for food design and creating innovative drink experiences. In 2000 Geoff, together with his business partner Johnny Davis rescued a small beverage business in liquidation and the rest is history! Geoff is a master at relationship building and creative problem solving, he has used these skills to infiltrate most major food and beverage chains and restaurants in South Africa.

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