My mother has many endearing traits. One of them is to regularly rearrange the furniture in her flat.

I asked her recently why she does this and she replied – “It makes me see things I’ve had for years in a new light. It makes my space more workable – each time I get it looking even better; and it’s a creative outlet.”

It made me think about the concept of rearranging.

Nature does a superb job of using rearrangement to shift things up, move things along and help things to evolve in a better way.

Author and expert on creative thinking, Roger Von Oech, points out – “The moving plates of the earth’s crust form new land masses and surface features. The shuffling of DNA genetic deck through sex produces new life forms.”

Organisations can also benefit from regularly ‘rearranging  the furniture’, metaphorically speaking.

How can you rearrange your existing resources to increase efficiency, improve creativity or merely do things better?

Try putting your ending in the middle.

Or the centre on the top.

Or the inside on the outside.

The left on the right.

One really effective way of rearranging is with cross-functional promotion.

Lion Nathan is an example of one organisation which has used this concept effectively. They often take key talent in one function and promote them into a different one.  A finance director into a sales director. A marketer into an operations role.

The benefits? Retention of talent. Growing bench strength for promotion. Knocking down of silos.

How can you use the concept of rearranging with your products? Innovations? Operations? Your teams?

Be like my mum and ask yourself today – “what can I rearrange?”

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  1. Grant Costello on July 25, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Hi Suzi, When it come to reorganising (restructuring) things in an organisation, I’ve always liked this quote from Lester Levy…. “At the very core of leadership is the drive to shape rather than control…the wish to restructure how people frame their thoughts, rather than restructure organisations.”

    So often leaders think that an organisational restructure is the answer to their ills (and too often a good way to just be seen to be doing something), when in reality they need to to restructure the way their people ‘think’ to encourage the mindsets and behaviours they need to get the job done. Now that reorganising of the best kind.

    • The Leader's Digest on July 26, 2014 at 12:23 am

      Hi Grant. Fantastic quote and I agree, rearranging mindsets and behaviours is incredibly powerful. Thanks for sharing, Suzi.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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