RGS Home Page


Finishing Touch Main Page


Issue Twenty-two, Winter 1999


Managing Organizational Change in a Growing Company
Part I of a Multi-Part Series by Brandon Rasch
Vice President & Corporate Counsel

Over the last thirty years, I have been privileged to have not only been friends with, but also to have legally represented many owners of printing companies. Many of my clients, not only in the printing industry but in other industries as well, have grown to become major players in their particular field.

In the beginning, my friends had only a handful of employees. Since their company started out small, it was a fairly simple process to organize and define the duties and responsibilities of each employee.

Everybody came to work early, stayed late, and worked very hard to make the business a success. Since the success or failure of the business rested on the shoulders of the owners, there was little or no incentive to have a business organization chart or to align the goals of the various departments. The efforts of the employees tended to be naturally self-aligning, due to the fact that the number of employees was small.

The goals were simple and easily definable. Sell the product, produce the product and then collect payment. As the company enjoys success, it tends to track the past. Sell more products, produce more products, and collect more payments. This system works well for many growth cycles, but ultimately the bulk of the responsibility will fall on the backs of only a few key employees. Questions that begin to be asked are numerous.

What is the goal of the company? Who is in charge? Is that my job? Who is my supervisor? Do we want more sales or sales that can be produced efficiently? Is the sales department in charge of production or vice versa? These are common questions, and all of my clients have asked them at one time or another. When you step back and make a serious inquiry, you will find that these questions and many others must be answered if you are to succeed.

I have observed that most of the successful businesses which I have represented have been those who recognized that they would have to confront numerous issues along the way. By far the most prominent question to be answered was, "How do we change?"

Change in this sense is adaptation to new circumstances. For example, in the beginning you might have been the only employee of your new company. During the day, you made sales calls, ordered paper and supplies, and then, at night, you printed the order, bound it, and packaged it for delivery the next day. As you succeeded in sales, you found that you could afford to hire a pressperson to run the press while you performed sales and administrative duties. The more you sold, the more you could afford to hire additional help--while at the same time retaining total control of the operation.Then one day you awoke to find yourself acting as mediator between five sales people and fifty or so production employees. You asked yourself, "What happened? How do I change this?" The answer is tritely simple. Adapt and organize! Easy to say, but not so easy to do.

According to Hammer and Champ in their paper, Manifest for Business Revolution, "between 50% and 70% of organizational change efforts fail." My experience indicates that their estimate, as high as it seems, is in fact low, when all factors resisting change are considered.

In the coming issues of The Finishing Touch, I intend to bring to light the many factors that work against a successful change policy. I then hope to offer you basic ideas to implement, at all employment levels, that will help to facilitate a successful organizational change for you. Some of those ideas may help to prevent your company from becoming one of the 50%-70% fatalities to change.


About Rasch Graphics | More Information
PUR Binding | Perfect Binding | Saddle Stitching | Mechanical Binding
Tab Cutting | Support Services | The Finishing Touch Newsletter
EMail RGS | Home Page

7211 N. Gessner Drive • Houston, TX 77040-3143
Phone: 800 / 713-785-5750 • Fax: 800 / 713-785-5801