"As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday, and employees will receive their cards in two weeks."

The Internet is a hotbed of information-some humorous, some factual, some not. It is in this spirit that I present the winner of a rather dated Dilbert quote contest (above), allegedly spoken some three years ago by a manager who will remain unnamed at one of the world's top software companies.

I chuckled when reading his comment, but realized that it probably was made in reference to a company-wide restructuring, which speaks to one of the insurance industry's greatest challenges-the ramifications of reorganization.

A new report from The Conference Board, "Designing Organizations that Execute New Strategies and Create Capabilities for Change," pinpoints implications of executing a new organizational design, and the telltale signs that indicate organizational problems. Based on discussions with executives at Conference Board conferences and workshops, many of which include the insurance community, the report says that organizations now experience constant change.

"Executives in many companies have come to accept a new reality," says author Robert Kramer, principal researcher at The Conference Board, New York. "They need to build an internal design capability to reorganize on an almost continuous basis."

Driven first and foremost by today's global and hyper-competitive environment, reorganization in the insurance industry is rooted in a host of other reasons: the need to divest business units that are not performing to market expectations (insurers hinting at massive reorganization based on downward spiraling mortgage-backed securities investments), or the need to invest in companies that create a more complete product set to drive value to the marketplace (Liberty Mutual/Ohio Casualty/Safeco).

While there's no denying the need for many insurers to continuously rethink their larger organizational strategy, it's how insurers manage its execution that matters most.

Kramer suggests that companies make organizational design a core competency. "Encourage dialogue regarding organizational design among all stakeholders so they understand how the elements of an aligned, flexible design can improve the performance of organizations, teams and individuals."

Simple, right? Just remember to time the issuance of your employees' new security cards with the activation of the actual security access system.

(c) 2008 Insurance Networking News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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