How to restructure your Scaleup in a Crisis

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So, your Roadmap has changed…

You’re not alone.

Real Time is soon entering our third decade in Tech Resourcing. This is the 4th major ‘market crisis’ that we have seen, and we will see more…

What we’ve learnt is that Economically, when a market crash (like this) occurs, growth plateaus for ~18 months and then resumes at a 45° angle (we are still within the initial “3 months of panic” stage – the team at BoB are doing some fantastic webinars on this right now FYI).

Historically, companies who make it out of these periods;

(a) immediately cut unnecessary costs, and

(b) position the company to gain market share during the recovery (innovate, restructure, pivot).


However! We’ve witnessed great companies who have followed the (a)-(b) steps fail because they have restructured incorrectly.

This is what we know:

  • Your organisational, team and/or project structure is going to dramatically change (statistically, more than once) during a downturn
  • The smaller the size of the company (Startups & Scaleups) the greater the impact on operations + culture
  • Poorly structured companies especially struggle amidst volatility.

Unfortunately employees are often the highest cost to any business (especially startups), though core employees are the ones to create the ideas, develop and execute the required repositioning of the company.

So, what do you do?

Restructuring is a huge opportunity to create the team that will lead your innovation & take advantage of market opportunities.

Innovation steers Growth, your Org. Structure
decides whether you can Innovate.

But before I help you with your Org Structure, before you even think of any staff movement (emergency cost-cutting aside), YOU MUST REVIEW Your Roadmap:

1) Has your Vision changed?

Your vision is a snapshot of what your business wants to achieve over the next few years. This conveys a context within which specific strategies and goals can be framed. Employees need you, their leader, to envision, anticipate and set a direction for the future.

2) Has the Strategy to achieve your vision changed?

If so, you need to reconsider your Purpose, the Business Plans, and your companies Goals.

3) What is your future Culture going to be built on?

Your culture has just been digitized.

Regardless of how strong it was pre-chaos, it is changing right now.

Does it support your strategies, encourage required characteristics & amplify your purpose?

How can your culture enable the alterations to your Vision & Strategy — and how will it be supported in this new (potentially completely) digital world?

(chat to Tom Fleming who is a Future of Work visionary if you’re curious of how that is going to look now).

Once you’re comfortable with the above, it’s time to look at How to structure your team – now, more than ever, you need your best team on the field:

A) Does your team have the skills required to achieve your Vision?

If someone doesn’t fit into the revised Vision, Strategy & Culture, do you upskill, reposition or depart them?

If they do, how are you going to retain, engage and incentivise them?

(Check with Doron @ UX Law regarding the legalities around sweat equity, salary sacrifice, reduced hours and contract re-negotiations).

B) Where are the skills gaps?

Is your structure complete? Do you have the right resources to achieve your milestones? What is your time frame to attain these skills?

(Hot tip: You might not need a full time developer who can only complete Phase 1 of your 5 Phase roadmap. I go into a touch more detail about this in my recent 8 Steps of Articulation post).

C) How are you going to stay ahead of the game?

There’s no one way to structure your company (just look at the image of FAMGA(+O) examples at the top of page) — but structurally, how do you need to be positioned to take advantage of opportunities & defend against threats?

If you’re not structured to innovate, you’re not
going to innovate...

We’re helping our clients & friends restructure their teams based on the many learnings Real Time has witnessed over the past ~30 years (including 4 major market crises’).

If you’d like help, completely free of charge, please reach out — I’d be happy to assist.


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Ellis Taylor
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