Alberta, Canada

How to Structure your New Department


“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu

You’ve decided to build your department, you received the thumbs up from legal and your company’s influencers (aka your board and c-suiters). Now you are entering the most turbulent times possible for your new venture. In this time, you will find yourself doing a number of things including drowning, soaring, and barely keeping your head above water. All of these will come at once. Stop for a second and breath.


Breath in, Hold it… breath out. “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

Regardless of what you are feeling or thinking, your team needs you. They need you to create structure, give them challenging work, and hold them to tight accountability. They need you to be a central anchor for them in the midst of chaos. They must achieve great heights and have challenging goals to reach for. This is how you can create that for them and produce incredible value for the organization, for yourself, and for your new team as well.


  • You may feel
    • Afraid
    • Panicked
    • Anxious
    • Excited
    • Nervous
    • High
  • Your new team members may feel similar
    • Or they may not (depending on how you organize, structure, and direct)
    • Communicate with them
    • Take the time to ask them what they are feeling
    • Use Empathy
      • Put yourself in their shoes
    • Create order
    • Create structure
    • Remain confident
    • Unwavering
    • Tenacious
    • Confident
    • Remain firm in your leadership
    • Regardless of what you feel, your team needs to see that you sustain consistency.
    • The need to see that you are fearless, persistent, organized, structured, and that you strictly hold them accountable to their roles and duties.
    • You are the foundation of their structure
    • Over communicate the opportunities available for everyone on the team and the future your team is building
    • Over-communicate your team’s vision, mission, and the plan on how you will get there.
    • Set goals that are slightly out of reach to achieve and review them constantly with your team
    • Show the steps your team has laid out to enable you to achieve these goals.
    • Run a tight ship and ensure everyone is held to the strictest structure, they will thank you for it.


  • Create a document for setting and tracking goals
    • Goals should be in four areas
      • Health
      • Wealth
      • Relationships
      • And General Happiness
    • Create a goal sheet for each:
      • next 90 days
      • 30 days
      • seven days
      • and next day
      • New goals should be created at the end of each period
        • At the end of each day, there should be a new list of goals for the following day. This can be created by you, their manager, or the individuals doing the tasks.
        • If the individual is creating their goals for the following day or any other period, have them gain approval and accountability from their manager via manager’s signature.
        • The purpose of this is not to smother the individuals creating their own tasks, but rather for them to acknowledge that they are accountable for the work they intend to complete. If they don’t complete what they planned to, it’s an opportunity for those goals to be moved to the next period. Whether that is the next day, next week, or the next 30 day goals.
    • Push your team to challenge themselves and to be narrowly, laser beam, focused.
  • Create a document that shows your department’s organizational structure
  • Create a document for each role that describes the duties of each respective team member.
    • Have them sign it and have their reporting manager sign it as well
  • Create documents for rules for operating successfully in the team.
  • Create a dress code that requires business professional at a minimum.
    • Suits (with tie) for men, paired with a solid-colored dress shirt
    • Suits, pants suits or dresses with jacket for women
    • Neutral colors and conservative footwear for all
    • Clean grooming, ironed clothes and attention paid to the details
    • YES, you are going militant on this
      • You and your team need every piece of leverage you can muster
  • Create procedures for doing any kind of work necessary within your department
    • You want to have the ability for anyone to walk into your department and have productivity right off the start.
    • Make it mindless for people to be productive in the workplace. Give them room to be creative in their work but structure and organize everything else to ensure they have mental capacity for creativity where it really counts – Solving tough problems.


  • You are taking advantage of chaos and now you know how
  • Push your team to challenge themselves and to be narrowly, laser beam, focused.
  • Realize up front that not everyone will want to adhere to this type of regimen. That’s okay. In fact, most people will not want to. You are structuring your team to win regardless of how people feel during the process. Both you and they will reap the rewards if you follow through to the end.
  • You are creating a team that executes, a structure that harnesses the power of each individual collectively. You are applying maximum force to a single narrow problem. You have nowhere to go but through the wall in front of you.
  • Be fearless. Be Courageous. Over-communicate this with your team as well.
  • “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu
  • No Regrets.


If you’re ready – start with my free training.


Tyler Lindell

About the author

Tyler Lindell - Like Ginkgo for your Virtual Self