The Beauty of the Org Chart

The organizational chart is a wonderful visioning and management tool.  Unfortunately too few people use it.  The org chart is a visual chart/graph/spreadsheet of who reports to who in the business or organization.  If people don't know who reports to who it causes confusion and inefficiencies.  People do workarounds, or aren't held accountable.  This is problematic and I think can be cleared up with a first step of getting this chart worked out.  It is a work in progress but it is a useful snapshot of reality, and like I said can be revised over time and used as a visioning tool.

I was sitting with a manufacturing CEO yesterday and his business has been growing, and there has been some turnover and new hires recently.  He has been thinking about the org chart, so we put it up on the white board.  It was fascinating to talk through the players in the business and to see in reality who reports to who.  Of course, as you may know my work I like to have horizontal leadership instead of vertical, but vertical is useful in terms of management functions.  At any rate, by putting this up on the white board it showed two key areas needing attention.  Right now with the turnover he had he is carrying the load of roles he 'shouldn't' be doing.  So by seeing it visually it helped him to get clear about what is needed in the future as well.

I then asked him to take it one step further:  make the visual and post it somewhere where everyone in the company can see it.  You better bet that if he was unclear to some degree, others in the business are too.  There may be assumptions and judgments floating around in the environment about the turnover and shift of players.  If it isn't clear then we leave ourselves open to these potential potholes.  Now making it explicit still may produce judgments and assumptions about what should be, but reality at least is seen and can alleviate some fears or negativity.  I have seen negativity and ambiguity even in a business with four employees.  It is amazing to me that as leaders we think people are clear when in reality they aren't.  

So, take a look at the current reality of your org chart.  It may be crystal clear and in that case good for you!  If it isn't though, it may expose strategic areas to work on.  One company realized that in theory the manager was supposed to be managing 10 guys, but the CEO was doing his job for him and enabling the manager's lack of management.  When you know reality, you can then use that to envision how it should be and use it as a living, breathing document.