Is It Time to Ban the Organizational Chart?

One critical part of creating transparency and openness in your business is the realization that you can make your business any way you want to. And that includes banning the organizational chart.

In fact, if you take anything away from this article on designing the structure of your organization, let it be this: you have the whole world, your whole creative brain, the whole creative brain of everybody in your organization to do it your way.

The world is screaming for people to be creative with their process.

There are some things we have to do in business. We need to make money and we need to have a profit. We need to comply with certain laws and obligations. But other than that, the organizations people want to create (and work for) today are completely, uniquely theirs.

I want to show you a couple of tools that you can use which I call the Create The Company Structure of Your Dreams.

Before we get started, you should know that I absolutely hate org charts. The first time I sat down and looked at an org chart and then had to use and experience an org chart I thought I was going to shoot myself because it was such a linear representation with two dimensional square boxes. It was such a hierarchial way of looking at a business that I wanted to scream.

You know what a traditional organizational chart looks like, right? You see all these boxes and titles, lines: dotted and solid, who reports to whom, etc.

Now, to be fair traditional organizational charts do give us a little bit of an idea of what the inside of a organization looks like. But what if we scrapped that view of our organizations and went into something that was much better representation of what your organization is really like?

Let’s work with a different metaphor, one that I learned from my friend and mentor, Roger Alan.

Take an organic graph, such as one using the metaphor of a funnel. Then take all the things that feed into the funnel and show how they all interact with each other. This can show how a company really works.

When working with these metaphors and illustrations of their companies people come up with some amazingly original ideas that helps them to really have a sense of what is important, who was important, and what are the important relationships inside of the company.

This goes far beyond a simply org chart with people represented in boxes and titles. Creating your own org chart allows you to really create and implement your vision, noble cause, and your core values.

Think of the metaphor that works for your business and then create a picture of it.

Think about the roles that people have and how they interact with each other. Sure there’s the who reports to whom, but if you are creating a transparent and open company, it isn’t always a reporting to whom, it’s the relationships we have with each other. It’s the flow of work.

Lastly, think about how are you grouped and how are you linked together. And not just inside the company but with everything that interacts: customers, community, vendors, prospects, media, internet, information sources, financial sources, investors, bankers, family members. anyone or anything that significantly integrates with your company.

I invite you to start drawing your core values, vision, noble cause, and mission into the design of your business.

Don’t forget to be creative on where you put yourself!

I read a fabulous article the other day about a company who had stripped themselves of all titles. I love it, because it flattened their company and it made everybody feel more comfortable. It made everybody feel that leadership can happen at all levels. And the relationships that they were making internally, formally and informally, were powerful. I invite you to be as creative as you possibly can be. Never believe that you have to follow the rules that have come before you.