Growing the Org Chart

I’ve been thinking a lot about organizational charts -- yup, it’s tied to the fact that some new areas in my library have recently aligned under me -- and in doing so it’s dawned on me that most organizational chart software tools have the structure all wrong in the hierarchy thing. For me the top of the food chain is our customers - for that’s who any organization is designed to support. No matter what business model you follow, we’re all in it for a reason and that reason only exists because of the customer.

In my version of the new org. chart for my area, I put myself as head of the department at the very bottom. It’s my primary responsibility to ensure that my areas are healthy, well watered and fertilized with the right mixture of vision and strategy so that all the folks working within my domain can blossom and grow the organization best in supporting our customer.

“I’m the dirt” I told my new team last month when we met and I meant it quite sincerely. It’s my job to keep the ground fertile and the vision strong, so that those in middle can grow the organization and hold our customers up.

Indeed in my book most org. chart tools have it wrong. The CEO belongs at the bottom (across the entire bottom) and the customer at the very top!

BTW: I call this image my easter egg chart. I look pretty in grassy green don't you think?


Muggie said...

Wow, Helene, this would be great thinking for any organization looking to reorganize. Hope you don't mind if I quote to to the 2010 people here. It might be good food for thought.

Anonymous said...

So does that mean that you are a grassroots leader.


I love it. said...

Just like rearranging a room, flipping a chart can help us gain new perspective. Good for you and for CML for this insightful gesture! Things do grow upward! Dirt is a good thing!

Peter Bromberg said...

Wonderful metaphor! Much more engaging than "inverted pyramid". Thanks for sharing this Helene. Love the graphic too!

sowens said...

There are several books out on servant leadership now, but this is a concept I grew up with: to be a leader you must be a servant.

sowens said...

This is just a little off the subject, but close. This is the overview for "Microsoft Dynamics RoleTailored Business Productivity
“Software Designed For Your People”, White Paper "Businesses don’t garner insights or make decisions. Businesses don’t close deals, invent new products, or find new efficiencies. People do.
Companies excel when they empower their people to drive the business forward.
Strategies, organization, motivation, and leadership all set the stage for business success. But to see results, you also have to give your people the right tools, information, and opportunities—because success ultimately comes down to your people. We call a business that fosters a winning environment a “people-ready business.”
Software is instrumental to the people-ready business. Software is increasingly how we harness information, the lifeblood of business today. Software enables people to turn data into insight, transform ideas into action, and turn change into opportunity.
Microsoft is building the next generation of breakthrough business applications designed to amplify the impact of your people.

Again, as a leader, if you prepare your people well, give them the tools they need, you should have a positive impact. If you consider your employees as your customers you may think how you can maximize their value make the work experience rewarding thus (hopefully) causing them to magnify that experience to your external customers.