You know what’s not on an org chart?
Odd that, isn’t it? I mean, isn’t that the point of an org chart, to show where people fit in the organisation?
Actually, no. What is on the org chart is the boxes that the people fit into. The roles, the positions, the grades and the ranks. The names that are in those boxes are incidental. And replaceable. After all, HR departments spend inordinate amounts of time replacing the names in those boxes.
(Keeping the org chart of a large organisation up to date is a sysyphean and ultimately pointless exercise that keeps many HR people in gainful employment).
Relationships. They’re not on org charts either.
Yes, there are links between the boxes that show how power flows up and down the structure but those are not relationships between people. An org chart doesn’t tell you who knows who, or how well they know each other. It doesn’t tell you where connections are strong and where they are weak.
Yet people and relationships are what make things happen in organisations. They are far more important than status or formal power. They are the engines of productivity, innovation, collaboration. They are the beating heart.
The org chart is just the desiccated skeleton.
Perhaps it’s about time we ditched them.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay