410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Why boring is beautiful

Why boring is beautiful

October 11, 2016

When I say “org charts” which of the seven dwarves do you most resemble: Grumpy, Sleepy, or Dopey?  

Sometimes we resist the most basic management practices, especially busy entrepreneurs.

Many small businesses lack an up-to-date organizational chart because it isn’t deemed necessary - until it’s overdue. Employees often wear many different hats and every employee understands to whom they report (sort of).  


We made a few hires and are recruiting so I wanted to clarify job descriptions and reporting structures since the company has grown. What I first drew was a beautifully orchestrated mess. It took many times to get the true organization of our company in a visual format. It’s challenging. I get it.



Perhaps the most important part of having an org chart is making it.


The activity of sketching who’s responsible for what and the flow of a reporting structure almost always leads to a major OMG moment.


When we walk members through creating their org chart we almost always find that the leader’s name is all over the place. He’s simultaneously the salesperson, general manager, and strategic thinker. It’s a mess!


Conversely, there are often a few key positions in the chart with no one assigned to them.  



They have an OMG moment.


I believe that the OMG actually sets you free. Once you recognize the problem, then you’re halfway there to solving it.  Work with your coach or management team to rethink your workflow.






Look, if the job is important enough, someone is doing it already (even if he’s doing it half-baked). Let me share some temporary fixes until you get the right people in the right jobs.  

          1.  Even if an employee is doing the job poorly, put his name in the box. 

          2.  Then put a dashed line around the box. This signifies that you need a new hire.

          3.  If there is really no one doing the job, name the job, and put a dashed line around the box to also 
               signify that you need a new hire.

          4.  Then you must create accurate job descriptions. Without correct job descriptions, you cannot hire 
               the correct people!



There are valid reasons why many org charts “don’t work”, but most of that really has to do with the job description.

          1.  Don’t describe what a person in the job does, rather describe what he or she is accountable 
               to produce.  For example, the usual job description states: a marketing person is responsible to write 
               and manage a blog, trade show booth, brochure and website, work with social media. But it stops there. 

          2.  Instead, clarify  the KPIs! This employee is expected to produce x number of leads from the trade show, 
               which can produce y number of sales. The person is responsible for lead generation and lead
               development - and to what extent.

          3.  Another org chart clunker: are you describing the ideal parameters for the job, or just what the guy 
               who’s doing the job right now is capable of? 
               Think beyond the specific employee to what’s needed for a well-oiled team.



Survey: What employees want most from their managers


There is a whole school of people who hate org charts. They claim that org charts are archaic and wrong. They’re most often out-dated and give off artificial levels of superiority. It’s the old “who can fire whom” chart.


I disagree. An org chart can give the one thing that employees want most from their managers: knowing exactly what’s expected of them, according to the October 2015 Gallup survey.


An org chart sets up a culture of accountability. In order to make an org chart work, the managers must have a record of the KPIs of everyone who reports to them. Everyone has to report to someone - even the highest tier - has to report to board of directors, customers, stockholders.


Your whole team will get clarity across the board. Who owns each project? Who is accountable for results? Who just needs to be notified?  Where are the holes in the organization?

One you answer these questions, your team can whistle while they work.



Taking you from where you are to where you want to be.