Rethink your organizational structure

Learn how to create a new structure to sustain long-term organizational health.

Learn how to create a new structure to sustain long-term organizational health.

Picture a traditional organizational chart. You undoubtedly “know” how it looks. Top-down. There’s a grand pooh-bah on top. A handful of senior executives and managers in the middle. And, finally, the “rank and file” (an HR term I despise) fill out the bottom.

Whether your company has 10 or 10,000 associates, it’s time to completely rethink how you structure your organization for both sustainability and excellence. Turn the old model upside down.

The traditional structure has been around for decades. The old model corresponds to a military structure, when corporate America flourished following WWII. However, over the past 70 years, business has evolved. Has your organizational chart kept pace?

It’s time for a new structure to sustain long-term organizational health.

A Solid Core and Broad Branches Support Strong Companies

Picture a tree. A strong, healthy oak or maple. Majestic. Firmly rooted, yet reaching for the sky.

The leaves on top represent your day-to-day people. They get the most sunshine, rain and exposure. They are who your clients or customers see first. Your day-to-day people are out front, but they are not alone.

The limbs connect all of your leaves, your day-to-day team members. Tree limbs represent your managers and supervisors. These limbs hold the leaves in place, offering support and strong connectivity. Your managers are the infrastructure of your organization.

The trunk is the core of the tree. In a successful organization, this trunk doesn’t blow in the wind; it keeps everything stable and grounded. Think of your business owners, leadership and executives as the trunk. The trunk is the backbone of your team and provides the central spine.

The roots are the core values of the tree. Your values grow and strengthen over time, but don’t really ever change. Your culture evolves, but your values should persist. Your values keep you connected to the world around you.

Finally, now think of all of your resources (bankers, consultants, suppliers…) as feeding nutrients into your organizational tree. Often unseen by others, these resources provide the sustenance necessary for the long-term health of your business.

While this may sound a little too progressive for many, think of your own company structure. Are you a “command and control” old-fashioned model, or a progressive, empowered organization of excellence.

I’ve often said there are five keys to building an excellent team:

  1. Hire excellent people.

  2. Empower them.

  3. Be there when they need help.

  4. Otherwise, stay out of their way.

  5. Sing their praises.

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by excellent, empowered employees. Today, I serve as an extension of my client’s teams.

Consider the metaphor of a tree and restructure your org chart to meet the modern needs of your team. Then, watch your company thrive and grow. Year over year.