Ditch the Organisational Chart

Very few of us actually consider what makes our organisation ‘tick’.  This is probably because we are conditioned to accept the legacy social framework of the organisation as though it were a natural part of the world we inhabit.  And therefore do not consider we can exercise control over it.

To give you an example of critical thinking;

Up to the point that Isaac Newton considered why apples fall from the tree to the ground nobody even thought it was a subject worth considering. Isaac Newton’s thoughts on this seemingly pointless subject have however revolutionised the world and how we think about it.

We may none of us be a budding Isaac Newton but we are non-the-less capable of critical thinking about the organisations we operate within. And the consequences of not considering how they operate may have significant implications for the health or even the life of the organisation.

You may begin with the organisational chart, the family tree so to speak to see who’s the boss, who makes the decisions. Well, you’d be wrong, organisational charts reflect the human (I really mean male to be honest) need of seeing the world as a hierarchical dominance social structure. It probably dates back to prehistoric times when small disparate and independent bands of people worked together but required a strong focused leader to function well and survive.

This way of thinking though, tells us nothing of how a present day complex organisation functions.

The organisational chart doesn’t show how an organisation really works, it tells us who we can blame when it goes wrong!

Organisations in the present day are not isolated, they fit within a societal system with national and international rules of governance. But more importantly it’s the person or people in the middle of the organisation that probably wield the most amount of influence.

Philip Dawson MBA



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