Your Organization Chart

organization chart

One step that a lot of growing companies resist is making an organization chart. Don’t resist — you’ll be surprised by how much this tells you about your company as it is and about the best strategies for your future.

It seems too formal for many companies. If you have just a handful of people in the company, you may be used to a “flat” organizational structure, where anyone might pitch in on any task, and no one is really above anyone else in the hierarchy.

Leave that idea aside for the moment. Leave your current workers aside, too, and think only about the ideal organizational chart for your ideal company.

Think of all the jobs that need to be done in your eventual perfect company. Does someone need to keep the books? Put a bookkeeper on your chart. To whom should your bookkeeper answer? Put that person on the chart.

Don’t put any names in at this point. Your organization chart should just have the job descriptions. You’ll add names later.

Will your product be made in your own factory, or will you outsource production? If you’ll have a factory, you’ll need to have some people on the line, some people to supervise, and perhaps an engineer. At this point, you may have enough workers to need a human resources person.

If you’ll outsource, someone will need to be in charge of that. In fact, Walmart has recently announced a change in rules requiring their suppliers to have a worker in the places where they have products made. If you plan to get on the shelf at Walmart, you’ll need to plan for that supervision — and where Walmart leads, other companies may follow.

Once you’ve identified all the workers needed to make your product, market it, and sell it, plus the managers or support staff needed to keep things running smoothly, you may see the need to have people in positions of responsibility to take care of things while those workers do their jobs. You might need some directors, department chairs, or vice presidents. If you have a few of those, you might need a CEO or other executives to take ultimate responsibility for meeting the company’s goals.

If you’re anything like the average growing company, you’ll be surprised by how many people it will actually take to run a company like the one you plan to own.

Now it’s time to put in names. Put the names of the people who actually do the jobs into the organization chart. If you keep the books, put your name in as bookkeeper. If you’re also responsible for meeting the goals of the company, put your name in as CEO as well.

You may find that some jobs aren’t being done at all. Maybe they really don’t need to be done — maybe they will need to be done in the future but not now. Or maybe they need to be done, aren’t getting done, and should be the next position you fill.

You may also find that you have some people who don’t actually belong. Can they be diverted to cover some of the jobs that aren’t being done? This is the time to retrain, if you want to keep these workers on.

It’s also possible that you’ll be amazed by how many hats you’re wearing right now. The exercise of creating an organizational chart can be eye opening.

Your plans may change. If so, bring out your organizational chart and see what you should change on the chart. It’s a handy tool to keep you on track and help you make your future plans concrete.

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