Explained: Organisational Charts
How an effective organisational chart can transform your team from a pack of five-year-olds at a soccer match to a powerhouse of performance.
Have you ever watched a kids soccer match- and the subsequent chaos that ensues when those little legs begin chasing the ball, regardless of their position on the field? It hit me like a tonne of bricks last weekend when I was down at my local football fields watching my son play: this is the perfect analogy for a business without a clearly defined organisational chart.
Some of the most common questions I’m asked when I'm out in the field and answering questions on our live webinars are often the most basic- and I find myself coming back to one common thread each and every time. When everyone in the business knows what their position on the field is, we’re a better team; more likely to defend against an attack, and more likely to hit the ball into the opponent’s net on a consistent basis.
Perhaps most significantly of all, having an organisational chart in your business will help you to eliminate inefficiencies through overlapping responsibilities of your staff members. It’s a simple rule of thumb that I've been following in business for decades now: overlaps create inefficiencies, wastage and ultimately a missed opportunities. Those overlaps in the context of business are like a flock of five-year-olds all rushing toward the ball.
Business as is, not as Imagined
Another point to consider here is something often forgotten - for legitimate reasons - by businesses when they are in fact putting together position descriptions and their organisational chart. It’s important to map these out in the context of how your business looks today, and not as imagined. While I appreciate your goal setting to expand the business and hit lofty goals, realistically, it’s counter-productive when you’re putting together something like an organisational chart.
The reason for this is largely due to the fact that you’re expected to map out your organisation’s outputs as seen today, and how your current staff members can improve upon these numbers. When the scope of your operations - and indeed your staff members - increase, you can rework your organisational chart to match the expansion. Remember: an organisational chart is designed to be tweaked and updated on a regular basis, so, map out your organisation as it exists today, and you can rework it next week, next month or next year as the business evolves.
Keep it simple
My last point is a warning before you jump into all of this: you don't want to overcomplicate the process of putting together your organisational chart. If you keep it simple, you’ll make it more digestible for your staff, more dynamic in the face of market changes, and you’ll avoid bogging down your organisation. When organisational charts have too many layers, they become too bureaucratic; which is a synonym for slow. Your intentions might be good, but an overly bureaucratic organisation doesn’t perform well when it comes to adapting to staff and customer demands, and in the context of an organisational chart- it’s counterproductive.
Remember, if you keep it simple, straightforward and maintain a commitment to updating your organisational chart, it will be one of the most effective resources your business has as you navigate into the future. We’ve put together a comprehensive e-book: Implementing a Management System - which is currently on sale - that covers this, and a whole heap more.