Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Adarsh Kummur on Unsplash

This Is Not Your Dad’s Org Chart

I was sitting in the reclining leather chair in my therapist’s office receiving support with some struggles I’ve been having at work. I told her that even though we tell the story that the company is a flat organization, and even though we have no official org charts, there is definitely a hierarchy and an invisible org chart.

  • The CEO (or other leader) wants to feel in control. Having no official hierarchy enables her to either empower or disempower anyone rapidly. Unfortunately, as a traditionally-structured company becomes very large, it’s not possible for one person to effectively operate it without thoroughly effective, and fully empowering, delegation into a clearly defined org structure.
  • Younger generations seem to be seeing through the self-deluding idea that you get control by trying to be in control. As we see with movements like Holocracy, leadership wisdom has been moving up an octave: true control comes from nurturing autonomy (i.e. letting go). To attract top talent, companies have to at least appear to be playing the game.
  • Even though people are officially managers, they’re often not really managing; they’re more like technical leads. They’re often not willing, able, and/or incentivized to carry out the actual functions of management, which leads to the apparent management structure being non-operational. Also, because in functional engineering teams the best approach nearly always wins, there is often not even much of a technical hierarchy.

An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives | duncanriach.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store