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We typically think of organizational charts as a set of vertically stacked boxes that represent people and their job descriptions. Additionally, the chart illustrates who reports to whom and the hierarchy of the company. And this is generally how we think about organizations: who is the boss and what are they the boss of?
I’m declaring my disdain of those charts and the vertical structures they represent. I am dedicated to the end of the org chart as we know it!
With that in mind, I’ve created the “Top 10 Reasons I Hate Organizational Charts” list:
Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate Org Charts
- They are vertical, not horizontal.
- People are represented as boxes.
- You can’t see the informal relationships of an organization.
- They are a myopic internal vision of a company.
- There are no customers represented.
- There is no community, social or otherwise, represented.
- You can’t see the stage or language of an organization.
- No core value, noble cause, purpose, mission, or vision is visible.
- They don’t promote leadership and mentorship, learning or teaching at multiple levels.
- They don’t support creativity, innovation, uniqueness, and greatness.
Rebecca Onion wrote about what is considered the first org chart by New York and Erie Railroad on Slate.com. Besides being historically significant, the chart is beautiful to regard. Designed by McCallum and drafted by G.H. Henshaw, a civil engineer, the chart draws from the natural motifs popular in the Victorian aesthetic. Looked at from afar, the whole resembles a tree laden with fruit or blossoms. Up close, the individual “branches” illustrating groups of employees who worked on the trains have the rough, natural look of vines, twining alongside the straight lines of the tracks that they service.
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