Map The Realm

This can be a very interesting and even enlightening exercise. Go through your entire organization and ask the following questions:

Assemble and correlate the results.

If you can actually diagram more than four levels deep within your immediate organization (immediate meaning the organization at one geographic site), then the structure itself may be part of the problem. More than six levels and questions of value added by the middle layers surface. More than eight layers and the sclerosis of the organization will render correction or even diagnosis of the problem impossible.

Examine how the results appear vis-a-vis the "official" structure of the organization. This is particularly good to use in any culture that advertises itself as "team-based." By repeating this survey at irregular intervals, it can also be used to measure the progress from a hierarchical culture as it attempts to change itself into a flatter model.

Author: DonOlson 95/10/20


The above assumes that an organization is *trying* to move to a flatter model. I've heard from a co-worker who is currently working toward his undergrad degree that creating a more vertical organization is being taught as beneficial to morale. It gives the more-junior people the sense that there is "somewhere to go" in the organization. Figuring out whether the official hierarchy is the real hierarchy is, of course, and exercise for the reader. -- DrewKime 04/09/01

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