I’ve never been a big fan of “org charts”. Like most organizations, we have one here at The A Group (and it serves us very well). And while I know they serve a great purpose and can provide clarity on internal structure, it can quickly become ineffective when people obsess over them.

So while org charts can be helpful for management and accountability, I think they can be a real stumbling block to leaders. Especially if you find yourself sitting at the top of one or if you believe that your only real input should come from people who have earned the right the report directly to you.

Here’s why...when I served at the top of an organization, my most important findings that shaped how I led and the culture I defined came from the input of people that were far removed from me on that "org chart". They were able to provide insight to me that I would have otherwise had no way of knowing at that granular level. Not only do they help you understand some ground-level issues that could be unknowingly impacting you all the way up the “ladder”, but I also found that they seemed to be a lot more honest when talking to me as opposed to their immediate report. So, I would purposefully abandon the org chart to seek and implement the ideas and concerns of people that, according to a piece of paper, shouldn’t really be the people I was seeking advice from.

So my encouragement to you would be to abandon the belief that value-added input can only come from those closest to you in the ladder of perceived success. From time to time, purposefully go out of your way to seek input from people in your organization who don’t report directly to you. I think you’ll find their perspective enlightening and helpful while also encouraging and giving a voice to someone who thought they may have otherwise been overlooked. It’s a win-win.

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