The Organisation Chart – Redefined

Organisational Structure

The Organisation Chart – Redefined

I have been working with a client recently who has a very successful business but when we were discussing his exit plan, we discovered one major problem. The problem we discovered was that he runs the whole business on his own. He isn’t just wearing too many hats… he is wearing all the hats!

Whilst he knows he has a good team below him, after some confronting, he admitted that he is a bit of a control freak and is worried that by letting go of the business it will not be so successful. I was confused why he had not given more responsibilities to his team though, and it reminded me of a book I read a while ago by Jim Collins‘Good to Great’, and in this book, it all comes down to getting the right people in the right seats.

Hiring The Right People

The right people are the ones who share your company’s core values, they fit and thrive your culture and you enjoy being around them. Ultimately, they make your business a better place to be.

The right seat means that each of your employees is operating within his or her area of greatest skill and passion inside your business and that the roles and responsibilities expected of each employee fit with his or her unique ability. I explained that you know when someone is in the right seat as the employee feels energised rather than drained and they have a passion for what they are doing and looking for never ending improvement.

We discovered whilst digging into this further that the roles, responsibilities, expectations and job descriptions in his business were unclear due to structural issues. The structure was created to accommodate people my client liked and did not want to lose, he agreed that if he was starting the business from scratch he would employ different people to ensure the structure worked efficiently and would definitely look at the bigger picture rather than the smaller one.

This lead us on to reviewing the business structure in the right way, defining roles and responsibilities and clearly identifying all of the seats in the business. So instead of creating an Organisation Chart we started from a completely different angle which is called the Accountability Chart.

My client agreed that he had the right people in the wrong seat and the wrong person in the right seat but was unsure how to correct the problem easily. At this stage I pointed out that we needed to know who the right people were in his business. Thankfully, we had worked through the company’s core values the previous month, so we used a tool called the People Analyser that assessed whether the employee adhered to the company’s core values. We set a “bar” which is the minimum standard that my client would accept and started to score each employee. The goal was to get 100% of the right people in the business.

This all sounded very theoretical as my client quite rightly pointed out that in the real-world people will be below the “bar” and how do we deal with these employees?

The People Analyser

To start with, the People Analyser results must be communicated to the person to give them the chance to better his or her performance. A three-strike rule would help to get them above the bar and in most cases the employee does improve.

Strike One – Discuss the issues and expectations and give them 30 days to correct the problem

Strike Two – If you don’t see improvement discuss performance again and give another 30 days to improve

Strike Three – If you still don’t see an improvement he or she is not going to change and must go.

We ran through this exercise for all his employees and he were confident that we now had selected the right people and now it was important to get them in the right seats. This means all employees are operating in their unique abilities and those abilities are clearly in line with their roles and responsibilities.

Accountability Chart

When we put together the Accountability Chart (AC) for my clients business we agreed that he needed to look forward, detach himself from the existing business, elevate himself above the business, look down on it and make decisions for the long-term greater good of the company.

When building the AC, it always starts with three major functions – Sales/Marketing, Operations and Finance. All three need to be equally strong and if any are weak then the business in not as effective.

We also knew that within the AC, one person had to oversee any major function. We quickly found that more than one person’s name was in the box of each function. This could be the root of some of the issues in the current business as no one was being held accountable for the job, so we agreed on one person for each job role.

What also became evident very quickly was that my client was the “integrator” for the business, sometimes referred to as the CEO or managing director and he was the glue that held the company together and ran the company, managed the day to day issues that arise and integrated the three main functions.

We also found that the three major functions were spit into more functions and found seven major functions were perfect for the company.

Once the above was established, we started constructing the AC and began to list the five major roles of that function without putting names in any of the boxes. This enabled my client to create the best structure for his business and then he put the right people in the right seats. The AC now looked like an Organisation Chart with five bullets that illustrate the major roles of each function, clarify function, role and reporting structure. However, I pointed out to my client that it did not define communication structure however this should flow freely across all lines and departments where necessary, creating an honest and open culture.

Now we had prepared the company’s Accountability Chart we had to do one last thing and that was to put the right people in the right seats. To do this we applied one filter; GWC.

Gets It, Wants It and Capacity To Do It. 

GWC stands for Gets It, Wants It and Capacity to do it. If any of these are a “NO” for an employee then it’s not the right seat for that person. We were mindful that just because the current employees had that job didn’t mean that they ‘Get It, Wanted it and had the Capacity’.

From our initial work in this area it was very evident that my client was going to have to make some really difficult decisions as not all the leadership team had all three Get it, Wanted it or had the Capacity. It was agreed that it would benefit the business more by making this decision now rather than 6 months down the line when they were going to struggle through their tasks, of setting quarterly priorities or not adhering to the core values.

Now we came to the most important part of the process and that is where the current employee does not have enough time to be in all seats which applied to my client. My client, the business owner was getting to a stage where the amount of work required was more than 100% to do the job well and something had to give. My client had to delegate and elevate the extra 20% of work. He had to be certain that he had the right people in the right seats before I started to delegate and elevate otherwise, he would never feel comfortable letting go. I had to point out to him that he was the one holding the business back as he was burning out and he did not have the time to fully run the company and manage the sales team well, never mind the other jobs.

At the end of the session my client discovered the benefit of the Accountability Chart and getting the right people in the right seats. I left him with the “monkey’s story from Ken Blanchard’s book – ‘The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey’ where hopefully his employees will be leaving his office with their monkey rather than having all 20 monkey’s jumping around the office.

By Lee Manning


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