The Boss and His Imaginary (Organizational) Tree

“A lattice organization is one that involves direct transactions, self-commitment, natural leadership, and lacks assigned or assumed authority. Every successful organization has a lattice organization that underlies the façade of authoritarian hierarchy. It is through these lattice organizations that things get done, and most of us delight in going around the formal procedures and doing things the straightforward and easy way.” –Bill Gore

Contrary to common belief, people have always worked in a network (the grapevine) and not the way represented by an organization chart. If you drop the hierarchal organization structure, you will still be to work.What you would have done is that you would have got rid of the many problems of hierarchical organization structures.

The bigger the organization, the taller the structure, the many times more the person at the top is paid compared with what the person at the bottom is getting, but not necessary producing anything or serving any customers. These people at the management level are just barking orders, controlling everything but getting paid for doing so. But can such people really make changes and really transform a giant company? Unless they own the business, aren’t they employees too? Don’t they have the same 24 hours, 2 hands and 2 legs like everyone else? Haven’t you see merger, acquisitions, restructuring that costs a lot to the business but never work. Why then should business be paying so much more for management? Often when a business does not do well, it is not the management but the staff that loses their jobs.

More than ever before, companies today are facing not only rising business costs; high employee turnover and high pressures to be innovative and to get services and products to market fast. Paying people that does the work as cheap as possible or making one person do the work of 2 or more persons do not work anymore. These are just unscrupulous business strategies. Companies should get rid of tall management layers, use the money saved to pay more to those who do the work. The company can then afford better trained and better educated people, pay staff better salaries and helped raise their general living standards better retain their services

Many of us would also have the experience of looking up at the top management level and found a group of individuals, with different temperaments, styles and behaviours, with each going his own way not working with one another. If you are a shareholder will you want to let this dysfunctional group manage your business?

Wherever there is hierarchical organization structure, people at the top will tend to live in their ivory tower, lost track of what is going on at the ground. Matrix structures create business complexities.

In this old fashion hierarchal organization structure, manager confined workers by their job titles and job scope. They hardly tap into the strengths of the individuals and businesses suffer lack feedback and innovation that can come from individuals are familiar with the business and closest to the customers If you don’t believe this, ask yourself how many times have you seen a manager looking through a worker’s personnel file, to understand the worker better. Have you ever felt trapped by your discipline when you know that you can do more and contribute more?

The hierarchical organization structure creates not only communication but social problems. Remember how the “open door” of your manager is not really that? Remember how you need to escalate matters or wait for your boss to escalate matters up? How about those bosses who belittles you and regard you as a number, to be hired and fired if they wish to do so? Have you noticed that when business is bad, the Board of Directors continue to receive their fees but workers lose their jobs.

In the short span of 30 years, with the help of the internet and technology, the office and system furniture has become obsolete. People can connect from anywhere on Earth and at anytime. Person to person contact has become possible. Businesses have the opportunity to save on rents, increase innovation through interdisciplinary thinking. They evolving into social communities. This next revolution is about

(a)  Being able to connect with anyone to get your work done.

(b)  Being able to connect with anyone to get your idea across.

(c)  Being a multi-disciplinary person.

(d)  Leveraging on your strengths.

(e)  Being an organizational entrepreneur.

It is a new way of work. Be ready for a revolution.

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