Real Leaders

Don’t Put People First. Put ‘Roles’ First.

business in birdsview, office seen from above with emploees sitting at their work stations in a formation shaped like a bar graph showing growth

The excellent book CEO Excellence shares some research about which roles generated the most value. Their findings were revealing in one instance: 37 people (out of a company of 12,000) generated 80% of that business value. 

One role singlehandedly was responsible for 10% of that value.

The takeaway is this: hierarchy and value creation often don’t go hand-in-hand.

This gets to the point of organizational design: how you shape your organization, so it’s set up to perform.

Conventional wisdom is that it’s about people. And it is to a considerable degree. But another lens needs to come into play beyond just getting your people to be the best versions of themselves. 

And that lens is about recognizing where your business’ ‘horse-power’ comes from and ensuring the conditions are appropriately in place for those horse-power generating individuals to thrive. 

Do they have the right reporting lines (hopefully directly into you)

Do they have the right resources?

Are they getting the proper development?

Do they have the appropriate support?

Are their communication channels set up for them to have the right conversations with the right people at the right time?

This isn’t about making wholesale changes to your set-up. Instead, it’s about ensuring you’re not missing a trick by unintentionally hiding your most important value-creators under a rock just because that’s been the historical arrangement of your business. 

Take a fresh look at your organizational design by throwing the organogram out of the window. The organigram is a false construct that has minimal bearing on performance. It’s just an arrangement on a page. 

If you seek performance, the underrated art of organizational design must come into play as a CEO. It might not be what you’re drawn to as it might seem to be an overly complex topic. But it’s not. It’s a real thing that needs to come into your arsenal. 

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