Ask executives about their company and you can expect to be shown an organization chart. No wonder. The management concepts that the org chart visualizes—coordination, hierarchy, a matrixed organization—are the ones leaders grew up with and know best, as did generations before them. The first org chart from 1854, and was introduced to help run the New York and Erie Railroad during the age of the steam locomotive.
Therein lies the #challenge. Today’s organizations are set up as traditional hierarchies or #matrix organizations with roots stretching back to the industrial revolutions of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In theory, these structures provide clear lines of authority from frontline #employees up through layers of management. In reality, matrix structures have only grown more complex as business has—to the extent that in some companies they are so cumbersome they hardly function.
The takeaway? We shouldn’t expect these old models to be fit for purpose in today’s #environment. They are mechanistic by design, built to solve for uniformity, bureaucracy, and control—goals that undercut what companies now prioritize: creativity, speed, and accountability.
The answer isn’t to modify the old models but to replace them with something radically better.
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