An organizational chart is a diagram that shows the structure of your organization. It focuses on relationships and ranks of positions, with the CEO at the top and branching into section heads, department managers, and so on. Customers are conspicuously absent.
Why is that?
Looking at a typical hospital organizational chart, I’m not even sure customers are implied. Their absence is echoed in committee structures, meeting agendas, and how all information is disseminated. The organizational structure does more than denote blame -- where the cattle prod is applied -- it denotes the food chain that feeds the beast. And while “top down” is efficient in a military sense, it doesn’t serve customers.
Suppose, for example, a phlebotomist gets a Saturday request for a patient home draw. In a top-down structure, a request starting with the phlebotomist is directed elsewhere. Policies are consulted, the nurse manager is paged, an administrator on call is notified, a supervisor is involved, and a labor agreement is referenced before making a tentative decision to call in extra help for overtime pay, with a firm decision to refer the incident to compliance and HIPAA committees and counsel the lab manager for not having a contingency plan in place. Meanwhile, the patient goes to the ED by ambulance.
But an organizational chart that includes customers -- say, with customers at a hub radiating outward to services -- makes decisions obvious. The phlebotomist thinks, “I work for the customer.” She drives to the patient home and collects the sample. Q.E.D.
The former serves a bureaucracy; the latter serves the customer. In the former, as one marketing blogger points out, customer messages are distorted as they migrate up a chain of command to decision makers. Another calls the latter a “modern customer oriented organizational chart,” represented as an inverted pyramid with customers at the top. John Moore, the author of Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture, advises radically simplifying a chart with a straight line from every point to the customer.
Hm. I wonder which committee does that.
NEXT: Too Busy Or Incompetent?