Inc. Magazine recently had a feature titled Eliminate Managers? CEOs Who’ve Tried It Explain Why It Works. In the article they discuss the ‘no manager’ org chart and moving organizations from towering hierarchical structures to leaner, flatter structures. Some of the notables who are attempting this include Zappos, education platform Treehouse, video game company Valve and web application company 37Signals.
We thought it would be good to add some of our additional insights from 30 years of teaming, flattening and leading high performance organizations to better results:
- Structure is usually deeply ingrained in an organization’s culture and takes time to transition
- Gaining buy-in from employees at all levels is crucial to success; seek input through formal feedback systems and informal conversations
- Invite people to participate in planning/designing the future; figure out how physical workspaces and work groups will be moved and reorganized
- Examine policies and procedures to align with new organizational structure
- Implement the transition one step at a time; put employees through training sessions to give them the information, build competency and skills required in their new roles
- Clearly explain the need for change in the structure to all employees, in terms that relate to their individual roles as well as how the change will benefit the organization as a whole
- Send regular updates on the planning process
- Keep feedback mechanisms in place, use feedback to fine-tune or alter specific structures
- Keep the goal of maximizing efficiency and effectiveness always in the forefront
Flattening an organizational structure is a serious strategic move. It should be discussed and implemented with attention to tasks, processes and relationships.