The Organigraph – How Organizations Really Work

One of the trickiest jobs of a leader in the mid market is making significant structural changes.  Organizations just seem to grow or morph and become an entity onto themselves.  What may have once seemed like a great idea is now a defunct process or an inefficient division.  Structural or organizational changes made during the dot com era or an earlier stage of your development may not longer apply.  A terrific tool for helping you manage large organizational change is theorganigraph, which was originally developed by Henry Mintzberg and Ludo Van Der Heyden of the University of Toronto.

How the organigraph works.

The organigraph shows how companies really work. It uses symbols like stars, funnels, tubes, links and chains—in all, there are six specific symbols that represent how a company actually works.  You can also make up your own symbols.  Organigraphs are a very useful ways to show how a company works, showing critical interfaces between people and processes.

Executives can use organigraphs to help choose among strategic options much as an explorer would use to find alternatives through tough terrain. The beauty of the organigraph is that it removes personalities from the process. It is “personality-independent.” It’s easier to embrace the idea of change if you don’t feel personally threatened by it.  Paper and approvals can take weird routes through organizations. The organigraph documents how companies really work.
The creation of the organigraph allows executives to draft a list of what’s working and what’s not, which in turn leads to the creation of a list of incremental transformational initiatives.Things you may need to change to build value in your company.

When You Have to Make Big Changes

So a tool to consider when getting an honest assessment of how your company really works, try the organigraph.  I’ve  used this tool many times and it never fails to shed great insight and give you, the leader, a chance to make significant organizational changes that will exceed your objectives.

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