What makes a strong organizational chart?

Organization charts are detailed directories of an organization’s design, including names, positions held, responsibilities, contact details and reporting lines within the organization.

They are sometimes enriched with photos, information about ongoing projects, performance, experiences, or skills.

1. Share

A great company organizational chart provides a visualization of an organization’s complex structure. They are easy to share and adjust. 

Assembled properly, the organizational chart proves informative and useful for a broad range of audiences, including:

For talent development, they:

  • Highlight complementary skills to enable effective workforce planning;
  • Feature the company’s culture to encourage employee engagement;
  • Map the organization’s personnel useful in the on boarding of new hires.

For business development, they are instrumental for:

  • Identifying accountabilities and unveiling new contact opportunities;
  • Monitoring the business success likeliness;
  • Benchmarking each organization against its competitors’ organizations.
2. Gaps and Successions

The information depicted in an organizational chart facilitates the identification of potential problems such as skills gaps, unbalanced teams, or unexpected departures.

The organizational chart is a useful and even essential document in the development of contingency plans and succession planning, which can be developed before risks materialize.

3. Restructure

New projects, unexpected events, acquisitions, or organizational spin-offs typically develop at a fast pace in organizations.

Comprehensive org charts help in designing future organizational models that properly meet these challenges and opportunities.

Moving teams and departments within hypothetical organizational charts help in preparing for possible talent shortages and recruiting needs.

4. Stakeholder Feedback

Company organizational charts are semi-public data often scrutinized by company stakeholders including employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, or regulators.

They also prove useful in identifying any structural or personnel deficiencies within an organization.

5. Limitations

Org charts illustrate clear, unambiguous, straight personnel management and functional responsibilities within an organization.   

Matrix structure crossing geographies, products, projects, customers segments or expertise are not easy to represent without using dual reporting or shared roles.

Does a scenario like having your CFO for EMEA reporting in full line to the Global CFO and in dotted line to the VP EMEA also temporarily coordinating the global direct-to consumer initiative sound familiar?

The growing amount of remote working has developed a more liberal and open form of the hierarchical chart.

Informal relationships and different management styles are flattening the more traditionally hierarchal models.

6. Tools for Designing Live Org Charts

After collecting your org chart data, you need to make them easy to read, to share and to update.

Some desktop tools such as Microsoft Office with PowerPoint, Excel or Word have inbuilt functions to make them aesthetically alluring and easy to manipulate.

If you are in a large company, the second step is to professionalize the data refreshment and the information access.

Our statistics consistently confirm that over 30 percent of executives are switching to new jobs every year.

The best org chart tools offer collaborative, share ability, permission, visualization, privacy, and integration with third-party applications.

Many enterprise data software firms such as IBM, Oracle, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others can help with these demands.

Some smaller companies such as Organimi or Lucid Chart have built dedicated org development tools.

Why are we so passionate about organizational charts?

Company org charts are simple, reliable, shareable tools to engage with companies that provide a clear, unambiguous structure for identifying who is who. Subtleties can be extracted by adding customized layers.

Acknowledgment: In the last ten years, we have maintained 80,000 company organizational charts in 200 countries and updated about 3,000 positions a day on these charts. Keeping this gigantic, ever-moving jigsaw current and interacting with over 3 million executives have been the grounds for this article.

About Thomas Lot

Thomas Lot is the CEO & Founder of The Official Board. In his own executive roles as head of Apple Europe's retail team and then VP of Amazon Europe, Thomas enjoyed the value of executive networking and recognized the need for clear company org. charts. Now, with the org charts of all the medium & large companies displayed on The Official Board, many more executives can benefit. Please contact@theofficialboard.com.