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    Breaking the Org Chart

    For many years, our organizational structure at Marco was not a formal chart as most people are typically accustomed to. As a sales driven organization, we were OK with that and really never gave it a second thought.

    Back in 2003, our CTO approached me about formalizing our organizational chart. He shared with me that technical people prefer a structured environment, and it would be helpful for them to understand where they fit in the company. Although structure isn’t one of my favorite subjects, I thought it was a good suggestion. We were growing quite rapidly and the timing seemed right to develop a more traditional approach.

    Today, the Marco org chart does look like the traditional Christmas tree model with the CEO and executive team at the top and many front line people leading functional teams below.

    That being said, there have been several occasions when we have deviated from what is considered a traditional structure because it aligned with the manager’s strengths. Here are a couple examples when we have successfully broken the rules:

    • When starting a client services call center…
      When we first launched Managed Services and the related call center, we opted to have the group report to the Vice President of Marketing. Traditionally in our industry this would fall under the technical services department. Our third party consultants also recommended that it be a part of service. We decided to do it differently.

      Marketing did not have any paradigms on what the call center would look like. They took a proactive approach by bringing in new leadership with a background in call center management, rather than technical management. Marketing was also instrumental in helping to develop processes, metrics and call flow. Today our client services call center successfully handles over 25,000 calls per month with a 98 percent live answer rate (within seven seconds).

      I think having the marketing department help develop our call center made a lot of sense. We did recently transition it to our Professional Services division to more fully integrate the call center with our technical staff. Now that our call center is well established, putting it under the leadership of the service department is a good fit.
    • When building a training program for employees…
      Another example is our decision to have our Vice President of Operations lead our training and professional development. Although this typically falls under HR, the functions matched the strengths of our Vice President of Operations perfectly. He’s wired for structure and processes. That’s exactly what we needed to build a customized talent management program for our employees. 

      He also successfully leads our Lean continuous improvement efforts and has the attention to detail we need to keep this important initiative moving forward. He collaborates with a third party consultant to help us build our own curriculum, track utilization and prioritize future course development. Sometimes using the strengths of a team member trumps following the traditional approach.
    The idea of an organizational chart was far less important to me when I was a sales guy. As the leader of a fast-growing technology services company with over half of our employees being technical representatives, it has become much more of a necessity. Our organizational structure is now something we review every year as part of our strategic planning. It does not need to be a perfect Christmas tree to work. Sometimes it’s okay to break the org chart.



    Topics: Leadership