Not My Monkey, Not My Circus… or is it?

Does your company have an org chart? A better question might be, “Have you looked at it in the last 12-18 months?” Even more intriguing, “How many of the people on the org chart are actually still employed by the company?”

Traditionally, an organizational chart shows who oversees what and who reports to whom. A who’s who in the zoo, if you will. Usually, the names of executive employees and managers are in boxes with connectors linking them to the front lines of the organization. This is helpful to new employees who are trying to learn the ins and outs of the organization, but do org charts have value in today’s collaborative culture? No… and yes.

No… An org chart designed to show job titles and who works under who is nothing more than a glorified employee directory. This type of chart creates silos, misses opportunities for collaboration, and allows employees to feel disconnected from the problems (or successes) of their colleagues. “Not my monkey, not my circus” becomes the mantra. This attitude doesn’t work because you’re all functioning under the same big top tent, and one unchecked wild monkey could bring the whole thing down.

So, should org charts go by way of the captured circus elephant? Not necessarily. When done correctly, an organizational chart showcases the company’s vision and end goal and how each person contributes to both.


According to Inc. Magazine, “A good org chart shows the vertical divisions between departmental functions and horizontal levels of reporting and management structure. Done well, a chart should clearly indicate who is on the executive team, who the middle managers are, and who is handling the front-line execution.” This will help clear up bottlenecks and informational gaps, and less time will be wasted on uncertainty and confusion.


Value stream orientation uses customer experience as its driver. It promotes team diversity by recognizing the cross-functionally needed to deliver value to the customer. Once you identify who is involved in each step of your value stream, employees understand where their roles intersect, how their actions impact work upstream and down, and opportunities for collaboration become clear.


Now that you’ve taken the time to outline who’s who in the zoo, you have a clearer picture of how employees will need to work cross-functionally. Use this information to drive your hiring strategy. The best hires don’t just meet the requirements of your team; they possess the skills and experience to collaborate with all the teams they’re expected to engage with. Additionally, you now have a stronger sense of your company’s culture: team players, strong collaboration, independent contributors, etc. These are the things you will look for when making your next hire. It’s also excellent information to share with recruiters you partner with.


As your business evolves, so will its people and their functions. To keep your org chart relevant and accurate, revisit it regularly. New products or services will bring on new procedures and processes. You’ll need new people to direct them. They need to be added to the org chart. Old functions may fall by the wayside; delete them. New opportunities for teams to work together and streamline the organization make note of those. An org chart is only as good as its relevance and maintenance.