Traditionally, the company org chart is not considered one of the more exciting business tools. 

It doesn’t inspire teams the way a company vision can. And it doesn’t map out the future like a strategic plan. Even the company budget ranks higher; it may not be thrilling, but it’s extremely useful.

All too often, putting together an org chart feels like a rote exercise—something you do because you have to. You show it to your employees during onboarding. Then they, like you, put it into a mental drawer and forget about it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The reason your org chart is a snooze is because you’re probably using it as a descriptive tool instead of a planning tool.

Most Org Charts are Built Backwards

Here’s what I mean: Most org charts are created to answer the question “Who does what inside this company?” 

The result is a description of the current state. You start by creating a circle for everyone in the company, then figure out how those circles connect and interconnect based on the responsibilities of each person. 

The problem is that this way of thinking is backwards.

Particularly in smaller organizations, there’s a good chance that your team members own activities that don’t fit neatly into standard role descriptions. When you’re small and growing, there’s an all-hands approach. Sure, your biz dev person might be doing your graphic design today—and if that’s working, it’s fine to keep going that way for now. 

But that doesn’t mean that graphic design is fundamentally a part of business development. It means you have one team member who is sitting in two different seats (business development and marketing coordination or graphic design, depending how you slice it). 

A Role Map Puts Structure First

To build an org chart that accurately reflects what your people are doing, you (ironically) need to step back from your people and focus on structure first. 

Your org chart isn’t there to just document what people are doing today. To be functional (and something you’ll actually use), it needs to answer the question: What roles do we need in order to grow the business? 

Your company is an entity unto itself, and it needs the right structure to support it. So focus on building out the roles first. 

A good role description includes:

• Core responsibilities
• Who they manage and who they report to
• What numbers they own (KPIs)
• Key processes

Once you’ve built the structure of your company, then add back in the people—but be discerning. Once you define your job functions clearly, you might find that the people who were sitting in those roles are no longer the best fit. 

And if someone isn’t a great fit, sooner or later, they’re going to hold your company back.

But wait, there’s more…

The best org charts are also iterative. If structured correctly, they can show not only what your company has in terms of structure today but also what you’ll need 6 months, 12 months, even 3 years from now. 

That’s why a well-developed org chart (what we call a company Role Map) is worth its weight in gold. It’s a living document that gives you a clear hiring plan for the future. 

That hiring plan is derived from your 3 Year Objectives and should link back to your 3 Year Budget. Starting to see how this all works together?

This is just a taste of what a company Role Map can do for your organization. 

Want to learn what else the Role Map has to offer?

Click here to access our webinar recording that describes the Role Map in detail.