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Is Your Business Structured Like a Race Horse or a Platypus?

Written by Jim Coyle on March 6, 2017

Accountability Chart Organization

silhouette of a stallion running at dusk | Is your business structured like a stallion?Most companies end up structured in a way that is very unintentional. Recently I told a new client that many companies end up with an organizational structure that looks much more like a platypus than the stallion your company needs. They got a chuckle out of this. I soon learned that the nervous laughter was because they had created a very haphazard, platypus-like structure and they knew they had work to do.

Now I love a good platypus as much as the next guy, but platypuses have a very pieced-together look. You know what I mean—the bill of a duck, the feet of a goose, and the tail of a beaver. And if you look closely, the bill looks like a Lego® piece that was snapped on.

An Unintentional Company Structure

This is very much the way many company structures end up looking after years of conversations like, “You’re too busy to handle all of this, so let’s split up your roles and create a coordinator position.” Or my least favorite discussion: “This really isn’t your strong suit Tom, so let’s add this to Judy’s duties.” These types of conversations over years leave you with a structure that is not only unintentional but downright debilitating.

How to Build an Intentional Business Structure

The fix to the platypus business structure is to create your company structure using a tool we call the Accountability Chart, and then to be intentional about constantly updating it as changes are needed.

We walk teams through crafting not what their structure or Accountability Chart is, but what it should be—the structure that will take their team to the next level.

Back to my client. Even before we got started, I was talking to the owner about who should attend the session. I explained to him that he would just want his top Lieutenants—the 3 to 7 people at the helm of the organization.

He said that he had 16 people reporting to him. I was stunned. So I knew there was work to be done in our sessions together, but this team was willing to have the tough conversations and dig in and do the work.

And due to that I am happy to say that the team is now just six people—and they’re looking more like a stallion than a platypus. All because they got intentional about being intentional.

Next Steps

company strength and weakness
This article originally appeared on the Nexus Business Solutions blog on February 14, 2017.

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