Organizational Networks

4-14-2012 5-01-37 PM

Someone remarked, probably thrusting their index finger in the air, with the joy of pride and discovery, “Network maps are the new org charts!”

Org charts ARE network maps. They are a simple hub and spoke structure. Just turn the traditional org chart on it side or look at it from the top.

4-14-2012 5-04-12 PM

Rather unbelievable how limited network comprehension is and how slow people gain a network mindset. it is a real problem.

Changing the org chart, moving the nodes and connections, in an effort to improve performance, is primitive org/social network analysis (SNA). Managers are trying to optimize the hub-and-spoke network for better performance.

People are often dismissive of the org chart. However, organizational hub and spoke network configurations are critical for continuity, resource allocation, governance and so forth. Org charts are often the formal networks of the organization, e.g., the so-called chain-of-command.

Network neophytes then discover the informal networks. They make vague claims to describe the benefits of informal networks.

They make other odd remarks like, “…today’s organizations are harder to draw using the traditional org charts.”  Hunh? Of course they are because modern, knowledge-based work does not depend on the hierarchy or functional orientation of the past.

Traditional org charts are fine for their specific, narrow purposes. What’s needed to describe modern knowledge paths are entirely new network structures. New topologies that elaborate the informal networks help achieve deeper comprehension, emergent networks and more positive business outcomes overall.

Thing is, most managers already have a basic network mapping vocabulary through org charts. What they need is new structures, patterns and network mindset. Your Colabria Action Research Networks reveal the new capabilities required of leaders to develop fluency and mastery for critical organizational networks. 

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