Death of the Org Chart, Rise of the Organizational Graph by Walt Brown

(8 customer reviews)


In this book, you will learn our belief that the usefulness of the classic org chart has reached its limit and how to address this problem. The old question “Who is doing what?”, like the classic Org Chart, gets to something vital, but in a way that misses the ever more complicated reality of 21st century organizations. Not only has “Who is doing what?” turned into an incredibly complex question, “What am I doing and why?” has become a painfully difficult one for workers to answer. The goal of this book is to provide an approach and a set of tools that allow both leaders and Individual Contributors (ICs) to answer these questions honestly and completely. It is to help people understand organizational complexity – the messy complicated reality, not the neat simplicity portrayed in Org Charts. It is to provide a clear framework for working within this complexity with a 14 Point Checklist called the Organizational Cognizance Model. We will introduce a software approach to replace your 2-D Org Chart with a dynamic, interactive 3-D Organizational Graph. Finally, the book will provide thinking tools and facilitation examples that help organizations get buy-in, build clarity, transparency, and, ultimately, “Organizational Cognizance” into their companies. Organizational Cognizance is about building awareness and knowledge for Individual Contributors and helping them, their fellow team members, and leaders to understand precisely how they are connected to others, where they fit, and how they belong.

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8 reviews for Death of the Org Chart, Rise of the Organizational Graph by Walt Brown

  1. BR – CEO Clinical Research Organization

    The most unexpected reward was how empowering this approach has been for our people. How quickly they bought in was a huge bonus, almost effortless 10 minutes in. The flower power facilitations were straight forward, people picked it up and then readily filled out the Positions and Job forms. The team approach spurred healthy debate and our work product is strong. We have documentation at a fine level, from the frontlines where the work is really happening. Powerful for the company and powerful for our people. What you can get done in a half day with this framework that motivates people is nothing short of amazing.

  2. SH – School Operations Officer

    The different ways to visualize the same thing is really strong, sometimes I would look at what we created via a Hierarchical view and it was just scram- bled eggs, then I clicked on Symmetrical View, and think, ah ha there it is, then we drill down with the Marquee Zoom tool and it just becomes clear, the software works.

  3. David H, – CEO

    Our engagement is up, our teams are more effective, people are able to go directly to the right person for an answer, when we want to change some- thing, like a process, we can SEE via the software who it will impact and get them involved. All of this was hidden in the past behind layers of folders and files, text and outlines, never in simple diagrams and pictures, very powerful.

  4. CG – CEO Distribution

    When I sat down, faced the reality, and modeled the cost to my company of not bringing new people up to speed using the 14 Point Checklist, I saw it was in the hundreds of thousands. We took the plunge and now have a repeatable simple way to keep our on-boarding and training “welcome mat” up to date and ready for the next team member.

  5. CEO 14,000 person research organization

    If organizational charts could talk, this would be the language they would use. Brown has done a masterful job of capturing the actual complexity of 21st century organizations and boiling it down into a straightforward nomenclature we can all understand and get our heads and hearts around. Then he adds OGraph as a software solution to capture, document and visualize the work, this language. Winner, winner.

  6. JC and PM – Co-CEOs

    When you hear Walt talk about Death, (That is what hip insiders shorten the approach to.) you will hear him describe the two questions this approach is in place to answer. From one perspective a CEO can look out and get the answer to: “Who is doing what and why?” and from the opposite perspective an individual can look in and get the answer to: “What am I doing and why?” What is really neat is this, he is not reinventing the wheel, he is taking the wheel we are familiar with, the Org Chart, and giving it real-world, deeper mean- ing. Worth the read and the investment to make it happen in your company.

  7. Bryan B

    The really cool thing about using the 14 Point Checklist and the facilitations was it got all of our people into the game. Once our Individual Contributors saw how this was something we were doing “For Them” instead of “To Them”, they bought in and the Org Graph bloomed with amazing detail – all supplied by the people who really know what’s going on, incredible.

  8. CRISTINA W. – Business Owner

    Highly recommended!
    Who is doing what in your company? Not just what are their jobs, but what are their actual “positions”? How well do they understand their roles? This is where author and business expert Walt Brown hits the mark squarely in the middle of the bull’s-eye.

    Death of the Org Chart introduces the Organizational Cognizance Model and the Organizational Graph.

    For quite some time there has been a lack of imagination in how to view organizations more effectively. That era is now over. Business owners, CEOs, and key executives now have a model that provides a penetrating and layered “look inside“ when analyzing their companies’ structure and effectiveness. A key component of this analysis is a 14 question checklist that each employee goes through. Brown correctly compares this process to the difference between a 3-D modern MRI (Org graph) and a 2-D old-fashioned x-ray (Org chart).

    Not only is this an effective overview for those who run organizations, it is also an opportunity for those working inside the company to have a full appreciation of what they are doing and why it’s important. It provides a way to get everyone on the same page like a “northbound train“ speeding toward the vision of the organization.

    Brown makes the case that cognizance breeds accountability. In that regard his book is full of “AHAs”.

    For example Brown drives home the point that the traditional org chart is a 2-D tool in a 3-D world. Using the Organizational Cognizance Model, he outlines dramatic improvements by Individual Contributors (employees) understanding not just what they are accountable for, but also what is the true purpose of the positions they fill underneath whatever job title they may have.

    It truly helps to answer the age old question posed by Peter Drucker “who is doing what?“

    The result of applying organizational cognizance is the creation of self integrating teams who really perform at an entirely new level.

    A quick and energizing read, Brown fills the book with examples of how the model can be applied in any organization large or small, and even makes available demonstration software to help leaders fully grasp this powerful concept. Highly recommended!

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