When Dr Alan Watkins told me on the podcast that “the organisation chart is dead” I was thrilled. I have long thought that hierarchies are a mis-match for true employee engagement and customer service. Those pyramid style charts represent authority and accountability channels, but not creativity and connection.

Dr Alan offers a replacement: network maps. His organisation has a whole process to assess employee interactions to see where the influence hubs are. These are not always the managers! It’s valuable information for influencing positive culture: look after and nurture the influencers. Give them the tools and skills they need to grow as leaders.

Here is my suggestion for reinventing the organisation chart: put your CUSTOMER or CLIENT or STAKEHOLDER at the centre. Now map all the people who support them to get what they need and want. Draw the connections between the different services. It might look something like this:


Sample rough organisation map. NOTE: I used the results mapping template from Stacey Barr’s PuMP system. I find mapping workflows like this is a great precursor to identifying results and developing KPIS, as per her system.

When we map our services in this way, we start to see the nodes of interactions and how interdependent we are. This helps each individual see how they fit in the big picture. This is a critical ingredient for building engagement.

This is one of the first exercises I do with CEOs and their teams when we are looking at boosting employee engagement and building culture.

Your turn! Map out your organisation services. Where are the critical hubs? Do these nurturing? Where are the friction points? How can you reduce the blocks and tension?


Related Articles:

How to develop a motto for your culture

Employee engagement and experience: here’s something else better

Reinventing men’s leadership: beyond gender agenda



  • Zoë Routh

    Australia's Leadership Expert, Author of Book of the Year "People Stuff" l Speaker l Mentor l Strategist

    Zoë Routh is one of Australia’s leading experts on people stuff - the stuff that gets in our way of producing results, and the stuff that lights us up. She works with the growers, makers, builders to make people stuff fun and practical.

    Zoë is the author of four books: Composure - How centered leaders make the biggest impact,  Moments - Leadership when it matters most, Loyalty - Stop unwanted staff turnover, boost engagement, and build lifelong advocates, and People Stuff - Beyond Personalities: An advanced handbook for leadership. People Stuff was awarded Book of the Year 2020 by the Smart WFM Australian Business Book Awards.

    Zoë is also the producer of The Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast.