Author and corporate consultant Simon Sinek proclaims, “corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything.” Corporate culture can change the success and innovation for better or for worse. Culture is set throughout the corporate organizational structure. It all comes down to how the people in the organization view the titles and positions above them. I believe we can all agree that the whole purpose of a company is to make money. Without money, nothing can advance. There are a couple ways to make money but in the end it all boils down to innovation. Innovation is the most secure way to move forward. Without innovation companies slip into stagnation and fade away from the consumer’s eye. The trajectory of innovation within a company is established within the structure. Without the correct structure a company loses direction and purpose.
What you see above is the 1937 Organizational Structure from General Motors. This is a clean example of what you see from every company today. It doesn’t matter if it is Shell, Google, or Facebook. They all have this vertical organization. It all originates with this flawed ideal that leaders need to be on top. We can look at this chart in two ways. One, is that the company is moving upward. Have you ever tried to climb a rope with added weight strapped to your feet? It is not easy… The other way to look at the chart is that the organization is falling, due to gravity. The weight of the company is on the bottom, pulling it down. Either way you look at this… it isn’t setting yourself up for success. What if we looked at one of the classic examples of leadership? The great military charge.
There is one organization that consistently gets the point across of sound leadership; the military. At the front of every battle charge is the leader. Their soldiers will follow when they know forward progress is possible. These soldiers will be less afraid when their leader shows strength at the front. Being at the front allows the leader two major tactical benefits..
Why does this all really matter? The power of the mind… An organization’s structure and an employee’s title matter when it comes to success. If these things didn’t matter than we would never have wasted our time creating these titles. Certain words have powerful connotations. Using the word leader in someone’s title, compared to manager, could open the door to faster product development and more product going out the door. Leaders work from the front and pull their organization while managers stand atop and squish their organization. Leaders are not afraid to challenge the norm. They willingly put themselves on the line for their group because they believe in the capabilites of their followers. Leaders challenge their followers by showing them what is possible and to surpass their own abilities. Leaders are not tied down but rather use the rope to pull themselves forward to victory.