True Top-Down Org Charts

Org Chart (true top-down)

A true top-down Organization Chart

The traditional top-down org chart has become so standard in today’s corporate America that the first time I posted my alternate version for our team, very few people understood it.

Let me describe it for a moment.
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dialogAs a hiring manager, I’m very interested in many things about a candidate. I always use an interview team (or panel) during this process and assign specific aspects of the interview to individuals on that team. I do this for multiple reasons.

First, I find that multiple ears, eyes and wits give a better overview of a candidate than I get with a single interviewer. I long ago stopped being amazed at how something would get missed by a portion of the interviewers but would get picked up by one or two others.

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SSH behind the firewall

Please note that no warranty is being made here. Even if you follow these suggestions, there’s no guarantee that crackers won’t flood your network, your systems won’t go down and your hair won’t turn green. As they say, “Your mileage may vary”. Follow at your own risk.

Typing in passwords to jump from one *nix box to another can be a real drag. Even more so when you’re on a trusted network segment and you’re using SSH (more information here) to get from one hardened server to another. So I decided to do something about it on my own network. Here are the assumptions and requirements.

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High Authority / Low Responsibility

Low Responsibility - High Authority

Low Responsibility / High Authority

Leading up to this last week’s post on the Responsibility/Authority Ratio, I was challenged to think about a special (and unlikely) case of responsibility/authority imbalance: high authority and low responsibility.

I agree with @IAmRoot that few would admit to being in this situation. It’s tantamount to being overpaid and under-worked. But what would it look like?

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Responsibility/Authority Ratio

High Responsibility - Low Authority

High Responsibility / Low Authority

It’s not uncommon for me to hear the lament that someone (usually the person lamenting) has too much responsibility.

On closer examination, however, I frequently find what’s really happened: They have been given too little authority. Their responsibility level is appropriate, they just have too little authority to get the job done.

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Managing in the White Space

A few years ago, I was given the task of improving an internal process at my company. Before this assignment, I had successfully managed groups of ten-to-twelve people: Unix administrators, web infrastructure experts and internet security technicians.

But I managed them—I had positional authority over them. There was a natural inclination to do what I would tell them to do. (That’s not why I was successful, but it helped in getting things done.)

In this new organization chart, however, there was this blank white space under my name: I had no staff, no people working for me. There was no one to tell, and yet I still had to get things done.

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A Beginning

Every blog must have a first post—this is that obligatory first one that must be published so the rest may follow.