Tag: Org Chart

Drive User Adoption: 10 Tactics to Get Your Team to Use CRM

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Organizations investment in technology to provide their employees with resources that will increase productivity, optimize business efficiencies and manage risk. Having a clearly defined approach to user adoption will impact how quickly your end users accept and utilize the change, maximizing returns on the investment. This post will dive into the key tactics and considerations in driving user adoption.   Keeping in mind that these tactics can easily be implemented with proper communication and planning.

It is important to note that CRM user adoption is built upon three key elements: People, Process, and Technology.



Participation in the design of a company’s CRM provides your end users with opportunities for growth, leadership, ownership, and buy-in.  There are a number of roles with varying time commitments and levels of expertise.


By establishing a CRM Governing Board, you are setting up your organization for success.  Membership of the governing board can be based on a combination of nominations and volunteers.  The types of decisions often made my a CRM Governing Board include but are not limited to: the release and timing of new features and functionality, establishing measurements of success, defining required and dependent fields, as well as determining reports and dashboards across teams and territories.

CRM Governing Board1


Avoid putting your end users through point & click “how to” training. End users’ knowledge of the CRM system will be limited to knowing how to do something opposed to when to do something.  The best approach is to train your end users based upon true “Day in the Life” scenarios.  Leverage the results and experience of Rep Rides, User Acceptance Testing, and established business processes to design a curriculum based on their individual roles and responsibilities.  The scenarios should take them from through the entire sales cycle as well as their day-to-day activities.  To learn more about CRM best practices, read Maintain Data Integrity: 6 Tips Every CRM User Should Know.



Action speak louder and words.  There are a number of ways in which management teams can lead by example.

  • Managers should actively participate and attend the training classes with their respective teams
  • Volunteer to conduct the opening remarks of your team’s CRM training to set the stage and expectations
  • Conduct performance reviews utilizing data gathered from CRM reports and dashboards
  • Run your daily & weekly reports in CRM, stop asking for updates from your team
  • Maintain and delegate tasks to members of your team using CRM


Don’t pay people if the sales opportunity or customer isn’t in CRM, or if it’s not filled out to pre-defined standards. You’ll be amazed at how quickly opportunities move into CRM.


Just like in the business world, you’ll never get anywhere without a few worthwhile achievable goals.  Don’t set the goals for your team, but present goal ideas and work collaboratively with them to decide what’s reasonable and what will help motivate them to use CRM on a consistent basis.  By establishing 30, 60, 90 milestone dates, you are providing targets for which your team can work towards.



What’s easy for IT, may not necessarily be easy for the end users. Utilize the results of the User Acceptance Testing to design CRM to meet the end users’ business processes and workflow.

Stop trying to track everything. The easier CRM is to use, the more people will use it. Get rid of the clutter, by hiding things people don’t use:

  • Hide or remove unused data fields
  • Use easy to understand names for custom fields
  • Hide unused Tabs and irrelevant Reports & Dashboards
  • Create drop-down menus or pick lists to save time in data entry
  • Only make fields required if they are tied to a key Report or Dashboard
  • Announce & train end users before turning on any new features & functionality


Customize the Views, Reports, and Dashboards based on the needs of the individual’s role.  By configuring CRM to a specific user interface you’ll exclude anything irrelevant and distracting.  Thus, clearing the way for your end user to see the value of CRM.


Once end users have been CRM trained, they should no longer have access to the legacy system.  If not, they can easily regress back into using the legacy system never realizing the potential of your new CRM system.  All relevant information stored in the legacy system should either already be migrated over to CRM or be configured to display the information in CRM.

Depending on the size of your CRM end user community and training resources, you will most likely use either a (a) Big Bang Approach (small to mid-market companies) or a (b) Phased Approach (global organizations).

phased launch2


CRM user adoption is a continuous cycle.  As your end users and your business evolve, so will your CRM system. Keep in mind that it’s best to have your team learn to walk before they can run.  As your end users become more proficient and CRM savvy you can begin to turn on more advances features and functionality.

Maintain Data Integrity: 6 Tips Every CRM User Should Know


From my days as a member of the End User Education Division at Siebel Systems to providing Change Management and User Adoption Strategy as a Platinum Partner of Salesforce.com, I have discovered a number of proven best practices. Here are some of the basics that every CRM user should know.


Whether you’re creating a New Lead or Contact, you’ll want to search before creating the record to avoid duplicates.  Although this may sound simple like a simply task, it is one that is often overlooked.

  • If you search by First Name, you may not find who you’re looking for.  For example: If someone’s name is William they could have been entered by you or a colleague into your CRM as William, Will, Willie, Willy, Bill, or Billy.
  • If you search by Last Name, you may find that the individual shares a last name with several of your other Leads or Contacts.
CRM Tip: Search using the individual’s email address.  Email addresses are a unique identifier.


We may not always have the luxury of meeting our Leads or Contacts in person and receiving a business card.  With that in mind, you may need to resort to their email signature. Regardless, it’s always best to go with the individual’s official information.  If you create a Lead or Contact, enter their official name.  Refrain from using nicknames.  Remember that the data in CRM is shared throughout your organization.  For example, your CRM may be set up to automatically generate shipping labels.

  • If you entered their nickname, the name may not be recognize by the Customer’s receiving department and an order may be lost or delayed.
  • If you’re aware of a nickname and there is no Nickname field, enter it into the Notes or Description fields as a way to continue building rapport.
  • If you have a Role field, you may want to also document the Contact’s Role in relations to closing the Opportunity.  Roles may include a combination of any of the following: Executive Sponsor, Champion, Decision-Maker, Buyer, Influencer, or Gatekeeper.
CRM Tip: If you’re consistent in using their official name, it will be easier when you or any member of your team is searching for the Contact.


If your CRM instance doesn’t already allow you to document salutation, I would recommend requesting that your CRM System Administrator add it.  Greetings are one of the basic functions of communication and triggers positive conversations and relationships.  This is especially true when working with other countries.  Using the proper salutation, is often seen as a sign of respect.  Respect goes a long way.

CRM Tip:  Salutations can also help in properly addressing an individual.  With a nickname like “RJ,” I on occasion have been mistakenly addressed as a Mr. opposed to a Mrs.


In life, a child is unable to exist without a parent.  The same is true within CRM.  In order to create a New Contact or Child Record, an Account or Parent Record must first exist.  By building these relationships, you as the CRM User can begin to visualize a true picture of your Customers.  Know that any information gathered at a Child level, rolls up to the Parent level giving you a true sense of the Account and all its touch-points.

Hierarchy View1This hierarchical relationship introduces the opportunity to define rules for data integrity.  For example, an Opportunity has no meaning if it is not associated with a Contact.  CRM systems require that an Opportunity record be related to a Contact.  Yet, creating an Activity such as a task can be meaningful whether it is associated to another record or not.  It is optional and can always be retroactively associated to an existing Account, Contact, or Opportunity record.

Account Hierarchy  In CRM, you can link multiple offices of a company together by using the Parent Account field on an Account Record. If you sell into different locations or divisions of a company and you’re currently challenged by how to keep this information organized, use Account hierarchies to solve your problem.

CRM Tip: When you create a New Account, use their official company name.  If this best practice is shared throughout your team or your organization you help maintain data integrity.  For example if a User were to create a New Account for SmartDraw there are number of ways it may be entered into CRM: Smartdraw, SmartDraw, SmartDraw Software, and SmartDraw Software, LLC.  There are a number of ways to confirm the name: SmartDraw website, LinkedIn, Hoovers, or ZoomInfo to name a few. 

Account Heirarchy

Contact Hierarchy  Depending on the various roles within your Customer’s organization, you may choose to document the levels of influence among your Contacts.  For example, if  your Primary Contact has an Administrative Assistant with whom you will interacting with you can document their reporting structure.  Overtime, as more and more Contact relationships are built within CRM you will be able to view an organization chart of your Customer thus enabling you to leverage existing relationships.

CRM Tip:  CRM is all about building relationships and rapport with your Customers.  It’s a best practice to document not only business but personal information about your Contact such as hobbies, interests, education, nuances, communication preferences, etc. This type of information will assist you and your organization as you continue to grow your business.
Contact Heirarchy1


Whether you’re importing a CSV file or entering a New Lead or Contact record, it is important to ensure that proper punctuation is used.  It’s important to note that how the information is entered will be inherited by any other records that are automatically created.  For example, when a Qualified Lead is Converted the system may convert that Lead into a New Account, New Contact, and a New Opportunity.

  • If you enter a record in ALL CAPS, it’s Child Records will inherit the ALL CAPS.  This will prove unprofessional if any marketing efforts such an campaigns or mass mailings are sent from your CRM since improper punctuation will be used when addressing your Lead or Contact.
  • The same is true if you enter a record in all lower case, its Child Records will inherit the all lower case.
CRM Tip: Take a moment to check your punctuation before you Save.


An opportunity naming convention is essentially a formula to be used to name your opportunities. By establishing a naming convention, you will be able to search and sort your opportunities with ease and manage your pipeline more efficiently.

Sample Naming Convention Formula:  <<Company Name – Main Product>>  Example: Acme Factory – ACE 4400 Global Selector

  • There are times when you may be away from the office and a colleague may need to assist your Customer.   If you enter Opportunity name using a Contact’s name, your manager or sales associate may not be aware of the name and may not be able to find the Opportunity in a timely fashion. This may cause undo stress for your Customer which may lead to the loss of the sale.
  • If you enter opportunity names inconsistently, you limit your ability to search, sort, created custom views and run Reports.  For example, if you wanted to created create a Custom View or List for all of your Opportunities that include ACE 4400 Global Selector with a 70% probability to close  – you can.  The Probability to Close field is often a required or dependent field so as a User you can depend on using it as part of your search criteria.  As the User, its your prerogative as to how to name your Opportunities.
CRM Tip:   Views are dynamic, whereas Reports are static.  Think of a Report as a snapshot or photo of the information.  In regards to working in CRM on a daily basis, it is best to create your own Custom Views.  In turn, it allows you to view the information that you want to see when you want to see it.  For example, you may choose to create a View that displays all of your Opportunities based on each of your Sales Stages or Probability to Close.

SmartDraw Saves the Day

https://pixabay.com/en/lifesaver-life-buoy-safety-rescue-933560/We’ve all faced drama of deadlines.  They can make for a very stressful and anxiety-ridden time.  Even the most organized, systematic thinking among us face deadlines that requires weeks of preparation to burning the midnight oil.

Regardless of all the time and energy put into a project, there may still be a sense of doubt.  Was I on target? Is this what the client wanted?  In this week’s post, we’ll share with you how SmartDraw saved the day for Jan Moore, a member of our SmartDraw Community, and her project team.

Tell us a little about yourself.

In addition to being a part-time graduate student, I work in the Services to Students with Disabilities Department at the California State University, San Bernardino.  In my new role, I will be providing support and training, particularly in the area of social media.

I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. In order to complete our Human Resource Management course, we were assigned a final project.

What was your project team’s objective?

Our project team’s objective was to explain how we would handle training a public-sector organization with 20,000 employees.  Part of my responsibility for the presentation and accompanying paper included creating a divisional/departmental org chart to show how our fictional department is structured, and creating another chart to show how we would successfully train 20,000 employees.

What did you use before you discovered SmartDraw?

Nothing.  I’ve never been asked to do it before.  Because I have Cerebral Palsy, diagramming anything has always been difficult for me, so I was not happy about having to do a large, complicated organization chart.  I was searching the Internet for a solution when I came across SmartDraw by accident.  I downloaded the free trial with an idea about how I wanted our diagram to look, and within minutes, it was done.

Can you describe your Customer Support call experience?

Within an hour of finishing my diagram in the trial version, I picked up the phone and called SmartDraw.  The price was beyond my budget so I asked if you offered a Student Edition.  To my surprise, there is one!  I told them to sign me up! Of all the tools out there, SmartDraw was the only drawing tool I could use.

How did you and your project team do?

When we got our grade, the diagrams were specifically mentioned by the professor as being highlights of the project. 

The overall group project ended up getting a grade of 93 out of 100, and I got the “A” I worked for, too!
HR org chart Jan-Moore class project

What compelled you to write in?

I don’t ever, ever  . . . write testimonials but SmartDraw played such a significant role in our project that I just had to write in. I came into the project completely blind.  Our group . . . well, we’re all Type A people.  In the end, I couldn’t have done it without SmartDraw. 

What have you been working on since?

Since then, I’ve shown my granddaughters how SmartDraw works and they love it.  I have also been following your SmartDraw Blog.

I see how much more I have to learn, so maybe what I need to do is diagram that out in a plan.  (smile) SmartDraw to the rescue again!?!?! I’m sure there are a multitude of ways to use SmartDraw in my new Department. Thank you, SmartDraw! 

Trace Your Family History Back Through Time


Shortly after our one year wedding anniversary, we found ourselves preparing for my husband’s grandfather’s 96th birthday.  It would be the first time, since our wedding day, that we would see many of our out-of-town relatives.  In a way, it was like a mini-reunion.  I wanted to do something special.   Instead of buying him a present, I wanted to make one.  I wanted to make our family tree.  After several weeks of correspondence with relatives near and far, I had managed to gather enough information.  Once I had the information, creating the family tree took almost no time at all.

I’ll never forget Grandpa Russel’s reaction.  Grandpa was so excited.  He immediately requested his magnifying glass and sat there in awe.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had made the first graphical representation of the family’s history.  I realized in that moment that this wasn’t just a gift from grandpa, it was a gift for the whole family.  Everyone loved it.


SmartDraw Tip: After creating the family tree, I used the Smart Panel Format controls to format the branches so that they would fit around the graphic I had chosen as my background.  Then, I used the Fill feature to assign a color to each generation.  

Through this experience, I discovered a number of ways to document one’s family history from family trees to genograms to ecomaps.  In this week’s post, we’ll take a closer look at a handful of sample diagrams that just might inspire you to explore your own family history.

Family Tree Diagram: Without Photos

A family tree diagram represents family relationships in a conventional tree structure.  The absence of photos allows for more information to be documented.  This is an important factor when the final format is to be printed.

Murphy fam tree3

SmartDraw Tip:  As a default, SmartDraw has the Use Compact Formatting feature selected.  This feature is an automatic setting that helps maintain the real estate of your work area as your diagram develops.  You may choose to be even more conservative with the space and want to make your diagram even more compact.  To achieve this, simply use the Vertical Spacing and Horizontal Spacing controls.

Family Tree Diagram: With Photos

If the family tree diagram is meant to be displayed and shared online, then conserving space is not an issue.  With that in mind, adding photos brings life to the family tree diagram and can prove to be educational when new members join the family.

Murphy fam tree7

SmartDraw Tip: As a best practice, you may choose to first create the family without photos.  This will give you an idea of the size of the tree.  To add a photo of a family member, select the family member’s shape.  Navigate to the SmartPanel’s Add Shapes section and select Add Picture.  The Insert Picture dialogue box appears.  Locate the photo and select Open.   To modify the photo’s appearance, simply double-click on the photo. You can zoom in and out as well as adjust the placement of the picture.

Genogram Diagram: Status

Genograms are used by various groups of people in a variety of fields such as medicine, psychology, social work, geneaology, genetic research and education.  This particular genogram indicates the marital status, living status, as well as miscarriages of the family.

genogram_murphy fam2

SmartDraw Tip: Located to the right of the SmartPanel, is Library Tab.  This is where the Genogram Symbol Library is located.  You have the ability to leverage the existing symbol library to create any number of genograms based on your preference of complexity.

Genogram Diagram: Medical Conditions

Genograms go beyond a traditional family tree.  They allow physicians  to analyze hereditary patterns.  A genogram diagram documents relationships and traits that may otherwise be missed on a pedigree chart.


SmartDraw Tip: This is an example of a genogram focused on a single trait.  When using a combination of symbols that may not be intuitive to your audience, it’s important to include a legend.

Ecomap Diagram: Family Counseling

Ecomap diagrams allow a therapist and their patient to quickly identify and understand various patterns in the client’s family history.  Ecomaps are used to portray Systems Theory that the therapist and client can look at during the session.  At the heart of the ecomap is the client (i.e. family or individual).  They are in the circle located at the center.  Family connections to all of the relevant systems, that play a role in the clients life, are shown as well.   They are either connected to the individual or to the entire circle by a particular type of line.


SmartDraw Tip: When using a combination of lines that may not be intuitive to your audience, it’s important to include a legend.  In this case, there is also a brief overview of what the ecomap is depicting in the bottom right corner.

5 Email Tips That Will Transform How You Communicate

Purchased Image

Do you ever feel that emailing is all that you do?  What if you could cut the amount of time you spend emailing colleagues and customers?  The truth is you can, by communicating visually.  You already create visuals with SmartDraw. Why not communicate visually in emails?  We have 5 email types that can easily be sent using a diagram instead of writing a full blown email.

Email Any Diagram With Just One-Click!

Before taking a look at the types of emails a diagram can essentially replace, it’s important to know how easy it is to email a diagram.  Once you’ve saved your diagram, simply navigate to the top left-hand corner of SmartDraw and click the Send Quick Access Control (envelope icon).

send email control

With just one-click, SmartDraw will automatically enter the name of the file in the Subject Line, embed the visual in the body of the email, and attach the source file.  Now your colleagues or clients will see the diagram in the body of the email as well as have the source file.  If you’re requesting feedback, the recipient can open the source file, make edits, and email it back to you or the team.

Email Type #1: Who Am I Working With?

Solution: Use the Org Chart Template and Add Hyperlink or Attachment Feature

Working in virtual teams is used more and more by companies in an effort to cut travel, relocation, real estate, and other business costs.  Yet, there is one critical difference in the way teams communicate.  In place of the dynamics of in-person exchange, they rely on virtual meetings and emails.   Project managers and leads working in virtual teams must resort to providing email introduction amongst newly assigned project team members.  In this example, several mid to senior management level team members have been assigned to a new Task Force.

project assignment org chart0

project assignment org chart1

SmartDraw Tip: To inform the members of the project team as to what role they have been assigned, you can simply change the job title to their respective project role.  To change the color of a shape, simply select the shape and navigate to the Home Ribbon’s Fill menu.  Select the appropriate color.  To add an effect, such as a glow to the shape, navigate to the Home Ribbon’s Effects menu and select the appropriate option.

project assignment org chart2

SmartDraw Tip: You have the ability to associate any website to any diagram.  Right+click on the object in the diagram, select Add Hyperlink.  Enter the Url Address in the field provided. Click OK. The link icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the object.  In addition, you have the option to also associate a file to any object in a diagram.  Right+click on the object in the diagram, select Add Attachment.  Locate the file on your computer. Click Open.  The attachment icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the object.

Email Type #2: Who’s Doing What, When, and How Long?

Solution: Use the Flowchart Template

Whether you’re working with colleagues or clients, it’s always good to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.  In this flowchart, I am not only informing the client of the process but the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved.  This simple 5 step flowchart indicates the roles of the end users, subject matter expert, instructor, and co-facilitator.  In addition, it provides the approximate amount of time spent. This diagram can easily be sent to colleagues or clients with a request to confirm if this meets their expectations.

delivery of training process

Email Type #3: What Are My Options?

Solution: Use the Mind Map Template and Table Feature

Scheduling can be a challenge, especially if you are working with individuals in a different time zone.  Here’s an example of how to provide your clients potential dates and times of when you and the project team are available.  Since each date and time is assigned an option name (i.e. Option A, Option B), the recipient only need to respond with the name of the option.


Email Type #4: Where Are We in the Process?

Solution: Use the Flowchart Template and Effects Feature

There are moving parts to every project.  The more individuals involved, the more challenging it can be to ensure that everyone understands the process.  Not only does this diagram provide an overview of the entire process, it also highlights the stage that we are currently in.  If this were to be sent to a client, they would in turn realize that there are several steps before the training they have purchased can be delivered.  In short, this diagram can be used to create a sense of urgency for your recipients.  All in all, it provides transparency to everyone involved.

TMC Working with SmartDraw Professional Services1

 Email Type #5: Where Can I Find It?

Solution: Use the Mind Map Template to Create a Resource Hub

Ensuring that everyone in a department or project team knows where everything is is a challenge in itself.  Whether the resources you have developed are housed in one or more locations, you can easily create a resource hub using the mind map template.  Whenever a colleagues inquires about information, you can simply email then the resource hub that contains live links to the materials.  It’s also ideal for on-boarding new hires.

IT Resource Hub

The New Manager Toolkit

Okay, it’s your first day as a new manager or executive and you are ready to prove yourself to your team, your office and to the world. Are you ready? Are you equipped for the job? What’s the plan?

[Click the Harsh Vinyl Record Needle Scratch Button Below]

If you thought that divine revelation was somehow going to intercede on the first day on the job, then I apologize for the abrupt awakening from your dreamy state and recommend you begin to take steps to determine how you as a new manager will function, operate and lead.

Such an elevation in role and responsibility, from employee to leader, can be exciting yet overwhelming. Perhaps managing a team is new to you, along with many other things, such as handling larger-scale projects, increased travel and delivering presentations. Making a smooth transition into your management role is easier when you equip yourself with the right tools. The resources below will help any rookie plan and manage like a skilled veteran.

The New Manager Toolkithttps://www.pexels.com/photo/conference-meeting-room-chairs-table-28756/

Like so many things in business, there are countless resources and tools that exist. These are simply the ones that are popular among our customers and associates. By no means is this list exhaustive and we encourage you to identify the tools that work best for you and your particular situation. And, we would welcome to hear from you regarding our tools and resources we have listed or about the ones that you have found helpful that ARE NOT listed.

As a side note, neither SmartDraw nor any of us who work here are compensated by any of these companies.

Leadership, Management & Team Training

logo-ftrDale Carnegie Training – One of the longest running and most successful personal development training centers. Managers, new and old, need learn and refine their skills. Dale Carnegie Training courses, webinars and resources span various areas from Leadership Development, Sales Effectiveness and Customer Service among others.

vistage logoVistage – A CEO and executive networking group, but also an information hub of valuable leadership and management thought leadership via their events, resources and blog. Network with leaders across an array of industries and learn from business professionals like you and the challenges they face every day.

Forums and Communities

slideshare-logo (1)SlideShare – An online community providing professionals to discover, share and present various corporate materials including PowerPoint presentations, videos, white papers, case studies, reports, collateral, infographics, documents and more.

manager-tools-iphoneManagerTools.com – An online community full of management tools, podcasts as well as live conferences, workshops and events for educational and networking purposes. There is also a plethora of workbooks and resources for managers looking to hire team members as well as for those managers looking to augment their interview skills and tips to expand the breadth of their resume should they be looking for a different management opportunity.

harvard-business-reviewHarvard Business Review – Business content from a world renowned brand name University like Harvard simply screams “valuable.” And the best part, one does not have to be affiliated to the University to be a subscriber.

amex_open_forumAmex Open Forum – Need a community that has a wealth of financial content? Well, this is the one for you. In this interactive forum, explore strategies ranging from pricing, financial growth to accounting and bookkeeping essentials.

 Mobile Apps

Expensify logoExpensify – This simple and easy-to-use app allows you the ability to track purchases in real-time, pool your electronic receipts, scan your paper receipts and create a comprehensive expense report in PDF while on the go. After all, who wants to take the time to do this manually once you are back from the trip?

camcard-logoCamCard – The data entry after an event or trade show use to always seem to take more time than the actual attendance of it. Now, just snap a picture of a newly acquired business card and sync it to your address book in seconds. A few dollars spent on this app will keep you focused on increasing your business network rather than spending hours in data entry.


ScannerPro – For professionals that are still working in a paper environment but wish to still keep it to a minimum – this app is perfect for you. You can scan documents from your phone, create PDFs, adjust image settings among more so you can keep filing space free, and accessibility nearby.


EvernoteLargeEvernote – Whether you are on the road or not, this free app is great for ensuring you quickly capture your latest random business idea either by voice, picture or text.

Laws & Regulations

legalzoom logoLegalZoom – Most of us have heard of LegalZoom by now, but if not, it’s the one stop-shop for those that are in need of basic legal forms that can be done for a considerably lower cost than hiring an attorney. It’s still good business practice to have a business attorney review any contract before you sign it, but LegalZoom can save you money in basic document preparation.


sba logoSmall Business Administration – Whether you work for a small business or not, the SBA has an array of helpful resources available and is a tremendous information hub regarding administration, regulation and governmental requirements, assistance and legislation.

Project Management, Presentations & Reports

SmartDraw-boxshotSmartDraw – For managers that need an agile system to handle process management, project management, team organization, Lean, PowerPoint presentations, meetings and reports, SmartDraw is the tool for you. Leverage the power of 70 different types of visuals, charts and diagrams like flowcharts, Gantt charts, mind maps, Kanban boards, org charts and more. SmartDraw’s automated easy-to-use diagrams will save you time and money on your all of your projects and presentations – big or small.

That’s our list. We know you will find all of these suggestions helpful to you as you embark in your newest management role.

Have some suggestions? What essentials would you add to this toolkit?

Reorganizing the Organizational Chart: An Idea Whose Time Has Returned

Why the Pyramid-Shaped Org Chart Might Be Obsolete

https://pixabay.com/en/locomotive-steam-locomotive-train-222174/What does your org chart tell you? What does it tell your employees? Your customers? Is it merely a picture of jobs within a chain of command?

This wasn’t the original intent of the organization chart. It had a strategic purpose and was a real-time tool for management decisions. Today’s organizations can benefit enormously from that history. Reorganizing the organizational chart in this way might be an idea whose time has returned.

A railroad man named Daniel McCallum is generally given credit for creating the modern organization chart in 1854. But McCallum’s chart was not the top-down, pyramid-shaped design to which we’ve become accustom. That was later developed by Alfred Chandler, a Harvard professor. Chandler advocated a top-down hierarchical approach that consolidated power and control in top management. It looks something like this:


The Big Data Problem Existed 160 Years Ago, Too

Interestingly enough, McCallum’s org charts were created to combat a new issue facing management: too much information. According to an article by Caitlin Rosenthal published in McKinsey Quarterly, the growing use of the telegraph ushered in a new era of “big data.”

For management, trying to capture this information, process it into decisions, and get it into the right hands in the field proved an immense task.

Turning Management’s Thinking Upside Down

McCallum knew that trying to move this new mountain of data up and down a chain of command was inefficient. So he devised a new strategy: delegation of power at the local levels. The organization chart he developed took on the structure of a tree, as shown here.

NY-Erie-Org-ChartA more detailed view at the local level is shown below. McCallum knew that the supervisors here were nearer the action, had the most up-to-date information, and were best suited to make timely decisions.

NY-Erie OrgChart detailBut McCallum’s goal was not simply to decentralize everyday tasks and empower line supervisors to make real-time operating decisions. He also set forth a plan whereby they collected relevant statistics on a timely basis, such as cost per ton-mile and load per car. These were then delivered to upper management for use in analyzing business strategy and finding opportunities to improve results.

Nordstrom Inverts the Organizational Pyramid

Many organizations have long understood the need to put decision-making power in the hands of their people on the front lines. Upscale retailer Nordstrom is well-recognized for this practice. In fact, during the orientation of their newly hired associates, Nordstrom management gives them just a few basic instructions. One is to instill their hierarchy of importance, with customers at the top. This is shown in the sales funnel chart below.

Nordstrom-hierarchy-of-importanceDirectly below customers is the floor sales staff. Why? Because they are the ones who deal with the company’s most important people—customers—every minute of every day.

As a result, Nordstrom management gives these people authority to make customers happy with their shopping experience. This includes their very famous return policy (which isn’t, in fact, an actual policy). New sales associates are told to follow one simple rule: use your best judgment. (They are also told that one of the reasons they were hired was that they met Nordstrom’s exacting demands in this area.) This approach has clearly served the company extremely well from a customer relations standpoint.

Reorganizing the Organizational Chart: Place the Focus on Your Customers’ Experience

The “big data” issue has come full circle in the 160 years since McCallum designed his first org chart. Maybe it’s time to rethink things and re-examine the applicability of a more decentralized structure. Time to reorganize the org chart.

Many enterprises already operate this way, or at least in a manner that isn’t a rigid as the “command and control” pyramid. Perhaps, then, it just makes sense to put our view of the organization into a more practical visual structure. Here’s a rethinking of the traditional organization chart that was presented at the beginning of this article.

New-Org-ChartAs you can see, the org chart been inverted to more closely emulate the pattern of McCallum’s trunk-and-roots structure. It also adopts the Nordstrom paradigm, placing the importance of customers (and prospects) at the top of the hierarchy. Recognizing where these people touch the front lines of the company’s organization could be important in hiring decisions. It will also determine how the organization strives to empower them in the proper handling of customer relationships.

This thinking also gives the organization chart a higher purpose. Rather than being just a visual display of titles and a reporting hierarchy, the new org chart has a more holistic, strategic approach. It forces the entire enterprise to focus on providing the best possible customer experience, and aligns very nicely with Lean principals.

I recommend you read the article by Caitlin Rosenthal (linked below), which inspired this article.

Big Data in the Age of the Telegraph by Caitlin Rosenthal. McKinsey Quarterly, March 2013.