The First Org Chart

This content is syndicated from Agile Complexification Inverter by David Koontz. To view the original post in full, click here.

Real leaders know how to draw an org. chart.  When did the leaders ego grow so big as to invert the  diagrams purpose and meaning?

The first organizational chart (How information design solved a big problem for the Erie Railroad in the telegraph age) was a tree form describing the people and roles of the Erie Railroad with the executives at the bottom.


Erie Railroad Org Chart

By 1917 the org chart had mutated to the now traditional pyramid shape.  See Wikipedia article.


A better alternative to the org chart is the Organigraph.  "The organigraph shows how companies really work. It uses symbols like stars, funnels, tubes, links and chains—in all, there are six specific symbols that represent how a company actually works." -- Building Business Value Blog  Here's an example:


So do you see how the first Org Chart was both an organizational chart and an organigraph?  And why it may have provided great informational value.  Here's Enron's organigraph - it reminds me of an attack cell.
Enron's Organigraph




Today’s most disruptive organizations are beginning to organize around a new pattern: the ability to evolve in real time.  Holacracy -- Agile Squads -- Self Organizing framework.

"Once upon a time, there were no line graphs or bar charts. Then, in 1786, the Scottish engineer and economist William Playfair published 44 of them. The Commercial and Political Atlas, a sprawling examination of British trade and debt from 1700 to 1782, utilized charts to explain business over time—a dramatic departure from the tables then commonly used to display data."


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