Last week, a friend shared this graphic with me that was designed by a Tumblr user, Offensive MBTI, (see the original here). As an org chart consultant, I was really struck by the concept of different personality types setting up different organizational charts for their businesses.

The Tumblr user suggests that there is a link between personality and structure—which I believe is probably true. The founders of the companies shown in this image all have a different personality type that prefers a different system of order. Here’s Offensive MBTI’s guess on their types:

  • Amazon – Jeff Bezos (ISTJ)
  • Google – Larry Page & Sergey Brin (INTP)
  • Apple – Steve Jobs (ISTP)
  • Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg (INTJ)

As an ENTP, I relate to different aspects of these charts, and I know there is not one right way to structure your business. Leaders with different personalities have managed to make a wide range of chart shapes successful in ways that match their preferences. But structure is not the sole guarantor of a successful business—when determining your org chart, there are a number of considerations to be made. Over my years of structuring businesses and consulting in org charts, I’ve learned several tips 4 tips that any personality style will need to implement. Check it out:

  1. You will need to periodically evaluate how your structure is holding up. Even fairly robust businesses have to reevaluate whether or not things are working well! When you look into these issues, it’s important to look for the following: Are there gaps or overlaps? Are there individuals overloaded and others underloaded? Is production maximized?
  2. Is the management well balanced? Sometimes one person is managing too many people, while another is managing too few. Make sure there is an effective breakdown. Make sure there isn’t one person over one person over one person. That’s ineffective. Instead, try having one person managing two people who each manage two people and so on. Make sure everyone has somebody they can report to, even if that’s you at the start and eventually at the top!
  3. Org charts should be organized by functionality, not by person. No matter how much you love your team, always remember that employees come and go. It’s therefore important to map out an org chart that looks at the functionality of your business instead of the current people in your business. For example, even though one person is your strongest copywriter, it doesn’t always make sense to put them over every area of copywriting. Instead look to what needs to be accomplished and what departments need to be doing what. This can be an especially difficult thing to map out when you’re still small.
  4. Bring it to wise counsel and to your team leaders. Do not develop this on your own. Get out what makes most sense to you on paper, but then bring it to a trusted business mentor. (And if you don’t have one of those, definitely find one.) You can even pay for consulting services to get it sorted out. And after you bring it to them and get their feedback, bring it to your team leaders! They will have as much, if not more, insight into their job roles and tasks. You show them where you want to grow to, and they can let you know what their capacity is for that growth. Together, you can develop a strong org chart to carry you and empower your business to scale up.

So no matter your personality type, if you do these four things you should have a good start in drafting your org chart. The org chart discussion is very active in my own office, and so I’m getting to implement what I’ve learned through the years. We grew from one to two employees exactly a year ago, and I’ve already had one personnel change in that time! But we are constantly evaluating our effectiveness and making sure that all areas of functionality in the office are covered.

Building a business is an exciting but difficult game! Good luck out there.

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