Documenting, visualizing, and interacting with complex 21st Century Organizations requires serious work – but the rewards are amazing.
We step you through this complexity by borrowing ski slope difficulty language to illustrate how easily you can learn Org Graph, packaging our features into four levels: Green (Beginner), Blue (Intermediate), Black Diamond (Advanced) and Double Black Diamond (Expert).
Start easy with your Green Objects and Connections to build a classic Org Chart, then go at your own pace to become a Double Black Expert Org Grapher.
We wish we could claim we are a software genie in a bottle, just snap your fingers and all of the work is done. This is about the complex reality of 21st Century Organizations, so give yourself permission to learn and absorb. Remember, the best perspective to adopt when you find yourself scratching your head, is to assume the perspective of the Individual Contributor, an Employee. Try to imagine the model and the organizational graphing software through the first-person eyes of an employee.
The 12 Objects of Organizational Graphs
This is everyone, your entire bench. Extends beyond Employees to Giggers, Contractors, Volunteers, everyone impacting a 21st Century Org. People are the building blocks of buy-in, and Org Graph helps them all commit by becoming cognizant. Build Out Step 1: Most admin users start by adding their Person Objects first.
We use the word Job. People apply for Jobs, one has a Job, you list Job experience on your resume, your Job shows up in your Org Chart, your Job pays a certain amount in the budget. We have Job Descriptions. HRIS systems use the term “Job”. Build Out Step 2: Most admin users add and connect Jobs and People to build a classic Org Chart.
A Position is a Function Of a Job. You can also think of roles or responsibilities. We use Position because we think it adds depth: you play different positions during the day, you take a stance, have an opinion from your position, you have a precise perspective from your position, you occupy a location in space and time as your organization moves – your Position. Build Out Step 3: About 1/2 of our users have this information at hand, otherwise they skip it and move to the blue row and create tasks to get their inventory of positions created.
Meetings are an endless source of confusion and frustration for Individual Contributors. The Org Graph lays out visually exactly which Positions or Jobs Attend which Meetings. Note that it’s the Position or Job, not the Person, that has the connection with the Meeting. Build Out Step 4: This is where you get your people involved to create an inventory of the meetings you will add to your OGraph that then get linked to Jobs or Positions.
We need to be able to see and adjust who is on a Team, what are Teams doing and why. Yes, just like Jobs and Positions. Data shows that the popular shift from hierarchical to more Team-centric models can improve performance, but according to a recent Deloitte survey, only 6% of respondents rated themselves very effective at managing cross-functional Teams. We believe this is because they can not visualize how it all fits together. Build Out Step 5: This is where you get your people involved to create an inventory of the Team you will add to your OGraph that then get linked to Jobs or Positions.
Entity is a broad group that captures a lot of thinking. Typically, an Entity is an element outside the organization proper or outside of the IC’s functional unit, an internal customer for instance. Yes, a customer, vendor, contract, project, department, division, or functional unit could all be represented as an Entity. Build Out Step 6: This is where you get your people involved to create an inventory of the Entities [Vendors, Clients, Customers etc.] you will add to your OGraph that then get linked to Jobs or Positions.
“How do I do that, why?” A Process can be a checklist, a work instruction, a photo, a video, a diagram, they are how we do our Job, how we fulfill the function of our Positions. You note that Process is a Black Diamond, in the Advanced area because for some reason, it is hard. With Org Graph we make it easy by mapping Process to Positions and Jobs that are owned by a Person as part of their Job. This linkage creates cognizance and ownership, making it easy. Build Out Step 7: By this time you absolutely have your people involved and they each know which Positions they fill as part of their Jobs. Normally Processes link to Positions, but, they can link to Jobs too.
In nerd talk: “Workflow refers to the steps involved in passing tasks or information from one IC to another or one system to another for action according to procedural rules as value is added to the organization’s activities”. Workflows have become more and more digitized and automated, so much so that they have become what we refer to as “invisible workflows”. They still exist, we just need to bring them back out into the open so we have cognizance. Build Out Step 8: Again, by this time you absolutely have your people involved and they each know which Positions they fill as part of their Job. Weather you link Workflows to Jobs or Positions is a toss up. Some users think of Workflows as “departmental” workflows as in an Accounting Workflow, and that would link to a Job more than likely.
If you are logging in to it, it is a System. In 21st century organizations, ICs often Interface with dozens of Systems. Generally, a system is any element – often digital these days, though not necessarily – in which an IC inputs data or work to have some function performed or info tracked. CRMs, the shared Excel spreadsheet, – all qualify as Systems. They often look like a fog-inducing bowl of alphabet soup to ICs, whose heads spin, trying to get a fix on which HRIS, ERP, CRM, IMS, LMS they login to. Build Out Step 9: Again, by this time you absolutely have your people involved and they each know which Positions they fill as part of their Job. Very often System interfacing is part of Processes that link most directly with Positions, so, users often choose to make Systems tie exclusively to Positions. You make the call, that is why it is Black Diamond.
Objectives are the big-picture things we’re aiming for at the strategic level, and tend to be more qualitative than quantitative. (Note: when it comes to Objectives, the OCM ties into a strategy that Intel developed and Google extended called OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results.) In essence, all strategic thinking is a similar cascade model, and you can use Org Graph and the Objectives and Results objects to capture and visualize this type of cascading thinking even if you don’t follow OKRs exactly. Build Out Step 10: Where are we going, what are our big Objectives and what are the sub objectives that people own that when achieved will help us reach our big Objectives? If you have your annual plan in place, you can set up your corporate numbers as Objectives and tie Jobs directly to these Objectives, or you can set sub-objectives and connect Jobs to the sub-objectives that then tie to the overall Objectives.
We are Accountable for thinking about Objectives, but Responsible for the actions that achieve Key Results. These Results are quantifiable and typically controllable, or measurable in the near term – could include hitting a particular sales volume, retaining a higher percentage of clients, boosting website visitors by a certain number each month, making a certain number of calls. In the OKR world, the basic measurement, the thing that has to be achieved, is the Key Result. Build Out Step 11: Again, by this time you absolutely have your people involved and they each know which Positions they fill as part of their Job. Some users tie Key Results to Jobs and some tie them to Positions, all depends on how granular you want to get. You can also link Key Results to Objectives using the “enables” connection.
Skills refers to the talents, abilities, and knowledge that qualify someone to do a Job or fill a Position. Degrees, certifications, licenses, etc. are not Skills but often indicate a set of necessary Skills. For instance, someone certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist should have the Skills to comfortably navigate Office programs. Other Skills, such as “effective communicator” are harder to quantify and are sometimes labelled as “soft.” Yes, double black most difficult work, requiring Expert level thinking, but you can do it and capture it in Org Graph. Build Out Step 12: Again, by this time you absolutely have your people involved and they each know which Positions they fill as part of their Job. HR is usually pretty involved in Skills. Most users are identifying the Skills that are required for someone to do the work inside a Position, but, that is not hard and fast.
Jobs, Positions, and People
This is a snap, start as simple as any other Org Chart Software. Org Graph makes org charting click, drag and drop simple, and powerful. You can upload pictures of people, connect Jobs with Positions, and capture job descriptions and purpose statements. Make it come alive via rich-text fields, linked, or attached documents, videos etc. right where they belong, in your Org Graph.
EASILY FILTER WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE AND NOT SEE
At first you will not be expecting the level of control you have over what you can see on your screen, but, with practice and mastery, you will be able to filter, hide, and drag to get the exact view that gives you the clarity and answers you are looking for, all in one place.
REALLY SEE JOBS, PEOPLE, POSITIONS and ROLES
At the most fundamental level we still want to be able to see our basic org structure and we really would like to be able to drill down inside each box on our Org Chart. The ability to replace the Person Icon with individual Photos is a basic step, the rich text function and the ability to attach files to each and every object makes your Org Graph come alive with the right click of a button.
MEETINGS, TEAMS, ENTITIES
Collaboration Visualized. See how you are organized to achieve through your Meetings, Teams and internal or external Entity interactions.
UNDERSTAND WHO ATTENDS WHICH MEETINGS AND WHY
Individual Contributors are often wondering: “Why am I even in this meeting? I am in so many meetings, I wish someone would show me why having me in this meeting makes any sense.” Meetings can proliferate like rabbits and like rabbits can go down nowhere holes that lead to no-where. Being able to see how meetings connect to the whole can help us maximize the time and effort of our folks and focus and direct our efforts. Want to know what the meeting is about, what are the objectives and agenda? This information can be captured right inside the Meeting object and accessed with a right click in your org graph.
WHAT TEAMS AM I PART OF TODAY, THIS WEEK, THIS YEAR
Often Individual Contributors are pulled in many directions and called to participate on many Teams at the drop of a hat. They are saying: “Why am I part of this Team, what Position am I playing as part of this Team, who are we serving, what is our Team Objective, what is the agenda…?” Teams are all the rage, but, without each Individual Contributor clearly understanding exactly what Position and role they play on the team leads to anxiety and confusion. Power comes from being able to update, map and see these interactions in real-time.
MAP AND SEE THE ANSWER TO: WHO DO I INTERACT WITH AND WHY? WHO IS MY CLIENT? WHAT DEPARTMENT AM I PART OF?
Nowadays we talk about internal clients, external clients, divisions, departments, contracts, projects the list goes on and we need to pull this out of the shadows and make it overt by linking these Entity answers to Jobs and Positions.
PROCESSES, WORKFLOWS, SYSTEMS ♦
Who is doing what and why? Our Jobs and Positions need to connect to the Processes, Workflows and Systems we use everyday, if they are not linked clearly, out in the open for all to see, then there is really no need to capture them or document them. Org Graph makes linking easy. Details at your fingertip, inside each node you can type rich text notes, create hyperlinks, and attach files. This is where you store your Standard Operating Procedures. This is how you make this hard work come alive.
LINK YOUR Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) TO YOUR JOBS and POSITIONS
Who follows a Process? People do, so why not have your Jobs, Positions and Roles link to your Processes.
BRING HIDDEN WORKFLOWS OUT INTO THE OPEN SO EVERYONE CAN SEE HOW IT ALL FLOWS TOGETHER
With the advent of computers and software systems, much of what goes on in the background is hidden out of site. This makes the need for clear workflow visualizations even more important. Why am I doing this Process, what does it tie to, why are the questions you will answer here.
CAPTURE, FULLY DOCUMENT AND ACCESS ALL OF YOUR PROCESSES IN ONE PLACE
Be honest, who knows where you keep your SOPs? Why are they not attached directly to the Jobs and Positions that your People are doing everyday? Now they will be. You can upload, attach and write via rich text inside each object.
UNDERSTAND WHICH SYSTEMS WE LOGIN TO AND WHY
This is so basic but so often overlooked, we need to know what Systems we login to and why. Electronic systems have become so prevalent that we don’t even think about it, but every IC uses Systems everyday, and we need to make sure that we have mapped who is using what system and why. When ICs know, when they are cognizant, they can focus, train and learn how to be most efficient with the Systems you deploy.
Objectives, Key Results, Skills ♦♦
Individual Contributors need Skills to achieve the purpose of their Job and the Objectives and Key Results that are linked to their Jobs and Positions. Each Skill object can become or can augment your Learning Management System through uploaded materials, video links, or links to any type of digitized training.
VISUALIZE YOUR OKR ACCOUNTABILITIES and RESPONSIBILITIES
Individual Contributors are saying: “I understand our Org Structure, but, what am I really accountable for, how does it align to the Objectives of my Job, my Team and of the Organization as a whole? I wish I could see this mapped.” When someone is Accountable and Responsible it means they understand and embrace the Why behind their Jobs and Positions. Make this come alive by getting shared Objectives linked and out in the open for all to see and absorb.
VISUALIZE SKILLS THAT ARE REQUIRED AND SKILLS THAT PEOPLE HAVE OR CAN DEVELOP
Matching Individual Contributor Skills with the Skills that are required for Jobs and Positions is what Expert level companies do everyday. Getting this out in the open not only lets you see where you may have gaps, and who you need to hire, but, importantly it lets Individual Contributors see a path to their future. It flips the script, this is something you are doing “for them” and “not too” them, if they want to grow with your company, they can see their path.
SEE WHO YOU HAVE ON YOUR BENCH THAT CAN BRING THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO FILL THE FUNCTIONS YOU REQUIRE
Remember, this is Death of The Org Chart. We are in the 21st Century and are not handcuffed by just our Employees. Your Person list will include all of your Individual Contributors, this includes Employees, Contractors, Giggers, Volunteers and in Org Graph they will be mapped to the Skills they have. Imagine being able to quickly drill down into your Gigger or Contractor list to find who has the right Skills match for the Positions you need filled. A few clicks, a little filtering and “POP” you will have your answer.
A BUILT IN LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Just like with Processes, we need to define and link required Skills to Jobs and Positions and get it out in the open, otherwise it is worthless. When we do this, we create a natural Learning Management System. An IC will ask: “What are the Skills I need to run the Systems required by this Position.” They click on the Skill object and are either linked to your LMS or you have the learnings embedded inside the Skill object.
BONUS: SEE WHO IS MY MENTOR, MY COACH, NOT JUST MY BOSS – AND WHY
Individual Contributors are saying: “I understand who my boss is, but, who is my Mentor for my career at this company? When I have specific questions, who can I turn to as my Coach? Is it clear why these relationships exist?” Remember this is Double Black Diamond stuff, Expert level. In Org Graph you will be able to map for your ICs exactly who they should turn to as their Mentor from their Job and who they should look to as a Coach for their Positions.
"When I sat down, faced the reality, and modeled the cost to my company of not bringing new people up to speed using the 14 Point Checklist, I saw it was in the hundreds of thousands.”
- Clay G, CEO
“The really cool thing about using an Org Graph was to get all of our people into the game. Once our Individual Contributors saw how this was something we were doing “For Them” instead of “To Them”, they bought in and the Org Graph bloomed with amazing detail - all supplied by the people who really know what’s going on, amazing.”
- Bryan B, CEO
"Our engagement is up, our teams are more effective, people are able to go directly to the right person for an answer, when we want to change something we can SEE who it will impact and get them involved. All of this was hidden in the past behind layers of folders and files, text and outlines, never in simple diagrams and pictures, very powerful.”
- David, CEO
"The different ways to visualize the same thing really is amazing, sometimes I would look at what we created via a Hierarchical view and it was just scrambled eggs, then I clicked on Symmetrical View, and think, ah ha there it is, then we drill down with the Marquee Zoom tool and it just becomes clear, truly amazing.”
- Sara, Aqua Tots