Organized for Chaos

Posted by Jenni Catron on Aug 10, 2021 11:53:10 AM

“Most companies organize around personalities rather than around functions. That is, around people rather than accountabilities or responsibilities. The result is almost always chaos.”

-Michael E. Gerber – The E Myth Revisited (p167)


If this statement is true for businesses it seems to be equally true for churches and non-profit organizations. When I’m working with a new client, one of the first things I request is a copy of their organizational chart. I want to get a sense of what people do and how they work. But more often than not, even if they can produce an organizational chart (which often doesn’t exist at all), they have to call me to explain it. The nuances, dotted lines, exceptions, and uniqueness of their structure can’t be clearly outlined on paper.

In a word: CHAOS!

There are always good reasons for these messy organizational structures.


“Bob is really passionate about men’s ministry so he oversees the men’s monthly breakfast even though his primary responsibility is I.T.”

“We can’t afford to hire someone for connections, so Suzy oversees it in addition to her role as Kid’s Director.”

“I can’t find a qualified candidate that I trust so I do the bookkeeping in addition to my role as Executive Director.”

“The receptionist quit and we couldn’t find a replacement, so Carrie just moved her office to the front desk and answers phones while also coordinating events.”


These explanations and the challenges they represent are very common for many organizations, particularly if your organization is small and growing fast. It’s quite understandable.

The problem surfaces when you convince yourself there is nothing you can do about it. When your convoluted structure becomes the norm, I guarantee confusion, decline in morale, and culture erosion are on the horizon.

Confusion hinders momentum.

When your staff does not understand who does what or how to work together to get things done, they will get bogged down and become less effective.

Unclear structure unintentionally creates bureaucracy. When it’s not clear who does what or who to go to for answers, your staff either quit trying to figure it out or they expend an exorbitant amount of energy working it out. Either way, you’re not getting the best from them and they are likely frustrated and less motivated.

Leaders, one of our primary responsibilities is to fight for clarity.

An important part of clarity is providing your team with clearly written job descriptions and an understandable organizational chart.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Does each member of your staff have a written job description?
  • Do you have an updated organizational chart and does every staff member have a copy?
  • Does each staff person know whom he or she report to?
  • Are staff members evaluated regularly according to their job description and key objectives?

If you answered no to any of these questions, I encourage you to begin providing this clarity today.

Remember, clarity is critical to accomplishing extraordinary outcomes!


Need Help Getting Clarity? Take our FREE Culture Blindspot assessment to identify the culture issue that is inhibiting you from building an extraordinary team. 

Topics: Team Culture, Organizational Clarity

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