A truly flat organization cannot exist.
We often hear that flat structures are cool. The word “flat” attracts young talent.
But come to think of it
The moment we decide to “organize”, structures emerge
People assume their responsibilities
Some lead and some follow
Some decide and others agree
Some plan and others execute
In small organizations, people tend to influence “without authority”
But there is a very dark side to it
There are informal cabals that influence more (politics)
And there are awesome people who might not be able to influence despite having all that expertise
In which case, I feel hierarchies make things fair and democratic to an extent, there is a clear line of command and everyone follows that
In flat orgs there are informal structures/hierarchies only visible to those who are curious
Lack of structure might drive wrong and crazy behaviors
Declaring that “we are flat” is one aspect
managing conflicts and issues arising from unclear or duplicate responsibilities is a different ball game altogether
Ok, I agree that I have only shared the dark side of flat orgs
But tomorrow will share a post about an organization that calls itself flat in the true sense. Will also provide a link to their #culture book. Stay tuned.