A truly flat organization cannot exist

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.

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