From the Ask Tom mailbag –
The template you sent out looks like it only handles five levels of work. Our organization has seven manager layers, total headcount 62 people. How do we fit in the extra two layers?
The reason you have more than five manager layers in your company is that you use some other criteria to define a managerial layer. You decided someone in your company needed some manager experience, so you promoted them with a new title, and gave them someone to manage. Your criteria for creating a new manager level was that someone needed experience. Your criteria has nothing to do with the complexity of problem solving or decision making. You created a managerial layer as an accommodation to a single person. Don’t organize the work around the people, organize the people around the work.
With a headcount of 62 people, I can safely assume that your company should have no more than five layers and possibly needs even fewer. Stop looking at the people you have, and look at the work. What is the necessary work required to accomplish your organization’s mission? When you base your organizational structure on the complexity of decision making and problem solving, the work naturally falls into the levels described below. Using that framework, you can identify where your organization is bloated and where it is thin (too thin).
Levels of Work
- S-V – Business Unit President or SME CEO. The focus is on the entire enterprise as it sits in its marketplace.
- S-IV – Executive manager. The focus is on the integration of departmental workflow. Looks closely at work handoffs from one department to another and the output capacity of each department as it sits next to its neighboring departments.
- S-III – Manager. The focus is typically on a single department, which contains a single serial system, or a single critical path.
- S-II – Supervisor. This is a coordinating, implementing role, making sure production work is complete, within spec and on-time.
- S-I – Production. The focus is on pace and quality, how many units at a specific spec.