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Consider a classic, straight-line, hierarchical organization:


Because of the structure of the vertical communication links that tie the org together into a system, the dudes at the top are guaranteed to have a distorted understanding of what the dudes at the bottom are doing – and vice versa. With no direct lines of communication between non-adjacent layers, how could it be otherwise?

Of course, everyone who has ever toiled in the lower layers of such a “classic” hierarchy has railed against what they perceive as the unfairness and inhumanity of participating in such a system.

So then, if the classic, straight-line, vertical hierarchy is so bad for those grinding it out in the lower layers, which is a better system structure:


If you’re expecting BD00 to definitively choose sides, extolling the virtues of “the good one” while denigrating the vices of “the bad one“, fuggedaboudit. There is no universally applicable “good one“. Or is there?

  1. April 5, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The “method” with a winning track record (going back roughly 270 years to Freddy the Great) is called auftragstaktic & actually uses your first model. Static structure is only half the picture, you need to take behavior into account as well. The key behavior is that the levels don’t try to micromanage the levels below (especially anything non-adjacent). Rather level n-1 understands and gives directives to level n (with the directives being outcome based & appropriate to level n’s granularity). It’s up to level n to give the same type of instructions to level n+1 who does the same down the line.

  2. April 24, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Embracing anarchy is the only truth you will ever find. That is why Google is so good at innovating but so bad at following through with the fixes. If someone is interested in the problem they can take the ball and roll an app (anarchy). The same or different person who can solve the problem(fixes) can also lose interest and can freely walk away (anarchy). What you have with a hierarchy is a dictatorship(slavery) and a 5 year plan. The future might save us(AI)?

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