Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

The Buck Stops

Hierarchical leadership structures are common.

They might be necessary for certain circumstances. (The verdict is still out on this one, for me).

“The buck has to stop somewhere”

This is the common argument for this sort of organizational structure.

Organizations are complex beasts and we are often simple minds. Too often leaders in organizations (who are often lovers of the hierarchy) think restructuring the org chart will be the golden ticket. The tweak that makes all the difference.

What organizational leaders often fail to see are the deep roots of culture.

Leadership drops massive structural changes from the top down. Juke and jive the up-lines. Send out grand proposals and documents defining their thinking.

Five years later new leadership has the same conversations and another restructure. The yo-yo never stops.

Meanwhile, the people doing the work - the real work, the work that matters - continue in a culture that never changes. Often with a lot of frustration and dissatisfaction.

“The buck has to stop somewhere

This is true. But let’s get granular.

Hierarchical. Non-hierarchical. Functional. Divisional. Matrix. Total chaos. Whatever. Prioritizing structure is prioritizing the wrong thing.

Fiddling with the org chart makes zero difference if there isn’t a culture change.

Culture change begins with mindset change.

“The buck stops with you.”

When every person in an organization understands this, is empowered by this, and bears the weight of this, the culture changes.

When the culture changes, organizations change. We change. The world changes.

It’s that big of a deal.