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Mitch Betts
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Entrepreneurial journalist. Futurist.
Entrepreneurial journalist. Futurist.

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A better way to build an org chart

Dean Meyer has been studying organizational structures for decades, and let’s just say that he’s not a fan of scattered campuses, decentralization, dotted lines, dual reporting, matrix organizations, centers of excellence – and least of all, holacracy. In his forthcoming book, Principle-Based Organizational Structure, the key word is structure.
 
Wait. Isn’t it good enough to have great people and great processes and let everything else take care of itself? No. “The truth is, great people working with great processes still can't perform well unless the structure they live in is well-designed,” Meyer says.
 
He lays out seven key principles for the well-structured organization, including his golden rule: “Authority and accountability must match.” Meyer argues that the person with authority, but not matching accountability, “becomes an unconstrained tyrant.” On the other hand, those with accountability but insufficient authority “are disempowered and can't get their jobs done.” Other guiding principles are intended to help people in the organization specialize, work in teams, and act like entrepreneurs as part of a business within a business.
 
Meyer urges executives to design their organizational chart from a clean sheet of paper, based on his time-tested principles, and avoid the latest organizational fads. He also recommends creating a structure that can accommodate future lines of business. Otherwise, there will be a never-ending series of highly disruptive reorganizations.

The book is a clean, crisp read, distilling more than 30 years of research about organizational design into straightforward recommendations. Most of the examples come from IT departments, but can be applied to any department or whole organization.

When I took my first management class, many years ago, I was told: "The No. 1 problem in American business is lack of clear roles and responsibilities." If you follow the principles in this book, that won't be a problem.

(The book is due out by the end of 2016. Pre-order info: ndma@ndma.com)

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Do you disconnect nights & weekends?
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I wish everyone knew the history of the Web better. This is a good start.

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Congratulations to IDC, founded by Patrick J. McGovern, on its 50th anniversary.

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Start-ups are nipping at Western Union's heels, but the old company a lot of global data as a competitive advantage for understanding its market of un-banked and under-banked people. Will it be bold and fast enough to avoid digital disruption?
Western Union has survived dramatic business upheavals before. Can its CIO help this venerable company survive the digital payments revolution?

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This is a "dream team" C-suite. Will it stay that way?

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Fascinating story: Great interviews, great writing, great topic: The few CIOs who've won the CEO job talk candidly about the relentless pressure for profits, the ultimate accountability and what they wish they’d known as CIO.

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The job doesn't end at the close of business, but CIOs should take a break, when possible, to recharge their batteries. (My first experiment with creating an infographic with infogr.am.)

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