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5 Insights on Building an Organizational Structure

If you evaluate the organizational structures utilized by most organizations today, you could easily translate these structures as a tower of people. Meaning you have layers of people building up to one person, usually the CEO of the organization. However, just as easy as we formulate these organizational structures moving people and positions around here and there, is there ever given much thought in terms of how that tower needs to be cultivated as a whole to ensure the CEO can stay on top? Sure, we think about our individual teams and their cultivation and development, but what about the collective whole?

This question was sparked for me in a recent article I read about castells or human towers – a tradition and culture of building human towers in Europe for competition. This specific article discussed human tower building in the Catalan culture of Barcelona, Spain. One might think it doesn’t take much to build a human tower, but the truth is it requires much dedication and commitment from all parties participating. This dedication and commitment coming with a set of principles to follow so as to ensure development, safety, cohesion, and success.

Sound familiar? It should, as don’t we usually want the same thing in our organizations?

To promote further learning and discussion, let’s explore these principles further to understand how you can translate them back to your organization.

Solid Foundations

The success of human tower comes on the heels of having a successful foundation. This foundation or circular bottom (also called a pinya) is made up of a core group of people who support the four men at the center of the tower. To continue to build the tower, the foundation provides support for additional people to climb up and begin to Foundation of Peopleshape the tower.

In Relation to Your Organization

If you evaluate your organizational structure, a core foundation is also needed to support the tower as a whole. The people in these roles are typically your line level employees who complete daily tasks to include interactions with customers, compiling and analyzing data, filing, etc. This group in a general sense is providing the support for additional people to climb the rungs (promotions) and shape the organization tower. Therefore, it is critical these people have a clear direction as to what the organization wants to achieve, how they play a role in that, what is expected of them, and are given guidance, support, respect, and praise in the process.

Every Handhold Counts

Playing a role in a human tower is not specific to anyone – participants can be young or old, employed or unemployed, big or small, whatever. But what unites everyone in the tower is passion, commitment, and an understanding that everyone is equal. No one person in the tower is better than another because each has a critical role to play to again ensure safety, cohesion, and success.

In Relation to Your Organization

Unfortunately in today’s organizations, not everyone is necessarily seen as equal. However, they should! As I have always shared with colleagues and my fellow employees, I, nor is anyone in the organization, better than each individual person. At the end of the day, we all have a role to play. That role and the responsibilities of the role can just be different for each person. Yet, this role variety does not make anyone unequal. In fact, it should make us stronger because each employee, department, etc. essentially hold hands to ensure the organization is able to succeed.

Life in the Tower

Physique and talent play a huge component as to where one resides in the human tower; many of which are evolved through time as one grows into an adult because the reality is you cannot have a 200 lb. man forming the top of your tower 🙂 As people evolve in the tower, what remains the same is the motto of the group: “strength, balance, courage and common sense”. This motto keeps people engaged, alive, and having fun.

In Relation to Your Organization

The life in the tower for your organization is the culture. Culture is the life line for any organization to success; if you have a poor culture, it will reflect in retention, morale, and overall performance. Therefore, it is critical regardless of what position in the organization tower one resides, everyone needs a culture that lends support, guidance, strength, balance, courage, common sense, fun, challenges, you name it. 

Rise and Fall

As the human tower is deconstructed is when accidents can most occur. Although many injuries do not occur because the base or foundation of people typically break the fall of those above, no one is judged if someone does fall. Accidents or lapses in judgments sometimes occur – we are human and it is understandable, but necessary we learn from these errors.

In Relation to Your Organization

We see people everyday in organizations rise and sometimes fall. The key to picking people back up is aligning the culture of the organization to continue to lend support, provide guidance, and cheer people back on. What good does it do us if we laugh at people’s failures? None – it may make us feel better because the person got what they deserved, but keep in mind, what does it collectively do for the organization and the foundation? Nothing.

A Moment of Sheer Happiness

Putting together a human tower is no easy feat; especially when the tower can span upwards of 10 levels high. So can you imagine the moment of sheer happiness or excitement that is felt when everything comes together for the tower to be complete? You would think this is when the celebration begins, but it truly begins once the tower is dismantled and everyone is safe.

In Relation to Your Organization

Celebration, praise, whatever you want to name it is important for people to succeed. Recollect on a time when you succeeded at something or your team achieved a goal, how did you feel? It felt good didn’t it? Now, how did it feel when others celebrated the success? Even better, right?

So why don’t we celebrate more often? The answer:  we should.

Celebrating doesn’t mean a party or expensive gifts, celebrating can be as simple as saying “Thank You” and “Nice job on being a driver to the team’s success”.

Putting it All in Context

Organizational structures are not likely to change any time soon, as this is the typical structure of any given corporation today. But, what can change is how we collectively support the structure or tower of people that lead the organization to success.

The support you should always keep in mind regardless if you are in human resources, finance, accounting, maintenance, etc., is what am I doing to support my organization as a whole through my contributions? What development am I am able to provide to someone else to grow their skills? How can I break down the silos so everyone feels a part of the team and equal? If someone falls, how can I build them back up? Conversely, how can I develop someone to grow in the organization and potentially get promoted? And last, how do I celebrate success for our team?

It is easy to get caught up in the game of “me” and what is best for “me”; heck, I am guilty of this, too. But keep in mind, although we are all here for ourselves as a means to live, we are still here as a team. Without the support of others, we cannot succeed. No one can succeed just as one individual – some way, some how, and some where, that person was supported by someone else or a group of people.

Now, go out and build your tower of leaders!

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