In today’s blog we suggest a few summer organizational design projects you might want to lean back and try using Organimi.

Leaning Back…and Then Some

Last week, the Organimi team got together to take stock of our results for the first half of the year, plan our priorities for the second half, and just hang out and have fun before the summer break….and I mean hang out…which some of the team took literally — doing the Edgewalk very, very high (100 stories plus high) above the Toronto skyline.  Scary fun.

Summer is finally on us and in North America we have kick it off with a bang with the first week of July book ended by Canada Day north of the border on July 1st and Independence Day celebrated across America on July 4th.

I love July.  Every year, along with thousands of other families, we look forward to spending a week or two away from the muggy city heat trekking “up north” to cottage country.  Our place, in The District of Muskoka, is one of many beautiful, scenic retreats to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect – with family and with the natural world around us.  How could you not love this – you can almost smell the fresh pine scented air from the photo below. Speaking of which, it is amazing the pictures you can take from your phone.

Summer Reading and Other Fun Organimi Activities

And since I tend to like to “do stuff”, even when I am leaning back on vacation, I’ll have to get a list of books together for quiet reading and reflection.  Suggestions would be welcome!  Two that won’t be on my list, because I’ve already read them, but that you may want to add to your non-fiction list, are Lean In and Quiet.

It has been a bit over a year since Sheryl Sandberg released her best seller Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Lead, the follow up to her massively popular TED talk Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.  With over 4 million TED views, and millions of Google hits, and the launch of the not for profit Lean In Foundation, the “Lean In” movement has become a phenomenon, focused on “offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals…and create a better world for everyone”.

As noted above, we’ve used Organimi to create an org chart for the Lean In Foundation and then shared the org chart on LinkedIn and Twitter as well.  You can see the Organimi for the Lean In Foundation below displaying in Internet Explorer:


Sandberg’s book explores the role of women particularly in the workplace, the work-life balance challenges they face, and the actions they can and should take to work smarter to advance their careers and those of other women.

Another recent book by Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, is less gender focused, but explores another organizational phenomenon —  the important roles played in the world of business, politics, arts, innovation and life by the “introverted” among us – who represent a large percentage (as much as 1/3rd) of the population.  Susan also has a website and TedTalk, with over 8.5 million views.

These books both may be of interest to people thinking about transformational change in themselves and their organizations as we all “lean back” for the summer break before leaning in again in the fall.

They follow a meandering series of blog posts I have been following in recent days covering such topics as the unconscious workplace discrimination attractive people can encounter, the need for managers to look beyond their “usual suspects” for projects and let new people test and develop their skills, the importance of growth mindsets in managers for creating health organizations, the leadership talents we all have but may not recognize in ourselves, and the lessons in transparency, culture and engagement that startups can share with larger organizations suffering engagement challenges.

Here is another suggestion for those who want to do some experimentation this summer.  Bend, twist and stress test your organizational design.

Create a few “alternative views” of your organizational design by using Organimi’s free org chart maker to move people into different roles and areas – hypothetically speaking – and imagine your workaday workplace, staff interactions, and career development opportunities with these changes in mind.

Instead of being driven by business integration or cost reduction drivers, the usual triggers for “reorganizations”, think about it from the point of view of stretching personal and organizational boundaries and barriers.

* what does the organization look like if more women are moved into more senior leadership roles; experiment with some;

* who are the introverts in your org chart, and are you getting as much as you could be out of them if you were managing them more effectively and listening to what they have to say and offer

* who do you use most consistently for your projects as your go to players, and should you be broadening that pool and letting others get involved and prove their capabilities to promote higher employee engagement;

* does it look like someone in the organization who you feel is quite talented is being held back – and could that be because of what they look like (attractive or not)?

* stress test your current organizational design by modeling what your organization would look like if you need to reduce headcount by 10% to 15%.

These are the kinds of questions if you are so inclined that are ideal for the coffee shop, the backyard, or the cottage hammock on a lazy afternoon…and with Organimi’s cloud based architecture, if you are within reach of a wi-fi signal you’re good, so you can actually spend some time, and have a bit of fun, doing some experimentation with your organizational design.

Making a few org charts showing alternative organizational designs for your team may not exactly sound like a fun weekend pastime, but it is fast and easy and you can save them and come back to them anytime you want.

And, most importantly, it is not about the org charts, but the people behind them, and making sure wherever you can you are helping them maximize the talents and capabilities they have to be able to be the best they can be in your organization…when they finish their holidays and get back to work and “lean in”.

Enjoy the break.  The first half of the year has been awesome.  With over 1,800 organizations and almost 50,000 members on Organimi we’re just getting started.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you all over the summer and rolling out some great new features in the fall.  So keep in touch and keep the suggestions coming, and remember to “Lean Back!” from time to time.

The Organimi Team