We’re on our way to 10,000 organizations on-boarded to Organimi this year, so thanks to everybody for signing on.

Today’s blog is about org charts, organizational transparency and our new social sharing features for Organimi.

You can try these out for your own organization – or any other organization you want to, as we’ll discuss below.

The Times They Are A Changin’

I’m a fan of Henry Blodget.  I’ve never met him, but followed his tech research through the go-go 90s tech boom.  For me, Henry and Mary Meeker were the gold standard – masters of the trifecta of tech trends, capital Henry_Blodgetmarkets and the media.  Even after Eliot Spitzer had him railroaded out of the securities industry,  I followed Henry through his time at Silicon Alley, Seeking Alpha and, most recently, as the head of Business Insider.

So perhaps it is no surprise that when I was thinking about organizational transparency and social sharing, the lens went to Business Insider, Henry’s latest initiative at the intersection of tech, money and media.

We grabbed the masthead and, using Organimi, have faithfully reproduced the org chart for Henry’s team at Business Insider (circa November, 2010 according to the masthead anyway) here.

We also shared it so you can search and find it on Twitter and on Pinterest .  You get the picture.

Now the Business Insiders can clean it up, add more team photos and make changes….for free.  What a fantastic deal!

This is all because of a new feature in this Organimi release that lets you easily publish and share snapshots of your org charts across any social channels you want to, by email to anyone you want to, or by dynamic links to your Organimi site using the code snips we generate:

It is amazing how much information is out there, about so many organizations, and what an unstructured mess it all is!!!! Some organizing is required.  That’s what we are doing at Organimi.

We don’t want to sound like neat freaks but we’re hoping to clean it up a bit.

As you see from above, the times they are a changing—- and the whole notion of organizational structure, boundaries and privacy will be changing with them.

So Does Anyone Really Care About “The Share”?

At Organimi we’re big on making it as easy as possible for you to create and share your org charts, with whoever you want to, wherever you want to, and whenever you want to.

As the above demonstrates, it is pretty easy for you – or anyone else for that matter – to start organizing your organization, or Business Insider, or any other organization you’re curious about.

That can mean…..you can use Organimi

…with your own team.

….or a team made up of people from different departments and locations around the world.

….or team that includes key customer or supplier representatives who have come together with your team on a project or contract.

…or a group of people from an entirely different organization you are interested in for simply for sales or business development reasons.

…or a group away from work from your school, club, church, synagogue, mosque, or sports team.

For all of these teams, Organimi is a simple, affordable, purpose built tool to help you connect, collaborate and communicate with each other more effectively, everywhere you work.

Organimi makes this all so very easy. And because it is all hosted in the cloud, you can access it anywhere.

So get on it and have some fun.

Engagement and Transparency: Connecting The Dots

But why should you care about the share?

The short answer is….. we don’t know if you will, but we hope you do.  That’s the great thing about software!

Let us explain.

We all know employee engagement is a huge challenge.

We believe employee engagement and organizational transparency go hand in hand.

We like to think all this sharing will help improve communication, connectedness, and collaboration – across the team, regardless of where everybody is.

So at Organimi we’re helping create a better environment for organizational transparency….and bringing organizational design and the process of organizing teams at work into the hands of “the people”

If we can do that, we hope that the conditions for employee re-engagement will also improve.

We know some people may be uncomfortable with this whole idea.  Change is always a challenge.

What value is there, they might ask, for an organization to post the org chart for its teams on Twitter or LinkedIn?  What benefit could there possibly be?  Against the perceived risks of their people being “out there” for head hunters or recruiters to find.

Historically org charts are something that is not shared.  It is a tool created and used by the few, for the few.  The information has been private; exclusive, and valuable…but to who, and why?

You may have read earlier this week that in 1995 (back when Henry Blodget was in his research heyday at Merrill) there were 20 million Internet users and 35 million email accounts.  A lot of people back then probably asked similar questions about what the value was of that email thing.

Now, 30 years later, email accounts number in the billions.  Email messages in the tens of billions.  And as Mary Meeker points out the volume of email is being eclipsed by social and mobile messaging platforms which are being adopted at even faster rates.

I was at the PWC Vision2Reality Conference last week.  Kristen Stewart (@kirstinestewart), of Twitter (@twittercanada), provided a compelling presentation covering Twitter’s platform and its global impact…showing in very slick time-lapsed graphics with photon like light bursts how 500 million tweets a day look as they travel around the globe.  It was a simple, beautiful and powerful display.

She then proceeded to describe the many benefits organizations and individuals have experienced from using technology to enhance their connectedness, communication and collaboration at work and play.

As the Twitter founders opine in the opening piece of the video montage – “who knew”?….”who could have guessed”?  They were simply trying to create a simple way to let people know what they were up to.

So we hope you’ll agree, and give it a try with your teams – or just put something up there about another organization you might be interested in.

Getting a better handle on “who’s who and what they do” might also help move that dial, and make workplaces a bit more human, even as they become a lot more technology driven.

How Do Organimi  Org Charts Promote Organizational Transparency

Maybe you’re still not convinced.

What does transparency mean anyway and why do we care?

In the organizational sciences context, research suggests there are three primary aspects of transparency: information disclosure, clarity, and accuracy.  Wikipedia tells us:

Transparency is a general quality.  It can be defined simply as the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender.  In social enterprises, it is influenced by the set of policies, practices and procedures that allow citizens to have accessibility, usability, utility, understandability, informativeness, and auditabilitity of information held by centers of authority.

Organimi meets those tests – making it easy for everyone to always have easy access to correct, current information about what’s happening with people and teams across the organization.

The principal benefit of transparency when applied to politics and government lies in its mobilization of individual choice, market forces, and participatory democracy as a constraint on government action.

The famed American jurist Louis Brandeis  spent a large chunk of his career fighting powerful corporations, monopolies, and public corruption.  He summed up the benefits of transparency elegantly, commenting on the role of and need for more disclosure under securities laws to ensure a healthy system, when he said “sunlight is the best disenfectant.”


In an organizational context, we think the same considerations apply.

Seven Steps To A More Transparent Organization

So we have user benefits that are clear and straight-forward.

The “vision” thing also speaks to the power and rightness of transparency as an organizational value worth aspiring to.

But at the end of the day, what is the business benefit to the organization?  Where’s the beef?

We think organizational transparency also advances goals of innovation, efficiency and productivity, all of which are core to profitability and survival.

A great article this week by Jonathan Stoller on cross-functional teams, for example, talked about their challenges and benefits.  It laid them out beautifully:

As organizational projects grow ever larger and more complex, companies are increasingly relying on cross-functional teams to unlock innovation, drive productivity and growth, and increase efficiency.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, complex tasks now often involve teams of 100 or more people. These teams are more diverse, more connected via technology, and composed of more highly educated people, meaning they have far greater potential to meet, or even exceed, objectives.
The flip side is that these attributes also make teams harder to manage, according to the same Harvard Business Review study. Increased diversity, for example, lends more perspective to an issue, but can be prone to more disagreement and deadlock.

We all likely know the “too many cooks” expression.  Who are your hundred?  How do you organize them into a cohesive force?  How do they get to know each other?  The message could not be clearer.


Complexity barriers as well as geographic, time and skill differences require more effective ways to enable connectivity, collaboration and connectedness for these “pop up” teams to function effectively.  Cue Organimi.

More generally, Quint Studer, in his book Straight A Leadership, descibes how organizational transparency helps employees stay connected to financial big picture, reduces complacency, sparks creative solutions, creates organizational consistency and stability, and leads to faster, more efficient execution.

He also identifies seven steps organizations needs to follow to achieve greater transparency in the workplace.  They include:

  1. making sure the senior leadership team is itself internally aligned;
  2. closing the perception gap between the senior team and managers;
  3. helping everyone understand fully the financial impact of the decisions being taken;
  4. communicating transparently [see definition above] to front line employees;
  5. preparing managers properly to answer the challenging “why” questions;
  6. treating your employees respectfully, as adults; and
  7. keep people regularly informed and updated.

These are common sense principles.  At Organimi, we embrace them.  This means for us that enabling them is core to our product road map and business vision.

Organimi will continue to build our capabilities out around enabling team members to connect, communicate and collaborate more transparently – and therefore more effectively – in the workplace.

And we think it all starts with creating your org charts…and possibly trying to share them.

You can start here.  It’s easy, fun, useful and free.  

As always, thanks for reading.

The Organimi Team