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Organizational Charts: Purpose - Design - Function

We’ve shared before how every organization functions by Design or Default. And we definitely would encourage you to function “by design”. This month we want to take a closer look at a design tool that helps leaders and teams understand their function and how that function fits within the overall structure and vision [see Team Responsibilities 3].


Organizational Charts provide visual representations of delegation structure and how teams and departments operate [see Delegation Expectations]. They should be designed to accommodate and facilitate growth. In organizations, ministries, or churches that have a lot of volunteers, sometimes it seems like you’re just looking for warm bodies to help do something. But now we design our organizational structure based on functions we need, rather than on people we have. And to do this we use Functional Organizational Charts.


> Start with identifying Purpose.

Purpose gives you both aim and energy to design and build organizational structure that helps you fulfill your God-given assignment. Once you recognize and identify your Purpose, you can clarify your main objectives in the organization, and main areas of responsibilities that will need to be taken care of.

Maybe you have a small team now, but the vision is big; this can be a step of faith for you. Plan for growth.


> Take time to Prioritize as you Design.

We use Functional Organizational Charts to define and prioritize our necessary functions. We consider what roles we need in order to function optimally and grow as an organization. This is also an opportunity to timeline your growth. Maybe some aspects of the organization are needed for launch, and others for general operations, and others for expansion. Once the functions are defined, we begin to determine the suitable individuals to fulfill those functions and at which stage we need them.


> Be Flexibly Functional

Think about how our skeletal system works — it supports our growth and functionality. Because of it, we can be strong and stable while able to move and bend. Even the best-designed Organizational Chart’s need flexibility — they can change over time and may need to be reevaluated at different stages of growth.


Some pointers in the design process:

  • The boxes represent functions. They can also be “teams” or “departments”. So define these boxes by function rather than individual names.

    • Taking names out of the equation in the design process allows you to focus on designing your ideal organization, rather than being limited to specific individuals and their current tasks.

  • After this, then you can look at your current team(s) to see who fits where and where there are gaps needing to be filled. Individuals on your team may wear many hats right now, so this process can help you clarify and separate those different roles.

  • Thinking about Direct Reports during the design process can also help. Limiting direct reports to 5 or 6 is optimal.

With one team we did this for, we had a wall with sticky notes on it. Once everyone could see the different functions and could recognize the responsibilities attached to each box, it really helped everyone re-assess their own commitment and role. Structure here is not about title or power, but responsibility and function. Every box then is responsible for their area/objective but also to lead, train, and disciple those who report to them.


There are also some other types of Organizational Charts we find helpful:

  • Communication Charts (who communicates directly with whom?)

  • Reporting Charts (who reports to whom?)

  • Discipleship Charts (who disciples whom?)

These all work together for the growth of the Body of Christ, His Church. (Ephesians 4:16).


Our desire is for you and your teams (and ours!) to function within an organizational structure that helps you build the Kingdom of God.

If you don’t have an Organizational Chart yet, we would encourage you to start drafting it out.


*TCBS can provide additional training on building Organizational Structure.


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