#invertthepyramid

So, while adding my dad’s eulogy to the blog was very cathartic and I got some very lovely comments of support…it did make writing a blog after it quite difficult. Where do you go after piece talking about your dad passing away. It’s taken me a year, but I finally think I’m ready to move on and start blogging again.

In the last year, lots has happened…I now live in London, work for Transport for London and have started to get involved in a movement to change the way the business world looks at culture and treats it employees. Both Culturevist and ResponsiveOrg have given me some great ideas and things to think about…if you’re not involved and you have an interest in culture then get involved today!

One of the things I often talk about at these events is my belief around inverting the pyramid. This is basically taking the standard hierarchical structures most people just accept and flipping them so the most important person are your frontline staff and the least important your CEO…this is a broad definition of what I think…but generally correct!

I want to use this blog to talk about that and some of the ideas around it. I know this is a big idea and something a lot of people disagree with, so hopefully it will spark discussion. This is in no way me saying I’m right and everyone should listen to me…this is me sharing some thoughts and looking to provoke debate and if I’m honest disagreement…I love talking to people to disagree with what I say!

So hopefully while the blog posts may be shorter in length they’ll be more often and hopefully more controversial, which is fun for everyone!

Speak soon, #invertthepyramid

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About Steven Murgatroyd

Northern Social Media and Comms enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Business Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to #invertthepyramid

  1. Simon Monger says:

    Here comes a comment from someone who disagrees. Well, not disagrees exactly; has another perspective. While fundamentally I think you’re in the right area – front line staff ‘on the ground’ are the most important people as they do the lion’s share of the work – I think when it comes to specifically talking about communications it’s a little more complicated than that. I think we’re not so much needing to invert the pyramid as turn it more into a diamond. Hopefully I can explain this without the aid of a felt tip pen, some paper and sticky-backed plastic…

    At the top of your diamond you have the CEO. Then you have senior management and managing directors. Then where the diamond is at its widest you have line managers. These are the people with the power. They are the ones who can make life miserable for the people lower down, and difficult for the people higher up. These managers are the ‘marzipan layer’ of the cake of business structure…they’re the damp course of your house, if you prefer. Messages from the CEO and senior management can be blocked by line managers and fail to reach the people at the front line. Or they can change the message. Similarly, people at the ‘bottom’ trying to communicate upwards can find their views blocked by line managers who don’t want their managers to know what people say.

    Line managers probably have more power than anyone else. They can make or break your comms campaign or business strategy. And I think it would be good if they realised this. It’s also why it is essential we provide sufficient communications skills training for them: they are promoted to become managers and then expected to miraculously be good communicators. Often this isn’t the case and we blame them for it, but without really stopping to help them. This marzipan layer is where it’s at – and where our focus should largely be. After all, isn’t the marzipan the best bit of the cake…?

    • Hi Simon, like you said…I certainly don’t think we disagree, I completely agree with your point around managers being promoted and then expected to be great communicators and leaders!

      Maybe it’s because I don’t like Marzipan and often peel it off to eat the cake that I think the layer below the Marzipan is still best. Like I think a cake can be fine without Marzipan, I pose the question that does a truely engaged and empowered employee need a manager?

      If we provide all the right tools for them to get the information they need and they’re given trusted enough to make their own decisions…then middle managers become obsolete do they not?

      • Simon Monger says:

        “Does a truly engaged and empowered employee need a manager?”

        Maybe not, but this is a chicken and egg type of question: doesn’t the manager play an important part in engagement? I don’t believe you can have one without the other – or at least not to the same degree. I have worked for good managers and I have worked for bad managers. I can categorically say that, no matter how good the company engagement, if my manager doesn’t make the effort to engage with me and make me feel valued then I feel disengaged. Line managers are the people, after our direct colleagues, that we interact with the most; therefore they have the influence to make or break how you feel about your job, your coworkers and the company.

      • Great point Simon, I often say that middle managers are the biggest communications team in a business and are often forgotten about. I certainly think a middle ground needs to be found where we don’t rely on managers solely for engagement but trust them to be able to engage when they need to! Not easy at all, but then again if it was…anyone could do it!

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