In every organized group or enterprise, there is a chain of command, or at least, some loosely defined structure that is supposed to determine how decisions are to be made, and how authority is to be granted for doing the work of the organization.
Sometimes this structure is described in complex organizational charts, with layers and layers of reporting, tracing out the lines of power. Perhaps in your group it works differently. Small companies tend to be much more horizontal and flat, with authority being more autonomously localized.
And understanding the dynamics within Family owned operations are enough for a series of articles, all their own.
Regardless of the type of organization you run, or find yourself working within, there is the publicized or “official” way things are supposed to happen.
And – there is the way that things really happen. The way things get done.
Look around your company. Without thinking too hard, I bet all of you can come up with 1, 2, or 3 people who are absolutely vital when things need to be done, when real influence is needed. Maybe this person is the administrative assistant to a powerful exec. Or the old timer, who knows where all the bodies are buried.
You really come into your own within an organization when you start to understand the difference between the stated lines of power within your company, and the actual, unofficial, networks of influence. And more importantly, you start to be truly effective, when you understand how to leverage these informal networks to the good of your enterprise, and to the good of your career.
The risk in using these informal – and almost always unofficial – networks is that you will be in danger of Stepping on Toes. Jumping Rank. Speaking out of Turn. Being out of Line.
Fortune favours the bold. And the bold don’t sit around, waiting for that invitation to be awesome.
Go, and be you.