The Company President In Relation to The Traditional Organizational Chart

The Company President In Relation to The Traditional Organizational Chart

The first man who drew up an organizational chart created a delusion that has been perpetuating itself for decades in the business world. Traditionally, the head of an organization is portrayed graphically as the king of the mountain. He has climbed the pyramid and sits securely at its apex, knowing that the board of directors will retain him as long as the profit sheet looks good. Or he can take pride in the fact that he has been chosen as uniquely able to attain specific company goals.(7 ¶ 1)

And who is to say that a company president should be denied the emotional-psychological rewards of power, prestige, status, and whatever else is pleasing to his ego? Such compensations are considerable, though they often may have little relationship to the monetary ones.(7 ¶ 2)

It has been said that what a top executive is paid for is the ability to make right decisions. It might be more accurate to put it this way: he is paid for having the sense to recognize sound courses of action when his underlings present him with adequate data. When a move into the future must be made, it is at this juncture that the sciences of economics and business administration have to be subjugated to a process that is very much like that used by creative artists. Not only does a company president usually have a great deal of data which points to a given decision—and often almost as many facts pointing in the opposite direction—but he also has a great absence of data. He must extrapolate. The variables of the future can never be foreknown completely. They must be sensed, to whatever degree possible. Yet the emotionally mature company president experiences minimum feelings of stress and strain; he has learned that time will add to his facts, and that the subtle factor known as timing is often best when it is first linked with patience, then audacity.(7 ¶ 3)

And so it is with the artist. With him, the unconscious mind is permeated with a strong urge to accomplish in a given direction. He literally yearns to express himself through his chosen medium, whether painting, sculpture, writing, music, or something else. And when his product is ready for expression, it is suddenly there—in his mind, his hands, his words—ready and waiting to come forth. The executive, too, must draw on creative forces and a kind of inspiration, if he is to assay the future astutely and insure correct decisions. Once the die is cast, what remains is the task of dovetailing the various company functions so that a final result is attained.(7 ¶ 4)

In actuality, those with ultimate authority in any organization are the servants of all those who work within it. This principle holds for the human relationships in every organization, and for every institution, be it political, economic, professional, or of any other nature. And once this premise is accepted, the meaning of an organizational chart is radically changed. The word responsibility then becomes a cornerstone. The company president carries the weight of the organization; he does not blithely sit on top enjoying privileges. True, the board of directors is the slim base upon which the entirety of the organization rests—to whatever greater or lesser extent it exerts an active influence on company affairs. Its delegation of authority to the president, however, makes him the pivotal force that will bring about company effectiveness or the lack of it.(7 ¶ 5)

One inadequate decision by a top executive affects the entire organization, while, obviously, a poor decision by a production worker has far less impact. For all the goodies a company president may enjoy, he can never lose sight of the seriousness of his job, the gravity of the consequences his every move sets into motion. He cannot forget nor ignore his own significance. Not only does the full weight of the company press down on him; it can also test his personality integration to the utmost. If he is the right man for the assignment, he welcomes problems as opportunities. He is exhilarated and thrilled with that special joy that comes from a sense of fulfilment. As a result, his health is good, he has clarity of mind, and he keenly anticipates what lies ahead each day.(7 ¶ 6)

It is usually those presidents who have what can be called an Atlas complex who sooner or later may face the dire consequences of stress and strain. These are the men who take their significance too seriously, thus making their responsibilities a burden rather than a challenge. When this happens, today's demands are almost too much, and the pleasure of what tomorrow will bring is transmuted into a gnawing fear of failure. Relationships at home, as well as at the office, can become tinged with misunderstanding, leading to an increasing sense of being lonely, isolated, and unappreciated.(7 ¶ 7)

The frustrations of a company president who is performing inadequately and who feels he is doing less than his best, will sooner or later rob him of a sense of personal worth. The less-than-perfect decisions of yesterday become the foreshadowing of tomorrow's failure. Worry is the result, with all its attendant repercussions on mental and physical well-being.(7 ¶ 8)

It is an interesting fact that worry, which often seems to have to do with the future, is connected only with the past. Naturally, no one can ever know all that the future will bring. But where there have been disappointments or failures in the past, these are easily regarded as predictors of a future that is chancy indeed. The upshot of this too usual situation is that the past and the future press against one another so desperately that there is little of the now to which the individual can respond effectively. This is serious, indeed, when one considers that the only time in which one can ever live is in the now. To be robbed of a present moment is to be robbed of a little piece of life itself. No wonder, then, that when a man is worried, his vital forces become depleted. When problems and pressures prevent his awareness from roaming at will to the sun, the sky, the trees, and fellow humans; when nature and beauty and music are relegated to the gray background—then we have a man who is in serious trouble. Figuratively he is in a gray, gray purgatory.(7 ¶ 9)

The realistic company chart schematized here should, among other things, cause any man to think more than twice before accepting a promotion to increased responsibility. If he thrives on problems and challenges, he will not be perturbed. But if there are deep doubts in his mind, he should reflect carefully on the fact that emoluments that go with advancement must be juxtapositioned against the capabilities he will bring to his new job—an assignment that may call for more than he has hitherto known he possessed.(7 ¶ 10)

Here is a revised organizational chart, picturing the Board of Directors and the President at the base of the chart, underneath the Vice Presidents, who are underneath the Division Directors, who are underneath the Department Managers, who are underneath the Section Chiefs, who are underneath the Unit Heads.


When an organizational chart is viewed as an inverted pyramid, we may have a cogent, psychological hypothesis for understanding one of the causes of economic dislocations. For example, if the president of one company is functioning poorly, his organization, of course, faces severe problems. Suppose there is another organization with which his has an interdependent relationship, and suppose its president is also unable to meet the demands of his position as he should. Then both organizations are in more jeopardy than either would be by itself. We can hypothecate the greater the number of interdependent companies whose presidents were malfunctioning, the greater would be the economic disturbance.(7 ¶ 11)

This emphasizes what should need no underscoring—the importance of competent back-up men. If a president leaves his organization for any reason at all, there must be someone who can carry on as effectively as he, or more so. The most damaging sin a board of directors can commit is to pay insufficient attention to thi feature of its human inventory. Any organization is in danger if it does not have a next president lined up at all times—a man who can demonstrate that unusual combination of art and good sense described earlier. Only if he has this among his array of talents is he able to meet each test of his judgment by selecting from among multiple possible courses of action the one that will add to his company's stability and promote its future growth.(7 ¶ 12)