Visualizing Your Organization with CIM

Recently, there has been some momentum towards “flattening” your organization, such that most individuals in an organization are on the same level and they all report to one person. By flattening, we are trying to solve communication issues, as well as inequality issues related to hierarchical structures. However, we may actually end up compounding communication issues. For example, let’s say that one person, the director, is managing 10 people, and all decision-making and communication passes through her. She probably will not have enough time to first, gather all of the information she needs from each individual to make the best decision for the organization and second, what she decides with one individual may change by the time she talks with 3 other supervisees. In addition, each of the 10 employees she manages will likely feel that they do not have enough time to consult with the her on their work.

The Circles of Influence Method (CIMSM) Visual is an alternative, or supplementary, way to visualize and re-conceptualize your organization and provides important information that you can’t get from an organizational chart. I developed it based on the idea that every challenge should be addressed primarily by the individual or individuals who are most directly affected, so that the responsibility of a decision depends more on perspective and less on position within a hierarchy.

I’d like to invite you to watch a You Tube video that illustrates the process of building a CIMSM Visual, but here are a few things to keep in mind before you watch the video. The example we are about to review is pretty simple for the purposes of instruction; your organization’s CIMSM Visual will probably be more complex. A word of caution: A CIMSM Visual is intended for internal use only, for three reasons: 1) the process is more important and contains more information than the product, so sharing a visual outside of the organization could lead to confusion and misunderstandings; 2) it reflects only the perspective of the person or group that designed it, so naturally, others may disagree with the product; and 3) it can reveal sensitive information that, though useful, you may not want to share with anyone outside of your organization. The descriptions in the video are guidelines rather than strict rules; they can be adjusted to fit your organization.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or to set up a CIMSM Visual workshop for your organization.

Watch the video

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