Pyramids, Circles and Organizational Geometry

Pyramids-of-Giza-are-located-on-West-bank-of-Nile

Welcome to Organizational Geometry.

I was reading a book recently that had nothing to do with business or leadership.

In fact, it was related to the Christmas story.

The author talked about a shift.

A new relationship built on circles instead of pyramids.

And that got me thinking about these shapes and how they differ.

How they influence the way we work and lead.

 

Pyramids.

Rigid.

Sharp.

Complex.

Heavy.

Stationary.

Structured.

Promotes inequality.

Consumes energy.

Blocks connection.

Monument to the ego.

 

Circles

Flexible.

Smooth.

Simple.

Light.

Mobile.

Natural.

Inspires equality.

Conserves energy.

Forms connection.

Monument to unity.

 

Pyramids

pyramid3

Or Circles?

circles

Which one appeals to you?

 

Pyramids require that roles are defined and movement is limited.

(People die inside those things)

Energy is linear.

The structure creates layers of separation.

Changing the form requires careful maneuvering to avoid collapse.

Leadership is concentrated at the top.

 

Roles are flexible and can be organized in new ways with minimal effort.

Energy flows through and across the organization.

Circles allow unique and independent systems to overlap and connect in any number of ways to form new outcomes.

Leadership radiates from the center.

 

Shifting from  pyramids to circles feels like a process of changing how we think about relationships, decision-making and the way groups are linked together in the organization.

More of a cultural, psychological shift than a structural change.

A different paradigm.

 

Circles seem full of possibilities.

Why then do we still see so many pyramids?

 

Many organizations are changing.

The focus seems to be on flat.

Not round.

A flatter pyramid.

Is still a pyramid.

End of lesson.

2 comments

  1. nicely said and great example, Scott. I think there are times for both types depending on the situation.

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Skip. You know I was thinking about that after I completed the post. I wonder how both structures could operate interdependently or compliment each other. Though I painted pyramids with a negative brush here it was more in reference to some of the outdated, hierarchical systems that are still in place long after they no longer serve their purpose. Probably fair to say there are situations where this structure is still relevant and does serve a purpose. Goal was just to inspire thinking about other possibilities. Good point and appreciate the comment.

    Reply

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