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A weekly blog to enlighten and encourage Christian business leaders to lead their business using biblical principles.

Leadership Lesson
Business Principles of Nehemiah 11 (Organizational Charts) – Last week we looked at how Nehemiah led the people beginning with a solemn promise, putting it in writing, taking an oath, followed by verbally delineating their vow! Is your word your bond in your personal and business life?

In Chapter 11 Nehemiah documents the leaders, their functions, and who they were leading. While Organizational Chart is not mentioned, Nehemiah was an organized leader. Why have an Organizational Chart?

Organizational charts help people understand how the enterprise is organized and how they fit into it. What are the types of Organizational Charts?

Classical hierarchical pyramid where the boss is at the top and the workers at the bottom, in-between are the supervisors and foremen. Line refers to those in the direct workflow, and Staff those in support functions. Everybody can see who they report to and who reports to them.

Matrix is where people are pooled together for work assignments. An individual can have several reporting relationships depending on the specific project. Many organizations blend pyramidal and matrix.

Flat organizations eliminate many middle management positions and decentralize decision making. Organizations with self directed teams often blend organizational styles.

Why don’t leaders develop an Organizational Chart? Motives can vary from – never got to it, to want all employees to be equal, to the boss doesn’t want to share power. How big does an organization have to be to need a Chart? The test is – can people explain clearly how they fit in the organization.

What does the Bible say about Organizational Charts? Moses father-in-law was one of the first management consultants. He observed Moses doing it all. Jethro said – Now let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing Him their questions to be decided. You should tell them God’s decisions, teach them God’s laws and instructions, and show them how to conduct their lives. But find some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as judges over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. These men can serve the people, resolving all the ordinary cases. Anything that is too important or too complicated can be brought to you. But they can take care of the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God directs you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” Exodus 18:19-23 NLT Does this sound like a classical organization chart?

Jesus dealt with a situation when James and John were bucking for high positions – When the ten other disciples discovered what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:41-45 NLT

Jesus teaches us to turn the classical pyramidal organizational chart upside down. Who is at the top of your organization? Are you serving?

(Editor’s Note: When I managed a secular commercial, industrial, institutional electrical mechanical service company we published our Organizational Chart upside down – the customer at the top, and me at the bottom. It reminded me and my management team that the people turning the wrenches were why the customers paid us.)

Bit of Wisdom
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45 ESV

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Paul Lantz
CBMC Forums