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 Every business has two


Organization Charts.


One is invisible!



Whether you’re looking for a job, struggling to keep one, or you’re running the whole dog and pony show, you need to be aware that every business has two power charts. The official organization chart (even if there’s only a small handful of employees) is one. The other is the real one. The real one is invisible, and hard to figure out.

It can be understood even though it’s invisible, but it takes persistent and careful observation of what’s not written down or computer-diagrammed. What? Sounds like a Harry Potter “Invisibility Cloak.”

Why bother? Because it affects who gets hired and fired, who gets promotions and raises, and who gets elbowed out of the action.

And probably needless to say, every professional salesperson and business owner needs to be able to size up and use the power charts of customer/client organizations and prospective customer/clients . . . or be prepared to waste a lot of time, money, and energy chasing after the wrong people.

Decision makers are seldom the check writers.



1. Who supplies the reliable information?

A decision maker or someone having close access to the real decision maker is the source.

2. Who has social contacts with the owner or top management people?

Social connections may have been achieved through long-standing friendships, or a spouse with good connections, or through activities in some political, community, athletic or religious organization. Or they could be more shallow and more short-lived, as with SM.

3. Which long-time employees have quietly cornered power?

Look for someone who has assumed (or been assigned) authority to approve memos, reports, plans, diagrams. Even if their initials on the project mean nothing, by making themselves a part of the approval chain, these (usually) senior employees can delay or kill a project by leaving it quietly on their desks, or in their email hold or inboxes. Negative power, yes, but it’s power nonetheless.

4. Which co-workers have relatives or former bosses in the ownership or top management hierarchy?

They may have realistic expectations of promotions that will turn them into powerful people eventually.

5. Who is currently involved in a co-worker romance?

Of course “fishing off company docks” is never okay or smart, but it happens with greater frequency than most think (including in the White House and California Governor’s mansion). Keep in mind that while some day, the relationship may end, at the moment, you might be faced with a duo commanding power from two different directions in the same business or organization. Once you understand the power structure, you’ll know how to get results and who is really important to your future with the company. . . or with running the company.


Just so you know there’s nothing new about organizational politics and manipulation: The above, with some updating added –believe it or not– appeared in the November 28, 1976 FAMILY WEEKLY as a “JOBMANSHIP” feature by S. R. Redford. Thank you, S.R., wherever you are!     




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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

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