Heirarchy vs. Importance

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Organizational Development | 0 comments

There is something deeply rooted inside the human psyche that drives each one of us, regardless of our demographic, to seek tangible visible evidence of our own importance. It’s tribal. It’s existential. Our species, along with many many others, has done this since the dawn of our existence. And from an incredibly young age,

“I get the top bunk!”

“I get to stay up later!”

“I get to stay out later!”

This quickly turns into corner offices, business class seating, $200 lunches and separate dining rooms for the executive class. Somewhere along the way we became undoubtedly, inexcusably, incomparably insecure.

Insecurity and leadership cannot co-exist.

In organic organizations, there is organic leadership. Organic leadership is totally comfortable with hierarchy. Hierarchy is very much so about missional continuity. But if you think for one second that one part of an organic structure is any more or less a part of the whole, then please quit before I fire you. Leaders have a mission-critical function. That function is to comprehensively process, align and execute information across your entire organization in real-time every second of every day that your organization is alive. The minute you fail at that, your organization will have a stroke.

Your role is complex, mission-critical, and time-sensitive in the most urgent sense of the term. You are the only person within your organization who can do that job. Which means two things. 1. If you need something to prove to everyone around you that you’re more important than someone else, you need to put your head down on your desk and call professional help. And 2. You’re not doing a good enough job of processing, aligning and executing the information in your organization, because you are out of alignment to the whole. Hierarchy does not mean or require elevation. It simply means that organic structures are organized in order of mission-critical status.

It’s insane to think that a foot is more important than a heart. Feet are sort of just out there at the end somewhere, while the heart is protected by a rib cage but they function together as a whole. It’s the brain’s job to help them function together by providing the necessary information throughout the body that allows for blood to pump to the foot, and for the foot to move in coordination with the rest of the body. A foot may be in “lower order” than a heart, but losing one is still a tragedy.

Leaders don’t get to go ahead of anyone else. The moment leaders begin to think that they are, somehow, separate from the whole, the whole thing dies.