Organization charts barely rank when you list what’s important about how to run a law department, but they also serve who only box and line. It is still useful for general counsel to be able to depict their legal team and they need not unthinkingly accept how the chart looks. It is possible to enhance org charts significantly and here are some ideas.
1. Include email, fax and cell data about each person or insert a hypertext link to that information.
2. Draw on social network notions of including additional information about the person, such as a self-written bio. One law department I have worked with lets people put in a compilation their favorite movies, records, and super powers they wish they had.
3. Make available a position description by a hypertext link (See my posts of June 21, 2006: position descriptions as stodgy clutter or useful tool; March 9, 2007: position description of corporate secretary.). I have questioned the value of job descriptions (See my posts of June 21, 2006 for criticisms; and March 3, 2006 for John Deere’s reevaluation of its position descriptions).
4. Append each person’s key objectives for the year.
5. Format the boxes to indicate something about the person’s responsibilities, such as the number of reports they have (See my post of March 22, 2006: several ideas for how to perk up the organization chart.).
6. Use the org chart to show dual-line reporting (See my post of March 1, 2006: dotted-line reporting.).
7. Incorporate ideas from so-called rich descriptions (See my post of July 5, 2006 #3 regarding “rich pictures.”).
8. Link each person to a location map or office layout to show where their office can be found.
9. Indicate the office location of the person by the color or length of the line or box.
10. Indicate subject matter experts (See my post of March 17, 2006: SME’s.).
11. Code each name with the email distribution lists the person belongs to.
12. Incorporate a short podcast by the person.
By augmentation such as these techniques, the plain-vanilla org chart can provide much more information about the person and their spheres within the law department.