DESIGNING AN ORGANISATIONAL CHART
By Peggy Rae Pavlat
I can tell you some of the things which go into my (our/Bucconeer's) decisions, but
I can't tell you what is "right" or even what our own organizational chart will look
like a year and a half from now!
I knew that the exercise itself was difficult, but I didn't know that articulating
the criteria or "guidelines" would be so hard. What I've come up with is below.
Early on, we listed every "activity" that "might" be at a Worldcon. The list
included things from Programming and Newsletter to presents for the GOHs and dealing
with an Official Airline. This list kept growing and growing, so it was A Good Thing
that I clearly labelled the early versions "DRAFT".
The summer before we won, we made several conditional appointments: Pre-Con
Registration, Money Person (CFO or Treasurer), GOH Liaison, Facilities, Pre-Con
Publications, WSFS Liaison and WEB Master. (We had had elections for Chairman the
previous winter.) Each of these positions would have tasks associated with it early
on and needed to be Up and Running in the event that Baltimore was selected to host
the 56th World Science Fiction Convention.
It was December (1995) before we made our next appointments. These were a Volunteer
Coordinator and an Agents Coordinator (therein lies many a tale!) Then, aside from
short term projects, it was March (of 1996) before we made other appointments. It
currently looks as though there will be seven divisions, but that may increase by one
or even two, if needed.
To Develop Your Org Chart, Look at:
- areas which will need similar resources (coordination is easier and more likely to
happen, if these areas are grouped together)
- between three and seven active "areas" in a division (active because some jobs are
entirely pre-con and some jobs are primarily at-con)
- protect the "Programming" and "Facilities" areas of getting overloaded with only
- the managerial strength, people-skills and preferences of "local" fans (take care
not to set people up to fail)
- the managerial strength, people-skills and preferences of "friends" outside the
local area (friends don't let friend run Worldcons....)
- the group culture (we're doing more with "teams", "Special Projects" and
"Chairman's Staff" than many groups could)
- consider "staff" functions in addition to "line" functions
- make appointments to manage areas about three months before the position has to
- Talk about what is involved with a particular job or task, with the person who is
being asked to take on the responsibility. Talk first, before offering the position.
There was one position we quietly decided _not_ to offer after the discussion
highlighted discrepancies between his version of reality and ours. Take notes.
(Even write up the notes so others can have the knowledge - we're about 50/50 on
writing the notes up...) Get a date by which the person will give a commitment
(if they need time to think before deciding; note that the offer should not be a
huge surprise to the candidate.)
- Some jobs need to be done, but no decision needs to be made yet about the total
scope of the position. Explicitly talk about the "D" word (delegation). Consider
deciding to "decide later" whether someone is an "area manager" or a "division
manager". (Some people intellectually know about delegation, but can't figure out
how to put this into practice; better for you and for the person if this is
discovered before the person has been named a "division manager"!
Thanks to Larry Smith for suggesting the terminology "division manager" rather than
the term used my many Worldcons, "division head".
So where, you ask, does Bucconeer's Organizational Chart sit right now? It's a work
in progress.... that's another day's tale. And is a puzzle I'm current working.