Hierarchy & Scale

After reading a post from my good friend Stephen Lynch from Results, I wanted to add value by complementing his most recent post with my own 2 cents.

Effective hierarchy is about engagement & not about control

We’ve heard the stories about Google & Zappos leaderless initiatives, but if you’re to analyze that further, you’d realize that one didn’t get rid of hierarchy. They simply found an effective way for hierarchy to work. Not to complicate things, but I’d like to throw in a word called convergence (i.e. Convergence Theory). More specifically, when the outcome is to gradually diminish intrinsic barriers &  ideological differences, leading ultimately to a consensus of the right thing to do. This is also a variation of agreement vs alignment, when the greater good of the whole supersedes an individual need to be right.

In order for “a crowd” to execute flawlessly they need a vision to follow. In the absence of a hierarchy to set & communicate an inspiring vision, only chaos & inefficiencies can result.

The purpose of hierarchy

I like the statement “a well-managed hierarchy is among the most effective weapons for getting rid of the friction”. This is what the number 1 job of any supervisory role (regardless of its place in hierarchy), to remove any friction that impacts progress toward success.


The role of an effective hierarchy in growth & scale, which is needed in every fabric of our society, is to..

  • Create & communicate a compelling & inspiring Vision
  • Cascade effective communication engaging focus on the right set of priorities to achieve Vision
  • Facilitate an ecosystem that is focused on the removal any friction that impedes progress toward Vision
  • Recognize & celebrate every success along the road to, and when Vision is achieved
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