Function First: How to Develop Org Charts that Work

Function and form are two important concepts in design, and they refer to different aspects of a product or system.

Function refers to the purpose or utility of a product or system. It’s about what it does and how well it performs its intended task. For example, the function of a car is to transport people and goods from one place to another. The function of a website is to provide information or enable users to perform specific tasks.

Form, on the other hand, refers to the appearance, shape, and style of a product or system. It’s about how it looks and how it makes people feel. For example, the form of a car includes its color, shape, and design elements like headlights and taillights. The form of a website includes its layout, typography, and visual elements like images and videos.

The 3 Core Functions of a Business

There are 3 core functions that are essential to the success of any business: “Get the Money,” “Earn the Money,” and “Track the Money.”

“Get the Money” refers to the activities that a business undertakes to bring in sales and revenue.

This includes all aspects of the sales and marketing process, such as lead generation, customer acquisition, pricing, and promotions. It also includes activities such as fundraising and financing, which are essential for businesses that are just starting out or seeking to expand.

“Earn the Money” is what a business does to deliver on its promises and earn revenue.

This includes all aspects of the operations process, such as production, delivery, and customer service. It also includes activities such as product development and innovation, which are essential for businesses that want to stay competitive and grow over time.

“Track the Money” is what a business does to account for where its money comes from and where it goes.

This includes all aspects of finance and accounting, such as budgeting, financial reporting, and compliance. It also includes activities such as risk management and strategic planning, which are essential for businesses that want to manage their finances effectively and make informed decisions.

By understanding the importance of these 3 core functions and ensuring that they are optimized, businesses can build a strong foundation for success and sustainable growth.

By doing this first, the business can then create a form that supports these functions.

Applying Form to Business: Organizational Chart and Roles

The 3 functions are often overseen by three distinct departments: sales and marketing, operations, and finance and accounting.

While these functions may be overseen by distinct departments, it’s important to recognize that they are interdependent and must work together to ensure the success of the business.

For example, sales and marketing must work closely with operations to ensure that products and services are delivered as promised, while finance and accounting must work closely with all departments to ensure that the business is financially stable and compliant with regulations.

In terms of naming positions on an org chart, the concept of function and form still applies.

The name of a position should accurately reflect the primary function or responsibility of the person holding that position. For example, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is responsible for managing the financial aspects of the business, while a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is responsible for managing the marketing efforts of the business.

However, it’s important not to get too caught up in the form or title of a position, and instead focus on the function and responsibilities associated with it. A position title may sound impressive or prestigious, but it’s the responsibilities of the position that determine its importance to the business.

When building out an org chart, it’s important to define the functions and responsibilities of each position before assigning a title. This ensures that each position is aligned with the business’s goals and objectives, and that the people in those positions are clear on what they need to do to contribute to the success of the business.

In other words, the function and responsibilities of a position should drive its name or title, rather than the other way around. This helps to ensure that the business is focused on what matters most – delivering value to its customers, stakeholders, and shareholders – rather than getting bogged down in titles and hierarchy.

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Jean-Eric Plamondon

Founder and Systems Strategist at Growth Strategies.

Serial entrepreneur with direct experience launching, growing, & selling a number of businesses including scaling a scrap metal business from $0 to $5 Million in 6 months.

Certified Management Consultant and Value Builder Advisor. Author of the Boring Business Manifesto.


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