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Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart, Third Edition by Alan P. Brache, Geary A. Rummler

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CHAPTER ONE

VIEWING ORGANIZATIONS AS SYSTEMS

Adapt or die.

—UNKNOWN

The Traditional (Vertical) View of an Organization

Many managers don’t understand their businesses. Given the recent “back to basics” and “stick to the knitting” trend, they may understand their products and services. They may even understand their customers and their competition. However, they often don’t understand at a sufficient level of detail how their businesses get products developed, made, sold, and distributed. We believe that the primary reason for this lack of understanding is that most managers (and nonmanagers) have a fundamentally flawed view of their organizations.

When we ask a manager to draw a picture of his or her business (be it an entire company, a business ...

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