Who's in the Room?

At the heart of every organization chart lies a myth.

At the top there's the boss. Directly beneath are the boss's direct reports—anywhere from five to fifteen people who meet regularly as the senior team. Whether at the corporate, divisional, functional, or departmental level, this team almost invariably has a name that suggests its lofty status: Executive Committee, Management Council, Operating Committee, Senior Management Team. Like the gods on Olympus, the members of this august body are presumed by most managers to spend their time together discussing profound thoughts and making all of the organization's truly momentous decisions.

The reality is that they don't—any more than they wear togas and sandals. ...

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