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In Search of an Organizational Chart in the Consulting World


I get it, believe me. Having served in the military in one form or another for many years and serving government clients as a consultant for a long time, I understand how the existence and the availability of an organizational chart is an absolute necessity. It just makes sense right? As a platoon leader and a company commander I don't know what I would've done without our MTOE (Modified Table of Organization and Equipment), a document that "prescribes the unit organization, personnel and equipment necessary to perform an assigned mission." Who wouldn't want to understand who is in charge of what, what are the lines of authority and the relative ranks and relationships of the organization?

I also know that trying to find an org chart in a consulting firm can result in episodes of frustration, particularly for a veteran new hire. Tracking down an org chart can be tough, and often times the chart that is found represents a relatively small fraction of the organization and has a shelf life of a loaf of bread.

There are good reasons for this. Consulting firms operate in what can be described in military parlance as a fluid battlefield. As Sun Tzu describes: “just as water retains no shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.” When acting in a fluid battlefield, warriors need to be prepared for any eventuality. One way that Consulting firms do this as they address their "battlefield", or marketplace, is to maintain a matrixed, flexible, and evolving organizational structure. Veterans who understand this approach and view consulting organizations through this lens will have an easier time transitioning and navigating the world of consulting.

The biggest takeaway here is that you should keeping searching for that org chart! Search by networking through the organization – whether it be from the outside as a job seeker, or on the inside as a new hire. If you’re on the outside, connect and network with the organization’s individuals through LinkedIn and ACP for example. Know that you may not have satisfaction in finding a final true to form org chart, but that you will find satisfaction in the quest for it and the associated benefits from exploring the organization and expanding your network.

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