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The Office Chart That Really Counts

The Office Chart That Really Counts Mapping informal relationships at a company is revealing — and useful:

Two years ago, Ken Loughridge, an information technology manager living in Cheshire, England, uprooted his family and moved to the other side of the world.

His company, engineering and environmental consulting firm MWH Global, was reorganizing its various information technology offices into a single global division, establishing its main service center on New Zealand’s more cost-effective shores and promoting Loughridge to manage the company’s worldwide network, system, and desktop needs.

 “By and large, the staff I’d adopted were strangers,” he says. To help adjust to his new surroundings, Loughridge took a map with him.

A map of his organization, that is. A few months before, MWH had surveyed its IT employees, asking them which colleagues they consulted most frequently, who they turned to for expertise, and who either boosted or drained their energy levels.

Their answers were analyzed in a software program and then plotted as a web of interconnecting nodes and lines representing people and relationships.

Looking a little like an airline’s hub-and-spoke route maps, the web offered Loughridge a map — a corporate X-ray, in a sense — to how work really got done among his charges.

It helped him visualize the invisible, informal connections between people that are missing on a traditional organizational chart.

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