Life Must be Grand Inside the Pyramid

I’ll refer you back to my description of the corporation’s hierarchy in the post Help! We’ve Spun off the Organization Chart and can’t get up! (May 20, 2007, categorized under Never fail to Amaze). It’s difficult enough to work in a highly matrixed organization with directives and edicts emanating from a far distant “pyramid”. Now we are graced with the details of its newly reorganized structure – despite the fact that we were never informed of how it was organized beforehand.

The CEO has just issued the all employee memo. Of course it’s a lengthy and complicated document. Could anything less impress us lowly peons? If my powers of deduction are correct, it would appear that the pyramid contains several levels of the elite hierarchy – well sort of. Let’s see, we now must pay homage to the “Bureau of the CEO”, “Senior Executive Counsel”, “Functional Executive Counsel” and “Executive Advisory Counsel”. I had no idea that the pyramid had grown so large. Sounds magnificent and important, no?

The “Bureau of the CEO” seems pretty straightforward. It’s the CEO and his direct reports identified by both name and title, sort of like the traditional hierarchy one would expect. After that, it all becomes a bit more complicated. The “Senior Executive Counsel” is also headed by the CEO and contains some but not all of the CEO’s direct reports. It also contains some but not all of the heads of the various business units. Reporting to members of the “Senior Executive Counsel” are other heads of various business units identified by name only. So now we have some business unit leaders reporting to other business unit leaders. OK. Then there is the “Functional Executive Counsel”. This counsel is headed by one of the CEO’s direct reports who has a variety of individuals (some with strange and undecipherable titles) reporting up to them. One might think that these would be the heads of the major functional areas of the corporation, except for the fact that one of the most important functions is missing. This counsel also includes an individual from a functional area that one would expect to report directly to one of the CEO’s direct reports in the “Bureau of the CEO”. Finally, we come to the “Executive Advisory Counsel”, again headed by the CEO. This counsel includes several executives from a variety of business units none of whom anyone outside of the pyramid has probably ever heard of. It also includes the SR VP of the functional area that seems to be missing from “Functional Executive Counsel”. Sound confusing? Probably not to those who understand “the big picture”.

Of course there is absolutely no mention of how the rest us interface with this structure. To whom do we middle managers in the spinning sphere that separates the pyramid from the elongated rectangle report functionally or administratively? Where is the talk about providing those beneath the pyramid with resources and support? I have never seen a corporation more fixated on its elite. You can bet that the tape measures are working overtime to ensure that the proper office sizes befitting the status of the various counsel members are correct. The orders for new office furniture and other accouterments to appropriately identify the status of the various members probably abound as well. Salaries and perks? Let’s not even go there.

One thing is certain. We all know that the directives will continue to flow downward. Perhaps the purpose of the memo is to indicate that this restructuring will result in more commands and demands placed upon us. These “Counsels”, after all, will naturally have to justify their existence. You can bet that additional (and most probably redundant) requests for data and reports will soon be on the way. Why not just install telemetry on every piece of production machinery and office equipment and have the data transmitted to the various executive counsel members? Sorry, I forgot that there would still be a need for someone to perform the tasks of data collation, validation and summarization. Such tasks are certainly beneath the members of the “Counsels”.

Did I forget to mention the rationale behind this puzzle? Why it’s to structure the executive leadership so that it can maintain a tight finger on the pulse of the corporation and instantly react to changes in the marketplace. Sounds very cutting edge. In my opinion, it serves only to insulate the “elite” even further from the rest of the workforce. What utter pomposity!

Perhaps I’m being too critical and cynical. Could additional memos from our local leadership be forthcoming to further explain all of this to us? Based on the track record, it’s rather doubtful. In the meantime, I am certain that Sally, the accounts payable clerk whose position is about to be outsourced, Herman, whose manufacturing job will soon be eliminated because his plant is being closed and Edgar, the middle manager whose business unit was just sold to another firm that will find his position “redundant” will all take comfort in the knowledge that the Pharaoh, high priests and priestesses residing in the pyramid are now well organized and positioned to make only the most enlightened of business decisions.

As the elongated rectangle continues to shrink in size due to plant closings, outsourcing of jobs and the sale of many the corporation’s business units, what will become of the Pharaoh and his reorganized retinue who reside in the pyramid? Will it become their tomb? Not! They will move on to other kingdoms and continue to govern from distant palaces and temples. The rest of us will be set free to find other rulers to whom to pay our tribute. That is if we can locate them in the employment desert and be deemed worthy.


2 Responses to “Life Must be Grand Inside the Pyramid”

  1. Eclecticity Says:

    “Perhaps I’m being too critical and cynical.”

    I don’t think so. You are merely living up to your name. Courage!


  2. thecorporatecynic Says:

    Thanks for the thought. Perhaps it’s my upbringing that continually draws me to give those in power the benefit of the doubt. You know, that 20%allowance for having good intentions that I mention in the book.

    Oh well, back to the grind. Please visit again soon.


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