“Then there is the other secret. There isn’t any symbolysm [sic]. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.”
― Ernest Hemingway
I came across this quote for the first time last night (Ernest Hemingway on Writing, 1984 by Larry W. Phillips) and it just blew my mind. I still appreciate The Old Man and the Sea as much as I did before — it remains my favorite Hemingway work — but it says something about what goes on between the writer and the reader. It is never a one-sided affair.
Have you ever considered the organizational chart for a one-person business? It might have only a single box with a single name on it, an immediate snapshot of sorts, or could look just like that of a more established business of the same industry or type. Most if not all of the functional needs are present from the start. Somebody is responsible for sales, customer service, operations, accounting, cleaning, collections and more, including to one degree or another, payroll. There is one big difference, though. On the organizational chart for a one-person business, the same person’s name holds every functional job title.
Is there a point to having a detailed organizational chart for an organization of one? Yes! Let me give you at least two good reasons. First, because mapping out an organization in this fashion forces the business owner to envision the business at a more fully established stage. What will that business look like when it .matures? How many functional departments must it have in order to strive? What functions will necessarily be fulfilled by internal staff, as opposed to being outsourced? Will this change over time? Even though the organizational chart begins with the same name on every line, it is based on a vision for the future, when that will no longer the case.
Which brings me to my second point: If in fact the business owner has a vision for the company that includes expansion and hiring, a detailed, forward-looking organizational chart illustrates all of the short, intermediate and long term goals that involve replacing the owner’s name for each successive job function, presumably from the bottom up, with that of another individual. This is a process that continues through the life cycle of the business, as the owner focuses progressively more time and effort on business development instead of day-to-day operations.
Imagine a one-person business starting up with an organizational chart that reflects the owner’s vision for his or her eventual exit strategy. That is a grand vision indeed and not always considered at such an early stage, but definitely within the realm of possibility.
Do you own a very small business? What does your organizational chart look like?