Leadership Skills for a Young Business.
How Making an Organizational Chart Will Teach you to Delegate.
I work a lot. Everyday. Every evening. Weekends too. I sometimes wear my workload as a badge of honor. It’s true there is an ego’s pride in being the “hardest worker in the room”, but at the same time, it’s a proven formula of success prescribed by some notable achievers I admire like Dwayne Johnson or Connor McGregor. Gary Vaynerchuck touts “working his face off” in his 20s and 30s to lay the foundation for his success.
My work schedule is a balance between work that I do because I love what I do (the part of the business I own), and doing things that if I don’t do, they won’t get done (the part of the business that owns me).
I was not a CEO at all, but still the classic ‘entrepreneur and founder’ — doing everything.
Recently, on the Sunday of a long weekend, I spent some time with an advisor looking at the roadmap between our current status and our goals, and the team needed to pull them off. It was clear that part of the business plan was underdeveloped.
How We Made Our Organizational Chart
We got set up in a big boardroom with a three-panel whiteboard. We started by writing down the names of all the people in the organization (on the admin side) and all the jobs and tasks they do on the left-side panel.
Next, we sketched a classic corporate organizational chart on the right side, based on some examples that we saw after googling for terms like “corporate organization chart”. From those examples, we made our cookie cutter version. It included, under the CEO, five core branches that we felt applied to our music agency: Finance, HR, Operations, Sales, and Marketing. We tried to drop in some core roles and tasks that we currently do underneath each core branch to group them and start framing an org chart just for us.
Finally, in the middle panel of the whiteboard, we took the corporate structure we made from those googled examples and massaged it into an “ideal” structure for our business, which included our current size, number of people on hand, and the two-year roadmap we had envisioned before we took on this exercise. At the top, next to “CEO” we wrote the core jobs we felt I should be spending all of my time on — and there were only two: business development, and brand development (which is a big part of the two-year roadmap).
However, It was clear when comparing the ideal structure with the existing structure that growth would never happen in a truly meaningful way until we fixed that.
How did it get this way? I believe that this is a fairly normal situation for a lot of startups who bootstrap their way into growth. I know I have a tendency to throw tasks at people who are around me because, well, it just needs to get done and there’s no time to hire and off we go!
At that moment in the boardroom, I really understood that I was not a CEO at all, but I was still the classic ‘entrepreneur and founder’ — doing everything. I do graphics, websites, artist management, systems design, hiring, marketing, data analytics, networking and relationship building, sales, marketing, and advertising, and I manage all the various teams & departments. Clearly, not a sustainable model and definitely not the way to scale a business.
Now that we had some idea of how things needed to function, we realigned the five core branches into three: “Operations”, “A&R” (Artist & Repertoire — essentially a fancy way to say HR for our agency), and “Marketing & Brand”— again, these are based specifically on my business, where it is today and where we want to take it in the next two years. This model likely won’t work for any other business but you’re welcome to try a similar approach.
For each of the three branches, we started with a Director’s role at the top and built out Sr. and Jr. roles beneath as far down as we could go.
Operations, for us, was the meatiest and most important of the three essentially holding all of the current revenue-generating parts of the company. Our main operations include three main branches: sales/consulting and event coordination/execution, and the management infrastructure (ie teams, websites, and systems) that allow all operations to happen.
Marketing & Brand held much of the strategy and execution of the two-year plan and a refreshed and exciting approach to PR, marketing, social media, and advertising. This is going to be a Gary Vee-inspired lead gen and brand awareness strategy I’m super excited to deploy.
A&R was a simpler branch with the fewest roles and responsibilities, but this branch is obviously tremendously important so we can develop, grow and nurture our human capital — in our case, talent: musicians, DJs, and artists. We included our admin team here too, while technically not artists, we choose to take creative liberty to call them artists so we can our A&R director can keep an eye on them too!
The Art of Delegation
With the ideal org chart laid out, I wrote my name next to all the jobs I was doing again to start. From here I was able to start erasing my name from all the roles except the one at the top, where we felt I was most critical to the success of the company. We put the people from the left-side panel into the roles on the new organizational chart in the middle-panel where we felt they were the best fit, and we were left with some holes a.k.a spots to be filled.
This practice alone was so satisfying and I began to feel lighter as I could see a real future where I could level up my organization and free some time for me to reallocate into the things I’m most interested in, which are (not a coincidence) the things most relevant to growing the business now.
Our next steps are to make clear roles and job descriptions for each role, and working towards a transition to get as many (ideally, all) of our existing admin team into the newly defined roles. From there we’ll look into some hiring grants and of course some actual hiring to fill in the remaining gaps.
Clearer roads ahead
Now, with our newly updated organizational chart, I can — for the first time in a long time, actually see that I can start to delegate those tasks from the side of my business that was previously defined as the “part of the business that owns me”. This way I expect to have more time for the tasks that I should own to oversee the longterm growth and potential my agency has. We see this happening by starting with clear job descriptions, filling the roles and designing an upward reporting structure.
Even though we have this chart, our small startup still needs a team of generalists, but even aligning those jobs/roles with a clear roadmap towards our goals has given us a freshly refocused energy as we continue to grow.
There in the boardroom, I felt a weight slowly being lifted off me and a refreshed focus on the future and a renewed excitement for what’s to come. I’m grateful for all the success we’ve had growing the company to date, I’m grateful for the team around me, and my advisor, Bianca, who pulled me aside and suggested this exercise in the first place, and I’m grateful for the potential in front of us.
Off we go again, wish us luck!
Are you a musician or new entrepreneur with big dreams and building a team? Want some help making an organizational chart? Leave a comment below.