It’s the first modern organisation chart, and here are the stories.
One story is that this was created after the first fatal railroad accident. They hired an engineer, so he saw the railroad as a big machine. The org chart is to allocate blame – ‘let there be no question as to who was delinquent in his duty’.
This shows us why organisations are crushing, miserable jails for the human spirit.
The other story, though, has you take a look at the chart. Beautiful, isn’t it? It doesn’t *look* like a machine. It looks alive, organic. And it’s ‘upside-down’ – the branches, at the top, are given maximum discretion, consistent with safety and coherence. The board of directors, like a nourishing root ball, get the best overview and information to plan and direct the big picture.
This story is of organisation as an enabler, challenger, developer of humanity.
The bearded man’s name was Daniel McCallum and, to this, day, organisations contain both possibilities. Because both stories are true.
What do you see, when you look at the first modern org chart?