The traditional way to show the hierarchy of a traditional organization is with the CEO at the top and the workgroups/teams at the bottom. The Toyota way (as far as I know) is to reverse it, with the CEO at the bottom. I don’t think either shows the diagram as I’d really like, although the reversed model feels much better to me.
The reason is, the CEO role is a dual role of support and showing direction. In the support role, the role is certainly “at the bottom”, providing support for everyone else in their jobs. In the showing direction role, it is at the tip of the organization.
I have often wondered how I could show that duality effectively, both at the same time. Tonight, as I was going to sleep, an image came to me. I had to get up and do it (and then blog it) so that I don’t forget it.
Here’s the image:
It’s pretty rough picture since I had to do it quickly (still gotta get to bed before dawn breaks). But imagine that like a triangular arrowhead pointed towards better future. Read the diagram on the top and the back.
Certainly, that diagram is useful only in the context of more hierarchical organisations. Organizations like Futurice and Spotify are better described with other approaches.