Last month Bill
, CEO Gestalt LLC, told
an audience
that hierarchy was for managing scale NOT communication or working

He explained how Gestalt’s
self-managed teams produced remarkable results in both quality and timeline by
breaking down the traditional structures governing information dissemination,
decision making, and working relationships. 

Hierarchy, fundamental to
command and control, allows us to manage many things and not lose track of
them. But it is an impediment to natural
communication and working relationships, impacting productivity, quality of
decision making, and innovation.

Steve Rubel called hierarchical
communication “the vertical axis” when talking about
how media
companies should be embracing self-publishers

Steve discussed how a
horizontal axis has been added to the traditional command and control based
hierarchy. That horizontal access is
peer to peer, colleague to colleague, customer to customer communication. 

While the horizontal axis
of communication might be relatively new to the media, it’s not new to

In fact, haven’t the informal
channels and relationships within companies always been the way things really
got done?

Whether we’re discussing activities
within an organization, across organizations, or with our customers, reducing
our dependence on hierarchical communication instills fear that “we will lose

Ironically, it wasn’t ours
to lose anyway. 

We need to acknowledge
both axis and use them appropriately.