How often do you look through your organization chart? How closely do you look? What do you look for?

Disney Org Chart (classic)Some executives survey their org charts with a sense of achievement, while others look for ways to cut costs; but often a more productive path is to identify new synergies and think through ways to bring those synergies into the business.

When you head up a large business unit, it can be difficult to learn the names of everyone on your team; never mind trying to understand their skills, aspirations and abilities. But if you do pick up that org chart, look through the names that appear. Try to put a face to the name. How far down can you go? Do you know the intern? What about the new sales exec?

Now, you may not know the particular blend of skills that each person has, but most leaders will have a sense of the challenges that people face in achieving their daily, monthly and yearly work goals. Why don’t you reach down through the org chart and provide one of these people with a stretch goal or a special project? Pair them up with a mentor. Introduce them to someone from another part of the business.

Using the org chart as a tool, in this way, can yield unexpected benefits. And you can never go wrong when building the skills and capabilities of your teams — remember, your people are your competitive advantage.

Nina Nets It Out: Leadership means proactively developing the resources of your business — this includes people. Take a look at your organization chart and see how you can activate the hidden skills and under-utilized capabilities that you find there.