Be the Composer & Arranger

Most business organizations are hodge-podge. They either evolve by happenstance into a tinker-toy like structure. Or, those who are in control simply try to emulate the most popular organization structures of the day – whatever is in style at the time.

And they emulate the most-widely used bunch of “functions.”

These are both potentially trouble-making mistakes. Such mistakes are sometimes fatal. In any case, they create and maintain a lingering pathology.

Organizations need to be continuously composed and arranged to fulfill the unique purposes which they are intended to serve.

When you compose an organization you design the processes that would enable any user on the planet to communicate effectively and efficiently with your organization.

When you compose an organization, you invent the networking that is essential to your organization’s health and welfare. This would include all suppliers, sources of financing, pertinent government agencies, and industry and local organizations.

Most importantly, when you compose an organization, you create the roles required to make the organization function rightly, and to further its aims and purposes.

This requires discipline and improvisational skills (which are, in effect, communication skills). The structure communicates. All of the processes communicate. All of the problems communicate. Every performance of every person at all times communicates.

You must be the orchestrator – the one who must make the whole perform as a composite of how all of its roles are performed.

Managers make the existing machinery go the best it can. Leaders devise or invent better machinery.

You are the engineer of making the organization perform as it must if it is to fulfill its role.

This requires prodigious compositional and orchestrating competencies.

It requires a grasp of how you relate the performances of the parts to the performance of the whole, all in the circumstances of the day.

It is the consequences of communication that matter – starting from your imagination and being completed by everyone else’s competent, compelling, and even masterful execution – just as it happens in the best jazz ensembles.

That’s what you as the leader are supposed to provide. You must provide this both in advance (preparedness) and at every moment.

If you can’t (or don’t), the organization will fail its role – its mission, no matter how right-minded that might be.

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader


What is your organization for?  What is its role in history?

In what sense is organization-making similar to life-making?

Would you consider yourself an unconventional thinker?  Would others?

Not a CEO?  In what ways does your position affect how you might make use of this excerpt?

-Joelle Moles, Institute Mentor