Our Inverted Org Chart: Why, as CEO, I’m at the Bottom

Oct 10, 2023

By Chad Delligatti, InnoSource CEO

People are often surprised when they see our InnoSource organizational chart. Because it doesn’t look like a typical layout. In our org chart, as CEO, I’m below everyone else.

At the top? Our customers. And right below those customers are all our associates in the field that are working directly for our customers. Right below our associates in the field are all the folks who are servicing our customers and helping them find great people to fill their open roles.

We keep our customers and our associates at the top of our org chart so we never forget that they are the most important parts of our work and that without them, our company would not be the success it is.

I’m a big believer in servant leadership. That’s a phrase that’s been thrown around a lot over the years, but I’ve had the great fortune to meet many true servant leaders in my career and it is easy to see how their organizations benefit. Like them, I am here to support our associates, along with all our customers, and, of course, the communities in which we work.

But I also love our org chart because it flips the standard way of thinking about business. It shows, in a clear visual, that our leadership is here to create the foundation for the rest of our organization to thrive, rather than sitting “above” anyone else. And it recognizes the vital role played by the InnoSource teams who interact with our customers daily.

Leadership isn’t about control. It’s about hiring the right people, giving them the tools they need to succeed and to help an organization succeed, and motivating and supporting them along the way. It’s about doing the work alongside the rest of the team. It’s about celebrating and elevating their wins, about taking opportunities for growth in stride, and approaching them as things to be learned from, not as things to berate over.

Of course, because of the business we are in, we think about hiring the right people even more than most organizations. And shifts taking place in our workforce, both around the country and in our own backyard in central Ohio, have made me think about hiring on a broad scale even more than I normally do. Issues like remote vs. in-person work, artificial intelligence, the skills gap and others have made making thoughtful hires seemingly more important than they have been in the past.

I continue to believe, though, that as long as you hire people who are better than you — not almost as good, not equally good, but better — you are almost guaranteed to be successful. Because when you find people who are better — maybe smarter, maybe more innovative, maybe with brilliant new ideas — and give them a place to thrive, you not only bring their skills and energy to your organization, but you get to learn from them, too.

That’s what our org chart is all about: the idea that everyone has the ability to make our organization a success.

As the business pioneer Andrew Carnegie said: “No one will make a great leader who wants to do it all themselves or to get all the credit for doing it.

I’m keeping that in mind as we onboard new clients and colleagues this quarter ahead. How are you thinking about leadership in these final months of the year?