Office of the Future: Organizational Chart

organizational chart

The office of the future is so bright, it had to be written over a three part series. Part One was exploring remote work, Part Two included technology and automation solutions, and today for our final Part Three we rethink the organizational chart. 

Rethinking the Org Chart

When creating your organizational chart, it’s important to build it so each member clearly knows what their job description is and how they will be evaluated. Although it can be easier to build a job around a person, doing so can create long-term problems in your organization when hiring a new team member or shifting responsibilities. As I travel around to different campuses, I still see the “programs versus facility” mentality in place. As we rethink the organizational chart, let’s consider:

Business Operations or Business Development

Essentially in campus recreation, we mimic any other business or company. Business operations consist of any internal facing or back of the house operations such as facility operations and maintenance, business management, administration/IT and student/staff development. Business development, member engagement, or as many health clubs refer to it as first impressions, consists of the external facing/front of house operations and include programs, marketing, assessment, alumni relations, events, campus partnerships and housekeeping. Many often think as housekeeping being a “back of house” operation; however, I encourage you to rethink that; in a Gallup conducted study, it is suggested housekeeping personnel are actually a front of house operation since they are often one of the first points of contact for a member or guest and always “on stage.”

Manager vs. Leader 

As you assess your organizational chart, I encourage you to define which positions require a leader and which require a manager. We shouldn’t expect our employees to master the art of both. The main difference between managers and leaders is great managers look inward while great leaders look outward. Managers look inward by taking a deeper dive into the individuals that make up the organization and their individual needs, goals, style, and motivations. Leaders look outward to the future, market, competition and find alternate routes to proceed. By focusing on broad patterns, connections and cracks, a great leader needs to be a visionary, strategic thinker and an activator. 

Broadbanding YourPositions

In the campus recreation field, we often hear the phrase “if you want to move up, you have to move out.” Let’s consider this: what if not everyone wants to move up and/or move out? If a team member excels at the position they are in, and if they enjoy it, we should be able to compensate and reward them appropriately. Broadbanding your positions is a solution to that dilemma. Broadbanding encourages a wide pay band for each position and has the top end salary crossover, and sometimes well above, the low-end salary of the position above it. One challenge and consideration that must be taken before implementing such a plan is the value of the position. It is safe to say some positions are more valuable than others, but keep in mind an excellent performing team member in a lower valued position may deserve higher pay than an average performing team member in a higher valued position. 

Hire for Talent

Hiring for talent might seem a little obvious, but taking a deeper dive might save you some unwanted job searches in the future. Skills, simply put, are the “how-tos” of a job. Skills can be taught and can be easily transferred from person to person. Let’s take for example a group fitness instructor. A skill needed for a group fitness instructor is the ability to select and use music, whether it be for movement or for motivation. Knowledge is split between factual knowledge and experiential knowledge. Factual knowledge are the things you know and can still be taught. In our group fitness instructor example, knowledge needed in music selection is to understand 32 count phrasing if used for movement or to understand the verse, bridge and chorus if used for motivation. Experiential knowledge is harder to teach as it requires the individual to gain the knowledge through years of practical experience. In the group fitness case, experiential knowledge is knowing which songs are best used for a climb in indoor cycling because they have taught hills multiple times with different songs and artists and know which ones get the best response – both work output and excitement – from the class participants. Talent is the lens and filter of the individual; it dictates the recurring patterns of thought, feelings or behavior. A passion and love for creating memorable movement experiences isn’t a skill or knowledge and it cannot be taught; it is a talent. That talent in group fitness instructors are what separate average instructors from the great instructors. Hire for talent; you can teach the rest.  

Regardless of your current departmental size and operations, we should operate from two philosophies: 1) Look at obstacles as opportunities and don’t limit potential based on previous realities. 2) Be adaptable and understand that technology is ever evolving, so we should be fluid with our future as well. Remember, when implementing new programs and procedures in your department, choose what’s best for your organization. I often hear directors wanting a one-stop-shop solution that solves all of their problems. The best solutions will be an eclectic mix of strategies, hopefully, a few of which we talked about today. The office of the future is home.

Steven Trotter
Steven Trotter, MS, is a wellbeing business consultant, continuing education provider, Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, adjunct faculty member in health and fitness management, and principal for Globetrotter Wellness Solutions. His expertise is rooted in university recreation programs with a repertoire in leadership and organizational development, fitness facility design and management, and program management. He managed large scale fitness departments on multiple college campuses for more than 12 years. He has a passion to enhance the experience for recreation and wellness professionals and college students searching for their purpose. Throughout his tenure in collegiate recreation, Steven volunteered on many committees including: serving as a NIRSA State Director and Assistant State Director, chairing the NIRSA Fitness Committee, chairing the NIRSA Fitness/Wellness Institute Committee in 2013 and 2017, and serving as the consultant for 2015. He also hosted multiple regional fitness conferences and served as a consultant to other universities hosting such large-scale events. Steven is a 2017 IDEA World Fitness Program Director of the Year finalist and has presented at numerous conferences across North America. He is a subject matter expert for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and previously served a 3.5-year term on the Industry Advisory Panel where he represented university recreation departments from around the globe. Steven maintains more than 20 fitness industry certifications and has taught group fitness and personal trained for over 16 years. Reach Steven at or visit

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