Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Navigating the "Informal" Organization

Jon Katzenbach says forget about org charts and direct reports and identify the critical go-to people in your network

The purpose of my column is to help you get from "here," wherever you are in your journey through life and career, to "there" wherever you want to go. (And maybe help you think of a "there" that you had never before considered!) This week, I'm reaching out for help from a close personal friend and one of the greatest organizational thinkers that I have ever met, Jon Katzenbach. Jon is an author, the co-founder of Katzenbach Partners, and a former director at McKinsey. Not only has he had a remarkable journey through life, he has helped lots of other people—including me—along their paths.

I recently asked Jon how individuals, everyone from frontline workers to mid-managers to executives, can move forward in their careers by doing a better job of leveraging the "informal organization," the networks of relationships and interactions that may not show up on the organizational chart, but may be the true drivers of what's really happening. Here are edited excerpts of our chat: