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Bright Idea: Spoke & Wheel Organizational Chart

October 22, 2023, Mark Neff

Mark Neff shares the organizational chart that Forsyth Humane Society recently switched to. Could this nontraditional model work at your organization?

Org Chart

What do you envision when you hear those two little words? Organizational charts allow us to visualize reporting relationships and team roles in institutions such as businesses and nonprofits.

You may be most familiar with the functional, hierarchical or pyramid models, in which the organization’s leader is alone at the top. This top-down model was in place at Forsyth Humane Society until recently, when President & CEO, Mark Neff, decided to try out a less traditional model.

When we asked Neff why he switched to the Spoke & Wheel organizational chart, he outlined the following reasons:

Clear Focus on Leadership
A spoke & wheel chart places a central figure, often the CEO or leader, at the center of the diagram. This emphasizes their pivotal role and decision-making authority.

Efficient Communication
In the spoke & wheel model, information flows directly to and from the central figure, making communication more streamlined and efficient. This can lead to quicker decision-making and problem-solving.

Spoke & wheel charts are highly adaptable and can accommodate various team structures and functions. Teams or departments can easily be added or removed from the chart without disrupting the overall structure.

Flat Hierarchy
Unlike pyramid charts, spoke & wheel charts often portray a flatter hierarchy. This promotes a sense of collaboration and openness within the organization.

Clarity of Reporting Lines
Reporting lines are typically straightforward, as employees know exactly who their primary point of contact is. This can reduce confusion and enhance accountability.

Now You Try It
If it sounds like your organization could benefit from this model, Neff recommends his favorite template, which is specifically for Mac users.  “I’m an Apple guy all the way,” he says, “and the name of the program I use is Org Chart Designer Pro 3. There are several others, and most are your typical tier-down models.”

Learn More

Org Chart Designer Pro 3
Downland for Inspo: Forsyth Humane’s Spoke & Wheel Org Chart
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Bright Idea: How One Shelter Used Virtual Dog Training To Reduce Adoption Returns


About Mark Neff
Mark Neff is the President and CEO of Forsyth Humane Society, where he has served for nearly ten years.

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