While every business aspires to operate as a vertical organization — committed to its purpose and clear on how to deliver on its missions, values, goals and strategic plan — the reality is many organizations are stuck at operating at the horizontal level.

In a horizontal organization, employees are driven more by fear and less by the motivation to achieve something meaningful and significant. This fear can manifest on many levels and can include the fear that goals will not be met, that the competition will win, or that they will lose their jobs.

A horizontal organization does not nurture collaboration or inspire employees to activate their creativity.  instead, in a horizontal organization, employees are focused on their own personal agendas, which often creates a competitive environment. There may be enormous activity and action, but instead of inspiring innovation, much of this activity is simply change for change’s sake.

Here are four common indicators that your company is operating at a horizontal level.

1. Distractions

Your employees are distracted and your managers are spending a lot of time dealing with small issues and problems when they should be focusing on your vision and goals.

2. Silos and conflict

People are not working well together and each department is guarding its own turf instead of working toward their common goals.

3. Arrogance and egos

There are a lot of egos strutting around believing they already know it all and are above everyone else. This indicates that people are closed off and not open to hearing ideas and suggestions that might be better than their own and that could improve the business.

4. Lack of accountability

Your employees are not taking full responsibility for their goals and their role in the company. Instead of focusing on improvement, they make excuses for poor performance and incomplete assignments and lament that they aren’t paid enough.

If your organization is experiencing any of the common symptoms of a horizontal organization, then it’s likely that you’re stuck in a cycle of inadvertently setting mediocre expectations and achieving mediocre results.

Find out what you can do to move your organization from an expectation of mediocrity to an expectation of excellence in the eBook, The Vertical Organization.

Contact us to learn more.