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The Secret Power of Org Charts: Competitive Intelligence

The Secret Power of Org Charts

Org Charts are powerful things as you learn in our Definitive Guide to Org Charts. You may not know that by looking at them. True, they simply detail the reporting structure of a company – what underlings report to what direct superiors on up to the CEO. But organizational charts are so much more than that. The power of org charts is that they are full of secrets.

In fact, org charts of competitors and target companies are brimming with closely-held information. Most company organizational charts are not publicly available. That’s because org charts make it far too easy for you to poach talent from the charted company.

Org charts show you where the talent is; what they do; and what divisions, functions, and teams a company is spinning up and winding down. They show you how a company is organized, which speaks to its workflow, its operating structure, and its corporate strategy. In other words, org charts are a powerful form of competitive intelligence.

Org Charts Provide Competitive Intelligence

Now, I must confess a certain attraction to — if not an obsession with — diagrams. Something about them bring order to the world. Diagrams do more than tell us. They show us. Org charts are diagrams. They convey information powerfully because they show us the relationships between people in an organization. An organization’s structure tells us a great deal about how an organization views itself. Google Engineer and Artist Manu Cornet playfully created cartoon org charts as a form of social commentary on corporate culture.

Credit: Drawing by Emmanuel (Manu) Cornet whose work can be found at


The Secret Power of Org Charts for Executive Recruiting

In other words, org charts are executive recruiting gold. 

The reason they are so valuable is that the information is organized, vetted, and actionable. Social network information is not. You don’t have to wonder whether you’ve found every potential candidate. You see them right there in the chart. Done.

LinkedIn Recruiter is Not the Answer

Heads of corporate executive search have told me they pay in excess of $1 thousand per month ($12 thousand a year) for each LinkedIn Recruiter license.

Still, they can’t quite put their finger on why LinkedIn isn’t delivering the hires they thought it would. Their candidate sourcers are using LinkedIn to generate increasingly long lists of prospective candidates. Still, all too often, the candidates they are finding are somehow “off”. Hiring executives grow frustrated.

But it is not for a lack of trying.

Rather, corporate recruiters and sourcers frequently put in long hours to deliver the required hire. Only, for some inexplicable reason, they’re hitting the wall.

Well, it’s explicable.

Imagine a list of ideal candidates — dream executives that are perfect for the job. Now stick that list in a blender. Throw in hundreds of millions of unrelated LinkedIn profiles. Leave the lid off. Press high multiple times. That’s pretty much LinkedIn.

Org Charts Are Better

That’s why org charts are so much better.  Yes, they are an investment. But they are worth oh so much more than that. Let’s talk more about the benefits of conducting Talent Mapping designed to build custom org charts of your favorite target companies.

We invite you to check out our most popular blog post and maybe even help solve the mystery of your LinkedIn Member Number. The comments have been fascinating.

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Krista Bradford

Krista Bradford

Founder and CEO of Intellerati | The Good Search. Retained executive search headhunter. Former investigative journalist. Wife of saxman. Mama of MD. Co-worker of Hamlet the Corgi. TikTok addict.View Author posts

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