Chart 2. Updated management chart. (Image by author.)
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authority to make improvements; handle projects; and, if need be,
CONSIDER A COMPLETE RESTRUCTURE
Is it now time to restructure the agency? As the chief, you must
first ask whether you are able to trust others in the organization
and set them free to manage. Consider ignoring rank for administrative positions and matching individuals to their talents, skills,
and experience. Save “rank” for operational issues, as “talent knows
no rank.” Rank does not make someone qualified to be a manager.
One department’s overhaul: The XYZ Fire Department used a
management structure akin to that described as “managing bubbles.” The department is a combination organization with more
than 10 full-time career staff and approximately 60 volunteers of
varying backgrounds. For decades, only line officers were placed in
charge of various tasks. The chief managed each of the line officers.
Span of control was 1: 20. Assignments were not broken up into
groups with similar missions. Goals were set by individuals in
charge of their programs, but there was little coordination between
any individual or similar projects. The chief did not set goals for
any of the programs. Indeed, management was run more like a
small structure fire instead of a complicated business.
Morale was low. People were frustrated by a lack of organizational structure. Although success was achieved on an individual
basis, the department did not seem to be moving in a unified
Most members and staff believed that a change to the management structure could be beneficial. So, the department began a rigorous process to evaluate the organization and chart a new course.
The department adopted Fayol’s 14 Principals of Management and
set off to rebuild the organization from the ground up.
The process was as follows:
• First, the department identified every job and task in the organi-
zation. There were well more than 50 tasks identified.
• Then, the department grouped the tasks by common objectives
and placed the objectives into functional “divisions.” The goal
of these groupings was to keep the “span of control” manageable
and to allow the group to share goals. For example, the depart-
ment took the roles of EMS training, fire training, and driver
training and placed them in a “training division.” The goals set
by the training division director guided the work efforts, budget
choices, and resources of the division.
• The department then determined how many programs could fit
under one common objective and assigned these programs to
the divisions. Each division required a proper span of control.
This led to the grouping of the common goals into the creation
of six divisions—fire, EMS, training, community programs,
support services, and fire police division. Although there are
other roles such as health and safety officer, the tasks under this
individual’s role did not initially require division status. Later,
however, a health and safety division was implemented because
of the expanding role of this group.
• The department created a management structure while paying
special attention to Fayol’s principals of span of control and
unity of command. The chief was placed at the top of the chart
and six divisions were created below the chief. Each division is
led by a “division director” who reports to the chief. Each program area within the division is headed by a division coordinator. No more than six programs were in each division.
• Division directors and coordinators were chosen without regard
for their rank in the department. Talent took precedence over
rank, and rank was saved for operational tasks.
• Once the organizational chart was created and put in writing,
the chief appointed the division directors and the division direc-