The Flat Agency

by Brittany Christa

rc-familypicnicUnlike the idea that the world is flat, a flat organization is real. In contrast to a tiered business, flat organizations believe in title equality, only distinguishing between departments (i.e., Brand Management, Brand Media, Brand Creative, etc.). Of course, everyone has their own opinion on which is “better,” but it’s just that – an opinion. Because I’ve worked in both environments, clearly my opinion is worth more. Okay, not really, but it’s worth sharing!

A title match

During my time working within a hierarchy system, I loved it. I strived for bigger and better, to move forward and upward to the next position, and then the next, and – you get the point. Okay, the increased pay was definitely sitting in the driver’s seat, guiding me towards earning each promotion, but the position title was right there alongside, riding passenger. The thought of adding “senior,” “executive,” or any other highly sought after prefix to my position title had me grinning from ear to ear. (Brittany Christa, Senior Such and Such – yep, that definitely has a nice ring to it!) Earning a higher position and pay was a win-win. But there’s always a bad apple in the bunch, and in this case, the bad apples are those who become too elated with their title and spread their pompous attitude to others. Then it becomes a title match, and you can throw effective and efficient work out the window.

Making collaborative work the norm

But how does the other half live? I quickly learned once I joined the team at Richards/Carlberg. And this is what I came to find out: When you work in a flat organization, you don’t have to concern yourself with titles; instead the focus is on putting out the best work and hoping for recognition in the form of a pay promotion. It’s nice to not have to duke it out in a title match, not to mention it makes everyone you work with more approachable – even the top dogs. You can pitch your latest and greatest idea to the head honchos and feel at least a little more at ease that they’re “on the same page” as you. When everyone is on the same level, it makes collaborative work the norm, creating a more effective and efficient work environment. No one is trying to beat someone else out for a position.

So after all of this, which way is better?? Well I can’t tell you that, because there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer, but I can tell you my preference falls with the flat organization. While I’d like to think that my opinion is “the way,” you will just have to experience both sides for yourself and decide from there.