A Plague of Directors

Are job titles meaningful?

September 16, 2015

How many people at your school have “director” in their title?

Suddenly, directors seem to be everywhere.

I’m a director. Are you?

Assistant directors, associate directors, senior directors (there are never any junior directors), and executive directors.

Directors who report to other directors, and have directors report to them.

Directors who don’t control their own budgets, have any direct reports, but still carry the title.

With so many directors running around has the title lost its cache, its credibility, and its saliency?

At one point, directors were pretty high up the hierarchy. They were maybe not the people running the place, but they worked with those that did.

Nowadays, not so much. A director title has become a way to signify a responsible role around a specific job function.

A director title says that someone is in charge of something.  That is good.  We need people who are in charge of things. We need people who are the experts in something to take ownership of projects. To be accountable for the work.

At some point, however, someone has to take a stand against title inflation.

Or maybe the reality is that the whole idea of job titles is outmoded and outdated.

Our work is increasingly networked, matrixed, and collaborative.

Our organizational structures no longer match the cross-department way that we work. Hierarchies stand in the way of fresh ideas and vibrant collaborations. Titles tend to reinforce and reify the hierarchy.

Maybe we should allow our job titles to disappear?

What would happen if you gave up your job title and just said that you worked on what you knew best, and what needed doing the most?

Not possible right, as to give up our job titles would be like unilateral career disarmament. How do you craft a C.V. with no job title?

Do you have any other solution, besides giving up on job titles altogether, for our contagion of directors?



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