Is your team really accomplishing your mission? Have they taken hold of the strategy and made it their own? Are they overcoming obstacles and achieving important objectives? Can you say that you really know what's going on? Would they say they are getting the support they need to win?
One of the most potent symbols of power is the pyramid. It's also roughly the shape of the classic top-down, military-style command-and-control organizational structure called a hierarchy. In this very linear model, a general (the CEO) is on a mission with an objective and a strategy to achieve it. He (they are almost all of that gender) gives orders down the rank for tactical execution by troops on the front-line. All those terms are classical military terms, but even the military is reforming the way it thinks about organizational design and the "rank and file" (status and seniority).
Hierarchies don't work as well as other organizational structures.
Flat organizational structures evolved as a counterpoint to the more rigid hierarchical structures. In this model, there are fewer layers between the CEO and front-line "troops" but communication and decision making tend to break down as the enterprise scales and becomes more successful. But one of the useful tendencies in flat structures is the move away from rank.
Heterarchical structures are not strictly the opposite of hierarchies (there is still some rank) and they are not strictly flat either. They are more of a network structure. I think of an organization as a less rigid network of teams and a team as a less rigid network of operators, performing much in the way a Navy Seal team might.
Heterarchies are more supportive and more intelligent.
The executive layer of many organizations is often called an SLT (which usually stands for senior leadership team). This is the group of the highest ranking executives in an organization that decides what the mission is and then gives "direction" (orders) to the rest of the organization. The SLT then proceeds to "hold people accountable" for executing the strategy and achieving the objectives. The problem is that most organizations are failing to achieve their objectives and many members of the SLT are either oblivious to that hard reality or ignorant of the reasons why it's happening.
I am starting to think of the SLT in a more heterarchical way: as the Supporting Leadership Team. And who are they supporting? The FLT–the Front-line Leadership Team. The FLT is like a Navy Seal team on a mission. These are the people with direct and intimate contact with the customers and vendors. In my view, the SLT is still in business to accomplish an important mission on behalf of the owners of the business. But the job of crafting strategy is a more collaborative process with front-line leaders who understand the tactical challenges of creating value right on the ground.
Heterarchies trade realtime data for mission critical support.
Instead of top-down it's back-front. Realtime data direct from stakeholders flows back from the FLT to the SLT and support flows forward from the SLT to the FLT. I believe it's the quality of this core relationship that has the greatest potential to impact the execution of a worthy mission.
If you are a member of an SLT, you invested a lot of time and energy to earn that rank but the rank is probably what's in the way of the real victory that's possible. What you really earned was a new opportunity to serve, rather than be served.