Which are you—Top? Middle? Bottom? Or Customer?


Power+Systems Framework

Most likely you are all of these.

Top, Middle, Bottom, and Customer are conditions all of us face at whatever level we occupy and in whatever function we perform in the organization.

  • We are Top whenever we have overall responsibility for some segment of the organization or some organizational function, whether as CEO, division head, project manager, team leader, classroom instructor, and so on.
  • We are Bottom whenever others control the resources we need in order to move our projects or initiatives ahead.  (Even CEOs know what it is to be bottom!)
  • We are Middle whenever we attempt to function between the conflicting needs, demands, and priorities of others.
  • We are Customer whenever we look to some other person or group to provide us with the product or service we need in order to move our initiative ahead.

We are constantly moving in and out of Top, Middle, Bottom, and Customer conditions. This is true in the organization as well as in our families, communities, voluntary organizations, and as citizens of our countries and the world. We are all Top/Middle/Bottom/ Customers.  How we manage these conditions is key to our satisfaction, our personal effectiveness, and the success of our organizations. Our work at Power + Systems — through programs, publications and organization theater — illuminates the pitfalls and behaviors in each of these conditions that result in dysfunctional systems, and provides the framework and tools for accelerating the impact of your organization’s initiatives.