Human towers maybe won’t say anything at first and you can be thinking what’s this mad guy talking about? But where I grow up and still living, in Catalonia, it’s traditional to lift up human constructions simulating towers touching the sky, as an imitation of skyscrapers made by humans and with humans. I thought it’s the perfect representation of a company and all its hierarchy levels. Next I’m going to explain why but before let me introduce this beatiful tradition.
The tradition of building castells originated in the southern part of Catalonia towards the end of the 18th century. Later it developed a following in the other regions of the country and, since 1981, when the first castell of 9 levels of the 20th century was built, it has become very popular in most of Catalonia and even the Balearic Islands. On November 16, 2010, were declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
A castell is considered a success when stages of its assembling and disassembling, can be done in complete succession. The assembly is complete once all castellers (competitors) have climbed into their designated places and the enxaneta climbs into place at the top and raises on hand with four fingers erect, in a gesture said to symbolize the stripes of the Catalan flag. The enxaneta then climbs down the other side of the tower, after which the remaining levels of castellers descend in highest-to-lowest order until all have reached safety.
Every castle is structured and built by following a specific structure. Each band has a leader:
- band leader or cap de colla– the head of each team, who decides which castells the team is ready to attempt and directs the construction of the castles from the ground. The leader is always accompanied by a number of assistants and advisers.
- bulk leader or cap de pinya– one of the band leaders’ assistants who takes particular responsibility for the allocation of places in the bulk, ensuring even force is applied to the base of the castle.
- top bunch or pom de dalt– the top three levels of the castle.
- the twos or els dosos– the level sustaining and locked together by the riser and surmounted by the rider. Generally kids.
- riser or aixecador– the person who helps lock together the twos so providing a stable platform for the rider who stands astride the riser. Almost always a child.
- rider or anxaneta- the topmost casteller, a child.
Once introduced the parts of a castle, we can compare them with the ones of a company seeing that both share the same construction and moreover the same personal requirements (sacrifice, effort, leadership, collaboration, etc.)
First of all I’m gonna make an analysis in function of the Organic Structure developed by Henry Mintzberg were we find three hierarchical levels: strategic apex, middle line and operating core, plus two support areas: technostructure and support staff.
This is the graphic-representation of a classical company, but it’s more than this. Our life is structured following this model. All of us live located in one of these levels, our life is hierarchical. For this reason I took castells as an example, as I could take a football team or a beehive.
Using the description done before about castellers, I will explain every position in function of this Organic Structure:
Strategic apex- here we’ll find the leaders of the band which ones have the responsibility and obligation of lead the members in order to success the castle.
- Band leader or cap de colla– the head of each team, who decides which castells the team is ready to attempt and directs the construction of the castles from the ground. The leader is always accompanied by a number of assistants and advisers.
- Bulk leader or cap de pinya– one of the bandleaders assistants who takes particular responsibility for the allocation of places in the bulk, ensuring even force is applied to the base of the castle.
Middle line- this is the middle part of the hierarchical structure where we can find middle directors of a company:
- Top bunch or pom de dalt– the top three levels of the castle.
- The twos or els dosos– the level sustaining and locked together by the riser and surmounted by the rider. Generally kids.
Operating core- finally in the top of a castle we have the riser and the rider which ones represent the operating core of a company, the ones who produce and finalize products:
- Riser or aixecador– the person who helps lock together the twos so providing a stable platform for the rider who stands astride the riser. Almost always a child.
- Rider or anxaneta- the topmost casteller, a child.
Secondly it’s interesting to analyze castellers in function of the directrix of Dr. Meredith Belbin team roles, used to identify people’s behavioural strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. We start from three concepts: hand, heart and brain. (The next post will be dedicated to explain the theory of Belbin Team Roles, in my opinion very interesting).
Following this concepts we can define every role of castellers:
- band leader take the coordinator (CO) role. Coordinators are the ones who take on the traditional team-leader role and have also been referred to as the chairmen. They guide the team to what they perceive are the objectives. They are often excellent listeners and naturally able to recognize the value that each members brings to the table.
- bulk leader as implementor (IMP). implementors are the people who get thinks done. They turn the team’s ideas and concepts into practical actions and plans. They are typically conservative, disciplined people who work systematically and efficiently and are very well-organized.
- top bunch and the twos take the team worker (TW) role. Structurally talking are the ones who provide support and make sure that people within the team are working together effectively. They join strategic apex with operating core (band and bulk leaders with riders and risers).
- riser and rider are pure completer-finishers (CF). Completer-Finishers are the people who see that projects are completed thoroughly. The ensure there have been no errors or omissions and the pay attention to the smallest of details. They are very concerned with deadlines and will push the team to make sure the job is completed on time.