How do you cope and progress in a company with no structure?


Dear fellow ENTJs :smiley:

Have you ever worked in a company or organisation where there is no structure, no one has a clear role, and the owner micromanages everything? And when you want to take the lead and make a structure for something, your colleagues raise their negative voices without suggesting any constructive alternative? This really frustrates me.

I wondered if you could give me some advice on the following -

Problem 1: the MD has never assigned a clear role for anyone, and she always micromanages. She never gives a budget and deadline, but only wants to test out and then be flexible about decisions. Without bottom lines, I find it hard to be efficient. Maybe this is a common ENTJ trait?

Problem 2: the colleagues are all very dramatic types and like making everything into drama. And whenever you’re trying to take the lead, they react negatively and try to undermine you and your effort.

Questions: How do an ENTJ survive and climb to the top in this organisation? The ultimate goal is to become a partner.

I’ve been here for almost 2 years, and have reached a point where I can no longer see how I can progress. However, the company is progressing, because of the investor’s network and background.

The problem with this company is its lack of structure, and structure management is definitely what I can provide. Basically, i can offer what they need. But the Partners haven’t seen this problem yet and hence does not know its needs. How do I present the problems to them as a form of diagnosis without making the MD feel like her authority is jeopardised?

Also, as someone much younger and with less on paper experience, how do I persuade the MD and the investor with my business structure plan, especially in the shadow of the jealousy from the colleagues? A further worry is that, when I give them the diagnosis they might go hire a senior person to become the general manager, and it creates another level for me to break in order to become a partner.

If you were ever in the similar situation or have any suggestions or advice for such situations, I would really like to hear from you!

Thank you :slight_smile:



It drives me crazy when structure is lacking and roles are not clearly defined. My productivity suffers when I’m compelled to work on the fly without some basic parameters. It’s unfair really. People tend to be discontent and even behave in a disorderly way in the midst of confusion like this. (Hence a lot of the drama) I think Sensor types tend to micromanage. (not a criticism, just my observation) MD sounds like a perceiver too.

The colleagues who don’t see it your way may not ever see it completely the way you do. While it’s irritating, don’t worry about it for now. When you finally do take charge, there may be some further challenges, and initially opposition can worsen. :smiley: But once you set boundaries, most will settle down to the new routine and be more accepting. When the opportunities arise to present your ideas, you will know. It’s important to support management, which I’m sure you do. But don’t worry about making others feel threatened, there are always a few of those who will react that way no matter how fairly you deal with them. You can’t please everyone.

As far as moving upward, you probably haven’t been there long enough or haven’t gained enough political capitol yet. While you need to win over the superiors in the organization, it’s equally necessary to gain the confidence of the staff so you can lead effectively. My guess is that you’re probably further along in the process than you realize. If the company is doing fairly well in a state of disorganization, imagine how things will improve when you crack the whip and raise the bar! :smiley:

I’ve heard it said that when we’re struggling with a challenging situation, it’s typical for the stress to escalate to the point where we become exasperated and even tempted to give up. However this is exactly when you need to put your nose to the grindstone and redouble your efforts, because you’re getting close to a breakthrough.

Keep us posted on how it’s going. :slight_smile:


Why do you two force yourselves into situation, whereas the cause of it existence… not even your own?

Do you have to clean up someone else’s “dirty laundry”? Life is too short for this…


But wasabi, some challenges are irresistible. Why go to a company where another ENTJ has everything already sorted out? Nothing to do! :smiley:


Because the fruits of your struggle will go to someone else?


Thank you Jayne! Will definitely keep you posted. What you’ve said is really encouraging and has also reconfirmed my thoughts - it’s true that I haven’t gained enough political capitol here yet. It’s so important and smooth to discuss such issues with another ENTJ who understands! Thank you so much!

And Wasabi, I sometimes ask myself the same question: why do I stay here, am I wasting my time? But I don’t really have much choice, as it’s a very niche market what I do. And I feel that instead of leaving a mess while there’s definitely opportunities in there, I should make it into my advantage. Thank you also for your opinion which has made me look at the problem from another angle too.


After reading your reply a couple of times and thinking about it for about an hour, I wanted to share my opinion. You see, I come from multicultural background. An outcast and maverick at the same time. I do suspect that there could be some sort of “peace” when you deal with people whose “limits” are very well known. By limits I mean “you can predict their behaviors 10 moves later…just like on chessboard”. I cannot do that. I think there is an element of “peace” in what you have. I do not have such a peace with people. Therefore I do not have any comfort with them other than talking about business, results and so on. Whenever they descend on talking about small talk and some bullshit that I have no interest and no idea why it even happens to them (and it really doesn’t happen to me)…I just miss the point and certainly not feel any “comfort” in their state. I suspect some “native” ENTJs might do feel some comfort and might be seeking it instead of facing the turmoils of uncertainty. I understand that kind of approach. And there might be own wisdom in it…I don’t know. It’s up for you to make conclusions about that.

However, I cannot stop asking myself questions such as “Do I want to remember this day by small talk? What should I tell myself at the end of this day before I go to bed? What have I accomplished to myself today? Did I spent my day the best I could? I might not live this life again, did I spent it the best I could? Was it worth to focus on things other people focus?”…You know, questions like that quickly removes me from trying to understand whats going on in people ordinary lives and comfort automatically dissolves in a think air.

There is certainly a difficulty out there with dealing with unknown. But it’s not impossible.


I can honestly say I’ve been there. The last company I worked for was a 3 year old start-up company. I worked there two years and never received a set of clearly-defined responsibilities. Decisions were made on the fly. Resources were scant. If your computer broke, you’d better hope you tried every possible solution under the sun to fix it yourself before calling a computer company for assistance. (We had no IT Department).

Long story short, I went to a work for a large company and haven’t looked back since.


I’m sure there are choices out there. You just dont consider them to be choices in the first place.


doublejam, I’m so glad you had the same experience!!! I have been thinking that the only solution is to work in a corporate environment. And as soon as I had this thought, I got headhunted by a studio!!! Let’s see how this one goes. Fingers crossed.