But the same is true in the other direction, as well: private sector organizations can learn a lot from the best-run nonprofits. This isn’t a new idea, and many of the items I’d put on that list have earned attention from other writers over the years. They include the ability to focus clearly on a complicated mission, to make their supporters feel valued and engaged, and to make a lot happen on the cheap. This list may also include organizational structure: Jason Fried’s column in the April issue of Inc. describes their efforts at 37Signals to keep the organization as flat as possible. He offers some interesting reflections on their experiences, but for many small and mid-sized nonprofits a loose organizational structure is the norm. A group like Center for Biological Diversity, which famously eschew structure despite its 60ish employees (it may be more a collection of free agents than a conventional organization) yet coalesces anyway into a strong strategy and high productivity, may be an extreme example. But you won’t have to look very far to find plenty of examples of less vertical, less structured organizational charts in the nonprofit world, and you might have to look harder than you’d expect to find examples of actual organizational charts at all.