The corporate ladder has been the prevailing model for how companies manage their work and their people since the beginning of the industrial revolution a century ago. The ladder represents an inflexible view in which prestige, rewards, access to information, influence, power, etc., are tied to the rung one occupies. The problem is, the authors argue, we no longer live in the industrial age.
The pace of change is faster. Work is increasingly virtual, collaborative, and dispersed. Organizations are flatter. Companies are much easier to see into. Careers zig and zag. Work is done wherever, whenever. And information flows in all directions. The result? The ladder model — along with the outdated norms and expectations that defined it — is collapsing.
In their best-selling book, The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work, author Cathy Benko and coauthor Molly Anderson define the emerging Corporate LatticeTM model and argue convincingly that a lattice is better suited for today’s global business environment. They describe the shift across three dimensions: how careers are built, how work gets done, how participation is fostered.
Offering much more than theory, the authors illustrate the lattice model using rich, in-depth case studies of exemplars including Cisco, Deloitte LLP, and Thomson Reuters. They also explore the changing role each individual plays in directing his or her own lattice journey.