The Corporate Lattice by Cathleen Benko & Molly Anderson - Book review

The Corporate Lattice

Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work

By: Cathleen Benko, Molly Anderson

Published: August 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4221-5516-5
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

"The world of work is at an inflection point. The hierarchical corporate ladder is giving way to a multidimensional corporate lattice", write Vice Chairman and Chief Talent Officer for Deloitte LLP Cathleen Benko, and Director of Talent for Deloitte Services LP Molly Anderson, in their revolutionary and organizational changing book The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work. The authors describe how the traditional metaphor of the office ladder no longer reflects the reality of the modern workplace or the aspirations of the employees of today.

Cathleen Benko (photo left) and Molly Anderson recognize the radical changes that are taking place in the corporate work environment. The authors point to the increasing irrelevance of the outmoded paradigm of the corporate ladder. Rooted in a top down, command hierarchy, a clear delineation of work and off hours time, standardized concepts of how and where work is done, and a very linear view of career advancement. That model of corporate management and employment no longer exists. In its place, the authors point to the emerging model of what they call the corporate lattice.

Today's workplaces are much flatter than in the past, with the hierarchical framework passing into history. Instead of work being done at set hours in one physical location, employees are often separated widely by geography, utilizing online tools and telecommuting, and completing tasks at very flexible work hours. The rise of project management has enhanced the value of teamwork, and lowered barriers between departments and removed traditional organizational employment charts.

Molly Anderson (photo left) and Cathleen Benko demonstrate how the new flatter organization has removed the linear ladder as the source of career advancement. That concept is now replaced with a multidimensional model that values performance, flexibility. and a more balanced work and home life. That new mode of work forms the basis of the corporate lattice. The three critical aspects of the corporate lattice model are:

* How careers are built
* How work gets done
* How participation is fostered

Within the corporate lattice paradigm, career movement no longer is focused into a single linear direction. Instead, careers move in many directions with paths traveling up, down, laterally, and diagonally. Success is now defined in a multitude of ways including performance, less centralized authority, task completion, creativity, career and life integration, and teamwork. The corporate lattice system is more flexible and cost effective as a result. At the same time, employees receive a more individualized approach to work, and become much more engaged with the company.

For me, the power of the book is how Molly Anderson and Cathleen Benko provide the theoretical background as to why the corporate lattice model has replaced the linear corporate ladder paradigm, while presenting practical examples and techniques for integrating the lattice into any organization. The authors describe how individual employees are not only more engaged in a lattice organization, but how productivity is enhanced while costs are lowered, creating a positive impact on the company's profitability.

The recognition within the modern corporation, that a more balanced work and home life benefit both the employee and the company, confirms that the lattice model is simply good business. At the same time, with more diverse workforces, more voices are heard within the corporation, stimulating more creativity and furthering innovation. The resulting new products and services, and improved processes add value to the organization while increasing employee engagement levels and productivity. The authors share real world examples, of the effectiveness of the corporate lattice model at Cisco and Thomson Reuters, providing the reader with case studies of the lattice concept.

I highly recommend the landmark and must read book The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work by Cathleen Benko and Molly Anderson, to anyone seeking a more in depth understanding of the transformation of the modern workplace from a traditional, hierarchical ladder concept to that of a more diverse, and multi-directional corporate lattice framework. The book contains the blueprint to guide corporate leaders and employees toward a more participatory and collaborative company where work and life are better balanced, employees are more engaged and productive, and where the corporate bottom line is improved as well.

Read the groundbreaking and transformational book The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work by Molly Anderson and Cathleen Benko, and ease the transition from the outdated corporate ladder model, with its top down, hierarchy toward a more flat and inclusive lattice style organization. The benefits for employees and the corporation itself are many, and solves the long standing problem of how to balance work and home life effectively. The corporate lattice solves those issues while enhancing productivity, task completion, innovation, and company profits.

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