Re-imagining the company structure

From top-down ladders to seemingly boundless lattices, company structures are set to change more than they already have in recent years. In this article, we’re going to explore the evolution of company structures and provide an insight into how best to navigate future changes.

While the industrial revolution firmly established a hierarchical top-down structure throughout companies across the globe, new technology is swiftly giving rise to innovative structures that are making it easier to collaborate and be more productive.

Introducing, the lattice structure

Take, for example, the Corporate Lattice, a term coined by Deloitte’s San Franciscan Vice Chairman Cathy Benko who notes that company structures have flattened by roughly 25% over 25 years, creating a new structure that offers horizontal, vertical and diagonal paths – as opposed to the singular upward movement allowed by a traditional corporate ladder.

Lattice structure, Benko argues, contributes to the bottom line, by minimizing employee churn and offering more opportunities to integrate work into life and life into work. An example of a functioning lattice, is at Cisco, where executives move around the company, picking up a multitude of skills that make them better leaders all-round. At Cisco, they value career paths that move in a multi-directional way around the organisation, as they produce executives who really understand the nuts and bolts of how their business works.

Self-managed organizations

Then there are self-managed organizations. Brave companies like Valve have done away with job titles altogether, and nobody tells you what to work on. Instead, you can see what projects are open and join whichever project you want. If you want to start a project, you are responsible for securing funding and building your team.

Minimize micromanagement with a holocracy

Another interesting model is the holocracy model. In a holocracy, power is removed from a management hierarchy and distributed across clearly defined roles. This model allows actions to be executed swiftly, without being slowed down by several micromanaging bosses. Zappos is one such company trying this model, because their CEO Tony Hsieh believes productivity should rise as a company grows.

Our tip? Stay nimble and embrace change

These changes are just the start and offer a taster of what the future of work might bring. Companies that intelligently streamline their structures and provide a healthy work-life balance are likely to thrive. Real-time access to information, highly adaptable environments and cloud based connectivity are all going to contribute to the organization of tomorrow. Our advice is, stay nimble and open to change – and you will capitalize on the increase in opportunities that result from multi-dimensional corporate structures.