If your boss were to tell you that you were being demoted, you might think that was a bad thing. But in some companies, that is exactly what happens –  on a regular basis – and it’s a good thing.

Instead of a straight upward trajectory from low-level worker, to intermediate levels, to assistant managers, managers, directors, vice presidents, and president, many companies have completely eliminated the standard corporate ladder. They operate on a corporate ‘lattice’ structure.

These companies move their workers in many different directions — not just up. To some extent, this puts more demand on those workers. Every move requires the worker to learn something new, interact with different team members, report to different bosses or manage a different team, and be subjected to different evaluation criteria. This list of adaptations workers would have to make in this environment is endless.

But companies save money when they exercise these maneuvers. They can put highly skilled people wherever they are needed and develop a flexible workforce where one worker can effectively perform many different tasks. They might not have to hire more people, and that saves the company money. And it makes each worker far more valuable to the company.

As an added bonus, a very interesting personal dynamic may develop among the workers. Since no one knows where they might be assigned next or to whom they may have to report, they really learn to function as members of a set of accountable, self-managed teams consisting of individuals who advance the goals of the corporation.

But what do the workers get … especially given that they routinely get what other workers might consider a demotion?

What they get is a spectacular résumé!

Their work history in a lattice-based company will clearly show that they not only have the hard skills they need to do the job (or jobs!), they have the soft skills to be successful in a workplace with constantly shifting demands. These workers constantly flex their soft skills and hard skills. But they can track their own progress to higher, harder goals, measure how far they get, and record it in their constantly updated résumés. Way To Go! GEMESA


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