Winning in business today using yesterday’s model for managing people is a recipe for disaster.

For starters, companies now employ three generations of workers at the same time and each has a very different view of the world, comfort level with technology and expectations for their quality of life. By 2020, millennials will make up approximately 50% of the workforce.

Additionally, finding good talent is becoming increasingly difficult, and retaining employees after they are trained even more so.

These factors and others point to the central problem with the current business model: managing people through a hierarchy.

This approach is simply too slow, too political and too outdated to effectively manage today’s diverse workforce where star players don’t want to work for someone else and where the traditional goals of making more money and advancing up the corporate ladder no longer apply.

The question is, what will work?

Business owners who want to create or are currently managing winning, high-growth companies need a business model with a team orientation, rather than a hierarchy.

A team orientation gives companies a competitive advantage because it:

  • Enables faster and deeper employee education
  • Helps diverse groups learn together
  • Provides the right framework for developing opportunities
  • Allows for easier identification and training of top talent
  • Promotes better application of business practices
  • Develops a deeper “bench” of talent in a world of lower margins

Above all, though, teams provide a faster model for managing change.

This is a critical value proposition of team orientation because building employees to be able to manage more of your business at a faster pace of change is paramount for high-growth companies.

To grow a workforce like this you must not only develop standard practices for work-related education and training, but also training that will help all employees develop the high level of emotional literacy and resiliency that’s required to positively deal with change and find opportunities for the company within it.

However, you can’t simply provide what I call “Inner Game” training and leave it there.

You also must integrate the ways in which employees are learning to master their Inner Game with actual business systems, requirements and practices – their Outer Game competencies.

Without that practical application, emotional literacy training will give your employees nice-to-have skills, but it won’t translate into results.

Your employees also need a compelling End Game (goal) which must be a combination of the company’s Compelling Picture of the Future and the employee’s own personal vision for their future – not the employee’s work goals, but the goals success at work will help them achieve in their lives. In other words, the purpose behind their work.

And this is what today’s companies are missing. They are primarily focused on providing the overarching tools needed to run a business (systems, practices, etc.), and completely neglect the self-management tools that are needed at the individual level (purpose, resiliency, etc.) to drive growth and success.

If your company can’t adopt a team orientation that builds people who then build the company, you won’t be able to manage change and create high growth and, if you already have a high-growth company, you won’t be able to maintain that pace for long given the disruption happening across all industries right now.

Only those companies that can attract, train and retain people who have the mindset, resilience and skills to drive your business through that change will be able to survive.

To put it bluntly, the workforce is changing fast, and so is the business environment. The question is: Will you change quickly enough to come out ahead?

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