The pigeon-hole business model puts employees in their proper places from the moment they are hired. They are sorted into job functions, given job titles, potentially on boarded and told to do their job. Perhaps they even are managed, and possibly effectively.
The pigeon-hole business model assumes that once staff is slotted into their specific jobs, they will work productively and profitably on behalf of your business. They are birds of a feather and they flock together with the other birds of the same species, in their specific departments.
The pigeon-hole business model assumes that employees will continue to work together effectively because you are paying them to do so. You have jettisoned other pigeons, oops staff, whose performance did not meet your criteria. So your business model also has an element of fear of failure incorporated into the mix.
The pigeon-hole business model doesn’t offer much opportunity for cross-species mixing of observations, insights and ideas. Your business model is based on assembly line thinking and post-industrial mindset. Since the beginning of time, this is the way firms in your industry vertical have been organized.
There’s no reason to pivot your mindset. Or is there?
Your teams may want something more out of their employment than a pigeon-hole business model. Many of them are entry-level, working themselves up the pecking order to become a mid-level or senior-level specialist. They need the experience. So they go to work in your pigeon-hole.
Your teams may want a work environment that is conducive to innovation and creativity. They understand the importance of following strict formulae and codes when designing enduring business and engineering outcomes. They also want the opportunity to flex their brains from time to time with other like-minded colleagues at your organization.
Does your pigeon-hole business model provide the opportunity for round-table dialogue between partners, principals, BD personnel, mid-level engineers and EITs and interns? Or is that idea unheard of?
Look around the office. How diverse is your firm, generationally, experientially? Are you fully appreciating the advantage your firm can gain by liberating yourself from pigeon-hole business model mindset?
You can’t move forward until you understand what is holding you back. Take the first healthy step forward. Leave your own pigeon-hole. Repeat consistently. Incorporate into your corporate culture.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a professional development coach and management consultant. Her Workshops result in Playbooks for startups and small to mid-size companies who want to grow, expand and sustain their business, but are wrestling with unpredictable revenue streams. Then she brings these Playbooks to life in their organizations. Her Playbook on leadership, business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.