Businesses who merely accept the way things are and do not challenge themselves to think bigger will continue to struggle in our multi-generational work environment. millennials are seeking a different type of work environment, such as a High-Performance organization vs the traditional one that has dominated organizations since the industrial revolution.  As you read through the below characteristics, make note of the ones you see in your own organization. How can you challenge your institution to rise above?


In 1903 Fredrick Taylor coined the phrase “Scientific Management” to describe the Traditional Paradigm. He and other contemporaries, like Max Weber, believed organizations need to be standardized and centrally controlled. For this reason, the Traditional Paradigm is often called the “command and control model.” Until recently, the basic principles of this model dominated people’s thinking \within organizations.

SPECIALIZATION AND STANDARDIZATION: Jobs are focused on a routine, and often feel repetitive. Employees are instructed to perform tasks one particular way, which is designated as the best and only way. Though this makes managing employees easier, it stifles creativity and leaves little room for improvement suggestions. Employees feel choked and cornered with no outlet for growth.

DIVISION OF LABOR: Departments have very little communication with each other, and employees do not see the importance of their work in relation to others or the “big picture” of the organization. They may be extremely skilled and efficient, but do not understand the final outcome.

CENTRALIZATION: Decision-making power is only granted to a few key individuals in leadership roles. This leads to inefficiency, inflexibility and bitter employees who feel powerless.

UNIFORMITY: Rules, policies, and procedures are the “exact same” for the entirety of the organization. Employees are expected to fit a specific mold and not stray from it. This “by the book” model requires all situations and people to be treated in the exact same manner.

CONTROL: Management is viewed as the controller of speed, quality, and quantity of production, and employees are simply worker bees who follow orders. This model can cause rebellion and lower retention rates when escalated.


Recognize any of the above characteristics? Next, we will discuss how you can move away from these traditional tactics and transform your organization into one that creates value and empowers change. Success will come only when your employees feel that their input is valued and they have the power to best help customers without further approval. The below strategies will transform your organization into one with a more positive culture, leading to the highest levels of performance and employee engagement possible.

SELF-MANAGING: Employees manage their day-to-day schedule on their own. This decentralized structure empowers employees to have their own sense of authority and work at their personal highest efficiency level.

MULTI-FUNCTIONAL: Employees are familiar with the entire organization, and are able to complete a variety of tasks within the company. They can easily perform other functions and adapt to new needs of their team or of the business.

ENGAGED IN A PROCESS: The hallmark of this type of organization is one that is rooted in a process, not a structure. Employees are involved in the planning and coordination of their tasks and understand the general flow of the workforce. They feel accomplished in their contributions to the team and are comfortable sharing their ideas and giving feedback.

MINIMUM RULES: Behavior expectations are governed by a set of values or conduct code, not a uniform handbook. Employees are expected to use common sense and professionalism in their work. There is an understanding that each situation requires a fresh perspective.

TRAINING: Employees are cross-trained in each facet of the business as a basis for their more specific tasks. Programs focus largely on personal development, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and teamwork.

REWARDS AND ADVANCEMENT: Employment is viewed as a partnership, and proper recognition is given when quality contributions are made to the team. This recognition includes anything from verbal praise to promotions.

QUALITY OF LIFE: The organization recognizes the huge importance of employee morale, and creates a culture of empowerment and teamwork. Employees feel valued as partners and see the organization as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

It can be easy for organizations to get stuck in the way they have done things for many years. But in today’s ever-changing society it is imperative that institutions learn to grow and adapt. Creating a culture of understanding and teamwork where employees feel valued is crucial to seeing the highest levels of performance and efficiency. Take some time to evaluate how your organization can take steps toward becoming a high-performance organization more open to change and invested in employee morale.