Lattice your career!

Want to see a sample lattice? Look at the career lattice of The Career Lattice author Joanne Cleaver. See more examples in The Career Lattice.

Start a Lattice at your workplace

Crafting a lattice can be way to develop your career. By initiating a lattice for your team, department or a round-robin coaching group of co-workers, you will gain expertise in leadership, meeting and project management, and in facilitating discussions. These are all components for your personal portfolio.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Consider the culture of your organization. One key clue: if people aren’t sure how to respond to the announcement of a co-worker’s lateral assignment (“Congratulations!….I think…”), your organization probably does not have a high level of lattice awareness. You will need to introduce and define lattice concepts and terminology.
  • Create the business case. Win buy-in from your immediate manager by linking your latticing project to your team’s short- term and medium-term business goals. Will cross-training ensure that progress on a project continues uninterrupted during vacation season? There’s your business case.
  • Include a mix of participants. The more skills, experiences and aspirations, the more possibilities your group will discover.
  • Touch base with the employee resource groups, if your workplace offers them. Many employers are using ERG’s as career accelerators for those who realize they can capture lateral experiences through ERG leadership. Could your lattice project come under the umbrella of an existing ERG…enabling you to access ERG and company leadership?
  • Take advantage of the free workplace book club guide for The Career Lattice. Buy ten or more copies, and we’ll send you a guide for launching and growing your Lattice discussion group.

Latticing from Customer Service to Marketing

In the depths of the recession, Jason Smith found himself looking for a way to pay the rent. A recent college grad who’d majored in media marketing, Jason had been working for up-and-coming performers. But their gigs were canceled as the recession crushed discretionary spending, and Jason was scrambling to find gig of his own.

He ended up as a customer care rep for a publishing company, handling complaints from advertisers and trying to increase sales via targeted phone calls. Jason realized he would need to rappel back to a professional track. Here’s how he did it.

First, he looked for an orphan problem that he could solve, proving his tactical skills to his supervisor. He documented his results: a dramatic increase in repeat sales from those customers.

He sought out the advice of the department manager and told her his aim was to transition to corporate marketing. Knowing of his success with the tactical solution, she promised to keep an eye out for a good opportunity.

When a small business unit was chosen for relaunch, Jason snagged a job as the second-in-command at its specialty customer support center. It wasn’t long before he realized that many of the commonly asked questions could be converted to helpful social media content. With the green light from the unit’s marketing manager, he more than quadrupled the brand’s Twitter following and doubled its Facebook fan base in just two months.

Now Jason was demonstrating skills that branched into strategic marketing in a hot category: social media. He soon moved into a newly created marketing specialist role, working on a variety of collateral and communication projects.

See Jason’s career lattice.