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What is your people model?  I hear lots of talk about an organisation’s business model, or their operating model, or their service delivery model.

It is a core part of what I do, understanding how the business, operation, or service is going to deliver and make money.  There are lots of books that describe various business models and service delivery models.

If our organisation is about our people….

But,  and this is a big but, if we truly believe that our organisations are about people, do we think about the ‘people model’ in the same way?  Do we apply the same degree of rigour?  Do we explore the options in such a wide way?

Our people models are just as important, if not more.  In many ways the people model is as rich an area for options, alternatives, fresh thinking and means of competing, as our business models.

Many business models ignore the people model

I will go further.  I see many “Business models” that talk about markets, visions, suppliers, competitive spaces, etc..

There are even whole books that help you generate business models.  Have a look at that book – there is only a slot for “resources”.  No place for “People”.  An resources is just a commodity, like office space, money or coal.

What is your model of people in your organisation?

For goodness sake, how can you have a serious model of business without explicitly thinking about your wider people strategy, model of people and social network.

They fail to ask the question, can we distinguish ourselves on our ‘People model’?  Can we distinguish ourselves on our social model?

They assume the people model is just a simplistic, do as others do.  Sure they might talk about core competencies and capabilities.  They might discuss talent and culture.  But do they think radically enough about their people models.

Going beyond organisational boundaries

And as our organisations become less and less constrained by our organisational boundaries, and more and more connected, the organisational boundaries disappear.

So we can be even more radical about our people model now.

We need to give as much thought to the options and potential and alternatives to our people model, as to our business model.

The clever question for a new organisation, is not “What is your business model’?

The real source of competitiveness in the 21st century is our ‘people models’.

The question is now, “What is your people model’?