flowcultura blog

The 'Future of Work' is nearer than we think!

11-Sep-2017 14:25:47 / by Marianna

Future of work.jpg

  • The Digital Age
  • Millennials
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Computing
  • VUCA 
  • Ageing Populations
  • Power shifts from Employer to Employee and from Organisation to Customer…

Recognise any of these?

If you’ve recently been to a business conference, had conversations with change professionals, futurists or enlightened business leaders, or read one of the many research papers on the ‘Future of Work’, the answer is probably yes. If not, it may be a worthwhile exercise to investigate them, as these trends are causing a paradigm shift in the way we look at work and business in general. This future, we are told, will be upon us by 2020 – 2025, less than 10 years away.

When I was younger, I remember trying to predict what my life and the world would look like in the year 2000, like it was eons away! It only feels like yesterday that I was sitting on the couch with my little brother for the 100th time, watching Marty shoot around on a hoverboard in the year 2015 in the film “Back to the Future” thinking woah… that’s another world! And here we are, little did I know how quickly it would all creep up on me!

A similar idealistic complacency rings true in the many conversations I now have about what the impact of these trends will be on our world of work.

Many senior leaders, mostly in big corporations, seem to be planning for this ‘distant future’ by initiating mammoth snail paced transformation programs, which run separately to the rest of the business, consisting of a select few VIP’s and extremely high paid consultants, working on the top secret ‘Project Spaceship’ to devise a strategy on how to respond. Once the strategy is developed, a big launch event is held, employees are ‘told’ what they need to do differently and sent on their way. Why is it that 80% of transformations fail again?! I realise this is an oversimplification of the truth, but you catch my gist.

Don’t get me wrong, having a strong direction, a sense of how to get there and a healthy level of external insight and challenge are all extremely useful. However, it feels like we are trying to solve this new challenge, with old ways! Albert Einstein once said "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”, smart man…

The truth is, this ‘future’ is just around the corner, if not already upon us in some ways. It’s time we as leaders, of ourselves, of people, of organisations and of our planet, step up and into the immediate responsibility we have to evolve and adapt; to stop being in denial and start shifting our beliefs and ways of thinking (mindset), driving a different set of behaviours that will accommodate the new way forward. And if you are still in doubt, just look into the life stories of Kodak, HMV or Nokia.

From here to there

Below I’ve pulled together a list, by no means an extensive one, of some of the shifts I believe are necessary to adapt to the new way of working… I’d be interested in reading some of your own so please contribute, and let’s get this movement started!

  • from ‘knowledge is power’ to ‘shared knowledge is powerful’
  • from ‘top down hierarchy’ to ‘equality of voice, impact and influence’
  • from ‘need to know basis’ to ‘transparency’
  • from ‘9-5’ to ‘anytime, anywhere’
  • from ‘work life balance’ to ‘work life integration’
  • from ‘the tufty club’ to ‘inclusion’
  • from ‘I’ to ‘We’
  • from ‘change as a verb’ to ‘change as a noun’

Topics: future of work


Written by Marianna