It’s safe to say the world of work is constantly evolving, and has been throughout history. But as you know if you’re a regular reader, I seem to think there’s something different about what’s happening at this particular moment in history. So what’s so different about now?
There are seven things that make what’s happening now unlike any transition before:
1) First, business has never been this enormous, crossing geographic boundaries as easily and quickly as a fiber optic cable.
2) Second, the global workforce has never been this diverse (people of such different cultures haven’t had to work in such close proximity before).
3) Third, the economies of the world have never been this interdependent.
4) Fourth, the currencies of our countries have never been this intertwined.
5) Fifth, there has never been this many democratic governments around the world (and this number continues to grow).
6) Sixth, mostly due to ever-flattening communication, consumers have never been this powerful.
Alone, the above list is more than enough to cause some alarming shifts in the way we work.
But that’s not all that’s happening.
On top of all these massive, unprecedented changes, we have a number seven:
7) Seventh, the world is also changing the way it thinks about work.
We used to view work as a necessary evil, as the thing which affords us our “real” life, which happened outside of work. This perspective is disappearing. Instead, we are now recognizing our work as something which affects every single part of our lives. It is where we spend the majority of our lives, and it deserves to be something we enjoy.
Research tells us that people are undergoing a tremendous shift in what they want from their work: we are increasingly looking for our work to be a place of meaning and contribution, not just a paycheck.
This poses some significant challenges for the organizations of today, because it means our old-style business models will continue to work less and less effectively.
For most organizations, this means completely rethinking why they do what they do.
How much time is your company’s leadership spending on re-thinking? On questioning assumptions and pushing boundaries? On exploring disruptions and inviting just a bit of messiness?
How much time are you spending?