We have all spent months hoping for an end without knowing what’s coming next and I do fear what the next may look like for so many of us. Wellbeing has taken a battering, relationships tested, social lives non-existent, finances uncertain, jobs lost and purpose questioned.
There are many positives too, we have realised how resilient we are, we have adopted technology (even my 71 year old Nanna using Zoom), the amount and sheer speed of change for some organisations has been mind-blowing , people have reset themselves and remembered what is important, and the volume of remote working can only be positive for our planet.
You may have seen the article I posted from McKinsey claiming there are nine traits of future-ready companies. What the future look like is anybody’s guess. Even if it is an educated one, it is still a guess, and so much of the rhetoric right now has a slant on it which comes from the perspective of the sector the article is being written by. There is just so much noise.
I do not believe there is a single answer or that we should be taking blanket approaches to new ways of working. We need to understand the why, the idiosyncrasies and needs and desires of the organisation and the people
There is not a sole the answer and we won’t know many of the answers for some time; for most it will be a case of testing and improving. The biggest challenge about the world of work is that we continue to treat people as a means to an end – the vehicle for an organisation to meet it’s financial goals.
For me the future workplace needs:
1 – Purpose – Clearly defined so every single person/function understands what their contribution means to the bigger picture.
2 – Culture – It’s going to need conscious effort to maintain during a dispersed world as a crucial competitive advantage. What is your organisations DNA and how do you reflect it?
3- People Centricity: We build our people and in return they build our business. Future leaders need to be skilled at the hard stuff….the ‘soft’ stuff – trust, psychological safety, empathy, authenticity and vulnerability.
4 – Speed, agility, adaptability: Siloed and top down organisations based on predictable commercial events are a thing of the past. The unpredictability and disruption needs speed, agility and adaptability to stay ahead. There will be more ambiguity and we need to embrace that and be comfortable not knowing what’s coming next.
5 – Curiosity: Speed, agility, adaptability and ambiguity requires curiosity. The more curious we are, the more information we have, the more we can connect the dots at speed.
6- Resilience – Speed and curiosity need resilience. We need to fail and bounce back stronger, reinventing, innovating and consistently solving problems.
7 – Networks of teams: An important part of designing for adaptability and resilience is a shift away from hierarchical organisational structures toward models where work is accomplished in teams. Rapport and strength of relationships gets stuff done – people dig deep for each other.
8 – Accountability: In teams, accountability becomes more transparent. Individual and team goals and metrics should be shared for everyone to see. The sense of accountability this can create is critical to team and corporate effectiveness. This of course links to rapport and relationships; digging deep together as a team.
9 – Bravery: You know what you get from sitting on the fence don’t you? – yes, splinters. Be brave, take action, make things happen, fail, learn and try again! Just get the sh*t done.
10 – To Adopt continuous, feedback-based performance management: Regular feedback empowers people to reset goals continuously, change projects, and feel rewarded for their “work,” not just their “job.” Employee survey tools give managers immediate input on their own performance, boosting transparency.
In summary, let’s crack on with it!!
Be the change,