It is clear we are in a time of tremendous change in our industry. In terms of technology, SIA estimates there are more than 1,500 firms with products in some stage of commercialization. Some are globally recognized unicorns, but for every Uber, there are dozens of smaller firms confronting vexing workforce challenges.
All this change creates a new dilemma for enterprises today — that of overwhelming choice. Of the thousands of options out there, which one will help you create a more competitive workforce and dynamic company culture?
Here’s the thing: Everything you think you know about work and workforce management is at best misguided and at worst can lead your program into a catastrophe.
This is an alarming statement. Here’s my explanation. Those of us in leadership roles are often limited by a fundamentally clouded perception of work. Our ability to see unique opportunities is constrained by a worldview based on a paradigm that may no longer be relevant. Our worldview is a psychological truism that describes quite simply the way we perceive the world around us. Each of us has one that is based on our own unique life experiences and circumstances.
For many executives, when it comes to the application of technology or new workforce models, their worldview can limit the growth of innovation, hampering the development of our industry.
Can you remember the first time you sent an email in your adult life? For me, it was in 1994 when I was working on a green screen monitor. We grew to adopt and leverage technology to solve business challenges in a linear fashion, making existing processes faster and more efficient or less expensive through offshoring to faraway lands. These decisions were based on our worldview.
For example, when we resourced a job in another part of the world, we still considered a workday as a contiguous eight- or nine-hour shift. When it comes to the workplace, we think talent needs to be local or that a given job can never be replaced by a cognitive application or that a college degree is a harbinger of success — because that’s the way business has always worked. That was our workplace worldview — and it is outdated.
The leaders of tomorrow will need to recognize that assumptions based on an outdated worldview will limit businesses’ ability to innovate. We will need to consider that the workforce of tomorrow will expect ways of working that may not have even been invented yet. Why does the workday need to comprise one eight-hour shift as opposed to two four-hours? Why does a job require someone to be across the street as opposed to across the planet? Why does the job even need to be done by a human at all? These are just a few of the assumptions you need to confront in order to create the groundbreaking workplace models of tomorrow. It’s already happening. Don’t let yourself be defined by your limits. Recalibrate your view of the world.