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Firm of The Future & The New World of Work
Whether we like it or not, we are becoming a global community in ways of living and working. Young executives of today, from a variety of cultures, see themselves as belonging to a global community of humanity. The trend is increasing for globally sourced people, working flexible hours from home or remotely from site, on flexible contracts. Of course, this trend is quite understandable in the face of globalisation and digitisation opening up labour markets and increasing the flexibility required by employers. In parallel to this flexible, global emergence, surveys consistently show that Generation Y (under 30’s) are increasingly placing social purpose, work-place culture, ethics and organisational mission as fundamentally important in their lives, as well as fair remuneration.
This ‘new world of work’ changes the game for individuals and employers, in turn fundamentally changing the demands put on education to equip people for success. Some argue that we are on the cusp of a radical transformation in higher and further education. A paradigm shift from a silo’ed, hierarchical, atomised approach to education which teaches ‘chunks’ of subjects to its students; to a more tailored, integrated, applied, holistic approach to higher and further education aimed at providing an adequate supply of flexible, adaptable, entrepreneurial, self-motivated workers and leaders now increasingly demanded by the global community we live in.
With community comes the recognition, awareness and valuing of diversity and local differences. Globalisation without localisation strips away diversity encouraging mono-cultures to supersede multi-cultures in society and organisations. Through our desire to organise, manage, scale-up, co-ordinate and control we have tended towards encouraging mono-cultures where we seek to normalise behaviour, and in turn reduce organisational (and wider socio-economic) resilience. It is diversity that unleashes creativity; it is diversity that helps create conditions conducive for change. It is this important dynamic of ‘localisation within globalisation’ which is fundamental to ensuring vital resilience for organisations able to sail these stormy seas ahead.
It is within this emergent, locally-attuned, diverse, interconnected community we must find our way to work, rest and play. As our global community emerges, we see the emergence of global ethics and the acceptance of (and desire for) increasing flexibility, variety and sense of purpose. The roles of human resourcing, talent management, stakeholder engagement, higher-education and organisational training are evolving to meet this transformation.
In this new world of work, old mentalities and business paradigms are being challenged, not least that of Business Leadership. Traditionally we have been taught that leaders are either born leaders or trained through leadership courses to become leaders. Yet as the characteristics of the individual, organisation and wider working community continue to evolve, so too emerges a ‘third way’ to leadership. This third way, does not dispute that some people may be naturally more charismatic and inspiring than others, nor that learning approaches to inspire, influence and lead people is not useful. This third way is rooted in the individual and their interconnectedness with their environment (social, economic and environmental). It starts with the self, the understanding of the self, the self belief, the values, purpose and path of the self and its relationship with life. From the foundation of the inner-self one then explores how best to interconnect with the wider community and so how best to behave, inspire and lead in business and beyond. From clarity of core values comes clarity of real value – real holistic value that improves all aspects of economic, social and environmental value. This ‘real value’ creation is the core to good business sense; a critical success factor for those business leaders and organisations wishing to succeed in these transformational times.
Whilst on the surface, diverse, interconnected, open, emergent organisations may appear more chaotic and difficult to manage; they are vibrant places for people to become self-empowered and inspire others – self-managing through mutual understanding of correct behaviours rooted in core values and clarity of purpose. It is this shared value-set of core ethics that ensures the chaotic nature of self-empowered diversity naturally emerges towards delivering the value-creation goals of the organisation whilst maintaining flexibility, adaptability and sense of purpose.
Due to the emergence of the new world of work, the Firm of The Future has no choice but to be an organisation which embraces this global community, global in outlook whilst local in behaviour – multi-cultural with share values. Firms of the Future are organisations that are able to recognise and embrace their role within a globalised yet localised business environment; viewing their ecosystem of stakeholders as a community within which they thrive and prosper for the benefit of themselves and all.