The Future of Work

My daughter tells me when she is older she is not doing what I do. She doesn’t know what she is going to do, but she knows she is not working Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm, under the control of a boss – she finds the whole concept bizarre. She also finds HR completely weird, why do you need policies and processes? When you are old do you not know this stuff, can you not make decisions yourself? I catch myself telling her she is going to have a rude awakening, that she needs to knuckle down because bills don’t get paid by spending your life on social media (at this point she is quick to reel off names of social media influencers who do just that…) Then it hits me, is my daughter looking to do a job that doesn’t exist yet? If so, how is she going to prepare for that? Is the world of work prepared for her?

She is certain life is going to be so different to today. In fact, she doesn’t understand why it hasn’t changed already. How she interacts with technology and people is completely different to how I do. She finds me and the world of work old fashioned and outdated. As my ‘critical parent’ gets triggered again… I realise I need to stop. And listen. Dismissing her is not going to serve me or her. I need to really listen to what she is saying. Why? Because like it or not – she has a point. She is the future.

So here I am, on a mission to change the world of work, by working with leaders and teams to transform. In my reflective moments, I realise my life would be so much easier if I stopped trying to push the boundaries. I would experience far less heartache, isolation and frustration – I say I am going to quit all the time… but I don’t and I can’t. I am so passionate about what I do. I 100% believe in it and I absolutely love it.

What keeps me going, I have purpose. I am doing this for my daughter. I want her to realise her dream of what working will be like (which we all probably had). I don’t want her to be forced into an outdated and not fit for purpose mould of the 1900’s way of working that we do today. I don’t want her to have to choose between family and a career, between having a life and earning money, between doing what you love and what conforms to social norms. Most importantly I want her spirit, sparkle and creativity to be fully unleashed on the world, rather than squashed and dampened into a rigid and constricted modus operandi.

And let’s be honest, don’t we all want that? Don’t we all want to work in that way?

We need to start now, we have to stop repeating the same old pattern, it’s starting to creak at the seams and it is going to totally break in the near future if we don’t change. To create the conditions we need, we can’t keep waiting and talking about it, we have to start now – COVID has forced us to work differently and guess what… it works.

What needs to change?

  • Where and when we work – the days of Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, from one location/office are numbered. It’s also proven our brains do not work most effectively within these hours! Working where and when you need to, to deliver the best results is what will count.
  • Who we work for – working for one employer, with a rigid contract, job title and job description won’t work. We will work for multiple employers, on assignments, based on the value we add and the expertise we bring.
  • How we work – with the scale, pace and complexity of the world, no one person can be an expert in everything. The empowerment of networks and teams will be essential. Teaming and collaboration will be the key to high performance, delivery and success – the rule of the hierarchy, control, status and expert power bases will be over!
  • Equality – despite the days of command and control management being frowned on for a while now, typically our ways of working, systems and processes are set up in this way. Equality and the empowerment of people will be how work gets done. Hero leadership and the infantalisation of employees will not work and frankly won’t be tolerated. Responsibility, accountability, trust and treating each other as adults will create the conditions for success, innovation and enriching experiences.

The future is really exciting, it is going to take a lot of change to get us there so resilience, perseverance and openness to learning will be key to keep on the journey to realise a better future.

The first step… of course I would say Coaching and Action Learning!!! But they are powerful tools to empower, develop and to start to create these conditions. I am also developing my knowledge and experience in Team Psychological Safety and Team Coaching – creating the conditions and developing behaviours for ‘teaming’ are really important for future success.

I’ll keep you posted on my mission, I am sure I will ‘fall, learn and build’ (Tucker 2020), many times over but I can’t be passenger on this journey, I’m in, who is with me?

I am always happy to talk and ‘geek’ out about this stuff – if you would like to talk more , get in touch at dbktcoaching@gmail.com.

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