Exactly ten years ago the iconic image of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet leaning into the wind from bow of the ill-fated Titanic became forever imprinted on our memories.
The tragedy of the Titanic was heightened by the human drama that unfolded and the frustration that the sinking of the Titanic was avoidable if only alarms had been heeded.
And yet we are living in times where another human drama of far greater scope and impact is potentially playing out in front of our eyes.
Futurists have long been reporting trends that influence our lives: societal, economic and technological. Who will forget the 1970 book, “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler which predicted the accelerating rate of change? “Megatrends” published in 1982 by John Naisbitt identified ten trends, including the pre-eminence of the information industry and also globalisation. All of these have happened!
The recent report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) “Twelve Forces That Will Radically Change How Organizations Work”, published in March 2017, provides a well-researched and compelling picture of the future of organisations.
In it the authors (Vikram Bhalla , Susanne Dyrchs, and Rainer Strack) describe the forces that will influence the demand for and supply of talent in the future organisation (from 60 trends). From their analysis, I suggest that we could see the emergence of a workplace and mindset for the new worker that contrasts fundamentally with the organisation of today:
Work centred around the performance of a task(s) / solving of a problem(s) in which the individual will draw on information and systems readily available (in-house and Internet) to collaborate flexibly with others to satisfy the customer’s unique needs in a way that allows a certain degree of freedom of expression and fulfilling of a personal purpose.
This description of the future workplace seems so far removed from the current one that it can surely be dismissed as sheer fantasy. And yet is it?
I have had the good fortune of working for many years in such an environment; a constantly evolving “collaborative” one together with a number of professionals with very diverse backgrounds. This not only allowed us to experience the nature of this new workplace, but also assist in creating this very mindset and practice in various other organisations.
For me, the central concept of this new world is that of resourcefulness – the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties (see my article posted on May 29, 2017).
And while this may seem to conform to the novel ways that many teams currently work together (for instance using “agile methods” for development processes and ING’s use of “squads” that complete a mission from beginning to end), in addition to the ability to work both flexibly and in a goal directed way, there are many other dimensions that are vital.
Here, resourcefulness involves not only mastering new skills and competencies, but success depends on challenging old beliefs and habits as a way to embracing a new way of working in tomorrow’s world.
So Resourcefulness Challenge is about transformation rather than a change!
In our experience, the ability to constructively engage with others is critical and hence there is a huge emphasis on adopting and internalising Creative Interchange as part of the new mindset and practice.
Here what we refer to as ‘The Challenge’ – the process for resourcefulness and high-trust – draws on principles and practices from the neurosciences and the works of many recognised thought leaders and practitioners such as Carl Rogers, Henry Nelson Wieman, Will McWhinney, Dan Siegel, Paul Zak, Jon Kabat-Zinn and many others.
Building on our contention that relevant events underpinned by meaningful experiencecreate profound insight and change, ‘The Challenge’ is an appropriate mix of guiding personal experience and engagement to bring about transformation.
It is by connecting thoughts, emotions and values, that attitudes and behaviours are challenged in the context of the individual’s whole life experience.
Inevitably, each individual will be confronted with life choices which he/she will have to deal with during a programme of self reflection, personal coaching and group interaction.
A key measure of the success of ‘The Challenge’ has been the ability to resolve today’s often troublesome collaboration, motivation and accountability dynamic.
So whether you believe that the Titanic was sunk by an iceberg or sunk by fire (recent reports suggest this latter cause may be the case), I would recommend that you earnestly consider the prediction of many leading trend watchers about the seismic changes that organisations face in the not too distant future.
A last minute call to abandon the “organisational Titanic” may be too late and the world will once again witness casualties to a disaster that turned out to be totally unnecessary.