“How will we be working in the future? What role will future business play in society? How will businesses attract talent? Virgin Uniteâ€™s Head of People shares some of the highlights from todayâ€™s B Team report, New Ways of Working.”
“Yet despite almost a century of fine management writing and many successful initiatives, the ugly truth is that the lasting impact on general management practice has been limited. Even humanist change initiatives that were objectively dramatically successful have often been discarded by the firms that introduced them. Sooner or later, firms revert to stultifying bureaucratic practices as if on zombie-like auto-pilot.”
Why is change so difficult? One reason is that an unholy alliance links shareholder value theory and hierarchical bureaucracy.
Thatâ€™s because making money for shareholders and the C-suite is inherently uninspiring to employees. The C-suite must compel employees to obey. The result is that only one in five employees is fully engaged in his or her work, and even fewer are passionate. The very foundations of humanist managementâ€”collaboration and trustâ€”are missing.
As â€œbetter, cheaper, faster, smaller, more convenient, and more personalizedâ€ became the new norm, the ability to innovate with committed employees became critical. This in turn requires firms to draw on the passion and full talents of those doing the work to find new and better ways to delight customers.
The locus of competitive advantage is now determined by interactions with the customer, built on the work of engaged and passionate workers.
this means orienting everyone to the goal of delivering more value to customers sooner, and aligning all decision-making with this goal. It is a shift in mindset from â€œYou take what we make,â€ to â€œWe seek to understand your problems and will surprise you by solving them.â€
To be sure, other changes wrought by the Internet bring new challenges that must also be dealt with. Increasing income inequality must be addressed with more progressive tax policy. Excessive financialization of the economy must be resolved by reining in the financial sector. Abuses of burgeoning monopolies must be met with stronger anti-trust action. Threats to privacy must be averted by appropriate regulation. The rights of vast numbers of part-time workers and â€œpermatempsâ€ must be protected through appropriate legislation. Education systems must support greater entrepreneurial skills and life-long learning to prepare people for the new world of work. Greater support must be provided for individuals to start their own businesses.
The companies with the best math and design are the ones that are going to win.
A digital artisan is someone who knows how to blend the right-brain side and the left-brain side. These are folks who have a level of authenticity. They are relevant, super intelligent, and they understand where technologies are headed. They have all these qualities that help business leaders think about things in a systems perspective.
People keep saying, â€˜I want real-time data.â€™ And I say, â€˜No, you donâ€™t. You want this data to mean something. What you want to do with that data is take it and tie it to information.â€™
The chief digital officer needs to be a kind of coach, a catalyst within the organization. These folks need to have enough power to start small projects, and have enough foresight to hand off those projects so they can scale up within an organization.
weâ€™ll have a number of digitally enabled CXOsâ€”HR leaders who know they need to hire digital artisans, CFOs who realize they have to change pricing models, or IT leaders who know how to move faster so that technology can be as agile as the business. The chief digital officer will ultimately go away, just like you wouldnâ€™t have an e-business officer today.
“In recent months, Iâ€™ve started to be asked whatâ€™s coming next in digital and the enterprise. While I examined the more strategic up-and-coming technologies for the last year, this doesnâ€™t really begin to paint the strategic picture that organizations must manage to now. After all, a laundry list of technologies is just that, and wonâ€™t create results by itself. But carefully situating emerging technologies within a business in a way that truly takes advantage of their innate and unique abilities to realize value creation does, and is the essential description of the hot topic today among CIOs and others in the C-Suite, digital transformation. “
Probably the most important concept thatâ€™s almost always missing from these views is the unique power of networks, especially ones made of people. One of the more remarkable is the sheer number of connections between nodes on the network that are potentially possible.
But in a world of mounting performance pressure, we should also expect a fourth form of platform to become prominent. Dynamic and demanding environments favor those who are able to learn best and fastest.
Itâ€™s also clear that mobility is going to transform and essentially disappear, into us.
Thus it wonâ€™t be long from now â€” as strange as it may seem today â€” that we can turn on the lights in our office just by thinking about it or order a product from Amazon after having an algorithm sift through the reviews for us simply by conceiving of doing so
The 3rd platforms enabled enormous commercial ecosystems such as those created by Google (especially their decentralized AdWords network), Facebook, Amazonâ€™s Cloud, Appleâ€™s phones, iTunes and App Stores, and the list goes on
In the 4th platform, these platforms will become even more important â€” rightly or wrongly â€” and the most useful ones to us will literally become part of our mental furniture. The fourth platform is ambient computing, which strong components that turn network potential from our favorite ecosystems into data, and then data into knowledge, and make it as easy as just thinking about it. The next generation commercial ecosystems will even augment time and thought for us, even predicting what weâ€™ll need before we figure it out ourselves.
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