Jacob Morgan’s recently published book “The Future of Work” is a fascinating observation of what’s happening in the workplace. He’s published several posts and articles as well which can be found at www.thefutureorganization.com all relating to the topic.
He provides 14 principles of future organizations:
- Globally distributed with smaller teams
- Connected workforce
- Operates like a small company
- Focuses on “want” instead of “need”
- Adapts to change faster
- Innovation anywhere
- Runs in the cloud
- More women in senior management
- Flatter structure
- Tells stories
- Democratizes learning
- Shifts from profits to prosperity
- Adapts to future employee and manager
What I found really interesting about all of these principles, (which I wholeheartedly agree with), is that they are tailor-made for entrepreneurs. All the things entrepreneurs do on a daily basis are now seen as what will work in the future of large organizations as well. So why the sudden realization?
Because the workforce is demanding to be treated differently. They want to matter and they have choices. So we adapt, and what better place to look for how to do that than entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurial companies have smaller teams and it’s less bureaucratic so it’s easier to get things done quickly. In this scenario the employee has his or her workmates, but also gets to operate independently, creating more accountability, (not less, as some would argue).
Technology has allowed us to have a connected workforce with the flexibility to work from anywhere and not have to “report” to one spot, which also increases the likelihood of an intrapreneurial mindset working more like a small company. Flexible, fast and adapting rapidly to change, innovation will be found everywhere because it’s encouraged and the environment is set-up to foster it.
Also interesting is number 11, “tell stories.” As Morgan says, companies have long been focused on telling their stories to the outside to “sell” products, shares or services. Telling the stories inside is what fosters loyalty, and teams working well together and creating company lore. People don’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t have an interesting story. They have too many choices. As I talk about in my book regarding “Intentional Culture,” story telling comes from the foundational values of a company and the stories that show how they were lived. When there is alignment in what is said and done, people are motivated. They want to do everything possible to shift from “profits to prosperity.” They are not anti-profit, they want all those who contribute to prosper. It’s a good story and it works.
As you look at your organization and how you’ll be ready for the future, go back to your entrepreneurial roots and borrow from your own playbook. You’ll just have a few more technological advantages this time around.