This is an article I wrote for the book: “101 Ways to Boost Your Career” to be published December 2010:
To have a productive, satisfying career now and in the future, you will need to know how the Workplace has changed and how to be valued by it.
The very nature of WORK, who does it, where, why and with whom has been changing dramatically and forever. The “Social Contract” between employers and workers has changed. The “workplace” is no longer just “hired” employees and employer. It is no longer a space confined to a legacy corporate structure. And that has dramatically changed the way people and executives look at Great Places To Work, Great Workplaces, Great Participants, and the very nature of employment and careers.
At the core, the Workplace of the future has shifted its focus from “Mission” (Statements) to “Purpose” and from “Teamwork” to “Collaboration”. The corporate missions of the past were company-goal oriented, not customer-centric and the concept of corporate teamwork was actually confined to single departments where a command and control leadership could mold outcomes.
The shift to Purpose promotes the actual corporate goals as a component of a customer-focused ethos that has no perceived conclusion (missions have an end game) and the methodology of using collaborative entities as a way to include the power of all “participants” to an organization’s success. Simply, the Great Workplaces of tomorrow strive for a reason to achieve FOR their customer and include the ability for anyone (internal and external to the organization) to assist in that journey.
Old lines of communications (Such as “Command and Control” management) have been deployed only in needed areas (where no true innovation may be needed) and the concept of “New Ideas” is no longer just defined as coming from internal sources. “Crowd Sourcing” (asking people and entities who are NOT directly connected to you or your organization) has become an expected resource for success. The concept that great ideas can only come from within the organization is essentially dead.
Social media has taught even the smallest company or most reclusive individual that being open to outside ideas transcends not just the concept of success; it has redefined the idea of survival.
Career focus will be a distinct shift toward “You Incorporated”. To function well in the business future you will need to think of yourself as “self employed” (or actually be self-employed). You will need to be self-contained in the areas of accountability, responsibility and have a (or many) “tradable” and transferable talent(s). The talent you develop will need to be one that is sought-after and valued. (So much for Art History majors, or “General Studies” majors).
Hiding your deficits in a work environment will disappear as a career option. The move toward truly open environments, visible management, visible collaborations and the use of great assets OUTSIDE of the organization for its ultimate success will lay bare the real contributions of individuals and groups. Your contributions will be measured, evaluated and stored in the organization’s memory bank as never before.
You (as a worker and potential “Participant”) will need to have a definable talent (or talents) beyond being a “nice” person. Being nice got you attention in high school and perhaps an award or two. Mom and Dad loved you, why won’t a future workplace? They expect you to contribute to THEIR future first.
Preparation for a career has become a strategy, not a series of tactics. It requires an understanding of the playing field (the Workplace) and your ability to be a contributor to it. The Workplace has changed not only geographically but also in purpose.
The workplace of the future will require you to be MORE contributory in defined outcomes and results. It will require more collaborative skills, a higher degree of foresight to match the organization’s needs to achieve its purpose (see a bigger picture), and an ability to function as though you are a self-contained and critical component of the organization’s hierarchy. There will be less ability for an organization to hang onto non-contributors and place-takers.
The world has become more open and more collaborative. The upside of this is that your contributions will be more visible and therefore more satisfying. The downside is that your contributions will be more visible and therefore more expected.
To further understand how The Great Workplace is changing and how to fit into it comfortably, go to: www.thegreatworkplace.com where you will find the 11 characteristics of The Great Workplace 2.0, garnered from more than 500 Executive-level interviews.
Robert A. Schepens, Certified Personnel Consultant, is the CEO of Champion Personnel System of Ohio, a former president of the Cleveland and Ohio Associations of Personnel Services, a 30-year veteran of Human Resources and Recruiting, and the founder of The Great Workplace.com. His new book, The Great Workplace 2.0 will be published in 2011 and his book “Nine Principles For Inspire Action” is available on Amazon.com today. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org