Posts

What is the future of leadership in the digital age?

I am currently collaborating with several thought leaders in Europe (my partners in the FutureWork Forum) to conduct a global survey designed to uncover trends and differences around the world in how leadership is evolving. We’re particularly interested in understanding how digital technologies and social media are impacting the role and style of leaders at all levels.

If you’ll give me five minutes to complete the survey I’ll send you a free summary of our findings. [continue reading...]

Boundaries at Work: New Rules for Thriving in the Digital Age

MultitaskingLast week I wrote about the challenges of living in a “boundaryless” world – one in which we can (and do) bounce back and forth between work and non-work activities.

It is now common to communicate with colleagues and friends all over the world, to take care of personal needs in the middle of our work days, and to engage in work-related activities at all hours of the day and night.

(see “In a Boundaryless World, Peak Performance is More Difficult Than Ever”)

How many times have you been part of a global conference call at 4 or 5 AM local time, or completed a work memo and emailed it off at 10 PM? Read more

An Interview with an “expert” on the future of work (that would be me)

1502171419101371-social-hire-logo_ecI was recently interviewed by Social-Hire as part of their Expert Interview program. It was a wide-ranging conversation about the changing nature of the workforce, the need for a radically new kind of organizational leadership, and how to attract and retain talent in this age of networked knowledge that we’ve created.

Here is a brief excerpt that reflects my perspective on why so many of us are frustrated and discouraged about our work experiences: Read more

Collaborative Conversations Create Constructive Cultures

General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, the “Big Three” of the American automobile industry, draw on the same talent pools to staff their organizations. They hire from the same design, engineering, and management schools. Their assembly factories and distribution centers are often located within miles of each other and are staffed from the same local communities. Indeed, in many instances they hire people away from each other.

Yet those three organizations have distinctively different brands, different customers, vastly different organizational cultures, and clearly different track records.

Similarly, The Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders are two NFL football teams that draw on the same pool of college athletes, recruit coaches from the same broad cross-section of talent and experience, follow the same policies and rules of the game, use the same basic equipment – and have dramatically different won-loss records.

What makes an organization unique?

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There is only one of you

Ponder this for a moment:  as big and as global as the Internet is, every single human being is born with a far more impressive network. It’s called a brain.

I learned last week from author Steven Campbell (Making Your Mind Magnificent) that the human brain has  more than 100 billion neurons (that’s not a typo!). But, as Campbell says,

…this is nothing! Each of those neurons has an average of 10,000 connections to other neurons. This computes to 100,000,000,000 connections! That is a quantity found by multiplying 100 billion times 100 billion, times 100 billion…ten thousand times. As a comparison, 100 billion multiplied by 40,000 is a number larger than the number of stars in the Milky Way. We truly cannot fathom the number of connections our brain has.

(Making Your Mind Magnificent, p.4)

Campbell is describing the network inside just one human brain! And there are upwards of 7 billion human beings alive today – most of them in possession of a functioning brain.

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Leading the Living

I’ve been stewing for many years about my personal experiences with Industrial-Age bureaucracies and the way they constrict, and even destroy, human creativity and innovation.

And I know it’s not just me. I’m convinced that the dismal levels of employee engagement (in American organizations at least) that have been reported recently by Gallup (see State of the American Workplace) and widely discussed (“The Costs of Ignoring Employee Engagement,” “Why You Hate Work”) are symptoms of a fundamental misfit between people, work, and current organizational practices.

The latest, and very articulate, commentary on this Very Important Topic appeared last Friday, May 30, in the New York Times (“Why You Hate Work”). If you haven’t seen that article yet, I urge you to go read it and then come back here.

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Hear Alexi Marmot talking about the Workplace Strategy Summit

The IFMA Foundation Workplace Strategy Summit will convene in just two weeks at Wokefield Park, just north of London (8-10 June). There are still seats available, and you really don’t want to miss this very special event. Attendance is limited to 160 of the smartest, best-informed workplace experts in the world (including you, if you register now).

Our official host is Alexi Marmot, Director of AMA – Alexi Marmot Associates Ltd., and Professor of Facility and Environmental Management at University College London. [continue reading...]

What Will the Future of Work Look Like?

As a self-proclaimed workplace futurist I get asked all the time “What will the future of work really look like?” And it’s an appropriate question to contemplate at the end of the year, which is always filled with both looking back and looking forward.

But rather than pretend that I can tell you anything definitive about the future of work, instead I  want to offer some observations about why predictions of any kind are difficult, and could even be dangerous.

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

At home my wife and I have a “simplistic” refrigerator magnet that keeps us on our toes:

Think about it; each of us creates the future one moment at a time, one day at a time, every day.

The future unfolds as a global group exercise in decision-making, learning, and responding to other people and external events. Each day and every event comes into being as a complex combination of natural occurrences, millions of
individual choices, and secondary responses to
what has just happened.

Of course there are many recurring patterns and experiences that we can anticipate reasonably well even 10 or 20 years in advance. The American humorist Mark Twain reportedly once said “History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” Read more

Six Strategies for Enhancing Your Workplace

Note: I am just back from a very full week at IFMA’s World Workplace 2013, in Philadelphia., where I reconnected with lots of long-time friends and made many new ones. Look for a series of reports and reflections over the next several days/weeks.

We were particularly pleased to spend time at World Workplace with Steven Sonsino, the co-author (with Jacqueline Moore) of Leadership FM, a new book calling for completely rethinking the role of facilities and facilities management (FM) in organizations (by the way, Steven’s view is very similar to my own, as reported in 2012 in the RICS white paper, “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of FM” – free registration required to download the report). [continue reading...]

Defining a New Vision and Role for Facilities Management

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a large group of facilities professionals at the June luncheon meeting of the Houston Chapter of IFMA (International Facilities Management Association).

My topic was “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management.” That’s the title of a research project that Paul Carder and I led in 2o12 for RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). We did the research in our respective roles as Managing Director (Paul) and Global Research Director (me) of Occupiers Journal Limited, the publisher of Work & Place .

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