Right! 2022 is here. Enough gloom. It’s time we all rise up from the past few years, and kick off the Roaring Twenties. With some optimism, some economic resurgence, a swing to the left, and lots of vaccination, let’s hope the rest of the decade can go off.
At work, there are big things afoot to make this possible.
1. We are seeing the restoration of humanity at work. Many workers are not going to take the bureaucratic Taylorist crap any more. When we restore dignity and humanity to the workplace, we unlock productivity. We can boom.
2. The world is finally starting to understand the implications of complexity, and how to deal with VUCA. The insights are undermining the planning theatre, and revealing how to cope and thrive in the uncertainty. These ideas are increasing success by redefining it. When we aren’t grinding away trying to deliver impossible promises, morale can further soar.
3. Arising from #2, agility is enabling us to adapt constantly to change. We can optimise to shifting circumstances. We can thrive in a VUCA world.
Teal Unicorn calls this Human Systems Adaptability. We wrote about it in The agile Manager (small a). We’ve just released a new book Open Management which is the Why to that previous How. It’s an opinionated book.
“Human Systems Adaptability” doesn’t call out another key concept: decency. (It is buried in the “human” part). I’m amazed at how “the Holmes verdict has divided Silicon Valley” as one article put it. It shows just how deeply in the thrall of Friedmanism they are to still defend her. Money justifies the means. We need to be better than that. A rising social consciousness demands it.
All this has been brewing for decades. Now COVID has kicked over the tables.
People aren’t going back to their cubicles. They’ve spent time with their kids or their gardens. They’ve got hours back every day not commuting. They’ve had work freedom.
Some aren’t going back to work at all, at least not to their old jobs. At the same time unemployment is hitting an all time low. The job candidates hold all the cards.
Teams have worked away from the management gaze with no ill effects. Micro-management looks as ridiculous as it always was. Autonomy is proven.
We have pioneered all sorts of virtual working which means more global opportunities. (Teal Unicorn haven’t been to Vietnam in two years but that’s where most of our business is now.)
Supply chains are in ruins. Everything physical is being rethunk too.
Most of all, the nature of VUCA has been brought home with a thump. It can’t be ignored any more.
So the time is now. There is so much we can build on, so many doors open, so much opportunity to be seized. Please let’s all make work better: better results, better lives, better society.
What do you think? Can we be a bit more positive about the future? Does the pain of the past two years count for something? Can we turn it into a foundation for better work?(And a better society, but let’s not go there today).