Technology has resulted in constant connectivity, mobility and changes in the way we communicate. The use of social media is just one example. There are many other changes to the business landscape that have changed the way we work. The political landscape has evolved so that politics and the economy are more intertwined. Global financial crises and a resulting lack of trust in ethics, plus operating in recessionary times, have changed the way we do business. Globalisation and seeing emerging markets becoming dynamic markets.
There are changes that affect each and every one of us more specifically. Expectations have been elevated in all spheres. People work 24/7 and customers and bosses want more bang for their buck. We almost seem never to be able to switch off. We are expected to exhibit more speed. Business has had to become more customer-centric to survive, and customers are more demanding. They also have platforms through social media for communicating their pleasure and displeasure, in real time.
Employees want flexibility in work space and hours. This has resulted in more cocooning and home offices evolving. This requires a higher level of responsibility and more emphasis on productivity than presence in an office.
Good news is that a greater search for purpose and self-fulfilment has made itself evident, especially in the new work force. Younger staff (which I term the “I” generation as it is often all about I, my i-phone, i-pod, i-pad…) are often over-qualified, under-experienced or underprivileged. They battle to gain experience in the workplace, but if their energies are harnessed correctly, they can be invaluable in bringing a new culture to life. Cultural diversity is the norm, not new.
The best news is that trust holds more value. We stick with the brands and people we trust and know. Loyalty is differently defined, it is not determined by how long you work for a company, but by your contribution whilst in their employ. People work and live longer, which has allowed the working life to extend beyond the previous cut-off.
Technical change is usually orchestrated by management; real change is managed by leaders. Before we decide what change is necessary, we need to look at what is going well, what does not need to be changed. If it is not broken, why fix it? Only then can we pose the questions: why, what, who, when and how?