Ten-plus years ago, the use of, and speed of change in, technology was creating growing pains inside organizations. Individuals’ private use of tech was surpassing their organizational use of it. We were suddenly more connected as private citizens. Companies were forced to catch up (partly by the emergent needs of Millennials).
The natural bureaucratic inertia inside organizations caused friction and angst. Change agents and disorganizers took it upon themselves to make the difference, applying their private expertise where there was no organizational.
These merry band of adventurers banded together online, privately, as they could, to share and encourage. They emerged as leaders of…the future of work. It was called many other things, including e2.0.
I was partly involved and it was exciting. We saw a more engaged, efficient and resilient way of working. I felt younger, more invigorated and open to the potential of the collective wisdom of people, rather than the organization.
However, it did not move as fast as the first protagonists wanted. The slough of disillusionment set in. The early adopters left their slow-changing organizations to become future of work consultants and picked up good work, until they didn’t…
The change seemed to get stuck in a rut. Partial success, some confusion, new tech replacing old-new tech at an accelerating pace, the curse of email always rearing its ugly head.
Yet, one week into COVID-19 remote work, and the future of work is back! Slack deployments are through the roof; MS Teams too.
LinkedIn is chock full of remote working tips and advice from thought leaders. Perhaps this time, the world of work will change, unlocking the value of individuals and teams to turbocharge organizations beyond their natural boundaries.
I am a believer; a practitioner; a coach; an experimenter; an agent of change; a disorganizer; a creative. In times of tumult, these are skills we should all be continually developing.
Here is a new chance to move through and beyond. We can make things better as all around us other things – things we cannot control – get worse. Here is a chance to take a small piece of personal control. Optimistically, we should take these chances afforded us. We need something to look forward to.
This Much We Know.