Anat Lechner, PHD, Stern School of Business, New York University. Part 3 of 4: The old order is dead.

In the coming decades, it is predicted that 2 billion roles will be wiped out and governments and organisations will be without systems to respond to it. 

Already, organisations must be asking what parts of job roles can be digitalised. My comment is that businesses need to be mindful that they do not digitise to the point of their own self-destruction.  

To be able to grow and survive into the future we must create services and products that make people feel good. Think about traditional legal and insurance services; they are not really known for making people feel good, this gives them the greatest opportunities to make the greatest impact

How will workforce skills shift?

  • There will be a decrease in physical skills, including basic cognitive skills
  • There will be a slight increase in higher cognitive skills
  • There will be a greater increase in social and emotional skills
  • The greatest increase will be in technological skills

Practices of disruptive leadership

  • Always work in partnership and continually evolve collaborations
  • Hire external talent when and where it is needed  – do not fit in the traditional full-time recruitment model where it is often filled with inefficiencies and regret from an employee and employer perspective
  • Create a connection of knowledge amongst all levels including roles and departments
  • Democratise learning and ensure it is available across the organisation – not just those sitting in traditional “leadership” roles
  • Create a fairer playing field within organisations and the development of people – it is not so hierarchical. People push back on hierarchies, limiting possibilities

Highly innovative companies; what does it look like?

  1. Highly successful companies commit 28% of their continuous improvement budget towards disruptive innovation
  2. High performers nurture cultures of innovation across every business unit and function
  3. Innovation strategies are centralised in upper management and the CEO has complete ownership of the strategy

Designing roles, job descriptions and workplace environments 

Into the future staff will self select what needs to be done in their role which leads to a greater degree of accountability. They also have measures where they hold each other accountable to the outcome and make conscious time for self-reflection. 

While staff will co-design their roles, organisations will create specific processes and projects for stimulating ideas outside of the business. Note at the present time Proctor and Gamble attest that 1 in 3 innovations currently come from outside of their business.   

Businesses will also need to design processes and spaces that challenge and find solutions to the 17th Century constraints of a traditional workplace that was constructed to control people. The traditional model of being part of a hierarchy will have greater pushback than ever before. 

A key question to ask on a regular basis will be 

What will serve us well in the next two years?

To be able to find the solution it is key the business takes the time to reflect and be brave in answering the following questions:

  1. What must we stop doing in our work practices?
  2. What must we start/introduce into the business?
  3. What must we continue?

Continue to Part 4