March 12, 2012

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Talking About Tomorrow

June 29, 2015

This is an invitation to join an ongoing conversation about the future of work.

direction confusionDo you often wonder where the future of work is headed? Do you have trouble keeping up with all the things impacting the workplace – factors like workforce demographics, new technologies, changing patterns of work, new physical workplace designs, changing social values, and so on, and so on?

We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world, and it often seems impossible to stay on top of everything that matters. I know I find it both frustrating and energizing to live in a world that’s changing as rapidly as ours is today.

The only way I know to stay sane in these conditions is to share both my confusion and my fascination with the future with friends and colleagues, and to learn together as we exchange experiences and insights. [click to continue…]

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strength in numbers

Image: redbubble.com

Forgive me for this: I can’t resist.

I’m writing this note in the midst of San Francisco Bay Area’s giddy euphoria over the Golden State Warriors winning the National Basketball Association Championship for the first time in 40 years (Moses had nothing on us).

Yes, it’s a moment to gloat and rejoice. But it’s also an experience filled with lessons for business leaders. If there is one common theme running through all the newspaper columns and the speeches about the Warriors’ victory, it is how selfless the team members – and the coaching staff – have been all season long.

Yes, Stephen Curry was the league’s Most Valuable Player for the season. And he won the All-Star three-point shooting contest. He’s a genuine superstar – and he is certainly the team’s day-in-day-out leader on and off the court. But he is also genuinely humble. [click to continue…]

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Image of several employees discussing new ideas at meeting

I’ve noted many times that corporate conversations are at the heart of 21st century work. After all, that’s the way most of us communicate with our colleagues, explore issues and opportunities, and make sense out of our experiences.

And I have also reported that there are something like 11 million meetings a day convened in the United States alone. Yet I have difficulty finding anyone who just can’t wait for their next meeting.

Given how much time we spend in meetings and other kinds of conversations, isn’t it worth figuring out which ones are worth holding? [click to continue…]

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Cornell_logo2-1s7ocw0I’ve just returned from a Cornell University class reunion that reminded me of several very important principles that have guided most of my work and my life since I was an undergraduate there fifty years ago.

Today I want to share one of many important insights that emerged out of three days of lectures, conversations, meals, and other on-campus experiences that are better left unmentioned. I have a deep and renewed appreciation that I am who I am today because of my seven years as a Cornell undergraduate and graduate student.

Cornell University is an unusual – and remarkably diverse – institution.

Cornell was founded in 1865 (shortly after the end of the Civil War) when Ezra Cornell created the campus by donating his farmland on the hills above Ithaca, New York, and bringing to life his vision of “an institution where any person could find instruction in any study.” [click to continue…]

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Happy entrepreneur working with a phone and laptop in a coffee shop in the streetAs early as 2002 one of my earliest studies of work patterns indicated that on average knowledge workers were spending only about 35% of their work time inside their assigned corporate facility. They were spending another 30% of their time working out of home offices, and the remainder in “Third Places” like coffee shops, libraries, public parks, hotels, and airports.

Think about that: a full two-thirds of knowledge work now takes place outside of corporate facilities. That sounds like a strikingly large number, but I and many others have conducted numerous studies clearly demonstrating that organizational work today is widely dispersed across many different kinds of locations. Most of us today act as if it doesn’t matter whether the people we are in conversation with are across a desk, across the room, across town, or on another continent.

Yet one of the most common complaints I hear about letting local employees work remotely even just a day or two a week is “How can I manage them if I can’t see them?” [click to continue…]

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Future Exit Sign 000018627375XSmallWe have just celebrated Memorial Day weekend in the United States. It has been an opportunity to reflect on our good fortune as a country, but more importantly to give thanks for the millions of servicemen and servicewomen who sacrificed their lives to protect us in way too many wars.

But this time of pausing and reflecting also got me thinking about how the working environments where most of us spend most of our waking hours have changed over the past twenty years – and will change even more going forward.

Those of us of a certain age can remember when our families sat down in front of the big box in our living rooms that brought us the 6 o’clock evening news. We shared that experience with our neighbors near and far; most of the country absorbed that information at the same time, and from one or the other of the three major networks that brought us all the television news and entertainment.

And most of us had one telephone somewhere in the front hall or living room; but we only used it for short, functional conversations with our neighbors and nearby relatives (calls were billed by the minute, after all). Once a year we might call a distant grandparent for a short “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Holidays” message; long distance calls were prohibitively expensive and the sound was often tinny and full of static.

In short, we didn’t have much choice in how we got our information or stayed in touch with out-of-town family and friends. Our world was relatively limited.

And the way we worked was very similar. [click to continue…]

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ideasI 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: [click to continue…]

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JessPettittJessica Pettitt (http://goodenoughnow.com) is an expert on social justice, diversity, and organizational effectiveness. She is also a nationally known speaker, facilitator, trainer, and consultant. She works with organizations that “want to have tough conversations with humor and a sense of history.”

I recently heard Jessica address the Northern California chapter of the National Speakers Association. Her topic was “Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Taken.” Here I want to share just a few of her insights about how to find what makes you special and share your gifts with the world.

First you have to get over the feeling that you don’t matter, and just get to work sharing your values and your experiences with the world. And accept the fact that, while it may feel as if there are no new ideas in the world, what matters is applying your own perspectives about those ideas to the challenges you face every day. [click to continue…]

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worktechWorkTech is one of the best one-day opportunities you can find for learning the latest insights about the future of work. Phillip Ross and his Unwired Ventures team always  assemble a mind-bending and eye-opening program filled with success stories, thought leaders, and provocative insights.

Architect, industrial designer, and visionary thinker Robert Luchetti will be keynoting the annual WORKTECH15 New York City conference on May 13 & 14, Time and Life Building in Midtown Manhattan (The one-day event is May 14, preceded on the 13th by a special Master Class featuring intensive interaction).

Robert Luchetti and Phillip Stone published “Your Office is Where You Are” in the Harvard Business Review in 1985. In this seminal article, they presented their creation of and predicted the concept of “activity based working.” In his keynote presentation at WORKTECH15, Robert Luchetti will revisit their predictions and take a critical look at what they got right and wrong and present a critique of the current state of the workplace.

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