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            [post_title] => The Workplace of the Future: 4 Key Trends for Organisational Development in 2023
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            [post_content] => The IMI People Strategy Network kicked off a series of in-person events, due to take place throughout 2023. The series represents the return to in-person events, after a pivot to virtual during the pandemic.

This year’s first speaker was Ade McCormack, a former technologist, with a background in astrophysics and software engineering, who today advises leaders on transformational matters.

Ade started off by talking about disruption. It’s a buzzword that has certainly gained a lot of traction in recent years, but what does the word “disruption” actually mean? Firstly, it’s all about challenging the status quo.

Covid definitely shook things up, sometimes in a positive way. But while the majority of leaders most likely think they’ve responded well, that’s not the case at all. As soon as we got back to a relatively steady state, we could see leaders and organisations slip back into their old habits. This has even been evident in organisations that we look to as cutting edge, for example those which have begun to force staff back into the office. But the truth is that there is no “new normal”. From here on out, our lives will be characterised by large amounts of disruption.

In fact, humans are not particularly wired for this modern world. We’re wired to live in tribes, and in situations that cause short bursts of anxiety (like a life or death situation), not chronic anxiety like we tend to experience in the working world.

Ade moved on to talking a bit about how organisations haven’t really progressed from the factory model that worked well during the industrial revolution. The factory model is about rigid processes – something goes in at one end and comes out at another, after being processed in some way. Efficiency is very important here, but efficiency stifles innovation!

Humans are used as tech placeholders in the factory model – people are cogs in the machine, needed to perform a specific task. When it comes to technology, today is the fastest day we’ve ever experienced, and the slowest day we will ever experience. So, in a world full of disruption, it’s not enough to simply sprinkle your organisation with “tech pixie dust” and hope that technology will save you. The new definition of talent is doing something a robot or algorithm can’t, which is of value to the market. Our ability to be creative, bring diverse things together, and pick up on weak signals in small data sets is what set humans apart.

The industrial era was about creating synthetic certainty. While this may have been good for the factories and the government, but it wasn’t necessarily good for the citizens. Thanks to disruption, the world has shifted from the state of synthetic certainty to a new state of hyper uncertainty. Whereas in synthetic certainty, past successes were indicative of future successes, this is no longer the case.

How has industrial era shaped our lives, and how might that change with further disruption? The most obvious answer to this is that the Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm model might erode fully. Already, younger generations are working more flexible hours, which don’t adhere to this. The next is the commute to work, and the need to be in a big city to get the job you want. Remote working can facilitate employees from a much wider geographic range, and cut out the commute all together.

The factory model is dystopian, and no longer effective. But Covid has shaken us up from our slumber, and we can now think about exactly what the role of humans in an organisation should be. Our strength lies in the fact that we have creativity and the ability to perform tasks that AI and other technology just can’t do.

In summary, we need to get to a model where leadership is contextual. Think of a football match – the captains don’t run next to each player, telling them what to do next. In the moment, the player closest to the ball acts as the captain. As we enter this new, post-strategic planning world, getting through each day is the primary job.

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IMI Corporate members can enjoy access to webinars, in-person events and other benefits. You can find out more about Corporate Membership here.

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IMI

IMI

15th Mar 2023

Related Articles

The Workplace of the Future: 4 Key Trends for Organisational Development in 2023
Event Insights: Talent Management in an Increasingly Unpredictable World

Leadership Through the Danish Model

“Happiness is essential – it’s your birth right.” Says not only Malene Rydahl, but people as diverse as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, entertainer Pharrell Williams, and even Oprah Winfrey. With over 350 million people in the world suffering from depression, Bill Gates believes that to be happy, you need to enjoy what you do every day. And your work is a key component of this.

Statistics show that 87% of the workforce is not engaged. When asked the question “why do you go to work?”, an overwhelming majority of people will say that it’s necessary to cover their rent and other bills. But in order to be happy, they need to see the purpose of what they’re doing, and what their role in that purpose is.

To see how we can achieve happiness and success, we can look at an example of a country where people truly live well. In research conducted over a number of years, Denmark has emerged as the happiest country in the world. 20 companies voted the best workplaces in Europe are based in Denmark, so there’s a lot that we can learn from the way Danes manage and lead at work.

Three key factors influencing the happiness of Danes can be defined as trust, freedom, and individual responsibility.

Denmark has 78% trust, while in contrast, most other European countries sit at around 25%. What does that mean? It’s a measure of how trustworthy you are – do you treat people with trust? Do you continue to build trust? When we have trust, we see that more people are willing to try new things at work. They’re more likely to innovate, and to perform at higher levels.

Danes are afforded the freedom to be themselves. The main purpose of the Danish education system is to develop the personality of the child. At six years old, children are encouraged to identify and express their emotions. It’s important for children to be taught a wide variety of different skills, and as they continue to develop themselves, it’s more likely that they’ll go on to live their own lives rather than just generic “lives”. With 1.5 days per week spent on resolving conflict in the workplace – rather than undertaking work – it’s safe to say that building relationships is a major priority.

Finally, comes individual responsibility. 7/10 Danish people like paying taxes! Although they’re taxed at high levels, they don’t position themselves as victims, but rather feel that it’s part of their responsibility to contribute in this way.

As a leader, your values will impact on the way you react and connect with others, as you build a sense of trust and belonging. In our upcoming IMI Masterclass, Malene will discuss wellbeing and performance inspired by the Danish Model, and how leaders can establish a culture that reflect the three key aspects of Danish success. IMI members can sign up to attend here.

Thank you to Mason Hayes & Curran for supporting the masterclass series. MHC are one of Ireland’s top law firms with offices in Dublin, London, San Francisco and New York. See www.mhc.ie for details.