Knowledge Worker Revolution

 

If I had a magical organizational wand, I would turn old toady CEOs into beautiful princes and princesses who champion the causes of their workers. Unfortunately, there’s not enough magic from Oz to convince most executives that today’s workers are more than mechanical parts to their profit machine. During this discussion, we will explore the concept of knowledge workers in organizations.

Some employees feel they are often undervalued and unappreciated by their managers. For example, my friend, Stan, is a very intelligent person in spite of not attending college. He accepted a new job as warehouse operator. Because of downsizing, he became the only person in that department. Stan created his own cataloging system without a computer. That was impressive.

When Stan was up for a raise, he asked for more money. His supervisor explained that it couldn’t be done. My friend countered that he had optimized their warehouse systems, and the operations depended on his knowledge. His supervisor knew it was true because when Stan wasn’t there, no one could find anything.

Stan got what he wanted. He had become a knowledge commodity. This represents the revolution of knowledge workers on the traditional organizational structure. Therefore, if today’s leaders don’t adequately manage the knowledge workforce, they will be at a competitive disadvantage.

Knowledge workers are a critical commodity. Gareth Morgan, author of Imagination, argues that contemporary use of organizational charts and diagrams are major tools for restructuring. However, this creates a false sense that a new organizational chart can solve all of the organization’s problems. Modern-day bosses feel that “top down” management is best. Clearly, they are mistaken.

Georg Krogh, Kazuo Ichijo, and Ikujiro Nonaka, authors of Enabling Knowledge Creation, maintain that knowledge management (KM) is not one person’s job; everyone in organizations can play a vital role in transferring  information. As a rule, an organization’s knowledge and capacity building depends primarily on its human and social capital. In most contemporary organizations, technology can be a critical tool in supporting the knowledge work.

Yet, knowledge workers create and capture information for the management of knowledge. In fact, KM is performed by individuals who belong to communities of interest where knowledge is shared and accumulated. Therefore, effective management of today’s operations depends on talented and gifted knowledge workers.

How do today’s organizations better engage knowledge workers due an era of sweeping layoffs and outsourcing? 

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

While on business travel, I was riding the Metro subway in Washington, DC and got off at the end of the line. The location was in a depressed area with little there for the commuter. As I waited for my ride, I saw two young boys carrying a huge box of M&Ms in hopes of selling to weary commuters. I found it amusing that these young men were catering to this market. I wondered how these inexperienced children could be so successful in business. Many individuals are not.

Our grandmothers told us to find a good government job with benefits, and we would then live happily ever after.  We found that wasn’t true.  In fact, companies are outsourcing functions like employees are disposal goods. In fact, Charles Handy, author of the Age of Paradox, predicts that we are witnessing the end of the full-time employee. In this discussion, we will focus on the freelance industry and how it contributes to the growing outsourcing market.

With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018. In this economic downturn, many people are unleashing their ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit rather than depend of others.’  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier. 

Yet, this venture is not just for the young.  Individuals 55 to 64 represented the second-largest jump in their own businesses (just behind 35- to 44- years old) from 2008 to 2009, according to Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  People with talent are finding they can find work anywhere, including abroad. Websites like Elance.com turn local artists to global competitors. However, columnist Nancy Cook notes, “These sites may transform freelancers into mini-nationals, but they certainly don’t offer the wages, benefits, or perks typically associated with global blue-chip companies.” The following list represents the leading freelance websites for employment:

(1)           Elance.com

(2)           oDesk.com

(3)           Guru.com

(4)           PeoplePerHour.com

(5)           Rent A Coder.com

(6)           Demand Studios.com

(7)           Donanza.com

(8)           Sologig.com

(9)           Freelancer.com

(10)        iFreelance.com

(11)       Guru.com

(12)      Gofreelance.com

(13)      Allfreelancework.com

(14)      Worldwideworkathome.com

 Most entrepreneurs are internally driven. According to BLS, the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs (February 2010) surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008. Many people are unsatisfied with their work situations.  In a Right Management poll, 60% of workers planned to leave their jobs when the market got better. 

Gam’s Barbershop is more than a haircut establishment in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is an experience. Men debate. Fans might see a UT athlete or even Coach Pearl there. However, this successful vision came from one person. Despite growing up in a single parent home and fighting numerous youth temptations, Gary Gamble wanted more. Gam explains, “I always wanted to own my own business. I went to barbershop school with my friend. My friend later quit school. I kept on going. I wanted to do something with my life.” He did. In 1993, Gam’s Barbershop was opened. However, it wasn’t easy. Gam says, “I just try to be determined and never give up.”

 

Some people just stumble on a niche. Owners Charles and Gwen Chandlers took a hobby and grew it into a business. Chandler’s Deli, known for its Southern cooking and great service, is located in the heart of an urban area. While many restaurants have failed in the area, this restaurant still stands.

Charles notes, “I think we have been successful for three reasons. They are God, determination between my wife and me, and our personal assets. God just wanted us to have it [this deli].” Currently, the couple is working with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Department to locate a distributor for their new spices. 

With the economic crisis still ahead, organizations are outsourcing more of their routine functions. Additionally, today’s workers cannot depend on their current employer to take care of their indefinitely. Therefore, being a freelance worker can provide a great alternative.

Yet, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, there is a continual demand for better services at lower prices by organizations. Therefore, many workers will become independent contractors. Yet, our nation needs to continue its economic development campaign. 

How will freelancers contribute to the outsourcing market?  What operational systems will need to be infused into traditional organizations so that they can use them?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

 


[1] “More workers start to quit” by Joe Light

Knowledge Management Infusion

If managers want to gain more efficiency in operations, businesses need to better understand their knowledge management systems.  In handling short-term matters, many organizations have forgotten the long-term consequences of short changing their corporate knowledge. For today’s businesses,  corporate culture along with the massive retirement of Baby Boomers represents a serious concern as it relates to tacit knowledge. Researchers Xiaoming Cong and Kaushik Pandya argue that tacit knowledge, which is often unwritten and less concrete, has become a key asset.

Many employees from the private sector can point to the 80’s as a period of organizational change in terms of downsizing. For federal employees, this reality of potential job lost was not evident until the 90s. In September of 1993, President Clinton set a goal to reduce the Executive Branch civilian workforce. With budget reductions and in some cases base closures, it was apparent to many employees that downsizing was now a reality for federal workers.

New government initiatives, such as A-76, continued to frighten government employees as they saw their jobs outsourced to others. A-76 referred to OMB Circular A-76 (Performance of Commercial Activities) that requires government agencies to determine if its work functions could be done in the private sector cheaper and better.

Research on downsizing efforts in the public and private sectors has found numerous examples of negative impacts on employee productivity, morale, customer service, and product quality. Organizations are relying more on employee involvement to streamline their processes. If you are an employee, do you share information with others that will decrease your value and potentially place you at risks for layoffs?   

Employee cynicism of management will make this problematic. According to Maritz Poll, less than 15% of employees strongly agree that their managers show consistency between their words and actions. Additionally, only 7% of employees strongly trust their senior managers to look out for their best interest. Leadership blogger Dan McCarthy argues, “While workplace trust has been dwindling since the Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco scandals of the earlier part of the decade, threats of layoffs and downsizing have only exacerbated the problem.” In this blog, we will discuss knowledge management in operations.

In today’s hypercompetitive environment, knowledge management becomes a vital component for modern organizations. Knowledge management (KM) relates to an organization’s ability to systematically capture, organize, and store information. When dealing with KM issues, many people focus on intellectual capital or technology issues, rather than the human element.

Consequently, many organizations develop their own KM perspective. For example, Lotus Development Corporation defines KM by the following five technology pillars: business intelligence, collaboration, knowledge transfer, knowledge discovery and mapping, and the location of needed expertise.  As organizations continue to become more complex, engage in global competition, and operate under uncertainty, disseminating information becomes a valuable commodity. KM has been a core ingredient for most government agencies; it is difficult to separate strategic planning from KM.

Georg Krogh, Kazuo Ichijo, and Ikujiro Nonaka, authors of Enabling Knowledge Creation, maintain that knowledge creation must be supported by organizations in a number of ways if knowledge creation is to happen. In fact, they note the following enablers: (a) instill a knowledge vision, (b) manage conversations, (c) mobilize knowledge activists, (d) create the right context, and (e) globalize local knowledge.

Managing this KM system is not easy after the layoff craze of the 1980s. In fact, knowledge sharing without committed leadership and encouraging organizational culture will only be marginally successful. Researchers Alex Birman and John Risko maintain that an organization can improve competitiveness and adaptability and increase its chance of success with an effective KM process. However, Michael Tushman and Charles O’Reilly, authors of Winning Through Innovation, argue that an organization’s culture can prevent it from undergoing positive change because organizational renewal demands requires mastering both innovation and organizational change.

How do organizations ensure the effectiveness of their knowledge management systems? Can trust be rebuilt with today’s workers after  past management failures? If so, how?

  © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

 

Fueling Intellectual Assets

When I wrote my first book, My Cup Runneth Over: Setting Goals for Single Parents and Working Couples, it took me two months to write and less than a year to get published (it normally takes 18 months to three years to get published).  People were amazed at my publishing accomplishments.

My world was transformed, from being a little unknown engineer in Tennessee to being a respected expert and quoted by USA Today and Ebony Magazine.  It provided a great avenue for influencing others across the country and the world.  Additionally, it provided me with a more diverse portfolio of passive income and revenue.  In the greater scheme of thinking, I found out that my new platform was centered, not on the physical book—but on the creation of intellectual assets. 

As organizations contend with global competition, many businesses will need to rethink their strategies for sustainability in the knowledge and innovation economy.  Across the nation, companies are depending more on freelance workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers placed by temporary staffing agencies rose by 404,000 since September 2010. Furthermore, many gifted, laid-off workers are forced to become independent contractors and freelancers.  According to the Freelancer Union, 18% of its members were forced to give up health insurance in 2009 while 39% cut back coverage.  This trend is reshaping America’s workforce.

Yet, value creation will be the key to opening endless opportunities for today’s businesses.  We complain about the rate of manufacturing jobs going abroad and how this reality impacts the quality of living. Perhaps the future will be ruled not by the tangible but the intangible.  In fact, the knowledge economy will wreak havoc on traditional thinking. 

 

Thomas Davenport and Kevin Desouza, intellectual strategists, argue the importance of organizations understanding their intellectual assets: “In the industrial economy, a key component of mass production and productivity—and hence economic growth—was the reuse of physical assets: molds, templates, castings and so forth.  Although so much of the economy is now based on intellectual assets, we have yet to achieve a similar level of reuse and productivity improvement for that class of asset.”  In this discussion, we will look at how intellectual assets will fuel the future.

Henrik Vejlgaard, author of Anatomy of a Trend, argues that emerging trends are influenced by gifted people, including entrepreneurs, designers, and artists.  Vejlgaard notes that these people “create new products or invent new styles or begin doing something in a completely new way.”  In the old days, creative people were the butt of jokes pertaining to finding sustainable employment.  

Yet, the future will belong to just these people, as many organizations across the world will need this asset to enhance their survivability.  Fueling the knowledge economy will be knowledge creation (intellectual asset creation) and knowledge management (intellectual asset management).

An important ingredient for the knowledge economy is the creation, use, storage, and positioning of an organization’s intellectual assets.  Intellectual assets are valuable elements created by human ingenuity: written documents, software, musical compositions, and other intellectual spin-offs.  Intellectual assets can be divided into two categories, product assets and process assets.  Product assets are the specific outputs of knowledge work such as software programs or legal briefs.  

In contrast, process assets are codified knowledge about how to perform a task such as manufacturing steps for a new product.  Some countries have already realized the critical value of intellectual assets.  In May 2004, the Ministerial Council in France studied how intellectual assets impacted value creation, growth, and economic performance.  The study noted, “The continuous shift toward a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy has brought to the forefront the issue of how knowledge is created, disseminated, retained and used to obtain economic returns.”

Intellectual assets will place individuals at the center stage of wealth creation across the globe.  Today, traditional publishers struggle to stay in business as the world has been overrun by knowledge creation.  Many experts will argue that the Big 6 (Random House, Inc., Penguin Putnam, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Time Warner, and Simon & Schuster) dominate the publishing world.  Yet, the world is changing.  

According to a Para Publishing study, traditional publishers are in trouble.  In 2004, more than 1.8 million books were in print.  A new book is published every 30 seconds.  With challenges from the global economies, digital publishing models, and industry standard changes, major publishers are bombarded with changes that impact their bottom-line.  In 2002, major publishers decreased output by 5% yet titles published rose by 6%. 

What is driving the publishing industry now?  It is independent publishers and literary entrepreneurs emerging in this digital age.  In fact, 70% of the titles are now coming from small or self-publishers. In the digital age, individuals can transform one idea into multiple formats including paper back, hardcover, MP3 files, DvD, and other downloadable files.  Therefore, knowledge creators are building an empire of intellectual assets.  Websites like Createspace.com and Lulu.com give individuals the power to create wealth while building influence effortlessly.

What modifications will need to be made in the publishing model to incorporate intellectual assets created by entrepreneurs? How can organizations take advantage of these gifted creators in their organizations and still fully control their knowledge management processes?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Unintended Consequences

 

As companies after company fail in the same industry, I wonder why some organizations continue to follow the same deadly path. In most cases, it starts with managers who do not think about the consequences of short term decisions over the long haul. Sadly, hasty decisions can impact not only the individual but others around them. Several famous individuals have been impacted by this reality.

For example, Vanessa Williams was one of these fallen Hollywood icons. In 1983, Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. However, her immediate success was short-lived due to a scandal.

Consequently, Williams was forced to relinquish her title; she probably didn’t think her youthful deed would come back and wreck her dreams. Yet, the consequences not only damaged Williams but her family, friends, and millions of her fans. In this session, we will examine the impacts of unintended consequences.

Have you ever wondered why some people never consider the aftermath of their bad choices? Many people fail to understand the consequences of their decisions. Nobel Prize author Albert Camus once noted, “Life is the sum of all your choices.” Some people rationalize that an apology or a pitiful stare will erase all of the damages. 

I hear it all the time: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to happen.” Instead of just chalking it up to immaturity or youthful ignorance, I just cannot make that case because we are often talking about adults, not children. These adults should know better, but they act without realizing the effect of their actions. In spite of all wise counsel, some people live to make poor decisions.

Fortunately, these circumstances can be traced back to a root cause. The Law of Unintended Consequences relate to any purposeful action that will generate unintended consequences. This law can be categorized into several areas: (a) a positive unexpected benefit called serendipity, (b) a negative effect which is contrary to the original intention, and (c) a potential source of problems which is commonly referred to as Murphy’s Law. Additionally, the outcomes are not limited to the results that were originally intended.

Here are some examples of how this law works. A new bridge is built to give a secluded community access to a nearby shopping mall. However, this action results in increased crime in the secluded neighborhood and decreased sales for the mall stores. No one anticipated these unforeseen problems.

Another example is a caring parent who smokes cigarettes around his family. One child gets asthma and eventually becomes a chain smoker as an adult. Another child obtains a phobia related to smokers. In retrospect, the caring parent would have done something different if he had anticipated the long-term consequences.

Likewise, many managers may make alternative decisions if they understand the Law of Unintended Consequences. Furthermore, today’s leaders can be proactive in their decision making by considering the long term ramifications of most decisions.

Like Murphy’s Law, some decisions may appear to afflict some people as if their lives are cursed. Unfortunately, making the right decision is a difficult process. No one will applaud your many good decisions; however, you will probably catch heat over the bad ones. As a matter of fact, some individuals continue to ride a merry ride of worsening consequences.

Yet, it is often their own lack of foresight that haunts them. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Somehow we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.” Every person, regardless of their background or social standing, can benefit from good decision-making techniques. In this life, most people make decisions to the best of their abilities. When various things happen, especially bad ones, individuals must be ready to deal with them. Therefore, understanding unintended consequences can assist in helping make better decisions for the future.   

 How do organizations anticipate the consequences of their decisions?  Can managers learn to make better decisions?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

The Search of Global Talent

It is 2150. Science and technology rule the world. Artificial intelligence provides the life blood for the universe. Basic robotic beings conduct all manual labor. Therefore, humanity enjoys endless pleasures and high level thinking. Surprisingly, a rodent dashes through the power grid, bypassing a sophisticated security system and blacks out Earth. Living at the core of the planet, Earth inhabitants stand in darkness. There are no engineers, technicians, and scientists. Humanity has abandoned scientific pursuits in the quest for a better life. 

Why are American businesses excited about global outsourcing while their employees sound the alarm on the impending danger ahead? As I watch numerous companies outsource their corporate souls abroad, I wonder, what is the future of our workforce?  When global competition should bring out the best in humanity, perhaps it is bringing out the worst in us.

As American company after company relishes its stronghold on innovation and creativity to the rest of the world, global competition escalates.  When managers should be developing their employees so that they can get the best performance out of them, managers develop systems that do not inspire or empower workers but maintain the status quo.  Sadly, this is a tragic mistake as countries seek out the best talent in the future.

In a rapidly changing environment, organizations need to understand the rule that talented individuals will play in the future. Some organizations play with strategic planning for the predicted problems of the future, yet they neglect the unintended consequences of what is happening in the near term.

Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor, and Howard Means, authors of The Visionary’s Handbook, explain, “Fail to build your own future, and someone is going to build one for you.” 

Dr. James Canton, nationally recognized futurist, analyzes 10 critical emerging trends in his book, Extreme Future. Dr. Canton notes, “Everyone needs to think differently about the future, a future that is riddled with change, challenge, and risk.” He further provides the five factors that will shape the extreme future which are speed, complexity, risk, change, and surprise. Yet, what emerges from Dr. Canton’s prediction is an increasing need for more worldwide talent.

There is a growing battle developing as companies fight for positioning on the global market.  In fact, this war is waging across the globe.  Countries are searching for the brightest and smartest talent. The Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey involved a study of 1,176 companies across the world, including 314 from the United States.  The survey found that the vast majority of the companies were having difficulty attracting the critical-skill and talented employees to help them compete during this economic crisis. 

According to the study, 65% of the companies reported having problems obtaining the needed talent (52% of American businesses).  In fact, many businesses aren’t even able to retain their own employees.  American businesses were reporting losing 11% of their workforce while globally it’s over 20%.

Gaining the right kind of attributes will make workers more valuable. Ryan Johnson, WorldatWork Vice President, notes “This study is a good reminder that employers need to reassess their employee value proposition to key in on those factors, both tangible and intangible, that would make them attractive to recruits.”

According to the survey, the top talent management priorities were (a) Ensuring the readiness of talent in critical roles, (b) Increasing the investment in building an internal pipeline of talent, and (c) Creating more development opportunities within (rotations, etc.).  Therefore, the quest for worldwide talent will dominate most countries economic agenda as they seek to position themselves in the future.

What is the workforce aftermath if America cannot compete for future talent? What effect will global outsourcing have in the overall strategy of tomorrow’s organizations? 

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Market Turbulence

For many people, the bad economic picture will not change soon enough. According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, almost three-fourths of those surveyed don’t like what’s going on in the country. David Walker, the former chief of the Government Accountable Office, predicts a poorer America if the economic ship doesn’t change direction: “We’ve kicked the can down the road as far as we can. We are at the abyss.”

Market turbulence has overtaken our ability to realize the American Dream. This turbulence relates to the chaos that now plaques our financial institutions, wrecking havoc on our normalcy. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology.

In fact, the government estimates that an additional 1.2 manufacturing jobs will disappear by 2018. In this economic downturn, many people are just happy to have a job. Yet, the hectic work environment creates severe consequences to today’s workers as well.  In our discussion, we will focus on market turbulence and how to leverage against it.

Market turbulence is transforming businesses across the globe.  International markets have been shaken.  It’s like riding first class on a cruise ship during a terrible hurricane. You have plenty of the creature comforts.

Yet, it doesn’t change your situation. You are in for a rough ride. Today, American businesses, like other nations, are on this rough ride. The hurricane is market turbulence. Stanley Gryskiewicz, author of Positive Turbulence, stresses the dangers of this rocky ride: “Turbulence is energic, forceful, catalytic, and unpredictable.” 

Many organizations do not understand what to do or how to survive it.  Stan Davis, author of Future Perfect, declares, “The external environment-technology, economy, society and so on—is changing so fast that businesses scurry to keep up. Organizations, however, simply cannot run that fast. So our organizations don’t change as fast as do the businesses that they are managing.”

Charles Handy, author of The Age of Unreason, argues “Discontinuous changes require discontinuous thinking. If the new way of doing things is going to be different from the old, not just an improvement on it, then we shall need to look at everything in a new way.”  Many managers brag about their extensive experience. 

Many managers brag about their extensive experience. However, in a market plagued by uncertainty, this experience works against traditionalists. Today change is rapid and unpredicted.  Loaded with their vast experience, managers can lead organizations into business despair. Given the large degree of uncertainty and unknowns, some organizations continue on the same path…to nowhere!

Innovative managers can leverage market turbulence to their advantage. Everywhere we look we see this disruptive change breaking down traditional thinking.  What worked yesterday, will fail today. The best companies know how to adapt to turbulence. While others downsize and contract their market efforts, great companies infuse their organizations with creativity and expand their operations, competing on their strengths. 

Management strategist Stanley Gryskiewicz argues that turbulence associated with change can be a positive force for innovation.  He recommendations four elements in taking advantage of turbulence, which are (a) difference (breaking out from the status quo, (b) multiple perspectives (inviting divergent viewpoints and nontraditional interpretations, (c) intensity (keeping the speed, volume, and force at an optimal level for change, and (d) receptivity (providing mechanisms for individuals to be able to thrive in turbulence.

Gary Hamel, author of Leading the Revolution, suggests “In the new industrial order, the battle lines don’t run between regions and countries…In a nonlinear world, only nonlinear ideas will create wealth.” Creative expert Michael Michalko argues that creativity:  is the answer for surviving market turbulence: “It is not a result of some easily learned magic trick or secret but a consequence of your intention to be creative and your determination to learn and use creativity.”  Yet, succeeding during market turbulence is no accident. In fact, organizations must be deliberate in creating sustainable performance during market turbulence.

How do organizations effectively implement nonlinear thinking to be successful during market turbulence?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

21st Century Job Strategies

 

Approximately, 15 million people are unemployed.  Simply put, landing a job today is an extreme uphill challenge, considering the large number of graduating students combined with the rising number of the unemployed. Currently, college graduates find themselves competing with other individuals who are more seasoned and experienced for basic entry level positions in their career field. Therefore, emerging  leaders need a different type of strategy during economic turbulence.

With the fierce competition for limited jobs, many students wonder if they will be able to land a good job in the marketplace.  I understand and see it when talking to my own students. Hope is not lost.  William Bailey and I spent several months researching strategies for current and future college graduates. The results were outlined in our new book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century.  We have found a huge disconnect between what organizations are desiring in potential employees and what today’s graduates are providing.

Economic troubles in our nation and abroad continue to create an unstable and unpredictable job market. Parents across this country tell their children “get a good education and you will get a good job.” However, in this economic rollercoaster, this is not always true. US manufacturing jobs continue to evaporate as global outsourcing becomes the norm for businesses that seek to increase their profits.

According to some business estimates, employers are expected to cut 2.7 million jobs in 2009 (2 million were cut in 2008). These glooming trends make it difficult for even college students to be optimistic. However, having a good plan can increase the odds for most students in landing a good job. Opportunities will present themselves in some form in the future. Therefore, college students need to be proactive about landing a job. 

Below are strategies for college students entering the job market in an economic down-turn: 

  1. Branding
  2. Communications
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Current & well-versed
  5. Flexibility
  6. Global Citizen
  7. Job Homework
  8. Leadership
  9. Love & Passion
  10. Networking
  11. Opportunity
  12. Seasoned Worker
  13. Uniqueness

 Although many people are feeling very pessimistic about future career opportunities, hope is not lost if people are prepared for the future. Bestselling Sci-Fi author H.G. Wells explained, “’We were making the future,’ he said, and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is’.”  By taking control of the career strategy, college graduates can make a positive step in navigating these difficult economic times and landing their future jobs.

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Catch the Global Wave

What does the future hold?  I can’t be certainty. However, I do know leaders must be courageous, adaptable, and communicators for their followers. Many people fear the future and change. With globalization connected to America’s future, leaders need to also consider a worldview. Stewart Black, Allen Morrison, and Hal Gregersen, authors of Global Explorers, maintain that exemplar global leaders possess a keen interest in global business.

 Furthermore, business savvy becomes the word of the day because people must think globally and adjust activities on the local level as well as satisfying customers at all levels. Inquisitive person are also valuable on a global front because they are curious in the face of uncertainty.

Management strategists view these cultural shifts like movements of waves in an ocean.  Each successive wave of technology brings with it a corresponding value shift. Sadly, new technologies can bring giant leaps in productivity while expanding the moral decay of mankind.  For example, the Industrial Era ushered in a period of materialism, self-sufficiency, and the supremacy of man.

Currently, organizations are witnessing the explosion of information, advancement of communication technology, globalization, and the rising of knowledge workers. Globalization can even shift behavior. In the movie Slumdog Millionaire, 18-year old Jamal Malik is a slave to cultural trends. The movie demonstrated the impacts of globalization on diverse cultures in the world.

Herman Maynard and Susan Mehrtens, authors of The Fourth Wave: Business in the 21st century, suggest the following emerging trends: (a) shift in consciousness, (b) disenchantment with science, (c) inner sources of power, (d) spiritualization of humanity (e) anti-materialism (f) political and economic democratization, and (g) global unification

 Furthermore, today’s existent represents an integration of all dimensions of life and responsibility for all individuals in globalization; it also promotes the unification of the human race. If today’s organizations want to be competitive in the international market, they must learn to active survey the world that is around them. Therefore, modern leaders cannot afford to miss interpret the trends in this global market.

 What are some trends in your industry and how will it impact society?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green

 

Doing Me Right, Boomer

In Spike Lee’s 1989 acclaimed movie “Do the Right Thing,” he places the characters at the center of making difficult decisions. It’s a classic drama—and a perfect way to continue our generational discussions!

During the hottest day of the summer, life forever changes at Sal’s pizzeria in Brooklyn. Two customers demand that Sal change his “Wall of Fame.” The confrontation heats up to racial slurs and physical threats. Violence erupts! Da Mayor, a street bum, encourages the mob to make good decisions.

However, Mookie (Spike Lee) opts to follow his emotions; it changed the dynamics of the situation. The 1980’s movie classic highlights the racial tension between two ethic groups. In the movie, Da Mayor provides Mookie with some advice: “Doctor, always do the right things.”  Given another chance, Mookie might have changed his actions. Unfortunately, too many managers won’t.

Are today’s managers willing to make the best decision so that future managers are primed for success, not defeat? It’s an interesting thought when you consider the possible generational volcano that may erupt at any time.

Several years ago, I read Daniel Kadlec’s column about the Baby Boomer transformation from being a “Me Generation” to a “We Generation.” Although I applauded Kadlec’s insight, I was hesitant to make this great leap of faith in the Baby Boomers yet. Let me say that this belief should not be conceived as ‘hating.’ I am Gen X as you might not know. I have used environmental scanning to witness the significant demographic shifts in our nation. Are Baby Boomers now ready to relinquish their stronghold of leadership?

We can’t be certain due to that fact that the storyline is incomplete. Let’s wait until the economy settles. With the rocky rollercoaster ride of the stock market, Baby Boomers don’t enjoy life as much because of the decrease in their disposable income. Some individuals have the extra burden of caring for parents and children. These realities of life keep Baby Boomers working well beyond their desires for retirement.

In the past, Baby Boomers have been early trend setters. A study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College explains that the average retirement age in the U.S. is 63. Unfortunately, this retirement study reveals that many individuals will need to work longer so that they will have adequate retirement reserves.

Andy Hines, the director of Customer Projects at Social Technologies, predicts that Baby Boomers will refine the meaning of retirement and notes, “U.S. Baby Boomers are choosing post-work lifestyles that don’t resemble the stereotype of the quaint, restful senior citizen.” As you know, Baby Boomers are the top leaders of most organizations and will find it difficult to separate themselves from their positions of power and influence. Will they be willing to make the right decisions for their successors or themselves? 

Other observers believe that Baby Boomers will leave graciously and pass the baton to the next generation of leaders. I have my own doubts about the outcome.

If Baby Boomers extend their stay in organizations and maintain their leadership positions, what do you predict the response of leaders in waiting? How can organizations address this issue without inflaming Baby Boomer leadership and not losing future leaders who refuse to wait?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green