This is my second recent quote from Mark Fidelman, who writes in Forbes. He has a good perspective on the integration of work and learning, and how technology is only a very small part of social business.
Investment in social business platforms and mobile solutions are great – we’re finally on the right path. But ignoring the workplace infrastructure to accommodate them will be a missed opportunity. We have to move away from the Mad Men era office, to digital workplaces that take advantage of the entire social, mobile and content being produced by an organization’s greatest asset.
Fidelman discusses the new role of management in the future workplace.
The new role of management is to facilitate the finding of solutions; not to dictate them. The new role of management is to facilitate “connections”, to match people with the right skills and abilities to projects where those skills are most needed. The new role of management is to remove hurdles to engagement by building approvals mechanisms into workflows. Management won’t do this alone. They will leverage new technologies that automatically introduce employees to employees, partners and suppliers in order to build relationships that help you and the organization become more effective.
Culture is an emergent property of people working together. For example, trust only emerges if knowledge is shared and diverse points of view are accepted. As networked, distributed workplaces become the norm, trust will emerge from environments that are open, transparent and diverse. As a result of improved trust, leadership will be seen for what it is; an emergent property of a balanced network [“in-balance” may be a better term for this changing state] and not some special property available to only the select few.
Building on my previous post – that in complex environments, loose hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle – here is my view of how a transparent, diverse & open workplace should function.
Networked contributors (full-time, part-time, contractors) need to work together in a networked environment that facilitates cooperation and collaboration. This is why the narration of work and PKM will become critical skills, as work teams ebb and flow according to need, but the network must remain connected and resilient. A key function of leaders (think servant leadership) will be to listen to and analyze what is happening. From this bird’s-eye view, those in a leadership role can help set the work context according to the changing environment and then work on building consensus.
I’ve noted before that the power of social networks, like electricity, will inevitably change almost every business model. Leaders need to understand the importance of organizational architecture. Working smarter in the future workplace starts by organizing to embrace networks, manage complexity, and build trust.