Over the last year, commuter traffic has dropped and trains travel empty while house prices in the suburbs rise. Might we be in the midst of a permanent shift in how and where work gets done?
For those of us in the business of helping improve workplaces, it’s been long known that 85% of employees rate themselves as disengaged at work. In response, companies try to be different…. progressive. Yet disengagement remains unchanged. Why? Disruptive technologies have transformed the products and services companies offer along with how they deliver them. In contrast, the workplace has remained relatively consistent. We continue to work within the same paradigm – the traditional hierarchy. In the words of Stephen Covey,
“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. But if you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm”
Often it feels comfortable doing our best within a system that has brought so much bounty to society. But what happens when our current systems begin to fail us? When what we’re taking from our planet far outstrips Earth’s ability to regenerate? When individuals revolt against oppression or a lack of opportunity? When pandemics upend our equilibrium and show us how our current ways of working no longer serve?
Almost overnight we are experiencing a paradigm shift to more organic, ecosystem-like ways of working. Concepts like radical responsibility, transparency and decentralized decision-making are no longer fringe but a necessity. This shift isn’t one of minor tweaks within the current system. We’re being called to embrace a new mindset – one of leading together.
Organizations, including 400-person Oakville-based recruiting firm Ian Martin Group, are making new choices. Dynamic human systems of shared responsibility and accountability replace top-down leadership models. The result? Stronger businesses, healthier talent pipelines and higher team engagement.
Many hear the calling for new-century leadership. they live the values underlying this boldly collaborative way of being within their personal lives. yet they find themselves enacting old patterns in their workplace. Along with my co-authors Susan (New Zealand) and Travis (San Francisco), I wrote Lead Together to support the shift to these new ways of working. We share stories from over 60 teams boldly, bravely and intentionally moving beyond the traditional.
Lead Together: The bold, brave intentional path to scaling your business
This article was originally published in the Neighbours of Olde Oakville magazine – July 2021