From Chris Gandy Whether we like it or not there is a quiet revolution is happening and as is the nature of such events – there are bound to be winners and losers. The revolution in question is in the workplace and is about how we do work. It is having a game changing impact – causing many traditional jobs to disappear, new ones created and fundamentally change how many organisations recruit and use their resources. True to form there are any number of publications and “experts” hitting the bookshelves and airwaves to tell us all about it. One of the better ones I have come across is The New World of Work: From the Cubicle to the Cloud by Terri Maxwell and Tim Houlne. What I found interesting about this publication is that Maxwell, in particular, comes at it from a job seekers perspective. As a consultant to people trying to seek out meaningful careers, she was finding that the jobs many of her clients held in the past were suddenly not around anymore. But when she and Houlne dug a bit deeper they contend that it isn’t just about job losses, something far bigger is happening. The workplace is being transformed by what they call “the work revolution”. In the work revolution job routines or tasks still need to be done. They aren’t disappearing. What is dramatically changing is the way we work. Maxwell and Houlne claim the reasons for this shift are:
- Work skills are changing at such a pace employers can’t keep up. Organisations can no longer predict the skills they will require in the immediate future. So the trend is toward engaging subject matter experts when they are needed.
- Having ready access to and utilizing a good talent pool is the only way to stay competitive and sustainable. This pool may exist within physical reach of some organisations but it is becoming larger and far deeper in the virtual world through the advances of technology.
- More and more subject matter experts, largely for lifestyle reasons, are willing to freelance.
They summarise this saying jobs are being “fractionalized and virtualized”. I fully agree with Maxwell and Houlne argument but as is so often the case with leadership prognostications, seeing is believeing and this little personal experience really brought the work revolution home to me….. Late last year we decided our website needed enhancing and refreshing. We wanted to more clearly explain our reason for existing and to be more useful to the sector by providing easier access to our Associates. We approached our web designer, Julie at Oak Grove Graphics who suggested we needed to bring a couple more experts into the loop to get a better result in much less time. In a flash Dennis from Communicate! was on the case to advise on content and Steve of Richosoft agreed to develop the data base module. The interesting part of this collaboration of “fractionizers” is that Julie is in Candelo, a village on the Far South Coast of NSW, Australia, Dennis is in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA and Steve is in London, UK. We didn’t meet face to face with any of the virtual team but felt all our needs we’re met and more and were delighted with the outcome. What are the implications for not for profits? Tremendous opportunities are emerging from this revolution to overcome the resource difficulties that exist in many organisations. But to take full advantage we must recognise that the age of the generalist consultant is over. Be ready to break projects into manageable pieces and then source experts who are truly passionate about that subject area. And be prepared to accept that the best person to help you may not live in your community but be on the other side of the world! If there is a downside to all this it is that some not for profits cannot continue to blame poor impact on lack of affordable resources. Fantastic resources are out there. They are willing to help. They are accessible and surprisingly affordable Are you ready to take full advantage of the of the work revolution and significantly lift your social impact? About Chris. He is a former not for profit CEO and Founder of Cause & Effective – an organisation that places vetted, affordable experts within the reach of cause-based organisations. You can find a Cause & Effective expert here and take advantage of the work revolution.