THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – What does the workplace of the future look like?

The Future is Now - Ornate ClockWe are working in testing times.  The pace is fast, the expectations are high and change is all around us like never before.  Many are struggling to keep up.

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A recent study, researching this question amongst 1130 leaders, produced the following:  The workplace of the future will, at its core, be described as owning and displaying the following characteristics:

  • Hungry for change;
  • Innovative beyond belief;
  • Connected;
  • Disruptive by nature; and
  • Genuine, not generous.

Do these characteristics apply to your organisation now – or perhaps just one or two do at this present time?  Score yourself, your manager and then your organisation on a scale of 1-5 below, with one being weak (others wouldn’t automatically see this characteristic) to 5 (this characteristic is embedded and commonly recognised as “the way we do things around here”), to see if you are part of the gap mentioned above, or whether you are really doing everything to try and narrow it.



Your Manager

Your Organisation

Hungry for change      

Conclusion: are you adding to your organisation’s resistance to change?

To be part of a high performing organisation, which is agile, nimble and ready for the demands of the future, you need to analyse your own state of readiness to help it be so, first. Any organisation is merely a collection of individuals, but it’s how those individuals act, react, behave and respond that gives any organisation its buzz.


THURSDAY THOUGHTS! : What’s your favourite apps?

appsPhoneEveryone seems to be working, or at least, accessing data, on the move nowadays.  Whatever your mobile device of choice, there are apps for them all.  They are snazzy little things!  Some more helpful than others and lots are actually free.

So, you have a mobile device, you’ve downloaded a shed load of apps, and now’s the time to actually start using them.

“Which apps couldn’t you possibly live without on a daily basis?”

 I will be generous and allow you a top 6 list, given that some are for accessing information, some are for interactivity, and some others will be about production of new information.

Here’s my top 6, and my reasons why:

  1. Dropbox – because I need access to my files from various different devices and this gives me instant version control!
  2. Twitter – because it allows me to get a feel for the news mood of the day and helps my ears  stay well tuned for trends and feedback.  Short and sweet – not too heavy on the reading!
  3. I-books – because I read every single day (personal and for reference) and I also find it very useful as a library for pdf’s needed for various meetings (less paper!!)
  4. Facetime or Skype for i-pad – because at any time I can be in touch, in a face to face way, with colleagues or clients. It’s important to keep what I do as personal as possible.
  5. iThoughtsHD – because the way I take notes is by mind mapping. I don’t care how many colleagues stare when I take notes using this – I will continue 🙂
  6. CloudOn – because its free and it allows me to  amend documents just like any desktop would.  Great for amendments on the go, particularly if you also have an i-pad keyboard for longer pieces of activity.

What are your favourite half dozen and why?


social-networkWith thanks to Peggy Edwards for spotting an article about this on LinkedIn recently.  It’s about networking and the application of something Dr. Marla Gottschalk calls the 70:20:10 rule.

So then, are you a natural networker?  Most people aren’t – it’s a learnt behaviour – so there is no shame in answering “no” to that one.  Even I, being an “off the scale E in MBTI terms” find networking almost boring at times.  So when Harvard tells everyone to NYFO (network your face off), I laugh and look for a  purpose in every single networking contact I make.

Dr Gottschalk talks of the 70:20:20 rule.  What is that I hear you ask?  Well, you control the invited guests you network with rather than being flung into a context where you know nobody and feel like you know nothing. That’s a scenario which many find paralysing to be in.

This is a simple guide to networking, for those less keen to be as overt or exhibitionist as us extroverts:

The ‘Given” 70% Group – Create this group from those you already know, those who work within your core context, or those whom you know have a similar role your yourself.  Chose those you feel confident to talk to and ask about their  roles, organisations or issues in the first instance.  The best opener is to ask about the particular challenges they are currently facing – this will give you a whole new perspective, which is always worthwhile.

The Chosen 20% – The “jewel” group.  These folk work in areas adjacent to yours.  Those you need to build a relationship with.  They may be customers, stakeholders, suppliers, contractors etc.  This will widen your reach and provide a go-to network for speed of feedback, strength of relationship and an even wider perspective on a users or stakeholders view of your area. These folk are absolutely invaluable to you.  Spending time talking to them is never ever wasted.

The Bonkers 10% : The Outrageous Gang.  Reach out, unpredictably, to those operating in areas that just interest you.  Just feed your passion for learning.  This is not as bonkers as it sounds .  Take Steve Jobs of Apple for example.  He reached out and showed an interest in Hewlett Packard’s mouse and windows operating system when the Hewlett Packard New York Board failed to see the relevancy and future opportunity it presented.  Jobs made the approach and was given permission by the Board to take the technology, ideas and information.  From this, he reverse engineered, as a basis for Apple computers.  His for free!!!  He didn’t do too bad out of that networking episode did he?   I bet the Hewlett Packard New York Board are kicking themselves all the way to mediocrity.

Networking is very much about expanding horizons.  If you aren’t doing this, you might as well be professionally dead!

From Good To Great in Recruitment

Good recruitment is very much a science. A discipline and process of competency based recruitment which will take you a very long way indeed in the avoidance of making poor recruitment decisions. In anybody’s book, this is good recruitment practice.

But nowadays, we need great, not just good recruitment. So what is missing from the above?

What’s missing is very much a magic ingredient the recruiter brings to the table. It’s the art of being able to see what talent is worth recruiting. This is a much more sophisticated aptitude, and its one more rare than the mere application of science.

Today’s work environment is dynamic and pacey. And today’s talent needs to be conducive to stretch, and continuously develop and evolve to meet these needs.

“To recruit talent is a science…but to see what talent is worth recruiting is an absolute art”

Look beyond the CV for:

Those who continually stretch themselves without being asked through expanding their experience, their skills, and their thinking.

Those who make coaching a central tenet of their ongoing journey.

Those who are routinely looking for future trends in their worlds.

These are core indicators of a mindset and attitude which is set on continual improvement. It serves the individual, and the organisation very well. Watch out for it and grasp it whenever you can!

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – How would you describe leadership in one word?

pointing-fingerIf nothing else, leadership is about taking others with you, willingly.  But that is easier said than done!  It sounds like blindingly obvious common sense, but the jewel in the crown is to have a personal mental model for HOW to do that.  Leadership is very different to management, its sophisticated and tacit, so I’ve found this helpful (thanks to Dan Rockwell for the insight) throughout my own personal journey.




See the future: envision and communicate a compelling picture of a preferred future.

1. What do I want to be true of the future?

2. Why should anyone care?

3. How will progress be measured?



Engage and develop others: recruit and align people for the right job. Create environments where people bring vision to life.

1. What invited my engagement in the past?

2. Which of these factors are missing in those I lead?

3. How can I help teams and individuals grow?



Reinvent continuously: continuously focus on improvement.

1. How do I need to change?

2. Where do I want different outcomes?

3. What organisational changes will accelerate progress?



Value results and relationships: generate measurable results and cultivate great relationships.

1. Which is my personal bias as a leader – results or relationships?

2. How can I compensate for the area that’s not my personal strength?

3. What happens if I don’t broaden my definition of success?



Embody values: behave in a way, which is fully aligned with stated values.

1. What values do I want to drive behaviors in my organisation?

2. How can I communicate these values?

3.What are my actions and behaviour communicating?

So the ultimate question is:

“Am I a serving leader or a self-serving leader?”

Application of this insight is all about self reflection and being honest with yourself.  Dissatisfaction with others is really easy, but dissatisfaction with oneself, it really stings!  So, ask yourself: “How do I need to change?”  Leadership is all about YOU!  Look deep inside and be honest with yourself.  The chances are, everyone else has already seen it anyway!

 Organisations can only grow when their leaders grow : It’s probably time to take some personal action.

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