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Future imperative



How ready for change are you? I mean, really, for proper change…..for big change.

I’m writing this now on a PC that is connected by broadband.  In the background I have Twitter running and Gmail open.  I thought about what to write whilst on the train listening to my iPod and playing a virtual fishing game on my phone (I just know that you like that image).

Now think back to 10 years ago, the year 2000 the year that was “the future” for so many decades before.  The year that had so many predictions laid at its door. Twitter didn’t exist. Gmail didn’t exist. WordPress didn’t exist.  The iPod didn’t exist. Smart phones didn’t exist. And if you were on the internet at home, you were most likely dialling up.

But we know that, right?

The pace of change is increasing.  And that will directly alter the world of work.

We’ve seen the increasing rise in globalisation. But what if fairly much anything could be done anywhere? With the speed and range of technology, with the widespread use of English language. Why do anything in the UK or US? What is the competitive advantage?

With the speed of development, who is going to train and skill or workforce? Universities? Colleges? Where the information they learn in the first year is our of date before the third year. When continuous learning and development really is critical to business success, who is going to pay? And what will they want in return?

When security of employment is completely eroded. When careers become portfolio careers. Not as a lifestyle choice, just as a lifestyle.  Where long periods of unemployment follow periods of employment as labour markets move fluidly across the world.  Where skills and knowledge are of an absolute premium and history means nothing.  Where you can look almost anything up on the internet, within seconds, for free.

 How will we react when natural resources become a competitive advantage?  When energy is king and the countries with the natural resources become stronger and those without weaker. Where to stay ahead you need to go where the resources are, not expect them to come to you.

Are you ready for change? Because you need to be and I can tell you for certain, your company isn’t.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 07/08/2010 09:29

    Spot on! I particularly noticed your comment on the future of work but then I am somewhat biased as I have just written a book on portfolio careers, “And What Do You Do?: 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career”, A&C Black. What my co-author, Katie Ledger and I have found from interviewing a large selection of portfolio workers is that hardly any would even consider returning to what I call a single track career. They actually report feeling more secure in a recession as they are not reliant on only one job. Attitudes towards this growing phenomenon amongst employers are proving fascinating. Even the CBI in a recent report say that our concepts of work and employment are going to have to change with organisations relying more on a small core workforce supplemented by an army of temporary or project workers. Portfolio workers typically are self motivated, self starters and reliable. They have to be as they will not survive unless they are excellent time managers and organisers. They will be increasingly attractive as employees. We are just beginning a programme of interviewing a wide range of employers to check out their attitudes to this growing group of workers. We reckon that there are already over a million of us. Yes – we are portfolio workers too!

  2. 07/08/2010 10:51

    Spot on. Change is going to hit us smack in the face and you are so right when you say organisations are unprepared. Totally.

    Great post.

  3. 07/08/2010 14:59

    Where the information they learn in the first year is our of date before the third year.

    And this is why you hire people who know how to learn and who have been taught theory in addition to practice: their skills will never be out of date. You can hire someone who has been taught to repair the GE #2 microwave (ie, straight information).

    Or you can hire someone who has been taught physics, chemistry, math, engineering, analysis, and communication: that person will be able to understand the principles of how any machine works, diagnose the problem, explain it to others, and then solve the problem.

    Bravo for the sciences and the (good) liberal arts.

    Yes, I am talking to you, Womyn’s Studies majors. You better learn to type is all I am saying.

  4. 07/08/2010 21:45

    Absolutely spot on, we’re currently in the middle of the biggest and most dramatic period of change in generations and most companies are in complete denial that they are going to have to go through a major evolution to survive in the new world of work. At the same time careers “advice” is being given to graduates and people going through outplacement that was probably already out of date 10 years ago.

    Someone should set up a business to help our industry deal with this change….perhaps it could have the word Shift in its name somewhere 😉

  5. 07/14/2010 08:30

    @Dr Barrie Hopson – Thanks for the comments. Sounds like interesting research.

    @Gareth Jones – And thanks for following up with your thoughts Gareth. I think these are topics that won’t go away.

    @The Gold Digger – Hiring people who know how to learn is going to be absolutely critical in my opinion.

    @Matt Alder – Thanks for commenting Matt. I completely agree with your point about careers advice. Totally out dated. For anyone interested in finding out more, you could do worse than speak to Matt about the future of work. And no….he isn’t paying me for mentioning !

  6. 07/22/2010 12:37

    Great preview of the future, although I don’t know if in a truly modern future anyone actually has to ‘go where the resources are’ when you can connect from your living room.

  7. 07/26/2010 13:28

    @working girl – Thanks for commenting. You can connect from your living room assuming that you have power and that it isn’t only unlimited to those with the money to pay. I know this sounds far fetched, but what if we were only to have connection to the grid at certain times each day?


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