Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Future of Work

Polyvalence is the future of work, and therefore management. Whereas the previous economy bred specialization, today's economy invites "workers" to enjoin knowledge. Work itself is instructive: taskings are non-delegable; production happens without supervision; communications and information are ubiquitous; and attention is a commodity.

For management, the "where" of work is incomprehensible. Yet, the topography of the new workplace has shape and form: space is supplanting place; companies compete on analytics; evidence-based thinking is in vogue; jurisdictions are morphing; metal and flesh are fusing; cyberspace seems to have a conscience; the human genome is technology; and the symbolic is now menial.

These modern times are embedding a transformed image of economics onto our society in what is now a new age. The challenge for the future will be how to connect enterprise to the new economic landscape.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Create a Personal Board of Advisors

This advice comes from Dale Winston, CEO of Battalia Winston International, an executive-search firm. "Identify two to three professionals you can regularly go to for career consultations, much like check-ups at the doctor’s office." She goes on to say the “board” should meet on an "as-needed basis," but "no less than three times a year" (WSJ, 2008).

The truth is we all have support needs. We might turn to our significant other, a family member, a close friend or colleague, an elder, or even a stranger, depending on the situation. Recruiting and forming a team of trusted advisors makes good sense, especially for busy executives with tough issues to confront. Of course, it remains your responsibility to make your own decisions. It is also important to trust your advisors while demonstrating to them how they can trust in you. Nevertheless, a personal advisory board may be just the thing to help shape your future.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Need for Good People

I believe there is always a crying need for good people. My father passed these words to me following one of my adolescent tirades about the apparent lack of opportunity in my life – that was almost forty years ago. Today, while attractive opportunities seem scarce to many in society, the need for good people is as great as ever.

My own career has taken me through both highs and lows in advancement and success. My work history spans three decades and includes public and private sector roles that have taken me around the world. I have worked in tents, factories, offices, camps, hangers, barracks, warehouses, restaurants, vans, kiosks, aircraft, and classrooms, as well as on stage, behind podiums, on telephones and radios, and of course, online. Each of these workplaces was a vantage point from where I could watch and learn how opportunity presents itself to people. The result of these experiences is my deep conviction that opportunity abounds in our world, and that what is in short supply are good people.

Choosing to believe that opportunity is abundant is not an easy path for anyone, including me. It means taking risks and accepting responsibility. It means lifetime learning. It means practicing integrity in my affairs, keeping promises, and exercising compassion for those less fortunate. Ultimately, it means living life centered on the ideals and virtues that lift humanity, while becoming the best person, I can be.

My father understood this very well. He grew up a depression child, joined the Marines during World War II, earned an accounting degree after the war, and raised a family on a salary thereafter. He has since passed away, but his legacy to me are his words that find their way into my beliefs and values, and while I am now on my own course through life, what is clear for me is that opportunity is abundant, and that the search for more good people goes on, just like it always has. Choosing to live life abundantly is a choice I hope I can realize in who I am and will become. Life’s opportunities are as great as ever, and the choice of becoming the person who can fulfill society’s need is mine to make everyday. My father was right; there is always a crying need for good people, now and in all times. This I believe.

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