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7 Signs Your Organization is NOT Ready for the Future of Work

Everyone is talking about the future of work. But is your organization ready for it? Mary Abraham, academic director of the M.S. in Information and Knowledge Strategy program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, suggests rating your organization from 1 to 4 on these seven signs:

1. Command and control still rules

Future of work success depends on a decentralized culture that is team-oriented, adaptive, participatory, and agile. True collaboration and innovation cannot happen when people have limited freedom and authority.

2. Distance is a big deal

Some organizations measure performance by the physical presence of people working in a central office. Performance should be about results and outcomes. Where team members work is irrelevant.

3. Social risk is ignored

The greatest variable affecting work success or failure is social risk: how humans interact. What is done to measure and mitigate social risk? The future of work is about people, their interactions, and their values.

4. Technology is not used to facilitate shared values and outcomes

Organizations rush to implement technology assuming it will solve their problems. This always leads to failure and disappointment. The future of work becomes reality when people, machines, and data are part of an integrated solution.

5. Innovation is discussed but poorly executed

The future of work is about rapid innovation and timely adaptation to change. Organizations ready for the future of work create time and space for knowledge sharing, reflection, and disciplined experimentation.

6. Collaboration is a coin toss, not a thoughtfully planned strategy

Organizations ready for the future of work know that good collaborators are not born, they are made. These organization focus on human behavior and invest in the soft skills crucial for collaboration success.

7. Change is implemented in a top-down, episodic manner

Too many organizations manage change by deputizing a small team of senior experts to plan the change and then launch a “transformation” that manages to anger the workforce, waste money, and yield negligible results. We need an approach to continuous change that is based on smart behavioral principles and provides real value for organizations.