What Do Leaders Need to Think About for the Future of Work?

Cheryl Cran

November 30, 2018

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you already know that the speed of change is exponential. Moore's law of accelerating returns states that computing power tends to double every two years is proof that we are not imagining that things are speeding up.

As individuals, the increasing amount of information that humans have to wade through is beyond the capacity of a laptop to handle in one week.

Everywhere we turn we hear about the future, the increase of AI, automation, and robots in the workplace. On the one hand, we hear the dystopian future view that robots will take over all jobs and on the other hand, we hear that in the future there will be more and better jobs for humans.

What Are We to Believe? What Are We to Do?

Although these questions apply to everyone, it's important that leaders in business think about the future and the future of work on a daily basis.

The first thing that all leaders need to be thinking about for the future of work is to be thinking about the future.

Many leaders are so focused on what's in front of them and the busyness of their current reality that they are missing important clues about what's coming soon.

Things Leaders Need to Think About for the Future of Work:

  • Change agility—thinking differently and with an abundance mindset about the future
  • Technology is accelerating—ask yourself if you're harnessing the full potential of technology innovation and digital strategy in your company
  • Mindset needs to radically shift from being predominantly linear toward being able to be creative and an exponential thinker
  • Critical thinking needs to be upgraded to better discern between 'deceptive' information (fake news) versus 'disruptive' (data-driven along with context) information that could build successful strategies to future if heeded
  • Design thinking is required—find solutions in uncommon places—look outside your industry—look for convergence between art, science, business, and pop culture.
  • Attitudes are shifting around what work is, how it's done, and where it's done—think less about 'jobs' and 'talent' and more about 'purpose linked projects' and building interchangeable project teams
  • Business has the potential to transform the world—leaders need to be thinking daily about the future and where it's going as well as how their business is exponentially changing the world for the better
  • Thinking like a start-up—being hungry and curious about products, services, and people and how to add value to all aspects of the business
  • How to be a better leader that is flexible, agile, willing to share power, able to inspire action in teams, and able to navigate multiple perspectives all at once
  • Bringing in diverse opinions from diverse industries and bringing in an expert that can help bridge the current business reality with the 'context' of future impact on the business

The future of work is not some far off destination where robots are going to take over all tasks, and you won't have to deal with people. The future of work is here now, and leaders need to be preparing themselves and their teams to be thinking in new and different ways.

I find many businesses still internally focused—few leaders are looking outside themselves to different industries or even seeking different opinions as a way to remain tuned into the fast pace of change in the world.

The opportunity for leaders is to not only think about the future of work but to begin applying strategies and approaches to how you lead to be on the leading edge of change and be future-ready now.

Originally published on Silicon Republic.

Cheryl Cran is a future of work expert and the author of The Art of Change Leadership�"Driving Transformation In a Fast Paced World. [email protected].

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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