“The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!” —Earl Nightingale
By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
The Way We Work is Evolving
The way we work is changing. Millennials will soon make up 50% of the workforce. This generation is used to being connected, collaborative, and operating on the move. They are used to using social platforms to share and communicate. They want the ability to work from anywhere, to have a voice, and to be allowed to learn about things that interest them. We’re all going to have to jump on the bandwagon. We can no longer work in the fragmented environment of the past. The evolution of work now allows us to be more connected and engaged. This new work environment offers us the opportunity to thrive if we are ready to step up and take control of our own career. Are you prepared for the new work paradigm?
Amy Jo Martin explained, “Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.” Social media is changing the way we behave. In this new age, small actions can have a big impact. A “like” from the right person or a critical review can have far reaching implications. Social media is creating communities and enhancing transparency.
The evolution of work utilizes these social avenues to promote organizations, monitor public opinion, and stay connected to customers and colleagues. You must learn to be conscious of the impact your posts, status changes, pictures, likes, and shares have both personally and professionally. If you are going to be responsible for steering your own career path, you have to care about your digital footprint and your personal brand.
Will Smith said “And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guys sleeping? I’m working.” New technology gives you freedom and flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and on any device. Shifting to the cloud now allows you to access the software technology you need for almost any task. You no longer need to work 9-5 or spend hours commuting to the office every week.
The evolution of work allows you the flexibility to work where and when you want. You must develop the discipline to ensure that you can complete your work without a set schedule or consistent work environment. You must stay up-to-date on the latest advances in technology. And, with the accessibility of connecting to your work anytime, anywhere, you must make sure maintaining a healthy work/life balance is a priority.
New ways to collaborate
Bill Gates tells us, “The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of. Amazing developments in communications, collaboration, and efficiencies. New kinds of entertainment and social media. Access to information and the ability to give a voice to people who would never have been heard.” New collaborative technologies allow you to easily share information and ideas. The ease of collaboration breaks down barriers. You now have access to people with expertise in any field from around the globe. Any information you desire can be found at your fingertips. You can connect with colleagues and collaborators on an international scale.
In a world with access to so many people and so much information, you must learn to filter the important information and focus on the task at hand. In this new world of increased collaborative ability, you lose much of the traditional face-to-face communication. You miss the little cues such as handshakes and body language. You must learn to compensate by building strong relationship where you can gauge conversational understanding based on tone and content. Always make sure your collaboration is a win-win situation for every participant.
Steve McQueen said, “I can’t work in an environment where it’s a stiff hierarchy; that’s not my kind of way.” The hierarchical organizational structures of the past are being flattened. The evolution of work presents you with the opportunity to have a voice without needing to climb the corporate ladder. You now have the opportunity to serve as a leader without holding a formal position of authority through your influence and expertise.
Your work is now becoming self-directed. You are able to share your expertise and interests in a public arena. This offers the chance to be recognized for your contributions and to become a subject matter experts and thought leader. You must develop the skills, knowledge, and discipline necessary to work autonomously. You must be ready to speak up and share your voice. You must also be willing to listen to others to understand their point of view and not to judge.
Are You Ready?
The way you work is changing and the future looks much different from the past. Are you ready? Do you have a clear understanding where you want to take your career? Are you ready to embrace new technology and social platforms on a continual basis? The way we work is evolving, are you ready to evolve with it?
© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli
Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.