Shape-shifting stadiums that transform the way we watch sports; bio-mechanics behind throwing at 100mph; shirts that lower body temperature; blood tests that spot concussion within hours and 3D printed shoes, the future of sport is changing - as is the future of work. But what does this actually look like for organisations and how do they ensure that they understand and adapt to change, in order to avoid being left behind?
As discussed in Part 1 of our Future of Work series (‘Changing the Game: Equipping your Organisation for Success in the Future’), there are a number of drivers of change, namely technology, generations, mobility, globalisation and complexity. At Lane4 we understand that these drivers are not a fad; this trend is not going to go away. In its simplest form, the way that we have done things previously is not how we are going to do things moving forward. Our thought leadership highlights four tangible elements that result from these drivers and should be considered by individuals and organisations alike when planning for the future:
As is the case in professional sport, employers are increasingly expected to provide personalised and flexible services based upon individual needs. Employees are gaining increased flexibility over their career path and development, as well as when and how they work. As such, it is important that organisations co-create an environment that people want to work in; to attract top talent and create an environment that is heavy on purpose, play, passions and positive impact. Nowhere is this more evident than within the current New Zealand cricket team, where Coach Mike Hesson has facilitated the creation of a performance environment that is driven by a need to "grow the individual as well. We have some players come in when they're 18 or 19 and they don't leave for a long time, and they need to grow up as people as well. We take that responsibility pretty seriously."
On an individual level, employees are required to collaborate and share information. Collective intelligence must be built and quickly shared, as to ensure that best practice is reused. With this in mind, a connected workforce is crucial. Technology that connects people, teams, skills and ideas must be embraced; as Team Sky have demonstrated recently. The team recognised continuous feedback as a key factor in winning the 2015 Tour de France. The philosophy of ‘marginal gains’ saw the creation of a ‘Winning Behaviours’ smartphone app that set out the key behaviours expected of the entire team. By providing regular self-evaluation on how they were performing, performers were able to gain more from regular meetings with Team Principal Dave Brailsford, where feedback was discussed in more detail.
In the competitive world of business, individuals are required to learn, and fast. Learning is more important than knowing, meaning that organisations are required to view innovation as everywhere. Everyone is an innovator, with stability becoming the greatest threat to organisations – not change. World Rugby has been quick to recognise this threat, introducing Television Match Officials (TMO’s) at the recent World Cup. The system was used to ensure that accurate and consistent decisions were made on the field in a timely and efficient manner.
Employees thrive on increased responsibility. Faster decision making is becoming crucial within the work place, as is innovation and freedom that allows employees’ productivity to increase. Leaders are required to focus on removing barriers that constrain their people’s potential. In essence, the future of work sees leaders follow from the front. Similarly, organisations must have the courage to question and challenge their current practice. It is OK to not have all the answers, but asking questions is key; particularly given that adaptable structures are becoming crucial. New Zealand Rugby’s 2011 World Cup win versus France is a fantastic example of this; in their 8-7 victory, the All Blacks’ Captain and his senior players made a decision to go against the coaching team’s instructions. Whilst the coaching team couldn’t understand why their instructions were being ignored, the players’ decision proved to be the correct one; demonstrating the fact that whilst structure is good, it must free people to be their best, not constrain them.
When considered in their entirety, these four factors act as a sign post for both individual employees and organisations as a whole. With the elements in mind, employers and employees alike would be encouraged to steer their careers and organisations in the right direction by accounting for drivers of change and their tangible counterparts. Simultaneously, potential must be harnessed and invested in by engaging with new ways of working and prioritising culture, collaboration, innovation and potential. Only when these components have been considered and enhanced can workforces feel that they are ready for the future of work.