Category Archives: White Papers

Defining the Human Capital Leader of Tomorrow

In Our View …

In recent years, and certainly since the late 1990’s, we have seen dramatic changes in the role of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and in their responsibility as the strategic stewards of human capital in the larger, multinational corporations. Unfortunately, the more progressive changes have largely been confined to a relatively few enlightened organizations. As a result, the gap in sophistication between these entities and the rest of the population has widened further. Given the structural challenges and current struggles of most western industrial economies, this means a rising percentage of all employers are actually failing to keep pace with the new and necessary competitive standards when it comes to attracting, incenting, leveraging and retaining human capital.

It’s time to examine how, in the smaller and mid-sized organizations which are the true engines of job creation, we can begin to redress this imbalance in sophistication and its negative impact on our overall, long-term human capital reserves. This can only happen if the leaders, owners and managers of all organizations, regardless of size or sector, make it a priority to understand the changing role of the CHRO and take steps to shift its focus from administration to strategy.

It’s time to lift the dialogue and demand more when it comes to the way in which organizations are held accountable by their shareholders, and the market, for ensuring their people practices meet the higher standards of the new world order. It begins with raising the enlightenment level of leaders, redefining the mandate of the CHRO, and implementing public disclosure requirements on the human capital practices of all enterprises, as we have done with financial practices for many years.

The Business Case …

The business case for fundamentally rethinking the way in which we conceive of the CHRO role has been made before, and it has been made by many. We claim no monopoly on the idea that improved human capital management has become one of the essential requirements of any modern organization wishing to remain competitive. In fact, Deloitte, Cornell University and The University of Michigan, amongst others, have done a commendable job of putting their own ideas forward. However, they have tended to frame their thoughts and recommendations through the lens of the larger, more complex organization. We believe the real concern should lie with the unique challenges of those further down the food chain. In a world where the quality of talent available to an organization represents a huge competitive advantage, we cannot marginalize those organizations that do not have the size or scale.

The free and ready access to a bountiful supply of human capital has become as big a barrier to growth and competitiveness in 2013 as access to financial capital was in the 1930’s. The problem is, too many business leaders have not recognized the basic changes in the “people market”. They continue to operate with a naive belief an adequate pool of trained employees will forever be available, while not recognizing the fundamental supply and demand equation has changed forever.

The blunt and uncomfortable reality is that we have a gross imbalance between what we need, in terms of qualified, talented employees, and the conditions we create, within our organizations, which would allow them to thrive. On the surface, this does not get fully appreciated because we believe higher levels of unemployment mean the supply is in excess. However, a much closer and thoughtful examination of the fact tells us the dilemma is in the mix of talent, not the sheer size of the available pool.

Cost, Consequence and Peril …

The problem or barrier many senior executives have with modernizing their view on the importance of human capital management is the very mindset they bring to the whole discussion. As individuals who have no doubt achieved disproportionate success in climbing the organizational ladder, they believe, consciously or otherwise, that Darwin was correct in his theory on survival of the fittest. They believe success could be achieved by anyone, if only they had the same drive and determination.

This view is as undeveloped in the human capital realm as are the beliefs that global warming and environmental stewardship are exaggerated overreactions, fueled by a group of eccentric voices, including Al Gore and David Suzuki. They are wrong!

In business and society, you have to thoughtfully balance short and long term obligations, and not rob one to pay for the other. Furthermore, you cannot ask governments to be either the guardians or the bankers for the future. Business has a much bigger national and community role to play than simply paying taxes to support the greater good. Indeed, as the “users” of the talent pool, organizations have a responsibility to develop the pool, not just for their immediate needs, but for their future needs as well. While you could traditionally buy or lease all of the talent you might need on the open market, the market itself has changed, and securing access in the future will be much more problematic and considerably more competitive.

One of major reasons for this is the marked change in the expectations and attitudes of employees. Having been treated as fungible assets in the past, they are no longer prepared to be seen in that way going forward. Instead, the employee of the future wants to be treated as any other investor. They want to see an adequate return on their investment as an employee, and they will look more carefully at the climate and conditions offered by any employer who is trying to attract their sweat investment.

Beware the rip tide below the surface of the modern employment waters!

The New Mental Model …

In today’s modern global economy, and even in smaller domestic economies, financial capital flows to the place of greatest relative opportunity. So it is with human capital, except we do not have the same sophisticated ways in which to gauge risk and measure return, nor do we have the well organized markets to help us “trade”. However, change is coming and, while it may not be getting a great deal of press at the moment, there are faint signals from the periphery which are telegraphing the future, if we would simply tune into the right frequency.

The number one signal being broadcast by the future can be heard when listening in on any conversation among the 20-25 year old set. Unlike their parents or grandparents, the Vice Presidents, Directors and Supervisors of the future don’t see working for a large, multi-layered corporate bureaucracy as the paved road to middle class success, prosperity and retirement. In fact, the more they enjoy the antics portrayed at Dunder Mifflin, in the hit TV series The Office, the more they mock institutional life amongst themselves. To make matters worse, when they happen to talk to those who are 10 years or so older, and who work in low level management jobs, all they hear about are “dumb bosses, mind numbing routines and corporate compliance rules” that leave far too many of our younger adults wondering what was so great about the world of Ozzie and Harriet.

The second signal from the future can best be seen in the phenomenon of social media, the way relationships and networks are formed and conducted, and the addiction to the present over the allure of the future. Unless we are about to be hit by a giant tsunami of nostalgia, we have every reason to believe that the youth of today (the employees of tomorrow) will be motivated by a whole different set of factors. The ambition of a nice house in the suburbs has more than likely been replaced by a thirst for adventure, spontaneity and freedom from routine, rules and restrictions.

The children of the hippie generation have gone back to the future!

The New Organizational Model …

The implications of these silent forces, lurking just beneath the surface of our consciousness, are potentially game changing for employers who will find themselves not only in tough competition for talent, but in a competition guided by a new set of conditions and circumstances.

In the future, there will be three primary “classes” of employees.

The Creative Class – which Richard Florida has done a great job of describing in his many books and lectures, will place a premium on those who earn their keep through imagination, innovation and design thinking.

The Craftsman – which represents a return to the old days, where younger people will follow their passion and perfect their employment proposition as highly skilled, self-employed individuals, providing high value services to an eager wealthy class.

The Contractor – which may very well be the majority and includes those who will not even seek full time employment, but will rather “rove” or “graze” from pasture to pasture, balancing the need for income with the need for freedom and joie de vivre.

The net result of this will be the rise of yet another class of employee, the class we have already seen rise in countries like Russia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. They are the employees who do the very basic jobs on which society depends, but who are not deemed worthy by a rising and entitled middle class generation and who, therefore, fall to a largely immigrant population.

The bottom line message here is that a revolution is brewing, and the only reason we have not been hit even harder is the economic downturn of the last few years has struck fear into everyone. Traditional enterprise is about to wake up, however, and find the second wave of crisis will hit them just as things are “getting back to normal”.

The problem is – the new normal is different!

Human Capital Strategist & Architect …

The Chief Human Resources Officer of the future will have to deal with all of this and much, much more. The implications are huge and the necessary adjustments are almost overwhelming. No longer will HR be about Payroll and Benefits, Hiring and Firing, Engagement and Empowerment. Those will make up the baseline transactional skill set in which there is no competitive advantage.

In the future, the CHRO will be required to:

Strategizewhen it comes to future talent, skill and competency needs
Planhow to perfect the optimal mix of emerging talent
Monitorchanging conditions dynamically

These are competencies which do not come naturally to the current breed of HR professional, who has become so comfortable at playing second fiddle at the executive leadership table, they see ordering coffee and muffins as the best way to curry favour with the CEO.

In the world of tomorrow, the CHRO will take their proper place alongside, if not ahead of, the CFO and CIO. However, being sober and realistic about this, we know the transition will not occur until the leaders at the very top (the CEO/COO), the owners and the Board begin to ask the piercing questions needed to hold the organizational leaders accountable for addressing the human capital management issues with the same vigour they do capital investment and operational process efficiency.

Any organization that does not demand the highest possible level of sophistication when it comes to workforce strategy, as opposed to workforce planning, will die a slow death of competitive disadvantage that will make compressed profit margins look like a cake walk by comparison.

Maestro of Organizational Effectiveness …

In far too many companies, of all sizes, the organizational orchestra is led today by either finance or operations and occasionally, perhaps, by marketing or sales. In the future, the room for strategic advantage in those fields will be reduced to table stakes. As a result, the fifty plus year war on process improvement and efficiency will come to an end, and there will be no more gains to be had by tweaking (or re-engineering) the corporate engine.

The baton will pass to a new and different set of challenges. The human challenges!

In the future, leaders will come to realize the performance improvements, which come from the effective harnessing of human capital and human potential, will far outweigh those gained through the policies, practices and programs aimed at oiling the operational efficiency machine. In our collective hearts, we have known for some time that people make a huge difference and that great people make all the difference. The problem is – people are problematic!

Unlike machines, they are unpredictable and not especially open to standardization and Six Sigma like programmatic solutions aimed at eliminating random events that disturb the equilibrium and distress those who live in the land of safe and secure. So, we have turned away from the tough challenge of people and dealt, instead, with the easier challenge of process.

Guess what – the bell has rung!

No longer can we avoid the inevitable. As we enter the next chapter in the book of organizational performance effectiveness, we are all going to have to get down and dirty on the human capital stuff. The CHRO will be the one asked to lead the charge and, boy oh boy, don’t you wish a little bit more time had been spent grooming them for the task at hand?

Conscience of the Organizational Brand …

Brand matters in the world we occupy today. Everywhere, at every turn, in every way, brand penetrates our consciousness and guides the decisions we make. We live in a world where the search for brand harmony has become core to how we sell our products and services, and whether we buy or deny. Yet, in a rather strange way, the impact on brand of the way we govern, staff and manage our human capital has taken a back seat.

That day is about to end!

In the future, the CHRO will have as much voice when it comes to brand as the CMO. The way in which we go about our business, behind the walls of public scrutiny, and the behaviors, values and beliefs of the workforce impact the brand in ways we are only beginning to understand and appreciate. Someone other than the CEO needs to be responsible when it comes to the conscience of the internal brand proposition.

In our view, in the same way we have moved from Employee Satisfaction to Employee Engagement as the means through which we think about and assess organizational health, we are about to enter yet another era in which Employee Brand Impact will become the critical metric.

As we shift to this more advanced and enhanced state, someone will need to pick up the mantle of responsibility and it will be the reincarnation of the VP – HR who will be reborn as the CHRO and will, in that capacity, take on a much wider set of responsibilities having to do with being the executive owner of the governance and brand agenda.

Delivering Better Solutions …

The current HR executive has a vague and simple set of responsibilities when it comes to ensuring performance and financial effectiveness. They are asked to keep budgets down, outsource when it is cheaper and become the kings and queens of the RFP as a means to validate the worthiness of the services they need to provide to the organization. The trouble is, you get what you pay for and, as HR teams have come to rely upon the RFP as a means to ensure “value” they have, in fact, done exactly the opposite. They have committed themselves, and their organizations, to a commodity based solution in a world where value is the economic multiplier.

Going forward, the CHRO will have to take a more sophisticated point of view. If they cannot determine value and fair market price on their own, they should not be allowed to hide behind the protective shield of tendering for the important services attached to human capital management. The predisposition to such behaviour does nothing more than reveal a lack of professional judgment, and allows accountability to be shifted to the process, rather than the best decision.

In the future, the CHRO will be asked by the CEO and the Board to take a more courageous stand and to make real business decisions, based on real business disciplines, rather than hide behind the skirt of making no decision, and letting vendors do the bidding. In a world of value, the value of partnerships cannot be denied, and only smart partnerships will provide what is needed to shift organizations from the defensive end of the playing field to the offensive end, where the goals are scored and the victories won.

The CHRO must be a business person first, and that means taking a business stand on what is in the best economic and social interest of the organization, balancing both equally, and making the bold, strategic, differentiating decisions that are already demanded of the other executives around the leadership table.

Steps to Take :: Actions to Consider

The world of people has always been a challenging place in which diversity, emotion and personality collide in unpredictable ways. Going forward into yet another new period of change, we need to reinvent the position occupied by the CHRO in organizations large and small. The advent of a changing workplace, and the changing values and priorities of an emerging generation, require the CHRO to move from behind the desk to a front seat at the executive strategy table. This is an urgent priority directly connected to the competitiveness and performance of our organizations, institutions and communities.

We have a long way to go, but some of the actions you can take beginning right now have been listed below.

Crown the King or Queen
Chances are the mandate for your current HR lead is a long way away from the mandate of the modern CHRO. So, beginning with a blank sheet of paper, start to formulate these responsibilities through a new, bolder and more progressive lens. Imagine the CHRO as the talent scout, soothsayer, psychologist and performance enhancer.

Reposition the Position
We are all guilty of valuing people, and their positions, through our own experiences, which are often distorted and narrow. In the case of HR, we have seen far too many executives whisper under their breath about the function and those who occupy it. Once the mandate has been re-crafted, the CEO will have to assume responsibility for positioning the new role and socializing it throughout the organization.

Model the Future
It is essential, as part of a revamped and upgraded Strategic Planning process, that organizations have a dynamic model of the way in which the workforce will change, and the impact this will have on the required skill sets and competencies on one hand, and the business drivers on the other. If advantage comes through innovation and service excellence, both will be driven by people. Better people. Different people.

Emphasize Social Studies and Demographics
The world of people studies, and the social environment in which we ask them to work, is a science leaders will need to become more interested in. The black hole of understanding will need to be filled by a CHRO who acts more like an economist than a kindergarten teacher. The demand on the CHRO should be for a level of forecasting that is space age by comparison to what we see today in most organizations.

Work on the Brand
The hypercompetitive organization of the future will be in a dog fight for good talent in an environment where the “employment offer” is different than it is today. The organizational human capital brand component will have an increasingly important impact on the overall brand of the enterprise, and those who cannot make the link will come to see how dry the well can be when it comes to attracting the “A” players.

Fix the Intake Valve
Corporate culture can be a quagmire for those leaders who don’t understand that culture arises from the way people choose to act and interact with each other. As a result, we all need to improve the criteria, means, processes and mechanics of how we recruit, and how we orient the fresh blood that will infect our organizational DNA for either the good or the bad.

Transformational Leadership as Jazz

In Our View …

As we enter another new year, which promises to be just as full of challenges and opportunities as the previous one, it is time to rethink what it will take to lead the modern organization into the future. In our view, it will not take simply more of the same, it will take new and different. Radically new and radically different!

There is a good chance we have reached the “tipping point”, which Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently spoke of in his book of the same name. The natural point at which we must pivot from one leadership system, which may have worked well enough in one set of circumstances, to another system better suited to today’s environment. This is not some sort of doomsday scenario, or a knee jerk response to troubled times. It is a logical, rational and inevitable step we must take in order to adjust to some new realities.

In recent years, we have been suggesting the apt metaphor and appropriate model for the leadership style we desperately need parallels the nature and capabilities of a jazz musician. As we will try to explain, the external context in which we are currently expected to lead is one of chaos, noise, discontinuity and emotion. The rhythm of global business today is both unpredictable and disorderly, and there is no set score to help keep the musicians in “check”. It seems to us, leaders will therefore need to master a new set of skills more closely related to those of the jazz musician. Those skills are based on a combination of imagination, improvisation and instinct. In short, they suggest an ability to go with the flow, rather than waste energy fighting off the forces of an uncertain environment.

Becoming a Musician …

We are not the first to be intrigued by the relationship between business leadership and jazz. The original honour fell to Max De Pree, the former Chairman and CEO of Herman Miller Inc., in his 1992 book “Leadership Jazz”, but the more recent accolades should go to Professor Frank Barrett and his book “Yes to the Mess”. These authors have done a far better job than we will be able to do in making the case for re-thinking organizational leadership, but we agree 100% with their essential premises.

Simply put – there is no way adding layer after layer of additional process, protocol and policy will help the modern leader make sense of, let alone tame, the external environment. Leaders who believe their leadership capability and bona fides should be measured by how well they build order and efficiency into their organizations are out of step with the current reality. They can try all they want to pursue that path, but it will only lead them to one place – oblivion!

In today’s world, it is not about enforcing more order and demanding greater efficiency, it is about achieving improved effectiveness and how well leaders are equipped to trust their intuition, navigate the craziness, and “go with the flow”. In an environment of permanent ambiguity, rapid change, and wave after wave of massive dislocations, the leader cannot possibly use the toolkit designed in a far simpler, more predictable and less turbulent world. We need something radically new to replace the tired model of the past. We need more jazz musicians, not more process geeks, bureaucratic rule writers and compliance administrators.

Freedom Through Abandonment …

The surrender of old practices, mindsets and attitudes is tough stuff. Admittedly, it is hard to unlearn what we have believed and practiced for so long. The act of abandoning the supposed “safety” of what has worked in the past takes a monumental act of leadership courage. One explanation for this difficulty might lie in the very way in which the human brain works, and how easily we allow so many of our habits and behaviours to become automatisms, or automatic, reflexive responses.

Jazz musicians, on the other hand, defy this tendency with every fiber of their being. They abhor routine and structure and, instead, commit themselves to a different set of core beliefs and practices which enable them to be more fluid, less rigid and less scripted. In the process, they liberate themselves. And, as a result of that self granted freedom, they are better able to “play” with musicians they may not even know, without the need for familiarity, process, or even the crutch of written music. In essence, they have cast off the rigid constraints that can fence us in, and have mastered a new set of skills which allow them to express themselves in a more creative manner.

Modern leaders, who want to be relevant in changing times, need to do the same thing. It is about building a new set of capabilities which provide the leader with the confidence and courage necessary to take their organization into uncharted, unscripted territory. Unless you believe we are going back to the past, then it is time to re-think the very way in which your organization is led, and re-examine the kind of leaders you need to help guide you forward.

Creative Chaos and Collaboration …

The great jazz masters have trained themselves, both mentally and physically, to thrive in circumstances which can best be defined as creative chaos. Rather than shying away from taking risks in expressing themselves fully and freely, in front of peers, and endlessly practicing set routines in order to get it “right”, they have reframed the underlying premise from top to bottom. It is this same reframing we now need our organizational leaders to adopt, and the speed at which they are able to adjust might very well spell the difference between success and failure.

As radical as it may seem, leaders need to stop wasting their time and energy on getting their organizations more organized and, instead, spend their time teaching others how to become better improvisers and natural collaborators. In this process, they will have to overcome the longstanding bias that without control and order imposed from above, the people below will simply not be able to function and will, inevitably, dissolve into chaos. This is simply not the case, and to continue believing it shows the leader is outdated in both their thinking and their understanding of human nature.

To the jazz musician, “open source innovation”, as Barrett has termed it, is the only way to allow yourself to grow, experiment, learn and improve in an environment that is ever changing, and in which people are coming and going at will. In other words, while the technically perfect, methodically tuned and alarmingly precise classical musicians may have been the best model for leaders to emulate in the past, those days are gone. While we did not have a choice in the timing nor the magnitude of the changes taking place all around us, we can change the way in which the music gets played.

Improvisation as a Leadership Competency …

The principle difference between the classical masters of the past, and the jazz impresarios of the future, is the value and importance they place on improvisation as a necessary part of how you “make good music”. Granting yourself, and your organization, permission to improvise is a huge gesture of liberation. It means both the leader, and their followers, relieve themselves of having to pursue the impossible and unnecessary goal of being perfect every time and, instead, grant themselves permission to try new things, and even fail in the process.

The great jazz musician knows the definitions of both “failure” and “perfection” are subject to considerable personal interpretation and, in the trade-off between freedom and constraint, they would far sooner choose freedom, in spite of the fact it carries certain obligations with it.

In order to take advantage of that switch in mindset, the jazz musician must make other kinds of tradeoffs. They understand the need to:

  • allow the other musicians to take the lead, at any time
  • be comfortable with not knowing what’s coming next
  • forgo rigid routine in favour of personal expression

In jazz there is not really any right or wrong, there is only a willingness to do what you can with what you have been given. In jazz, there are not mistakes, per se, because a mistake is seen as just another improvisational jumping off point from which a new pattern is allowed to flow.

Mastering Dynamic Interplay …

In the world of jazz, musicians learn how to master the dynamic shifts that can occur when you allow chaos and freedom to replace control and predictability. The musicians take their cues not from a formal, preset script, but rather from the sense they have of others. A jazz musician who is not willing to both enjoy and appreciate the idiosyncrasies of the other musicians will not be successful. In a world where more collaboration is demanded, it will be those who think like a jazz musician who will thrive.

The leaders we need to guide our organizations in the future cannot allow either themselves or their organization to rely upon “learned patterns”, but rather to “jam” with others in an unregulated form of interplay. As Barrett said so well in his book “they require bricolage – fumbling around, experimenting and patching together an understanding of problems from bits and pieces of experience, improvising with the materials at hand”.

In essence, the shift we are advocating is away from knowing, and more towards tinkering. It means coming to understand the modern organization as a “complex learning system”, and that the learning never stops. As a result, the jazz musician is open to new opportunities, methods, beats and harmonies, and can live comfortably with allowing sense to be made in “reverse”. In others words, to only be able to know and understand if things will work after the fact, not before.

Deepening the Dialogue …

There is a school of thought which suggests jazz, at its very core, is an advanced and sophisticated form of dialogue. It is about stripping away the formality we find in structure and replacing it with a more fluid conversation, the direction of which we can neither control nor predict. The belief is that creative outcomes can only be generated within the heat, emotion and disorder of a group of people energetically and passionately engaged in the process of discovery. People do their best work when they are free from the fear of making mistakes or being wrong.

As a result, organizational leaders need to step back for a moment and consider a few very important questions.

  • What do they really want from their organization, and their people, given the current climate?
  • What changes must be made, to both structures and mindsets, to allow the organization to adapt successfully?
  • What clues tell us the current approach is not working, is unlikely to work in the future, and needs to be changed?

The organization of the future must find ways to add many more voices to the mix, and must not be afraid of where the dialogue might go. Implicit in this is a shift from formal, infrequent, leader-led dialogue, to informal, continuous participant-led dialogue.

Dialogue that looks like a jazz ensemble to the casual observer.

Disciplined Discovery …

Fear is a debilitating emotion that can twist and contort leaders in ways they do not understand. It can impair judgment and distort perspective. Fear of the unknown, in particular, is one of the most concerning attitudes a leader can have in times like this. Leaders have to be able to tone down their egos, turn up their humility, and come to terms with the fact there is much, much more they do not know than they actually do know.

Jazz musicians approach each and every situation with an open mind and an attitude of experimentation and discovery. As a result, they cast off the self-imposed constraints that trap many business leaders, and put themselves in a much better position to embrace the opportunities and alternatives that simply emerge from the chaos. It really is a measure of confidence when a leader can suspend their need to know, and replace it with the joy of discovery.

At the same time, this shift allows the jazz musician to not feel trapped in any given situation, especially those that are unfamiliar. They understand that no matter how impossible or difficult things may look, there is an inevitable solution that will emerge, if they can only be patient, keep trying and go with the flow. As difficult as it may be for some leaders, the correct response is to relax and let go, not tense up and try to gain control.

Chaos and Complexity …

The world of business and business leadership is a challenging one. It can bring great rewards, if you succeed, and debilitating humiliation if you get it wrong. The traditional differences have been complicated even further, in the current environment, because the rules of the game have changed so significantly. It is simply inconceivable that leaders can carry on doing what they have done in the past, and continue to be successful. These are disruptive times and the advantage goes to the flexible, the adaptable and the resilient.

In times of chaos and complexity, the leader must adjust. When you do not and cannot know what lies ahead, you have to shift your thinking, and get comfortable with a new approach. In our view, the approach of the jazz musician is the most appropriate one because it places a higher value on an alternative set of priorities, the same ones that leaders would be well advised to entertain in the theatre of business.

These include:

  • High levels of trust in the people around them
  • A willingness to distribute leadership amongst the team
  • Generous listening
  • A willingness to pick up the beat and improvise

Choice has always been a more powerful asset than control because it gives you the freedom and opportunity to shape things in your own way, rather than follow the precedent set by others. It will become an even more important source of leadership strength in the future, because it allows organizations to adjust without hesitation.

Steps to Take :: Actions to Consider

The leaders we need to help guide our organizations into the future need something from the rest of us. They need the freedom to act and serve in new and different ways, ways more suited to the times. The human spirit thrives on change and adaptation and, at regular intervals throughout history we have made great leaps forward. This is one of those times. In an environment that looks more like a crowded jazz bar than an ornate orchestra hall, we need leaders who can play jazz in the up tempo, improvisational manner in which it excels.

Here are some suggestions to get started.

Change the Mood

The change will not be easy. The forces conspiring against a shift to jazz-style leadership will be huge. The leader will need to be forceful, colourful and passionate in making the case, and this is best done by visibly creating a new rhythm within the walls of the organization.

Provide More Freedom

In the new world we are advocating, freedom becomes the practice of choice. People will be asked to accept that freedom, and to do their best with it. In the process, if the beat is dropped, others around them will be expected to pick it up.

Banish Stifling Formality

Organizations, and the people within them, are literally choking to death, right in front of us, due to lack of oxygen. It’s time to open the windows, and banish the rigidity which is working against the very kind of impromptu, flexible, opportunistic actions we need to take. There is no longer any value in imposing the monochromatic rules and policies that stifle originality and lead to conformity. In a world where no one knows the tune, we need organizations populated by those people who can make it up on the fly.

Go with the Flow

The organization of the future will be even more collaborative than it is today. At the same time, the workforce will be more diverse, and there will be more voluntary turnover, as people move in and out of organizations rather than seek a job for life. The people who will thrive and contribute in this climate will be those who can course correct, easily shift roles and who are willing to share.

Leverage Serendipity

One of the natural laws of business is that good luck, chance and timing are all recognized as contributing factors to organizational success, in addition to good planning and executive brilliance. In a world where predictability has all but vanished, we need leaders who know how to improve the likelihood of serendipity calling at the door.

Get Jamming

Jazz is passion, fun and hard work combined in an informal way. The world of business needs to move on and begin to value expression and effectiveness over efficiency, control and compliance. It’s time to start jamming!