Changes used to come about slowly, one at a time. You could be using the same farming tools for five generations in a row, knowing they will easily last another five. Even now we’re still dragging the same industrial educational system and the same old-fashioned managerial approach to work. But all that is about to change.
If companies are willing to employ the most flexible and most potent generation of so-called “millennials” (it’s a buzzword, but it fits), they should start introducing an entirely different scheme of work. Frederic Laloux in his book “Reinventing Organizations” mentions that these new companies are already here and they’re uber-successful. So what makes them so good?
Nobody in charge
Not only it sounds fun, it actually makes more sense than our usual hierarchy. Imagine a forest. Now imagine one tree that tries to overlook the whole forest ecosystem and control every process. It’s absurd, the forest is perfectly fine running on its own.
A well-structured company is an ecosystem, almost an organism. Each department is a self-regulatory cell, knowing its functions and serving its purpose, consisting of experts in their own field. No top-down imposures.
But what about strategic decisions? As it turns out, it’s possible to do without the godlike power of authority. Future companies have a CEO and a board to suggest and help with changes instead of commanding them. They also have each employee deciding on improvements in their own area. The secret is to trust people’s judgment. After all, when you hire somebody you expect them to know what they’re doing and how to do it better, otherwise, why hire them in the first place?
When you tell someone your salary the fabric of spacetime tears a little and unspoken evil leaks through the cracks. This would’ve explained people’s reaction to being asked how much they make. Exposing your salary feels like nudity and this shame was bred in us by corporate policies. Open salaries threaten companies’ ability to manipulate people and treat them unfairly, so naturally they wrap the subject in layers of “privacy.”
Future companies will have transparent salaries. Everybody knows how much others make and the negotiation process is be clear. When people know that their raise depends on specific goals and not random calculations, motivation becomes more that just a poster word.
Tech on edge
Rapidly picking up new tech tools, like getting Setapp instead of buying apps or using data mining to get insights on clients and their issues — means providing the feeling that you’re giving your employees the best the world has to offer.
It never means blindly implementing every tool that comes out, but it does mean assessing everything that could potentially improve the way work is organized at the moment. It’s genuinely hard, keeping track of the new stuff and not caving in to the “it works fine right now, why bother” feeling. But the right innovations pay off with increased productivity and motivation, which are always top priority.
Since we’ll soon have robots for all robot-related tasks, we might just finally allow humans to act human in the workplace. If you’re used to being told to check your emotions at the door to “act professionally” (sporting a stock-image-smile at all times), that’s no longer a thing.
Future companies will encourage people to be honest and upfront about their doubts. This means you’re allowed to do the unthinkable, like question the aim of the whole project or admit you don’t know how to achieve the goal you’ve been given.
Being yourself doesn’t mean throwing tantrums, it means not acting from one’s ego (not arguing just to seem right) and always keeping in mind the real reason why you’re there — a company’s purpose. Which brings us to the next point.
A purpose, not a strategy
If you ever opened a book on business or management, strategy is a revered testament. It is beloved by every field, from social services to advertisement. It’s a cornerstone that is also a map, and it very much holds all of the company’s plans together. How does one survive without such a thing?
By sticking to one’s purpose. In the world of exponential growth, when news arise and diffuse within days, having a long-term strategy is not only pointless, it’s nearly harmful. Deciding on how you’ll achieve your ultimate, starlit goal is myopic and it limits your ability to adjust to the ever-changing variables of the world.
The only thing left for the future company is to have a purpose worth fighting for. Because when you do, you’ve solved the top questions each thinking company has to ask: who am I and why am I here?