“In the 21st century, if you’re looking for work, you shouldn’t have to search in the same old places and, once hired, you shouldn't have to clock in and clock out in the same old ways. We should be able to go beyond bricks and mortar and draw upon the information and communication technology of today.” – Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker, State of the City Address, March 2, 2011
Just like Newark Mayor Booker, I am rather bullish about where things are heading, and the opportunities in our grasp when we are proactive and look for new ways to solve the problems we face in our economy, education and jobs. For me, it is a switch from what I call defense mode to offense. Winning because we can and because we are willing to apply new ideas to create new opportunities and not just replacing what was lost.
As folks around me will tell you, I like doing new and innovative things, what I call breaking new snow. But as I have learned in my career, not everyone is as enthusiastic as I am about this. The tougher the challenges the more intractable the resistance to change can be. And, when it comes to revolutionizing work, there are some intimidating roadblocks.
While our technology and our digital lives have been advancing at a breakneck pace, we have seen some of the intricate challenges that our social, business and policy leaders are facing to keep up with the changing world of technology. The way we're wired makes us fear behavioral change, the way our businesses are structured makes it hard for management to grant new freedoms to both workers and as a company. As technology moves forward, there can often be a first reaction based on fear. We become more protective of the old ways of doing things and often resist innovation and change.
In my opinion, in the world of work, we're following an old paradigm — one that prizes walled gardens and impermeable and artificial borders (e.g. office space) — instead of acknowledging a new paradigm of openness. It is time to reexamine our understanding of management to yield performance and results.
What do I mean?