Today many people frequently use the phrase “times are changing“, especially when things didn’t happen as planned or expected. Unfortunately, when asked what is really changing, most people are at a lost for words and find it quite difficult – if not impossible – to describe what the change is they are referring to. This kind of “ignorance” often is an indication of a “pending crisis“. Because, when one is unable to determine the challenges and dynamics of change, how would it be possible for anyone to effectively deal with such a change?
The ancient Chinese warrior Sun Tzu taught his men to “know your enemy” before going into battle. For if “you know your enemy and know yourself“, he wrote, “you need not fear the result of a hundred battles“. But, Sun Tzu also warned… “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat“. Although change is not really our enemy (anyhow, not in the strictest sense of the word) the same principle is at stake here… if we don’t know ourselves and don’t know what has changed, we are surely setting ourselves up for either bitter disappointment and/or failure in the future.
The modern businesses world is changing consistently, rapidly and on a daily bases. When we are oblivious of the changes confronting us, regardless of being a director, manger, employee or “job seeker“, we are steadily heading for much turbulence in the future… NOT because change equals trouble, BUT because we ain’t “mentally fit enough” to deal with change in a proactiveBeing prepared to deal with problems that we don't yet know about and using tools, knowledge, methods, techniques, mechanisms, processes and technologies that doesn't exist yet. Read more... manner (i.e. we are suffering from future shockA term used to describe when people find it either extremely difficult or they are unable to efficiently cope with the many rapid changing realities, which confront each of us on a daily basis. Read more....).
Keeping Sun Tzu’s advice in mind and considering the many business changes we are confronted with nowadays, this article attempts to highlight (actually kind of predict) the key workplace climateDescribes and indicate the prevailing mood, general atmosphere, vibe and characteristic responsiveness of a company, organization, family, event, situation or circumstance. Read more... changes we are presently confronted with.
workplace culture sees business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. It builds huge armies of “troops
” to order about, categorize competitors as “enemies
” and treat customers as a “territoryImplies the present operational and functional areas of our life in which we interact, develop, grow, obtain objectives, achieve goals, establish and sustain harmonious relationships. Read more...
” to be “overpowered
The emerging workplace culture sees business as a symbiosis, where the most diverse company is most likely to survive and thrive. It naturally creates diverse teams (i.e. departments) that could adapt easily to new events or circumstances and can quickly form partnerships with other teams, companies, customers …and even competitors, when necessary.
The present workplace culture considers the company to be a machine with employees as well oiled cogs within that machine. It creates rigid bureaucratic structures with inflexible rules and then maintain control by “pushing buttons” and “steering the ship” by means of a “carrot & stick” method and constant threats of replacing “dysfunctional” cogs.
The emerging workplace culture sees a company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose (i.e. company objectives and goals). It inspires employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers (i.e. feedback & recognition) and therefore to become “community–and-company–aware” (i.e individual responsibility within group/company/society accountability).
workplace culture wants employees to do exactly what they are told. It is a hyper-awarenessA state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. Read more...
of anything that smacks of insubordination which ultimately creates and firmly establish “company cultures
” where personal initiative is effectively squelched by a “wait and see what the boss wants
The emerging workplace culture is setting a general direction (i.e. vision and mission statements) with the commitment to obtain the required resources that employees might need to get the job done. It pushes decision making downwards, allowing teams to compile their own rules, and management only intervenes in case of possible derailments, a crisis or emergency.
workplace culture regards employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted and needs to be constantly bullied in to do the “right
” thing. Employees, when not overseen or controlled by a patriarchal and forceful management structure, will not “produce
” as expected. Employees take their cues from this attitudeThe manner, disposition, feeling, position, personal standpoint or emotion with regard to an event, circumstances, person, object or thing. Thus, a "mind" or psyche tendency, orientation or inclination towards something or someone. Read more...
), expend energy on looking busy, keep a low profile and spend hours covering their behinds.
workplace culture treats every employee as if s/he is the key person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock, the laboratory to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels are compelled to take charge of their own destinies, accept responsibility for their actions and contributePitching in time, money, effort, ideas, knowledge and/or experiences for the successful obtaining of objectives towards achieving a specific goal. Read more...
to the overall success of the company or team.
The present workplace culture regards fear – of getting fired, or ridiculed, or loss of privilege – as a crucial way to motivate and keep people motivated. As a result, employees and managers alike, become paralyzed and unwilling to either propose improvements or take risky decisions, while adopting an attitude of “rather safe than sorry“.
The emerging workplace culture inspires people to see a better future and how they all can be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the company’s goals (i.e. the vision and mission of the company), truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards of success… equally and proportionally.
The present workplace culture sees change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape or going through a rough business patch. They normally deal with change in a “cyclone syndrome” fashion… until it’s too late.
The emerging workplace culture sees change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.
The present workplace culture adheres to the old IT-centric view that technology mainly is a way to strengthen management’s control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize, antagonize and “boxed” or limits employee’s actions and decision making capabilities.
The emerging workplace culture sees technology as a way to free human beings to be more creative, cooperative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to make use of the tools, such as online interactivity, iPad’s, web phones and tablets, that people actually want to use.
The present workplace culture actively support the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. It fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define organizations as oppressors and their employees as defenseless victims. Everyone, from top to bottom, then behaves accordingly.
The emerging workplace culture regards work as something that should be inherently enjoyable or fulfilling and believe therefore that the most important function of a manager is – as far as possible – to place individuals in jobs that can and will make them truly happy and allows them to grow as a person.
- You must be on top of change or change will be on top of you (Mark Victor Hansen);
- Not everything that is faced can be changed BUT nothing can be changed until it is faced (James Baldwin) and
- It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark (Howard Ruff).