There is a revolution underway, and it calls for conscious leadership as a means to uplevel the human experience in business and work. It is being led by people who no longer accept being cogs in corporate machines. These people are sending a signal that they want employee wellbeing and development to be prioritized, that work environments without question are safe and equitable, and that leaders put their people first.
The pandemic has caused millions of people to examine their lives, and many have taken steps to align their careers with a quality of life that prioritizes their personal values, family, and wellbeing — in short, create work they love. People are scrutinizing their workplaces, and this includes holding their employers accountable for being in integrity with the mission, culture, and ethics they espouse.
Companies are feeling the pressure. A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August 2021, and top talent is prioritizing flexibility when deciding which companies, they want to work for. The power employees have right now to create change in the workplace is massive and the groundswell for a movement for a more humane work experience is building.
To meet the opportunity, and attract and retain talent, companies will need to invest in helping their people create deep, meaningful, and valuable work. Organizations need to be set up to offer flexible work environments and employee skilling and development programs. They will need to invest in training and change management to drive adoption of new technologies. And they will need to actively foster a culture of care.
The right leaders for this era will possess a strong sense of empathy and a deep commitment to diverse perspectives, and they will thrive at the intersection of employee experience, customer experience, and culture transformation. I believe that these leaders are Conscious Experience Officers and that they will emerge as key enablers to guide companies through the current disruption and chart the path for the future of work.
Preparing for the Future of Work
Companies that demonstrate that they are listening to what employees and customers want will be able to attract the right people for their business to thrive in the future of work. Gartner defines the future of work as changes in how work will get done over the next decade, influenced by technological, generational and social shifts.
For the revolution currently driving the “Great Resignation, or Re-alignment”, three pillars are prominent: hybrid work environments, talent development, and technological advancements.
Redesigning Work for a Hybrid Future
We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rethink our workplaces, work models and workflows from the ground up. Let’s not waste it. And let’s not forget what’s at stake.
Talent Upskilling, Reskilling and Redeployment Initiatives
New technologies, demographic shifts and the impact of Covid-19 on the labor market have been radically transforming the way that organizations conduct business and the type of skills their talent needs to help them thrive in this new age of work.
Technology Advancements and Innovation
The world of work is changing. Artificial intelligence and automation will make this shift as significant as the mechanization in prior generations of agriculture and manufacturing. While some jobs will be lost, and many others created, almost all will change.
This future is being hailed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a term coined by the World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab. It is described as more than just technology-driven change; it is an opportunity to help everyone, including leaders, policy-makers and people from all income groups and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centered future.
Creating an inclusive, human-centered future requires leaders who can inspire and activate this new era of being in work. For guidance in advancing to a leadership 2.0 model, I’m drawn to two references:
Leadership is the art of getting people to want to do what must be done.
-Jim Collins, BE 2.0
Wisdom 2.0 addresses the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.
-Wisdom 2.0 Productions
In BE 2.0, Jim Collins presents an upgrade to his first book Beyond Entrepreneurship, and an homage to his coauthor and mentor, Bill Lazier. The book begins with the acknowledgement that in reflecting on more than a quarter century of rigorous research into what makes great companies great, the one principle that stands out above all others is “first who”. First, get the right people on the bus, and then figure out where to drive it. Without the right people, you simply cannot build a great company, period.
Continuing with the wisdom of Jim Collins, his Level 5 Leadership concept (developed in the book Good to Great) emerged from studying the common traits among the Good to Great CEO’s – some of the most remarkable CEOs of the century:
Level 5 leaders display a powerful mixture of personal humility and indomitable will. They’re incredibly ambitious, but their ambition is first and foremost for the cause, for the organization and its purpose, not themselves. While Level 5 leaders can come in many personality packages, they are often self-effacing, quiet, reserved, and even shy. Every good-to-great transition in our research began with a Level 5 leader who motivated the enterprise more with inspired standards than inspiring personality.
The current opportunity to address what talent wants, combined with what it will take to succeed in the future of work, requires leaders with a vision for how business can be used as a force for good. One organization leading the way toward this vision is Wisdom 2.0 which over the past ten years has activated a global community with thousands of people who are inspired by the mission to support people living with awareness and wisdom in our technology-rich age.
Join the Conscious Revolution
I envision a future where companies invest in helping people create deep, meaningful, and valuable work for the purpose of business as a force for good.
I believe that when people feel seen and heard at work it creates a deep sense of intrinsic motivation to show up fully and bring their highest self and value to the company.
By belonging and contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we can all lead consciously, compassionately, and purposefully and up level the human experience in business and work.
I invite you to join the Conscious Experience Officer Community to contribute your ideas, thoughts, and wisdom and collectively we will influence and drive change now and for the future.