Monday, 26 November 2018

Workplace 3.0


On one of the evenings last week, my sleep broke I at 1AM thinking about stuff happening at the office workplace, thoughts raced through my head about my own experiences of the workplace over the years (reflecting on working in Europe versus Africa), and reflecting on my recent transformation going back to about six years now, where I took deliberate action to focus on the deeper meaning of the workplace - i.e. keep my biases in check, resist the temptation for passing value-judgements, and stop with cloning a European/British work ethic/practices in Africa.... I reflected on my public description on LinkedIn, currently my core value system for my workplace - am I still serious about these values, and are they in conflict with the organisation?:

Delight | Engineer | Innovate | Lead | Empower | Fun 
My core principles / work ethic as a technology leader for small and large teams alike:
Aim to delight customers through my own uniqueness to handling engagements, taking pains not to force processes and practices dogmatically, instead take the time to work with customers to fully appreciate the system (cultural, people, organisational & engineering) dynamics. Delight by not being too presumptuous, always staying the humble, attentive listener. 
Engineer practical, workable solutions, avoiding complexity as far as possible, keeping it real and contextual. Innovate by expanding on the current state-of-play that happens to be as-is, in-process behaviours (focus on incremental evolutionary progress than big-bang changes).  
Continuously foster this innovation through Leading by example, taking time out to appreciate feedback and through working with people at all levels. 
Empower individuals and teams to follow-through on their own in becoming world-class, whilst overseeing their trajectory (coach, mentor, guide but never the dictator) to reach the desired goals.  
Most importantly create a workplace that makes it Fun to work, being part of a story that's much bigger than myself.

And from this, I started to think about typical conflicts in the workplace: culture clashes, mindset challenges, behavioural incompatibilities and especially the new dynamics of working with a diverse group of younger people, including the leadership & organisational transformation needed to take the workplace to the next level, given our changing modern times...where adaptation is critical to survive the next wave.

So I came up with a term "workplace 3.0" at about 2AM, jotted some notes in my journal to follow-up during the week as I thought I was onto something, and went back to sleep. Super excited about my new term, I thought of ways to describing workplace 3.0. Alas, as all bright ideas go, a quick google for "workplace 3.0" to sanity check my founding claim to the term, shows up a few results - interestingly enough, this site seems to be the one that coined the term up first, and also interesting to note that we're thinking along the same lines, whilst other sites seem to describe workplace 3.0 more from an aesthetic architectural vision of the future in terms of office layout.

I prefer to focus workplace 3.0 more on the human aspect - working with people thus creating value and getting shit done...and so wanted to explore the scenario where you might have found yourself wondering what's happening to the workplace, that you're perhaps been scratching your head wondering about how to adapt to the changing workplace, perhaps reminiscing about the good old days....and really wondering if you're a culture fit, or have become a dinosaur not fit to survive the modern workplace??

How does one describe workplace 3.0 / #wp30 / WP3.0 / #workplace3.0?

Here's my draft brainstorm attempt by highlighting conflicts arising today ...Remember my bias is technology software development in the ever changing industry of Digital Video Technologies and I've been working in Africa...
If you find yourself with at least 20 years work experience and you're often thinking back to the good old disciplined way (military) of doing things, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you love sticking to dates and deadlines and all you want is a status update from engineering, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you think software development is commodity that anyone can write code, and easily outsource to Asia/Eastern Europe, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you treat software developers as code monkeys, that you as the customer don't have time to explain or hear ideas from the techies, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you are driven by role titles and seniority and refuse to interact or come to the level of someone who's low on the org chart, then keep staying in your ivory tower because WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you the kind of manager or leader that likes to know every detail and micromanage, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If your default mode is not one of trust, but rather suspicion or doubt, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you believe you're superior to younger (inexperienced "green") people in their 20s or 30s by way of your work experience, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you prefer cracking the whip and all you care about is execution and delivery to a project plan or date, then WP3.0 is probably no place for you... 
If you find yourself uncomfortable with diversity (race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationalities, etc.) then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you feel you own your technology development team, and not see the tech team as a vital partner & contributor to strategic outcomes, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you lose patience with empowering your people, instead taking over and just getting the job done (and have no problem with "the end justifies the means") - you reign teams in - then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If age makes you uncomfortable, that a person in his/her 20s/30s can be an inspiring leader with senior management responsibilities, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If all you want is a status update without taking time to ask nicely or care to have a conversation with your engineers, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you strongly advocate that you come to work to work and don't care about developing meaningful relationships with your peers and colleagues, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you're someone who encourages people to "stay in their lane", then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you can't seem to break the habit of referring to people as "resources" and find ways to justify calling people "resources", then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you feel insecure with the intelligence of young people being greater than yours, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you can't allow yourself to be vulnerable and expose your humanity in the workplace (let your guard down now and again, drop your shield), then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you find yourself unwilling to be candid with a dose of empathy (radical candor), then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you expect perfect planning and up-front design, you get extremely uncomfortable with waiting for the "last responsible moment" for decision-making, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If experimentation makes you nervous, or you can't embrace failure (and learning from failure), then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If "move fast and break things" just scares you, then WP3.0 is probably not for you...
If your people says "I got this" and you hesitate showing a modicum of doubt or uncertainty, then WP3.0 is probably not for you...
If asked to "embrace mess or chaos" makes your skin crawl, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If your default is "I sent the email, don't talk to me unless you read the email or document", then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If taking time out to have some fun, cut-some-slack, causes you stress about lost productivity, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you demand 100% capacity and productivity all the time, and can't come to accept the theory of constraints, or that you're working with humans and not machines, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you expect paper qualifications over experience or unwilling to take a chance on the outliers (i.e. don't fit the mould), then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you have zero tolerance with investing time, energy and emotional effort in building self organising teams, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you keep pulling your team to your past experiences, or past superstar teams or comparing with "best practices" world-class teams, instead of embracing the local culture (Africa is different, and this difference is a good thing), then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you find it hard to accept that the workplace is becoming more like the tribes from "Survivor", that people seek out tribal leaders, and that winning people's hearts is a good strategy for leadership - that natural selection can't happen in teams - then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you feel you can't allow your people to diversify, even if it means leaving your employ for something else that aligns with their own personal aspirations, then WP3.0 is probably not for you... 
If you seek out people to blame or reprimand when issues occur (written warnings favoured as actions) instead of acknowledging the issue and learning from it, impatient on building trust and commitment instead prefers  fear-mongering, then WP3.0 is probably not for you...
If you have to ask why must we celebrate accomplishments or minor achievements, give kudos and recognition to people - when it's their job and get paid for it - then WP3.0 is probably not for you...
If you value your positional authority and expect compliance, instead of taking time to listen, to really listen and solicit feedback from your people-on-the-ground - i.e. you don't have the time or inclination - then WP3.0 is probably not for you...
If you cannot admit as a leader, you've made a mistake or taken the wrong decision, for fear of embarrassment or see it as a sign of weakness (and not humility), then WP3.0 is not for you...
That's it for now....if you have some ideas or comments, please share some your examples of the behaviours in conflict with what #workplace 3.0 could be... 

3 comments:

  1. More a practical than an attitude issue(but it dovetails with trust): If you need to have all your people under your eyes all the time instead of providing a flexible work from anywhere environment then WP3.0 is not for you.. ?

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  2. Preach! Awesome post, it's like your own version of the Agile manifesto :) Basically what I got from it is (in a nutshell), we should all focus on three H's. Humanity, humility, and honesty.

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  3. Love this post!I am currently faced with the challenge of people who "want" to go on an agile transformation journey but still tick all of the boxes listed above. It is going to be a very interesting 2019. Will keep you updated on what happens here.. signing off:Developmentor

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