Industrial Age mindset solving today’s challenges?

Twenty-first-century leaders might benefit from thinking of themselves as having a blank slate with no reference point.

If there is one thing that we should take away from Covid Experience, it is that everything, for the most part, will have to be diagnosed and redesigned. Whether it is strategy, Workplace, Workforce, or even Work itself. You see everyday organization struggling to define this new environment.

Lots of missteps, for sure.

However, I notice that so many are clinging to a world that does not exist anymore. Are we still using the Industrial Age mindset or derivatives thereof as an anchor? 40-hour work week, working from an office, reporting to a location each and every day, mandatory this and that. 

So, my question is why we are still clinging to a world that has gone by and will never return. What are we afraid of? Exciting times require exciting collaboration amongst all parties involved.

Today’s problems, yesterday’s solutions

One of the greatest books that I have read is Employees First, Customer Second by Vineet Nayer. He turns the pyramid upside down with employees at the top and customers at the bottom. This book while an older book foretells how modern-day organizations can solve situations within. 

The key theme is collaborating with your workforce to arrive at solutions for the workforce. The days of going into the “conference room”, whether it is the HR Team, C-Suite, or whatever band of “experts” that provide your solutions is over.

If you design a workforce solution, how much input did your workforce have in aligning and solving that issue? If they had no real input, you will fail. Think of all the headlines of employees rebelling against some solutions baked in pre covid aura.

If you think of how change has come to our lives, especially with the advent of covid, technology, digitization, and social media, everything is different. The organization and its people, however, are struggling as to how to keep pace.

If leaders use the model of putting your people at the center of the solution, or if your organization puts its people first, these solutions will give you a higher probability of success.

A relic of the past: The Org chart

The old org chart is a thing of the past. The Scottish-American engineer Daniel McCallum is credited for creating the first organizational charts of American business around 1854. Based on that calculation, the org chart is approximately 168 years old. With project-based work, team approaches, and virtual work, it almost makes the org chart obsolete. But in many organizations, it is still the gold standard. Again, yesterday’s relics for today’s solutions.

Helping someone to get what they want

On the other hand, if you look at the concept of Employees First and Customers Second, it turns the traditional management hierarchy upside down. The aim of the EFCS concept was to create trust, to make managers/organizations as accountable to employees as employees were to their bosses. 

There was an article the other day about Rolls RoyceRolls-Royce CEO responds to record inflation by giving 14,000 workers a bonus and pay raise: ‘We are living through exceptional times’.  This is the perfect example of an organization putting its people first.

If you think of any organization that makes employer of choice or best places to work lists, you can see leadership using this type of approach whether they know of this concept. The employee takes front and center.  As Richard Branson always references, “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

In order to get what you want, you have to help someone get what they want. That means that organizations must do whatever they can to help their collective group of employees get or achieve what they want.

This model has a host of benefits — increased productivity, increased employee engagement, innovation, and creativity. The derivative of this is the bottom line looks a lot stronger.

We are all in this together

Organizations of the future will need to adopt a new model of doing business. This is the era of “talent,” and that talent will not be mistreated in any way. They walk out every day and are not tied to anyone.

Everyone within the organization must buy into the concept of helping each other. It is not just leadership at the top; it is leadership from every corner of the organization. Team leaders, project leads, VP, or C-level, all must adhere to that new mindset.

There will always be adjustments made going forward; there is no one size fits all. You can’t duplicate another company’s culture no matter how hard you try. But what you can do is pay close attention to your people, their thoughts, their concerns, etc.

Remember this, today’s issues cannot be solved with an Industrial Age mindset. 

Rethink everything!

One comment on “Industrial Age mindset solving today’s challenges?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *