What Does it Mean to WorkModern

Michelle and I have been talking a lot lately about what it means to WorkModern. For years now we’ve been introducing clients to the language of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). More and more we see it showing up in articles and blogs, and while it feels ubiquitous at this point, it’s clearly important. Change is happening at an exponential rate, and we know this from our own day to day experience at work and beyond. This is the nature of our times – chaotic, complex, ambiguous and totally unpredictable. 

Organizations of all kinds, just like the individuals within them, are impacted by this chaotic reality. The need to respond quickly, think critically and creatively, collaborate, change direction, is top of mind for everyone; however, the challenge, and it’s a big one, is that organizations are not designed for what’s needed.  They are structured and run based on the philosophy of the Industrial Age, when predictability and isolation of parts were needed to streamline and maximize outputs. Everyone had their button to press, and this led to huge breakthroughs for the time.  

Entire organizational cultures formed around this industrial mindset, leading to silo’s – top down leadership, a ‘me’ mentality, and turf protection.  We can agree that none of this supports agility, creativity, failing fast and recovering, collaboration and so on. You can see the tension – what we need requires something different to what we’ve had. We can’t keep trying to solve what’s happening with an outdated mindset – we need complex solutions for these complex times.

How do we build toward what’s needed?

First we have to recognize that we can’t do it alone.  We need more diverse minds and experience at the table. This diversity and willingness to do things differently can be scary and unsettling, and can prevent people’s best thinking and best selves from being shared. What’s true about human beings (and has always been true), is that they do their best work when they are happy, valued, included, supported and trusted.

This is why we focus on relationships at work; we strengthen the connections between people. It’s in healthy and resilient relationships that we can stretch, fail, develop, innovate, build and achieve. We can only access a ‘we’ mentality through healthy relationships.

The quickest and best way to strengthen relationships and thrive in complexity is to help your people: 

  1. Build resilience as they navigate change 
  2. Have the courage to engage in healthy conflict to surface the best ideas, give feedback, stay aligned, and hold each other accountable 
  3. Enhance core leadership skills regardless of level or title

Healthy relationships equal a healthy culture. And healthy culture is the foundation for navigating the complexity and chaos of the modern world. 

This is what it means to WorkModern.

Ask yourself:  

  • What is the quality of the relationships on your team? How does your team culture  impact the rest of the organization? Note: If you’re on the senior team, this question is critical. 
  • If those relationships stood on a foundation of greater trust and support, what difference would that make?
  • What could you achieve together that you can’t achieve alone?

Start 2020 by taking a bold step toward building a healthy culture around you.  

Reach out and explore how to WorkModern with us.