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Our CEO, Rob Bromage, recently presented to MBA students at the University of Queensland about The Future of Work. Here’s a recap of Rob’s talk.
If you follow the excitement of the latest technologies – robotics, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, chatbots, biometrics, predictive control… The list goes on – you could be thinking one of three things;
That’s cool, but it doesn’t affect me…
Bring it on!…
No thanks – sounds scary! I’ll just look the other way
If you are a Board Member, CEO, business owner or a leader in a business, hopefully you are saying “bring it on” – because if you are in any of these leadership positions you are actually charged with understanding what this all means. It is your role to guide your business through one of the most technology-fuelled, disruptive, human-displacing, anxiety-charged transitions that businesses may have ever seen.
We are essentially now in the fourth industrial revolution. Ignore what’s happening around us, and your business will stagnate and be left behind. First your staff will start leaving, and then your customers will follow suit. Now nobody wants that.
Leadership is not for the faint-hearted. We all know that leadership is about strategy and decision making. It’s about looking into the future, identifying trends, repositioning the business to create new markets that didn’t exist before and of course long-term planning.
It is also overseeing the execution of these plans, testing things, adjusting, challenging ideas, changing pace and most importantly – calling the shots when it’s time to pivot. To add complexity to that, as Peter Drucker said “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and today it is widely understood, that people are your greatest assets and you need to look after them.
But – having a strong culture now goes well beyond just leveraging or extracting your people’s talents for profit. If you are serious about leadership, you also understand that today business is about accountability and being a social enterprise.
Larry Fink, Blackrock Chairman & CEO brought this to the world stage earlier this year when he stated in a letter to all CEOs:
“We… see many governments failing to prepare for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining. As a result, society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges.
…To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”
So not only do we need to think about what technology is out there, what is coming next, its impact on business and its impact on our ability to stay relevant; we must also think about all those we serve, our communities and importantly how we tackle the human impact of evolution.
Today’s future-focused businesses must be agile, maneuvering to bring workforces in alignment on masse and engaging them through purpose and inspiration. Today’s worker is a knowledge worker and they are not looking to be told what to do, but given a purpose and a direction to head in, and most importantly the freedom to execute on it.
So, how are you feeling about your capability to lead your organisation into the future? Whether you’re already all over it (…or not), shortly we’ll be sharing our tips on preparing for the future of work and how you can future-proof your organisation. Stay tuned!