My head is spinning reading results of competing surveys from reputable organizations contradicting each other on workforce attitudes and motivations! So what are we to think and believe? Here are my thoughts.
Despite proliferating numbers of job openings and still many people unemployed across the spectrum of ages, there is a mismatch of skills between many of the unemployed and skills needed now and going forward. This is not just about technology, and it applies to various levels of seniority. Many of the skills needed are not what the majority of the educated populations and current students in the U.S. and elsewhere are learning. What do we do?
“Mobile, flexible, agile, engaged” are descriptors of the workplace cultures desired by the most sought after talent. We’re going to see more frequent leadership changes at various levels, role shifts and non-traditional reporting relationships brought on by demographic realities, external forces and internal impatience.
What does this mean for future leaders their training and how teams will operate?
It seems the more educated we are, the more we try to rely on rational argument and extrinsic motivation to convince people to change their attitudes and actions about such things as diversity, generational differences, client service and client acquisition, succession planning, and flexibility – just to name a few emotionally-charged issues in the workplace. But the crux of the matter is emotional, behavioral, and sometimes instinctive. A good business case is only half the story. If we don’t identify people’s fears and emotional needs and address them in providing solutions, we will miss the mark and keep circling around the target.
Almost everyone who enjoys their work wants to leave some sort of a “legacy,” that is, be remembered for something meaningful to themselves and others. In my work on succession planning and knowledge transfer within organizations that have employees looking ahead to retirement or encore careers, I’ve been hearing from Boomers and some older Gen Xers about the desire to leave a legacy at work. It’s not a charitable legacy, though that could be part of it.
My riff on Tony Bennett and his new memoir.
People have to learn to create “brave spaces” to have the skills and courage to engage in uncomfortable crucial conversations and emerge with understanding and resolutions that unite. Intergroup Dialogue is a specific form of communication especially designed for people to communicate across differences, in a critical and meaningful way.
To achieve long-term success, it is extremely important to align succession planning with the strategic focus of the organization. Too often firms are not clear on their strategic focus, succession planning or both. Further, when these are undertaken, many important stakeholders are left out of the process. Organizations need to think in terms of both generational and other diversity challenges.