Consider this. It’s 2025 and the world we knew 6 years ago has changed dramatically. The workforce no longer hinges on hierarchies and what worked in the past. It’s about what could be possible and new agile systems schematics. Data Analyst has toppled Dentist as the top job and Tech Ethicists are highly sought after.
those are only a smidgen of what I imagine will be different in the 2025 world
of work. We’ll be scratching our heads as
we think back on some illogical and inane practices, unwritten rules and
beliefs we worked by.
are my top 5 head scratchers on the workforce and why they’ll seem absurd in
the near future:
1. Why was there an invisible barrier between employees and leaders?
I get it – executives are busy people. In
the past they opted to put their faith and time into a tight circle of people
surrounding them. So how could they
possibly tap into the ingenuity lying below them? They often didn’t.
Conversely frustrated experts and
innovators weren’t able to affect the value chain without ruffling feathers
trying to leap over their manager to access senior leadership.
There’s a reckoning now with Millenials
and Gen Zs; they’re unimpressed with hierarchies and prefer cross-functional
relationships within an organization. They expect access to whomever they need
in order to work collaboratively and achieve results.
We’re more comfortable now with flatter organizations and less hierarchy with glass ceilings in between.
2. Why did we believe high performers automatically made good managers?
It’s an easy assumption to make. If an
employee proves to be a superstar in their role as a subject matter expert and
sole contributor, why wouldn’t they make a superstar manager?
Did we ever get
that wrong. Finally we realize that leading and inspiring others requires it’s
own unique expertise. And, most people don’t come with the natural aptitude to
be successful managing others.
Companies invest in
their managers, ensuring they have the critical people skills to guide and
nurture their teams to success.
figured out the path to healthy employee engagement: having a specialized
stream of people managers, whose only or primary role is the responsibility to
develop, lead and motivate teams of people.
This also enables experts to become functional managers focusing on what they’re good at, without the added stress of human resource related issues.
3. Why did we believe employees be required to manage people to get a promotion?
This organizational policy always baffled
me. Sure, in theory it may have seemed
like a good idea as a way to build soft skills and get a different perspective
on leadership. But like head scratcher #2 above, it ran the risk of
demoralizing both the manager and their direct reports.
survey revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of new managers felt
underprepared for their new responsibilities and a staggering 58(%) reported
receiving no management training.
The result? Gallup’s recent workplace survey found that almost half of all employees left their jobs because of their manager. This begs the question: why have this policy when the potential for failure is 50%?
4. Why did we believe there was only one way to solve a problem?
For years we
followed tradition. When success followed a certain approach to our work, we
continued to rely on that method. Sure it may have moved us forward, but the
kinds of challenges that are emerging don’t always lend themselves to “old
I remember being
referred to as a “maverick” by my supervisor because I challenged the status
quo. I was always looking at new ways of
getting buy-in to change and looking at possibilities rather than “tried and
globalization, complexity and ambiguity, we’re in a time of disruption:
everything we know to be predictable is on the chopping block.
This means addressing challenges in new ways. Whether it’s how we work, how we developing new insights to inform decision-making or shifting our focus on new technologies.
5. Why did the 9 to 5 work schedule ever last so long?
Just ask Camilla Kring why this was never
a good idea. Founder of Denmark’s Super
she’s on a mission transform
the industrial work culture towards one that’s more flexible.
Her research on our personal circadian rhythms
debunks the long held beliefs that to be successful we need to be an early
bird. That’s great for certain people, but the rest of us may have family
dynamics, work methods and biological rhythms best suited to working later in
the day or evening.
Think about it. Are companies supporting
flexibility more likely to have engaged and happy employees? Apparently yes
according to Kring.
But that’s not the only reason for
workday flexibility. With globalization, many of us need to be available to
work with clients and colleagues in other time zones. It’s a 24-hour world;
being able to adjust our schedules is now a necessity.
The Future is Now
As we move ahead in this VUCA
(volatile, uncertain, complexity, ambiguity) world, questioning the status quo
is required. Being open to possibilities, collaboration and asking “what if?”
will become the norm in order to solve challenges and ignite new approaches.
Its no secret that social media has given birth to a new breed of entrepreneurs – the online, work anywhere, small team types. While I think this is a great thing (full disclosure: I’m one of them), I also have some serious hesitations about recommending it to my friends.
Don’t get me wrong; I love going from my bedroom to kitchen to office down the hall with latte in hand. And I answer only to my clients and me. But if you were wondering if it’s easy you would be completely wrong.
Let me explain by telling you how this type of business really works. Over the past couple of years since I began my business I have listened to everyone and their dog on the perfect formula for success, bought “courses” from other on-line entrepreneurs and learned lots I don’t need, and “hung out” with people via social media groups whom I actually have nothing in common with.
Before you click delete, this isn’t a rant. In fact I’m one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet. So stay with me on this.
The truth is, there’s no easy path to being an entrepreneur. It takes time, commitment to your clients/customers, ingenuity, trials and failures, guts (of the intuitive kind), and sheer grit. Kind of fun really.
What I’ve found to be the toughest part though, is figuring out the great differentiator. Cause let’s face it, coaches, wellness gurus, candle makers etc. are a dime a dozen. What do I mean by differentiator?
Having a differentiator means knowing who I am and exactly who and why I attract certain people to work with me – and then capitalizing on it.
I know you know we can’t be everything to everybody. And yet for some reason, the majority of us end up unconsciously trying to do exactly that. Impossible!
So who are YOU? And why do you attract certain people? What are you doing that is so unique and special that others want in on your community?
No worries, you don’t have to answer that right away. Let me tell you how I’m doing it. I’ve ditched the formulas, stopped looking for the magic genie (think Marie F) and scrapped the launch of an e-course that’s ready to roll. Back to the drawing board cause the process just didn’t feel right for me.
Instead, I’m spending my energy to thoughtfully – eyes wide open – look at exactly what I show up with and how that is attractive to others. As a coach, people are buying me, my time and my expertise. So the question I’m faced with is what makes me different? What is that special something extra I bring to my clients?
The weekend before my webinar I had this queasy feeling that a piece of the puzzle wasn’t fitting. With the help of my Angel Amy, we’d spent hours on marketing, sales funnel and webinar in prep for the big launch. Of course it didn’t help I was heading into knee surgery in ten days.
As often happens, my good friend and fellow executive coach Diane called me on the phone Monday morning. After she asked about my launch I fessed up to having second thoughts and a hunch it related to the audience I was marketing to. Without skipping a beat, Diane piped up, “When I think of you, Eve, I think of women executives. Those are your peeps!”
Not only was Diane right, the truth is that I’ve always been a mentor to corporate women. I speak their language. I know what it’s like to climb, fall, dust off and keep going through the glass ceiling.
Even the majority of my current roster of 1×1 clients is new senior managers and executives. So why didn’t I make the connection? The answer is, I’ve been looking at what everyone else is doing and trying out their formulas and connecting with their communities. Guess what? It doesn’t work! It can’t work because I’m not them and they aren’t me.
So now, post-surgery, I’m switching things up to spend more time where it counts. My social media time has dropped significantly. Sure I’m still posting on FB and active in a few FB groups (love the professional Nathalie Lussier, beautiful Jennifer-Dawn Gabiola and super-smart Dr. Kelly Edmonds), but I know that isn’t where my people spend their days. They’re linking up on LinkedIn.
I’m getting back in touch with Eve, the professional, polished, caring, direct, insightful coach with dynamic presence and credibility that makes people feel like they just want to open up (actual clients’ words). This is my differentiator!
I plan to re-launch my course in early fall to my people and continue creating value and offerings based on what they want and need. This time it will be way easier, just like the rest of my business. Because when you know your differentiator and your audience, everything flows.
I’d love to know what your differentiator is. Go ahead and share in the comments below. Not sure? Drop me a line and let’s figure it out!
Bedazzled by Shiny Baubles?
Disheartened by Not Getting the Real Work Done?
Before I give you the answer, I want to tell you about my penchant for all things new.
I worked for a large organization and was lucky enough to lead some pretty innovative files. That should have been enough to keep my curiosity and creativity fulfilled. But it wasn’t.
You see, I was addicted to the next great thing. In fact, I loved generating new ideas, new programs, and cutting edge initiatives. My favorite pastime was brainstorming with like-minded out-of-the-box thinkers.
You can imagine how much fun I was having. The dopamine was frantically flowing through my brain. But like any habit, there was a price.
The shiny objects of my affection meant I had a really hard time focusing on the real work. I’m talking the work I was accountable for completing – the meat and potatoes of my job. The things I couldn’t simply delegate to my staff. And trust me, I was a good delegator.
If you’re like me and go after shiny baubles because they’re fun, creative and leave you feeling energized, then chances are you’re also disheartened. It’s really hard to have one without the other.
If you’re an entrepreneur this can be the death-knell for your business.
Luckily for you, I’ve learned how to break the habit, dial back the chemical release, do quality work, meet deadlines and still allow a little creative fun and games.
The answer can be found in 2 words: creativity and discipline.
In this case, neither word is more important than the other. In fact, you can’t successfully have one without the other.
Let me explain.
If you commit to a daily practice of discipline then you can carve out time within that practice to create or play with shiny baubles. Consciously limiting your creative, brainstorming or idea generation to specific chunks of time will leave you feeling responsible, useful and with time to meet your accountabilities. You’ll stop the never-ending chase for the high because you’ll get your needs met without the guilt, shame and pressure of not getting the real work done.
But here’s the hook – you must commit to taking that allotted time each day to be creative. Otherwise, you’ll not be disciplined. You’ll lose motivation, interest and end up completely disheartened with no energy for anything. It has to be a continuous cycle of creativity feeding discipline feeding creativity and so on.
People like us need to keep our juices flowing, but not overflowing. We need just enough to keep us engaged, motivated and yes, disciplined. And we need discipline to provide us with the right amount of time and focus to get our real work done and still make time for creative idea generation.
Here are ways to put this concept into practice:
• Protect space in your calendar each day just devoted to creativity.
• Ideally make creativity time at the end of morning or afternoon – don’t start your day with it or you’ll find yourself too high to focus on the real work.
• Think about who you most enjoy brainstorming and being creative with and meet with them at least every few weeks. The idea of riffing off each other will keep you anticipating and committing to the creative time.
• Adopt the Start ⇒ Do ⇒ Finish rule. Chunk your work into small pieces and do one chunk until it is complete. Only then can you move on to something else.
• Log off your email, web browser and anything else that’ll keep you from focusing on the chunk of work in front of you.
• Let others know what you need to be successful at this (like letting you know when they see you getting speedy etc.). You aren’t an island even if you might be a solopreneur.
• Commit to your disciplined plan with an accountability partner.
• Notice when you’re getting overly excited (high), speeding up and talking fast – sure signs you’re overflowing with dopamine. Give yourself a time and space to dial yourself back down.
• Remind yourself you’re on the path to new habits and this takes time – lots of it. Forget the 21 day rule – just another myth from the ‘70’s.
Sounds easy? It’s not.
Making this kind of shift takes a deep level of commitment. That’s why my final bullet point is this:
• Sometimes we just need more help. Hire a coach to be your champion. They’ll keep you accountable with the added bonus of helping you get underneath the bedazzle and on top of disheartened.
As for the two questions at the beginning of the blog? They’re critical questions to ask when you find yourself getting sidetracked and hunting for the next greatest