Are You Prepared For The Workplace Of The Future?
Whether you work for a business corporation, a non-profit, the government, or yourself, the requirements for career success are changing rapidly.
An excellent article, “The Secrets of Generation Flux,” in the February 2012 issue of Fast Company describes some of these changes:
“The next decade or so will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm; if there is a pattern to all this, it is that is no pattern. The most valuable insight is that we all are, in a critical sense, in a time of chaos.
“To thrive in this climate requires a whole new approach… some people will thrive. They are members of Generation Flux… What defines GenFlux is a mindset that embraces instability, that tolerates—even enjoys—recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions…
“Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills… You do not have to be a jack-of-all-trades to flourish in the age of flux but you do need to be open-minded.”
Are you prepared?
Do you have the right mindset to thrive in this new world?
Our mindset is ultimately a function of our beliefs and our stage of development. Obviously negative beliefs can impede our success in any environment. But in an Industrial Age where employers only wanted your body—“leave your mind at the door” was the unstated order—all you needed to do was what you were told to do. You did essentially the same thing day after day. Almost all the important decisions were made for you. Not only did you not need to think for yourself, in most situations (unless you were a high level manager or executive) you had strict procedures to follow and were actively discouraged from thinking for yourself.
In that environment, the typical negative self-esteem beliefs so many of us leave childhood with would affect our sense of ourselves and our level of confidence, but they wouldn’t necessarily affect our job performance very much. Beliefs like, “Mistakes and failure are bad”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m inadequate”, “I’m powerless”, and “Nobody is interested in what I have to say”.
In today’s chaotic environment success depends on taking chances, innovating, and “embracing instability”. What worked yesterday probably won’t work tomorrow. Even if you haven’t opened your own business, more and more organizations are demanding that their employees have an entrepreneurial attitude.
Can you easily acquire new skills if you believe “I’m not capable or competent”? Can you be open-minded if you believe “What makes me good enough is doing things perfectly (as defined by others)” and “What makes me good enough is being right”? Can you embrace instability if you believe “If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected”?
The same beliefs that would have had minimum impact only 20 years ago would totally sabotage you today. The mindset required to be successful today is virtually impossible for someone with a large number of negative self-esteem beliefs.
Eliminating beliefs has helped many organizations
Over 20 years ago I developed a process specifically designed to help organizations change their culture. See the article I wrote for American Express Open Forum that describes that process (LBP-Changed Environment) in detail: http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/how-to-get-your-employees-to-embrace-change-1/. Many organizations have used that process to eliminate the company-wide cultural beliefs that had impeded their success.
We’ve also worked with individual managers and executives in a number of firms, helping them eliminate the personal beliefs that engendered destructive behavior and kept them from having a Generation Flux mindset. (See http://lefkoe.com for details.)
I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of organizations started offering belief-elimination programs to their employees on all levels as a way of preparing people with Industrial Age mindsets to work effectively in “The Age of Chaos”.
What do you need to do?
To give yourself the best chance to succeed in today’s ever-changing environment, which places a premium on being able to embrace uncertainly and instability, get rid of any beliefs that would make it difficult to have a “Generation Flux” mindset. Operate in the present and deal with what actually is by learning how to distinguish between events and the unconscious meaning you give to events moment by moment.
Become someone who is challenged and excited by change and instability, instead of someone who fears them. Become someone who is not stopped by fear or distracted by anger. Become someone who enjoys taking risks. Become someone who is able to work easily with a team and who is not distracted by upsets caused by imagined affronts.
Thousands of people have already achieved these characteristics by eliminating the relevant beliefs and learning how to stop giving meaning to meaningless events. You can too. When you do you will be able to operate effectively in today’s increasing-challenging work environment.