Mind the Gap

The most significant single determinant of successful management, democracy and policing is the consent of those being managed. This thought struck me this morning as I reflected on some of the news items I picked up over the weekend:

  • There is a trend toward venture capital buying out public companies because the regulations and oversight of public companies are too “burdensome.”
  • London First is lobbying the Government to ask the Prime Minister to encourage everybody to go back to their offices to keep the businesses that support those offices afloat. 
  • The Olympics in Japan is being pushed through despite the overwhelming objection of the people who live there.

I think that noise we can hear in the background that sounds like a choir of grinding teeth is the sound of bureaucracies bumping into emerging realities. 

The changes we are feeling represent a crucial period, similar to ones we have experienced before when cars took over from horses, planes took over from trains, mobile took over from landlines, and the internet made technology a superpower. 

The changes we are in make the reactions of those who enjoyed the “old normal” seem like a campaign to make early automobile buyers buy buggy whips to keep a suddenly obsolete sector in business.

The pandemic has opened up a big gap. Those who work from home enjoy doing so and are at least as productive doing so will want to continue to do so—those who cannot will likely feel disadvantaged. Recruiters can see the gap. I already see in the games industry active recruitment based on working from home as a strategic benefit, and others are, I’m sure, doing the same. 

It also opens up a gap between employee and employer. So the power relationship is starting to change, and in the uncertain times we are in also accelerates dynamic already in motion. My Boomer generation has been able to lean on final salary pensions and extended periods with employers to make them effective. Our children cannot, and for their children, they will be history. The idea of retiring at 70 is, for many, likely to be an impracticality. Combined with increasing evidence that changing jobs after 55 is increasingly tricky, it means that we have to develop and harness skills that are both transferable and which we enjoy if we want to enjoy getting older. 

Whatever our age, now is the time to bridge the gap and develop those skills. For most, “management” is a short term career within the overall arc of our working lives, and “leadership” is not a role; it is about having an idea worth following.

There are other aspects to the gap opening up. The bridge we each need to cross is best built through powerful conversations with those we trust, around what we all don’t know, and identifying the possibilities that give us options. 

These are the conversations we are building at Originize. It’s not about teaching, or training, or “solutions,” but more about following an old African dictum; “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together“.

Now is a very good time to find those you want to travel with.

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