Virtual Teams

Digital work is coming, don’t get Uber-ed

If you don’t think the digital work revolution will have an impact on you, ask a cab driver. Digital disruption can happen fast and everywhere, and it’s coming to the everyday world of work.

We are all using our Uber app to get home now; our AirBnB app to book somewhere to stay on holiday; and the traditional taxi and hotel industries are still reeling from the change.

But, apart from receiving 10,000 emails a day and seeing our colleague’s beaming face via webcam instead of up close and personal, for many of us ‘digital work’ hasn’t truly hit our workplace. Yet.

What do we mean by ‘digital work’? For example…coming to a workplace near you… all jobs divided in to their constituent parts, with all the bits that can be automated completed by machines and the remaining work packaged back into projects to be completed by whoever has the most closely matched skills. Sound scary? Sound exciting?

According to a report released in February 2017 by Accenture, based on extensive econometric modelling and a survey of 10,000 workers in 10 countries, the digital work revolution is coming to the workplace and leaders need to act now.

The good news is that their message to leaders is to put people at the heart of their digital strategy. The machines aren’t in charge yet. Their research suggests leaders focus on three priorities:

  1. Accelerate reskilling people
  2. Redesign work to unlock human potential
  3. Strengthen talent pipeline from its source

They urge leaders and managers to:

  • Manage in horizontal not hierarchal ways
  • Be intellectually curious and open to the new opportunities
  • Inspire new ways of thinking in their team and a mindset of life-long learning
  • Facilitate community building

Sounds rather like the shift in mindset required from traditional to matrix working to us.  Indeed we wonder if the matrix will in fact end up being a transition phase from the old obsession with hierarchy to a world where no solid or dotted lines exist; just a pool of talent, an app and a load of interesting challenges to match them to.  The OD experts at McKinsey certainly think so.

So what to do about the digital work revolution right now?

At Global Integration we have helped over 50,000 participants in more than 300 leading organizations around the world change mindsets and build skillsets for a more networked world.  If you’d like to find out how we can help you get ready for digital work (or operate more successfully in the existing matrix that still presents its own day-to-day challenges), please get in touch.

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