A Glimpse of the Incredible Future of Work in a World of Complete Transparency
Business leaders need to become more serious about the future of work and how it will impact their workforce and the company’s long-term viability. The future of work is not just about upgrading technology infrastructure, streamlining operations, seeking efficiencies in processes, designing and creating new products and services, developing ESG programmes, and upskilling or reskilling the organisation. The foundation of this future requires much more; what it requires is transparency.
To build and maintain this foundation, leadership needs to become more familiar with the true definition of transparency — not only what it means for them, but also for their industry, business, clients and, most importantly, the organisations they lead. If they misinterpret the true definition, they will face a devastating disappointment for themselves, as well as for the shareholders to whom they are accountable and the workforce for whom they are responsible. Further, without transparency, they risk wasting resources in terms of time, money, and effort. In effect, the left hand is unlikely to know what the right hand is doing.
The following points should help clarify what leaders might expect, prefer, and most likely experience in a world of complete transparency within the organisational context.
Transparency Is Not a Game
A lack of transparency is the most serious threat to “traditional” organisational models, reward systems, hiring practices, career development programmes, career plans, personal development, learning and development programmes, and many more management practices. Transparency is also an undeniable foundation of every future organisational operating system.
Without complete transparency, leadership will find it increasingly more difficult to navigate the organisation towards a direction where ultimate efficiency and productivity are the main currencies for everyone involved. No stakeholder will listen to an organisational story or narrative that is vague in explaining and validating key points: what the company tries to achieve, how it serves its clients, how it rewards its people and supports their long-term aspirations, how it plays a positive contributing role in the communities where it operates, or how it interacts with other stakeholders, such as suppliers.
Early signs of transparency — timid and siloed — are observable in many ESG programmes currently being designed, developed, and deployed in many organisations around the world. Unfortunately, they are mostly public relation stunts that fall short in long-term sustainability, do not go beyond legal compliance, and ignore the ultimate objective of achieving lasting outcomes. When the possibilities of complete transparent management practices become a “no brainer” for smart and true leaders with authentic aspirations, real signs of true progress are possible — not only for profit-seeking or non-profit organisations, but also for individuals who participate in these entities. With absolutely no need for waste in a world where people seek efficiencies in every aspect of their lives, wastefulness will become practically non-existent.
Technological Breakthroughs Will Transform Organisational Models
Technology is not changing the way we work. It is shaping the way we will survive. Technology is not a side-kick activity that is nice to have. It is not a budget item that requires approval or an agenda item for leadership to consider in the next three-year business plan.
Technology is the most serious and important business that a company has and will ever have. It is oxygen. It is the energy source. There is no need to reject how transparent technology will shape the way we survive in a world where almost everything will be based and driven by transparency. Is it that difficult to hear the sound of this transformation taking place today? Isn’t that what the majority want, anyway? Isn’t that what the majority is willing to do beyond what is possible today with regards to climate change, diversity and inclusion, fair rewards, inequality, gender gap, and so on.
These movements are shaping the designs of many organisational models for the better and, unfortunately, in some cases for the worse when leadership teams do not seek real change beyond their tenure. But at the core, technology is the hero. Without technology, we would not be discussing these issues today. In fact, technology has the power to go beyond these issues and tackle and resolve important challenges. Sticking to the same archaic approaches year over year and expecting that things will somehow get better (though one cannot even answer why that should happen) is truly the definition of insanity. Leveraging technology at its best rather than relying on randomness, favouritism, blunt incompetence, and ignorance is a better option.
It is no longer enough to settle only for rhetoric and vague management practices. We have passed that train stop. Future organisational models require and deserve much more than that. We are on our way to reach the “perfect match” and “ultimate efficiency” stop, powered by technology where people and organisations find their perfect match, for example, on an app.
Without a Bite of the Future, the Future Will Bite Your Organisation Twice
This point provides the most critical understanding of the future of work: The urgency of doing something now before it is too late. But it goes beyond simply doing anything. Before acting, leaders need to stop and think of the available and suitable alternatives to ensure that they take the best and most optimal action.
The biggest question involves existing mindsets: how to convince and change the mindsets of shareholders, leadership, management, and employees about the future. Where do we start? How many will believe us? What do we do about the ones we cannot convince or change? What should we consider doing after all?
Time accelerates. Acceleration is observable. Understanding what is happening around us is becoming more complex but not yet so complicated. But that is likely to change as things and events become more complex at a faster pace. We have a narrow opportunity to get on that. If we miss the train, it is very likely that no train will stop by soon or ever again. It will be “game over” for many organisations, their leaders, and their workforce.
To survive in a fast-paced, ever-changing business environment, leaders must recognise transparency in all things as a critical key to their sustainability. Transparency, with firm support from technology, will lead the way to ensuring the optimal development of the organisation, as well as its human resources.
The successful transformation of work involves our readiness to change our mindsets about the future — not about the mechanics of how we will, should, or prefer to work. Without a clear understanding of the larger picture of how transparency through technology will shape the way we survive rather than the way we work, we will not be in a position to respond to challenges. In fact, we might not even have the opportunity.