Remote work policies are under fire in technology and other pioneers of this practice. IBM's recent announcement that all remote workers must either rejoin a physical IBM location or leave the company is the latest example. After a decade of living and supporting remote working in my technology companies, I still see some pros and cons, but it is not a binary issue.
We're taught from an early age in school what we need to do to earn the "A." Unfortunately, the real world isn't that structured, predictable, or kind. Learning to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty in business is essential for survival. Learning to leverage these characteristics is essential for success.
Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder of Uber, has had a tough few weeks. With a major sexual harassment investigation and a lawsuit by Alphabet (Google) for patent infringement, the last thing he needed was another viral bad moment. Unfortunately, that's what he got when he berated an Uber driver and was captured on camera. Mr. Kalanick indicated that, "It's time to grow up," and he "wants leadership help." Here's a "Leadership To Do" list to help him get started...
The big fixes complete with broad frameworks and their own vocabularies are alluring. They also are sinkholes of despair and frustration for groups unable to translate the ideas into coherent actions. Instead, focus on the small, subtle changes in behaviors that offer the potential for big results. I call this: sweeping incrementalism.
Our reflex action is to follow conventional thinking and apply accepted processes to solving problems at work. Leaders looking to spur innovation have a different approach. They think and do differently. They understand that every problem offers an opportunity to spur creativity and catalyze innovation. Thinking and doing differently is their mantra, as they deliver oxygen to their firms in the form of much needed innovation. If your firm or team is suffocating, it's time for you to think and do differently.
Yesterday's models of managing and leading emphasized coordination and control. Both are in opposition to the needs of today's organizations for ideas and approaches that blow up traditional ways of doing things. A core job as a leader today is to promote more creative disobedience.
It's time to break thru the status quo of inaction around problem-solving, improving, and innovating in our organizations. Change is a personal issue played out in group settings. It's time for you to start the revolution of action!
In a recent discussion with a potential literary agent for my book proposal for, "Level-Up—The Career Guide to Surviving and Thriving in an Era of Change," the agent suggested that books built around the theme of "change" were unlikely to sell. That perspective is preposterous. Learning to help our organizations navigate change while constantly leveling up in our own careers is a core challenge that all of us face in our professional lives. We need more help on this, not less, regardless of the views of publishers. Here's why...
From our earliest days in school, we are taught to "color inside the lines." In a world where everything is changing, this advice might just contribute to the demise of your firm or career. It's time to push beyond the boundaries of those lines that constrain so much creativity.
Relying upon traditional hiring practices and dogma can leave your organization starved for the talent necessary to navigate the challenges facing your firm and industry. Sometimes, you have to go maverick!