Managers’ work environments will undergo drastic changes in the next 10 years. Some of those changes are already happening.
“My interest is in the future because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.” – Charles F. Kettering
Increased global mobility, demographics and social media are changing the face of the workplace and how we interact with our superiors and co-workers.
How will increased mobility affect the workplace?
After WW II, the U.S. economy boomed. In the 70’s it was mainly U.S. companies sending their carefully groomed talents and leaders abroad to acquire international experience and expand their organizations influence, power and reach.
Today China, Russia, Brazil and India are some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Their gross national products are soaring while those of the U.S., Japan and Europe are drowning in debt and struggling with weak growth rates.
Because of the large influx of asian students coming to the U.S. high schools and universities, these institutions have started establishing quotas in order to juggle the number of asian students.
What does this imply?
European talents will most likely seek more promising opportunities abroad during their careers. Local European and U.S. employees will have to deal with people of diverse backgrounds from around the world ,as colleagues and bosses.
What is the turnover rate in India?
I just came back from India where talents’ turnover rate is steep. Companies struggle to keep their high potentials because each time they hop to another company, their salaries and ranks increase. Indian business leaders, like others, crave global experience.
Is being inter culturally savvy just nice to have?
Tomorrow we are likely to have a boss from China, Russia, Brazil or India, each with their specific cultural backgrounds and ways of doing business. Being inter culturally savvy will not just be a ‘nice to have’, it will be essential in order to navigate in the global market.
What if I never travel?
Even if you do not travel a day in your life, during your career, you are likely to have a boss or colleagues from a fast growing economy. In the next 10 years, mobility of talents and leaders will be on the rise from high growth countries to the rest of the world in order to groom their talents and extend their economic reach. Leaders and talents from floundering economies will be searching for new opportunities in fast growing economies.
The global manager will need intercultural sensitivity, that is
1) general knowledge of different cultures and how they affect behaviors, attitudes and assumptions,
2) mindfulness, that is the ability to observe cues and reactions in different cultural situations,
3) behavioral skills to be mindful of the appropriate behavior to have in different cultural contexts.
Higher mobility combined with changing demographics is drastically changing the workplace.
Are minorities becoming the majority?
According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, “The number of babies born to minorities outnumbers that of babies born to white Caucasians.” (Little, Brown and Company, 2000). Minorities are becoming the majority in the U.S. as indicated by the latest U.S. census figures from 2010. The lure of wealthier western European countries is drawing immigrants from the southern countries and from eastern Europe. The U.S. continues to draw immigrants from around the world. What does this imply?
Is diversity here to stay?
Diversity is here to stay. How will countries handle this? Will they take the melting pot approach like Brazil and the U.S. or will they segment races as was practiced in South Africa? Diversity demands both a mind shift and more tolerance.
“Being pro-active is knowing what is coming up and preparing accordingly.” – Katrina Burrus, PhD, MCC
A manager’s job is changing and knowing what some of the coming transformations are will place the manager in a better position to be proactive about making choices and developing skill sets. For executive coaches, knowing the clients’ changing context is key to supporting clients.
What is the shift of mindset that comes with Social Media?
An important mindset shift for older baby-boomers is social media. Many baby-boomers fear the perils of social media, but e-mails and internet access caused the same confusion a decade or two ago. If social media is a means for users to create online communities to share ideas, information and personal content, it also comes with a shift in mindset.
Social media brings a shift from pushing information like unsolicited commercials between TV shows onto potential clients, to sharing value- added content when the client logs onto their network. Social media communicators lure the potential client with useful content in the hope of attracting the client to seek services from the generous provider. In other words, if free information is so good, then surely information that costs something must be even better.
Is it too prevalent to ignore?
Billions of people use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For example, 72 hours a minute of YouTube videos are up-loaded. Today can we even imagine working without e-mail? Linkedin is used more and more to find candidates for recruitment. Twitter allows companies to provide instant, positive information or a means to respond instantly if the brand or service is attacked.
How must one handle complaints?
Complaints from customers can grow exponentially if ignored. Social media is an integral part of a manager’s means of communicating with clients and a lifeline to customers’ needs, moods and desires. Reacting with social media is quick and can nip the complaint in the bud with an appropriate response. Just recently the press was full of information about how government also uses Facebook, Linkedin and other social media venues to spy on politicians and their constituents.
Are you living in the future or the past?
What are you doing to prepare for diversity in the workplace? Are you developing your social media dexterity as managers?
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CEO of MKB Excellent Executive Coaching, Katrina Burrus, PhD, MCC
L.I. Alpert, “Majority of Babies Born in America Are Minorities, Census Shows, “NewYork Daily News.com, June 23, 2011.
Malcolm Gladwell, “The Tipping Point”
S.P. Robbins, M Coulter, “Management” Pearson