Every two years or so, usually because we’re working on a book or business proposal, Reshan and I try to clearly articulate the context in which we are working and creating. We ask ourselves: What trends are affecting the way people are thinking about technology, leadership, and learning? What factors are motivating people to seek to learn new skills or adopt new approaches or mindsets?
Here’s our latest “trend report.” Even if some of these items turn out to be wrong, they are useful in helping us to prioritize our efforts and say yes or no to projects. And even if you disagree with some or all of them, they may help you to scope out your own investments of time, talent, and treasure.
- The flexible work arrangement is likely here to stay – at least in the near term. Leaders will thrive or fail to the extent that they can leverage digital environments, motivate remote workers, and drive value seamlessly through hybrid organizational structures.
- Trends in the Commercial Real Estate sector indicate that companies are de-committing from building and retail space in favor or remote or hybrid arrangements. In fact, more than one in five companies plan a reduction in their office space. Again, all signs point to the need to become digitally fluent and (what we call) digital kind.
- The success of Zoom and Google Meet has met with simultaneous criticism about the way these platforms contribute to fatigue and mental health issues. We acknowledge this trend and have begun to respond to it.
- Top-down leadership is currently being questioned if not challenged in many industries. What Vice President of the Aspen Institute Judy Samuelson calls “the new era of employee voice and influence” will ask leaders to develop flat systems that serve and empower their employees. These systems will likely be digital and they will require a certain savviness around matters of design, tone, community engagement, and partnership.
- Most important to us personally is the tipping point in diversity, inclusivity, and the promotion of a style of leadership that actively works against racism, white supremacy, sexism, ableism, etc. Leaders must seek to know and serve others rather than being served by them. Such work entails seeing, understanding, and to the extent possible, eliminating the kinds of invisible work / affective labor / emotional labor that is often carried out by minorities or women.