What does that mean? It means 10 years ago we had far more constants in the daily functions of our work. Systems, or processes, were created for consistent results. The tools we used developed much slower, which meant we had more time to adjust to the processes we need to get work done. Think about it. How often was Microsoft Windows updated? There was five years between Windows 3.0 and Windows 95. Then three years later Windows 98 was released. Windows XP was released in 2001, four years later. And this is just software. I can remember having a desktop computer in Elementary school and still had one on my desk for my first job after college in 2000.
For our organizations, teams, or businesses to flourish in the next 10 years we have to adjust to having far less constants. "This is the way we do this." As leaders we can't take this stance trying to make any process, training method, or work flow a constant. Because the tools change too quickly and the learning styles of each new generation change as well.
Please realize the current high school kid is more familiar with Google Docs then they are with Microsoft Office. They are more familiar with Gmail than they are with Outlook. They get information from Twitter instead of the newspaper. They submit their homework through email and Blackboard instead of hand writing their homework. They are also a Mac based generation. Our local school district supplies every high school kid with a MacBook Air. Change will not be a phrase anymore, it will be the daily work flow.
As a non-profit director I used to view the world this way: Processes or work flow are a constant. People are the variables. But it's time to adapt because now I view the world this way: Core values are the constant. People and processes, or work flow, are variables. And I feel this way because tomorrow a new app can be released, which changes the way I daily work.
On a weekly basis I use tools like:
- Boomerang - A application added to Gmail allowing me to schedule emails and set time limits to resend emails if they aren't opened.
- PicMonkey - A free photo editing software online.
- Dropbox - Additional computer memory through cloud technology.
- MailChimp - A mass email system to communicate well to multiple audiences.
- Podcasts - I have probably learned more in two years from podcasts than I did in my Undergrad studies.
I didn't use any of these two years ago. Whereas I once had five years to be familiar with work flow between Microsoft updates.
If you want to flourish in the next ten years you can't afford to dig your heels in and pour concrete around them in regards to creating constant work flow systems. Nor will you be allowed to lead and bury your head in the sand to protect yourself from changing technology. It simply will not work. We are not dealing with generations expecting constants. We are dealing with a generation that expects apps on their phone to be updated monthly. These generations will either find a more efficient means around your attempt at creating constant work flow or jump ship to another team or organization who is adapting to change. Create an environment where people are rewarded for creating change according to core values instead of people being rewarded for creating safe and trackable work flow. This is how you can begin to succeed in the next 10 years.