By Emma Cerrone and Adam Freeman
Co-founders and Partners, Freeformers
For too long, the conversation around the Future of Work has been one of fear, uncertainty and pessimism.
In our Mapping The Digital Future report, we have gone some way to overturn that perception with contributions from leaders and innovators, whose stories and insight reminds us progress is not achieved by cutting costs.
Instead it comes through positive leadership that sees opportunities where others see threats.
The Future of Work is yours for the taking — but only if you understand how to navigate the waters. Here are six tips we believe are a good starting point for mapping that journey, inspired by the Mindset + Skills + Behaviour = Impact framework we use at Freeformers.
1. Growth mindset critical
First comes growth mindset. Fundamentally, it is the desire to stay agile, carry on learning and seek ways to develop yourself and the business around you. Get the growth mindset right and you have a secure foundation for success in the Future of Work.
2. Culture comforts
See culture as a combination of how people work, think and feel. Businesses look to their leaders for direction, so they should create cultures that make people comfortable with change and welcoming of innovation. Once this culture is in place and behaviours adapt, you are free to build out the skill sets.
3. Skills aren’t always hard
Soft skills must come first: Communication, Teamwork and Empathy. Then come the hard digital skills. Given the extent to which technology will be integrated into the future world of work, every company needs specialist skills, but not everyone has to be an expert. Digital competence matched with exceptional soft skills will characterise the team of tomorrow.
4. Build an ecosystem
Think of your business as an ecosystem, not just a company. Apply that lens and question, ‘what can you do differently?’ Treat potential business partners — and even competitors — as friends, not adversaries. Build an environment where your internal team and external collaborators are encouraged to push boundaries together, not stay in silos.
5. Measure, gather, gauge
The ability to show teams how digital transformation is delivering against KPIs is a powerful tool. Ensure you have frameworks and technology in place that catch results, exploit data and create opportunities for growth. Measure your progress and learn from your failures. Gain an insight into how your organisation works and discover what empowers your people.
6. Diversity drives success
At Freeformers our team is made up of people from their early 20s to their late 50s. They exemplify diversity of thought, background and knowledge. They come from more than a dozen countries around the world, they bring skills from sectors such as technology, psychology, social impact and business. They have the autonomy and opportunity to adapt, learn and succeed. This diversity is the foundation for any company in the Future of Work. Only a diverse talent pipeline that truly represents society can sustain profit and purpose. It is why we work with charities and voluntary organisations to train young people aged 16–25 in digital skills for free to help develop that future workforce now.
Finally, we conclude by accepting there is no one size-fits-all approach when it comes to preparing for the Future of Work. We are confident every business can thrive in its own way. But that should begin with being optimistic, brave and questioning.
The opportunities are there, so what are you waiting for?
DOWNLOAD OUR MAPPING THE DIGITAL FUTURE REPORT HERE
To find out more, or just give us your perspective, email email@example.com
Multiple award-winner Emma has years of experience in digital transformation for 50+ brands. A regular speaker on the power of people in the digital revolution and how incumbents can adapt and remix to keep relevant, she previously was COO of a communications agency.
Adam is a senior executive and entrepreneur with experience across media platforms from television to live events in Europe, the US, Middle East and Africa. He has led companies such as Bloomberg Media and The Guardian and launched two startups of his own in the online retail and advertising sectors.