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The Great Resignation & The Future Of Work: Danil Dintsis Of GBSB Global Business School On How Employers and Employees Are Reworking Work Together

… Creating high-performance teams and market disrupting products at cross of cultures. The most bright ideas and opportunities have been coming on the borders of different disciplines (knowledge areas) during last decades. My vision that the tendency of finding and developing something new in touch-points, but those touchpoints will be between different cultures. As a professor and startup mentor, I helped 2 projects, which can prove this hypothesis, during last 2 years. The first team was founded by young financial and IT managers from Great Britain and Golf countries. Their product united financial experience of City and specific features of Islamic banking. Another example is a startup application, which enables online exam monitoring without using webcam video. This product raised interest in very different groups, for example, female students in traditional Islamic countries, and young libertarians in North America and Australia. Both target groups consider privacy as the highest value.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Danil Dintsis, professor at GBSB Global Business School. His professional focus is in portfolio, product management, training and leadership. He also actively works with startups. Danil believes that in the current market employers need to flexible enough to adapt to new conditions and challenges. He predicts that the current trend “everybody can be a leader” will strengthen.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

First experience, I would like to remember, and share took place 25 years ago, when I was a young Ph. D. student. I worked on a very perspective topic — design of automated control system for metallurgy — and was highly motivated. Once, when the work moved to the final milestone I ran to my supervisor asking him to review results. He had a small rest that time, playing with other colleague. He looked at me and told, “See, Danil, there are a lot of things in the world, which are more important than your dissertation. Have a rest, and afterwards we come back to your work”.

It is important to find work-life balance, it helps to stay motivated and effective.

Second experience I want to share happened several years later, when I started my project manager’s career. Our CEO always taught us to look around 360 to search and combine opportunities. Starting with insurance software we found out that some business processes are similar to sports and gym industry, and developed a solution for that market sector. Since that episode I always try to think in a broad way and find more opportunities. It’s a kind of design thinking, which will be of high demand in the nearest future.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

It’s become too obvious, but our world becomes too VUCA now, and predictions for 5 years are difficult, rather 10–15 — years predictions seem to become a kind of divination. But let’s try. First, VUCA factors lead to fast and multiple changes in business opportunities, processes, market. Companies start a lot of new initiatives, projects to gain opportunities, oppose threats. It would be necessary to form temporary teams aimed at short tasks, organize their work, and dismiss after the work is finished. Workplaces become mobile, temporary, and virtual. A workplace in an office can be used by different employees, as we can already see in a number of corporations. Virtual workplaces number and quality increases greatly, presenting omnichannel collaboration tools, virtual reality. We can imagine VR/AR offices, for example.

As for workforce changes, I foresee that demand for individual entrepreneurship skills will raise dramatically. An employee can join different teams, sometimes simultaneously. Communication skills and abilities to adopt changing culture and organizational approaches and adapt to them also becomes crucial. And once more, some active people will adapt to a different culture couple times a day, when switching between teams they joined.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

As I described an episode in my experience above, it is very important to seek for opportunities and try to combine and integrate different facts, opportunities, personal experience and knowledge. And be flexible enough to adapt to new conditions and challenges. I can predict that the current trend “everybody can be a leader” will strengthen. Employers will seek for and reward employees, which can take leadership responsibilities, motivate their colleagues when it becomes necessary. As an example, in DevOps teams an analyst takes leadership in communicating with customers; a testing engineer can take leadership in communicating with users and organizing technical environment, etc.

To resume, demand for responsibility — both individual and team — will grow.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

Actually, I see 2 gaps. Traditional companies with hierarchic structure are still opposing team’s self-organizing; another gap is the opposite — employees are not ready to take responsibility, be proactive, and still just wait for “tasks”. I see the single strategy of reconciling both by active “learning by doing” for both parts — management and teams. Now we see a lot of courses and short professional trainings in this area. Taking a leadership course is a good, but only first step. Performing pilots on real business tasks is a large step into practical area. Both — successful pilots and failures — are the subject for internal learning, aggregating best practices and improvements. The idea of “mixing” employees between teams is not very popular now, but I believe it can help, because moving a team member to another team brings a fresh view for both parties and supports learning by doing.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

In my personal experience I was a project, and further a portfolio manager for “Study from anywhere” initiative 10 years before pandemic. So, the pandemic “shift to online” does not become an experiment for me personally. I believe I helped 2 organizations to move to online in a fast manner. I am deeply involved in this area, and monitor it, that is why I strongly believe, that after pandemic we come to a new balance. A lot of work will be done online from anywhere. The infrastructure is ready, and companies will seek new opportunities and the best employees

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

First, I do believe that there is no a “silver bullet”, a tool or a change that works for everyone. I would like to talk about improving abilities to work in multi-cultural and diverse teams. Working on all sides of online collaboration is important — technical, ethic, communication. All of us know well how face-to-face collaboration important is. In virtual teams we use text, speech and video. But using audio we can only hear our teammate, her or his emotions, but do not see. In a video mode we can see a face only. We need to establish new communication methods to understand each other in a better way. Also, there a lot of ethic factors, which should be taken into consideration — time zone differences; cultural differences — for example, demonstrating personal video can be considered as a breach in privacy; environment around meeting members — i.e. a room, or a beach, or an office; other people nearby a meeting participator and many others. We only approach to understanding of these aspects, and have no direct and simple answers.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

I see many challenges actually, but the speed with which most companies shifted to online, introduced online services, demonstrates readiness and ability of organizations and individuals at be adopted to new forms of work. More of all many people shifted from being a hired employee to self-employed or entrepreneurship.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

Well-noticed! We see a lot of something “great” every day. I am convinced that a true leader should seek for opportunities, align them to a company’s goals and current state and adapt the m to work or reject. Having a courage to reject something “great”, or — better to say — fashionable today is a great ability. I can refer to Agile culture. I t became very fashionable, and it really can provide great opportunities, but not for each project or activity. Meanwhile, as a consultant I often see with great regret, that some managers implement agile-based approaches only because “everybody does it”. And of course such approach can lead only to failure.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Multinational self-organized teams, working across national and cultural borders. Such teams organize themselves quickly aiming at a certain task and include members based only on their professional skills, including communication skills. Let’s think about Telegram messenger team, lead by Pavel Durov. They united under the great idea, lead by a well-know visionary, changed several locations, tested a lot of markets, and now this team of less than 50 members provides one of the world largest messengers and ecosystem.
  2. VR products and services which are delivered for virtual reality. Metaverse by META can be a fine example. One of teams at out project management course worked on a project for virtual clothing. We really see how is new profession born.
  3. Creating high-performance teams and market disrupting products at cross of cultures. The most bright ideas and opportunities have been coming on the borders of different disciplines (knowledge areas) during last decades. My vision that the tendency of finding and developing something new in touch-points, but those touchpoints will be between different cultures. As a professor and startup mentor, I helped 2 projects, which can prove this hypothesis, during last 2 years. The first team was founded by young financial and IT managers from Great Britain and Golf countries. Their product united financial experience of City and specific features of Islamic banking. Another example is a startup application, which enables online exam monitoring without using webcam video. This product raised interest in very different groups, for example, female students in traditional Islamic countries, and young libertarians in North America and Australia. Both target groups consider privacy as the highest value.
  4. - 5. we can talk about 2 tightly linked, but controversial trends. First, people desire more privacy in our world, in Internet, and, second, simultaneously we need to be visible to customers, employers, partners, other team members. I see wide implementation of blockchain based services to solve the problem. A unique signed CVs, resumes, portfolios and other information will be available for those partners, who are eligible and protected from others. This trend leads to demand of new skills of employees — in the area of using blockchain, NFT, etc.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

Let’s finish our inspiring talk with the example I gave at the beginning — “Look for an opportunity in each change and challenge”.

Thank you! We wish you continued success!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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