How soon is now?

How soon is now?

BOOKS | Lynda Gratton advises us not to waste time trying to figure out what the future of work will look like. She believes that it is already here and happening right now.


According to Lynda Gratton’s latest book, “The Shift: The future of work is already here”, five forces will fundamentally shape how we work during the next 10 to 15 years: globalization, society, demography, technology and longevity, and energy resources.


She should know. Gratton is a professor of management practice at London Business School. In 2008, The Financial Times identified her as the business thinker most likely to make a real difference over the next decade and The Economist recognized her as 'leading the world's top 200 business minds to predict the future of work'.


Her main advice: the future of work starts now by making three big ‘shifts’ in your life:


• From “shallow generalist to serial master”: Being a ‘jack of all trades’ means jack (little or nothing) in a world of Wikipedia and instantly accessible information at our fingertips. The key is to become specialized masters with the ability to respond as conditions around us change.


• From “isolated competitor to innovative connector”: Building strong, deep relationships with people in different communities around you will be key to working successfully in the future. These include ‘your posse’ of people you’ve known for a long time who have the same expertise as you who can provide just-in-time advice, feedback and perspective), the ‘big ideas network’ of people who are completely different to you who inspire you and give you new ideas and ‘the regenerative community’ of people who help you relax and enjoy life.


• From “voracious consumer to impassioned producer”: Gratton writes that people have to pursue work that is innovative and inspiring makes them productive, fulfilled and proud.


In Gratton’s words, “the challenge is to lead a more purposeful working life, where we can create a stronger sense of who we are and what we care about, and the choices we face and their possible consequences”.


It’s an exciting possibility that the world could become a completely different and more interesting place if only we take her advice to heart.


Book page for “The Shift”

Online video of Lynda Gratton speaking about “The Shift”

Read more about Lynda Gratton