Trends and predictions: The values of teamwork will rule in workplaces of the not-too-distant future

We are all part of a great transition that is being defined by the convergence of technology and social values. As part of this transition, we are also stepping up to a higher set of values and these values are integral to our personal success and the success of our corporations.

The new values that are essential to success are really universal spiritual values that organizations are looking to foster and adopt in order to achieve the new levels of competitiveness. These values include trust, harmony, respect, humour, listening and creativity. These values are defining the culture of successful organizations, and are what spirituality in the workplace is all about.

The new willingness of corporations to collaborate and form alliances is actually fueling today’s technological convergence and this in turn is causing the pace of change to accelerate.

This new corporate co-operation is being mirrored in the workplace as well. The new pace is causing service and product life cycles to shorten and the windows of profitability to narrow. Speed is becoming essential to survival as products and services are continually being refined and advanced. The ability to react, to stay ahead of the competition or to leapfrog over it is vital.

What this means is that the old Industrial Age organization structures no longer deliver what is needed to compete. No longer is corporate size and strength the winning attribute. Adaptability and speed are the new requirements for success. And with these requirements comes a shift in the way companies need to be managed.

Creativity and innovation are the hallmarks of great organizations in the new economy where the full participation of all employees is required to innovate new ways of serving the customer, new ways of gaining efficiencies and of course, new improvements to the core products and services offered. The new organization is structured so that each department is defined in its role of service to the customer and support functions are defined in their service roles to those people and departments that are directly serving the customer. This is a paradigm shift that is changing the way every position is valued. And in the flattened structure, every position counts. There is no surplus of labour. In effect the CEO is moving closer to the customer in the organizational structure as the layers come out.

The new workplace — in order to become a creative workplace — needs to undergo a metamorphosis. The old departmentalized and internally competitive organization simply cannot deliver what is required to compete in the new moving-at-the-speed-of-thought business world. The way corporations interact needs to change just as the external relationships are changing with the formation of harmonious alliances and partnerships. What is required is a new set of values that bring about the ability to innovate and change very quickly. Internal harmony and teamwork are essential. Each position is taking on new levels of importance in the leaner organization and so each employee is becoming an expert in their own area. Respect is important regardless of “rank” and listening to one another is how this respect is given. At the executive level, the ultimate management team is one that innovates together, and operates like a form of brain trust.

So how does an organization begin to change, to respond to the new ways of doing business? Let’s take a look at the organization in 2020. Most major organizations will be mere skeletons of what they are today. By then, the new integrated systems will have made the ability to outsource whole divisions a seamless process to achieve greater economies of scale. We are well on the way today in many industries where companies like Nike do not own a single factory, and Mercedes and Jeeps are made in the same Austrian factory owned by Magna, a Canadian auto parts giant. And so the future corporation will look more like an assembled team that employs a cadre of contracted suppliers. When it’s finished, the core management disbands the project team and they move on to form the next team around another project.

Workforces are becoming self employed, and even though people may have employment, by 2020 most will be under contract or employed by contractors. Today we are migrating to this model where the harmony of the team is becoming essential to the creative synergies required.

A new view of leadership is also emerging — a view that sees leadership come from all levels. Everyone is empowered to make decisions, to better serve the customer. Empowerment comes with trust and respect and springs from freedom — another major theme of the new economy. And these new levels of freedom gained come with an equal measure of responsibility accepted. Leaders become leaders by example in the new corporation and those at the top are key to setting the tone in the way they dress and interact with others. They are good listeners, (there is a two-way street developing in this new team-working corporation), willing to share power. New leaders recognize that they need to serve those that report to them. They foster harmony and are team builders. In essence, they are spiritual leaders, living the values that are important to an organization.

Robert Switzer is the author of Business & Social TrendZ, Profiting With Spiritual Economics and can be reached via his Web site at

To read the full story, login below.

Not a subscriber?

Start your subscription today!