Proof of Work > Proof of Paper : Two Very Different Workplace Cultures

March 01, 2020  

In the early dawn of a new decade, the second of the century, global workplaces were still heavily operating as if the internet era hadn’t yet arrived; how so? Let us count the ways:  

Conscious (or subconscious) expectations of their staff included…  

Day-to-day work is expected/must be done in person at a central location, usually an office building with mazes of cubicles and prefabricated offices.  

Hours are fixed and require exceptions to live through life’s ups and downs.  

The resume, cover letter, and performance review were all-knowing: THE proven means to ascertain staff’s existing performance, and to decide whom to hire, whom to promote/reward, and whom to fire/lay off in tough times.  

An example of a Remote Workplace.

September 01, 2021  

The world has been rocked to its core by a global disruption of size, shape, and depth not seen in at least a century…  

Nearly every nation-state on Earth has been impacted, and no matter the type of work one engages in, it has been changed in some (or many) meaningful way(s).  

Thus, global citizens have a golden opportunity in front of them: a calling to create or replicate agency and autonomy, and push purpose in work to the front of the line. Workplaces can, should, and frankly, MUST, be re-imagined, renewed, and re-launched for the (still) early 2020s and well beyond.    

November 01, 2021  

Two more months have now passed; the anecdotes, personal stories, and as a flood of articles, podcasts, and Q&As with the major media continue to reach new eyes, win new hearts, and exercise organic influence over workplaces around the globe, the calling is even stronger.  

What’s the soul of it? Culture.  

Culture leads the way, as Drucker taught us all; the positive differences that workplaces thought leaders can drive from the grassroots bottom-up into ever-expanding ‘C Suites’ are exciting, empowering, and each filled with a buzz of positive energy.  

We’ve already commenced describing workplace cultures from 18+ mos ago; one label we can append to nearly all of them? Proof of paper (credential/s)  

Where are we heading; the ‘North Star’ of late 2021 and into 2022-2029? Proof of Work. They are nearly polar opposites.  

Proof of paper cultures are passe, reducing organization staff, whether W-2 employee, contractor or temp, to the functional equivalent of an inhuman ‘resource’.  

In these tenuous environments, staff exist solely to fill a pre-defined role: often working a set amount of time in a physical location. They are judged on the front ( hiring/onboarding ), in the middle ( re-organizations, etc. ), and the end ( possible layoffs ) by inflexible reviews, and there’s rarely agency, autonomy, or purposeful incentive to do anything more than what the job description entails.  

Talk in the past 6+ mos has pointed to a ‘Great Resignation’: This would not surprise many who really understand the future of work as contrasted with the past/present. The signs are both conscious and subconscious: mental/emotional health stressors; top-down mandates; artificially designating ‘essential’ workers from everyone else; and a casual indifference to family and home life by “leadership.”  

So, how do we head to the ‘North Star’ as 2021 nears its end and 2022-2029 await?  

Simple: Culture MUST transform in all of its objective and subjective ways. We have a golden opportunity to harness the worst of all things, experience a global disruption that hasn’t yet subsided, and birth from its proof of work environments.    

In these workplaces, what would one find or expect to experience?  

People-centric policies. The company heroes are its customers and clients, and those people who deliver the product, the service, or the necessary knowledge transfer should be governed by higher ideals, and uplifted by lifelong learning opportunities which enable them to be better versions of themselves every single day.  

Ideals must be shaped by life-readiness skills, including servant leadership, teamwork, visioneering, tactical empathy, and long-time thinking.  

Day-to-day operations should be built on the foundation of encouragement, positive energy, enthusiasm, edification, and empowerment.  

Reviews should be delivered as close to real-time as possible, where roles aren’t rigid and artificially capped by a piece of paper, or a set number of years of experience. One should have an open pathway to earn recognition, respect, and build their work around their life rather than their life being constrained by 19th/20th-century ‘Taylorist’ hierarchical work.  

What do you say? Do you believe in a future where workplaces are humanized, and paper is relegated to its natural role behind people?  

Let’s discuss: civil discourse is a gift to and for us all.

  • Top articles, research, podcasts, webinars and more delivered to you monthly.

  • Thought Leader
    Leave a Comment
    Next Post

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    More in Future of Work
    AI & Machine Learning,Future of Work
    AI’s Role in the Future of Work

    Artificial intelligence is shaping the future of work around the world in virtually every field. The role AI will play in employment in the years ahead is dynamic and collaborative. Rather than eliminating jobs altogether, AI will augment the capabilities and resources of employees and businesses, allowing them to do more with less. In more

    5 MINUTES READ Continue Reading »
    Future of Work
    Resilience: The Competency Every Leader Should Cultivate

    Today’s leaders are leading in unprecedented times, with a pandemic, an economic downturn, social upheaval and technological disruption all acting as major sources of adversity. During the worst of the pandemic, organizations have been required to rethink and even transform aspects of their business models to continue to provide value to customers. Business model transformation

    3 MINUTES READ Continue Reading »
    The Future World Of Work Is Fascinating, Reveals New Research From KPMG
    Future of Work
    The Future World Of Work Is Fascinating, Reveals New Research From KPMG

    Bear in mind that workers everywhere have operated remotely for more than one year, ever since Covid-19 restrictions were established. And while this period has undoubtedly improved business efficiency, well-being is suffering; 94% of workers are stressed.

    3 MINUTES READ Continue Reading »