In search of "Common Sense"

Dec 24, 2008

Globalization 3.0 and Work 2.0 (The New Contract)

Reading Thomas Freidman's World is Flat and Bill Jensen's work on Simplicity gives some interesting angles to what most of organisations in knowledge economy are not getting it right.

Friedman suggests the world is "flat" in the sense that globalization has leveled the competitive playing fields between industrial and emerging market countries. In his opinion, this flattening is a product of a convergence of personal computer with fiber-optic micro cable with the rise of work-flow software. He termed this period as Globalization 3.0, differentiating this period from the previous Globalization 1.0 (which countries and governments were the main protagonists in) and the Globalization 2.0 (which multinational companies led the way in driving global integration). “Globalization 3.0,” is where instead of countries and rulers, or multinational corporations being the forces driving globalization, it is empowered individuals that now “collaborate and compete globally.” They are able to do this thanks to the spread of new technology such as the personal computer. Globalization 3.0, argues Friedman, allows for a more level playing field so that individuals all across the world now have a chance to participate in important matters and to compete.

Jensen takes the concept of power of individuals inside the organisation. He mentions the shift happening in the nature of workforce and names the new generation as GenY. GenY is the first generation in human history that has been raised on the total democratization of information. This generation has not experienced lack of internet and any thing that comes in the way to free flow of connectivity with information, resources and other people - colleagues, friends, common interest groups etc.

The New Contract is a must read and follow for making the most of Globalization 3.0 within the confines of 'organisation' else attrition is something that will always remain a fact of life.

For the first time since we entered a knowledge and service economy, employees are proposing a work contract that any leader could love. The themes that run through this new contract:
Productivity. Innovation. Speed. Ease of execution. Making a difference. Satisfying customers. Learning. And lots more. Parts of this new covenant between employee and employer read like a leader’s fantasy come true. It’s all about completely new competitive opportunities, reduced costs, more profits, and more success for your organization.

But there is a catch:

Work 2.0 lays out four beacons for 21st-century leaders. These rules are hardwired into the nature of knowledge work. The key premise is that the people you most want to keep, care deeply about these rules. They are watching, but not waiting, to see what you will do.

1. Embrace the Asset Revolution
Employees are seeking daily/weekly/monthly returns on the assets they invest in your company — namely, their time, attention, ideas, passion, energy, and social networks. The new war for talent will be fought over who provides the best returns on these investments.

2. Build My Work My Way
Business must focus on personal, not just organizational, productivity. The future of work is customized, personalized, and tailored to each individual.

3. Deliver Peer-to-Peer Value
Your employees are setting new standards for collaboration without you. Leaders must do more than get out of the way of those exchanges; you must add increasingly greater value. That means bottom-up criteria will drive more and more of your collaboration budgets and strategies.

4. Develop Extreme Leaders
The future of leadership includes greater accountability for performance through greater willingness to be challenged on, and address, work-level details.

Now compare the realities of current organisation in terms of

- policies that bring up artificial barriers in the name of units, departments, processes, projects, geographies
- restriction on access to information, resources - approval processes that stop free flow of work
- complexity of soft infrastructure - multiple applications, multiple access controls, user interfaces designed with no clue of what individual user needs are.

My take is that organisations' top coping strategy to benefit from Globalization 3.0 would be to make all out effort to embrace Work 2.0 else be prepared to be in the queue with the dinosaurs.

Let me know what you think!

Have a nice day.

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