Whether or not you name it the “September Shuffle,” the “September Scramble,” the “September Scuffle,” the “Large Give up,” the “Nice Resignation,” the “Nice Reset,” or the “Large Reboot,” as Bob Dylan sang, “the instances, they’re a changin’.” No matter what YOU are calling it, the query is: How prepared are you for the chaos, confusion, and battle that’s about to ensue?”
For me, with summer season rapidly winding down and as I take into consideration the “September Shuffle,” that is the musical playlist that’s presently echoing by means of my head:
“9 to five” (Dolly Parton)
For many individuals, the pandemic made them notice that “working 9 to five is not any technique to make a residing.” As soon as they bought off the hamster wheel of “stand up, dress, get to work, and get house,” they realized that there was a greater technique to stay…and to work, and that there have been super advantages to changing a four-hour round-trip commute with a four-minute one. And having lunch along with your partner as an alternative of your coworkers, and having the ability to make it to your child’s soccer sport after work? Not too unhealthy! And should you occurred to have gotten your self a “pandemic pet” (as we did; Lucy simply turned one 12 months outdated final week), EVERY day is “Convey your canine to work day!” So who needs to return to the outdated grind?
Many leaders appear to assume they’ll merely flip the calendars again to 2019, and fake this entire factor by no means occurred. As one CEO stated in a Zoom breakout room (and I quote), “It is time for everybody to placed on their ‘Large Boy Pants’ and get their fats butts again to work. Playtime is over!” There are such a lot of issues unsuitable with this assertion that I do not even know the place to start out. However after I requested him HOW he was planning on luring his staff again to the workplace, he began speaking about placing in ping-pong tables and providing free Friday lunches. Sadly, nevertheless, (with apologies to Prince), I am not fairly positive that what individuals need proper now’s to “get together prefer it’s 1999”; they wish to be a part of a tradition that treats their individuals with dignity and respect, versus one which treats their staff like spoiled youngsters who could be seduced into returning by free beer.
“What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye)
With all of the unknowns on the market, particularly because the Covid variant continues to unfold, neither leaders nor staff have any thought what to anticipate. Prior to now, conversations about “the way forward for work” tended to concentrate on years down the street; however nowadays, “the way forward for work” is subsequent week. We live in a hyper-VUCA world, one that’s extra Unstable, Unsure, Advanced, and Ambiguous than ever. And in instances like this, leaders have to (as George Costanza from Seinfeld would possibly suggest) “do the alternative.” For, in instances of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, leaders have to challenge and supply – to the perfect of their skill – a way of calm, certainty, simplicity, and readability. And so many leaders on the market are failing to take action. Moreover, this music, one of many anthems of the Black Lives Matter motion, reminds us concentrate on range, inclusion, belonging, and fairness is extra vital than ever.
“Adjustments” (David Bowie)
The place to start out? Over the previous 18 months, for most individuals, just about EVERYTHING has modified, and there’s no going again to “The Means We Have been” (*throwing on this Barbra Streisand music reference as a bonus!). To me, the most important change is that throughout the pandemic individuals had extra flexibility and selection than ever earlier than by way of when, the place, and the way they did their work. Analysis has decided that by way of productiveness, staff working from house (“WFH”) bought extra achieved than ever earlier than, typically working longer hours than ever earlier than; they usually now need the liberty and the pliability to proceed to “WFA” (“Work From Wherever”). Nevertheless, for a lot of “command-and-control”-style managers who have been used to “MBWA” (“Managing By Strolling Round”), they need to have their individuals return to the workplace as quickly as potential as a result of it makes it simpler on them than coping with the complexities of a hybrid workforce…even when that is not what their individuals need. However the backside line is that the cat is out of the bag, the genie is out of the bottle, the toothpaste is out of the tube, and the practice has left the station. No matter metaphor you select to make use of, leaders and organizations who fail to acknowledge this new actuality achieve this at their very own peril.
“Freedom” (George Michael)
In a world of the “four Anys,” the place Anybody, can do Something, at Anytime, from Wherever, many staff have found that they like their newfound freedom, and have no real interest in giving it up. In his traditional ebook, Drive: The Shocking Reality About What Motivates Us, Dan Pink decided that what individuals need and want is AMP: Autonomy, Mastery, and Objective. All of us need the liberty and suppleness to do our work in a means that works greatest for us; we wish to be repeatedly studying, rising, and mastering our craft; and we wish to do work that issues. As such, many individuals really feel that, so long as they’re reaching the specified outcomes, then When (*the title of Dan Pink’s newest glorious ebook, by the best way), the place, and the way we do our jobs shouldn’t matter. The unique administration guide, F.W. Taylor wrote that “Individuals do greatest what they like greatest to do.” If he was round right this moment, he may need added, “…AND when and the place they like greatest to do it.”
“Ought to I Keep Or Ought to I Go?” (The Conflict)
However what occurs when the management of your organization doesn’t precisely see issues this fashion? What occurs if or when, regardless of your having confirmed that you are able to do your job simply as nicely from anyplace, your group begins calling (and, in some instances, ordering) staff again to the workplace? That is greater than only a matter of private choice or comfort; this is a matter of each bodily security and psychological security, as many individuals don’t but really feel snug taking mass transportation and/or working inside the confines of an enclosed workplace. So, when confronted with this dilemma, this is among the most difficult questions that individuals are going to wish to reply.
Take This Job and Shove It (I Ain’t Workin’ Right here No Extra)” (Johnny Paycheck)
All indications are that there’s a “struggle for expertise” occurring, and that staff are, in nice numbers, retiring, resigning, relocating, and/or reconsidering their choices. And with the “September Shuffle” about to begin, they’ve extra choices out there to them proper now than ever earlier than. In the end, by way of supply-and-demand, staff appear to have the higher hand. So, leaders have to ask themselves: What do I do if anyplace from 10 to 25 to 50% of my individuals (metaphorically) stroll out the door? As one longtime gross sales rep who’s been working remotely for the previous 18 months stated to me, “In the event that they assume I am going to return to flying all around the nation and residing out of a suitcase once more 200 nights a 12 months, they’re loopy! I’ve proven that I can do that job just about, so why would I wish to return out on the street once more and stay that insane life-style? And if they are saying, ‘You need to’, then I am going to simply say ‘See ya’.”
“Independence Day” (Bruce Springsteen)
Sure, it’s true that for many individuals, they can’t wait to get again to the workplace, and to be, as soon as once more, within the firm of their coworkers. Others might desire to return in a number of days every week, on an as-needed foundation. And others, in no way. Once more, there isn’t any resolution that can match everybody. Nevertheless, one of many key (of many) traits that emerged throughout the pandemic was individuals taking over “aspect hustles” and/or beginning their very own gigs. Working from house was very very like working for oneself, and many individuals caught the entrepreneurial bug, realizing that they’re absolutely able to hanging out their very own digital shingle from their house workplace – now not having to report back to anybody however themselves. Because of this, the gig economic system has taken off exponentially, as an increasing number of individuals notice that going off on their very own is a sensible choice that, pre-pandemic, they may by no means even have thought of, and they’re much happier working, “On My Personal” (*Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald music tossed in at no extra cost).
“Peace, Love, and Understanding” (Elvis Costello)
And, lastly, one of many common themes that each corporations and staff are speaking about nowadays is that of stress, anxiousness, and burnout. My colleagues Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick even wrote an entire ebook about it entitled, Anxiousness at Work. On this hyper-VUCA world talked about earlier than, and after enduring this 18-month international pandemic with no sign of ending, we have to notice and settle for that that is “the brand new regular” for now, and all of us want to determine a technique to take care of it…collectively. As such, now, greater than ever, leaders want to steer – not handle, however lead – with empathy and compassion, and search to see issues from the perspective of others – what I consult with as “Flipping the Eye” – realizing that everybody is experiencing right this moment’s realities and challenges otherwise.
So…these are among the songs which have been taking part in in MY head.
When the summer season involves an finish in simply a few weeks, what tune will YOU be singing…and what’s on YOUR “September Shuffle” playlist.