Tuesday, 29 June 2010

May You Live in Interesting Times...

So, allegedly, the ancient Chinese curse goes. Well, we are certainly living through some interesting times. Times that are likely to get even more fascinating over the next 5-10 years, as we slash & burn our way through the public sector and reduce people's discretionary income to a point where many things that a couple of generations of C1 and C2 households (Google the ACORN classification if you want to know more) have considered to be basic 'rights' - the Sky box/big TV, 2nd & even 3rd cars, second homes, bigger houses, cheaper mortgages, winter holidays etc - perhaps return to their former place as 'priveliges' for the more affluent B and A groups..... meanwhile the world is altering dramatically under our feet - significant population growth in some countries (China, Brazil, Mexico, India) while populations shrinks in others (most of the EU for example) - UK is growing, primarily through immigration, creating business opportunities for many sectors and many other positive impacts on our economy and chances of recovery (unless you're a Daily Mail reader, in which case there's a strong chance it signals the end of the world).
If you're between 40 and 60 - and on this site a lot of you probably are - then you've grown up in a world where English was the business language (well, American actually, but lets not quibble) and the world ran on a Judeo-Christian model. We communicated by letter & phone but preferred face-to-face and we disliked being sold to ('Can I help you?' - 'No thanks, I'm just looking' - sound familiar?). We used the computer at work. We went online to buy some stuff but felt slightly uncomfortable giving our bank-card details to a computer screen. We worked hard, aimed for promotion and sought to provide the best life we could for our families. All sounds perfectly normal doesn't it. Most of these assumptions make no sense to today's 15 year olds. And in 10 year's or so, they will be our primary workforce (well, not mine, because I'll have retired and be living on an island somewhere). 5 years after that, they will be in charge of everything. How do you think orgnaisations will operate then?
Have you seen the 'shift happens' movie(s)? if not, try this one below.... There are several versions from different perspectives now available on YouTube.
Which brings me to my real point. What are we doing as leaders to take account and advantage of this new reality? How will we need to change our behaviour? Our processes? Our attitudes? I'd be interested in your views.

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