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#Reframingyourfuture by Jeremy Scrivens

Why I am joining the ACMP East Coast Chapter is to #reframe change to do more with more by putting people first

Something remarkable happened on LinkedIn recently. I read an article by McKinsey entitled It’s not about the Office, it’s about Belonging.

I nearly fell off my chair because this article was tapping into a different conversation people want now from their employees and their colleagues around meaning, belonging, purpose and change in work from the heart as people, not job description inmates.

This is not just about fitting to an organisational culture or to a company purpose or a top-down organisational change journey – it is about engaging every person’s personal why in their #lifework journey, including meaningful change.

I wrote a post commenting on McKinsey’s post calling for a reframing of the conversations around transformation and work which put belonging and purpose at the centre and the post went viral. It confirmed that the time is ready for a new conversation around leading change and designing work. We require a new 7S Framework.

Now, I love McKinsey’s contribution to the world of organisation strategy, design and change. McKinsey has made a huge difference for many years. Well done team McKinsey! As an Executive Organisational Development and Transformation Lead in big corporates in the eighties and nineties, I used McKinsey’s 7S Framework to facilitate forums around strategy and transformational change.

The 7S Framework was a mix of what we used to call hard and soft factors. So even then, way back in the nineties, these soft factors were seen as important. Interestingly, belonging wasn’t mentioned, nor was purpose. Strategy, yes, but not purpose and certainly not individual purpose.

In those days, our focus, as change leads, was on the organisational journey, not on an individual’s quest for a deeper sense of belonging and personal purpose. We never talked about these personal subjects in our strategy or change planning sessions, except if it was the CEO’s vision.  We certainly never talked about people as having their own unique purpose which required expression in their work and which would be served by organisational change.

We didn’t talk about the individual or putting people at the centre because it was outside our consciousness which was deeply rooted in a 1st stream view of work and life and change which is head first or extrinsic or inside out.  We never talked about belonging – in the Board Room or change projects – belonging – seriously? We didn’t know any different and it didn’t matter then, but it does now.

I have been writing about the #futureofwork since my first tweet in 2012. In this 140-word construction, sitting on a deckchair in a beach in Hawaii, being encouraged by my Gen Z son to become active on social media, I wrote – In the #futureofwork, people will be engaged in work from the heart first, from their purpose, then their head will follow.

In my second tweet, still on the beach, I wrote – In the #futureofwork ten years from now, people will be members of Communities of Belonging and Purpose, engaged in their #lifework contribution as #MeWe.

When I read McKinsey’s blog, I felt something shift in the universe and I heard the waves crashing on that beach in Hawaii – they were calling out for something timeless.

A few weeks before reading the article by McKinsey on belonging, I had read another blog by McKinsey commenting on the Great Resignation. McKinsey wrote:

“Two -thirds of US-based employees surveyed by McKinsey said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. And nearly half said that they are reconsidering the kind of work they do because of the pandemic.

Millennials were three times more likely than others to say that they were re-evaluating work.
Such findings have implications for your company’s talent-management strategy and its bottom line. People who live their purpose at work are more productive than people who don’t. They are also healthier, more resilient, and more likely to stay at the company.

Nonetheless, if you’re like most senior executives, you haven’t given the individual purpose of your employees much thought.
The topic is intensely personal, potentially inaccessible to employers, and seemingly as uncomfortable to discuss as it is to actively encourage.”

Thank you, so much McKinsey! What a great insight – prophetic actually.

You are right. Topics of belonging and individual purpose are completely alien to the way that managers have been taught to approach employee engagement and leading change. But, with the greatest respect, they are not inaccessible to employers, quite the opposite – that is if we equip our leaders and managers to host a different conversation with their people. We might call this #reframing. There is so much reframing to do but it’s not hard, if we reframe as outlined below:

To be honest, this is what I have been exploring for the past ten years now, both in my writing and my work with leaders and organisations to experiment and explore these new conversations to make them accessible, not inaccessible. But it requires a reframing of our beliefs, values and conversations about work, leadership and change and it starts with why and who, not what or how. It also starts with courage and it helps a lot if we have a purpose.

Have you heard of this German word Zeitgeist? Academics have long asserted that each era has a unique spirit, a nature or culture that sets it apart from all other epochs. In German, such a spirit is known as Zeitgeist, from the German words Zeit, meaning “time,” and Geist, meaning “spirit” or “ghost.”

Ten years ago, on that Hawaii beach with my first tweets I was challenging the existing spirit of the times. But this spirit was so entrenched in the two hundred years old 1st stream model of work and change which puts the organisation, the factory and the process at the centre, not people.

It has taken a pandemic to crack this wide open and for a new Zeitgeist to emerge – one that is seeing a revolution in the way we approach work, life, transformation and change and it can’t be stopped, only embraced. Canute could not hold back the waves, nor can we, nor should we. We might call this Zeitgeist 2nd stream and it is gathering pace as a wave gathers pace.

A 2nd stream future of work has been dramatically thrust upon us now by the pandemic which has changed the dynamics between employee and employer forever. The challenge for leaders today is how to deal with a significant shift in employee expectations about #work, #workplace #change and #transformation.

The questions being asked now by people are profoundly different and inside out. Questions like – what do I believe about the world and my place in it? Where can I find a company that will enable me to work to my single truth? How can I feel a deeper sense of connectivity as a human being in my work, such that it feels to be truly human? How will this transformation project that the company wants me to buy into help me create my lasting legacy to humanity?

How would you define true transformation change success in your organisation?

Let me offer a 2nd stream definition:

#Transformation is accomplishing more with more at scale, not more with less by putting #peoplefirst

To do this today, with the changing expectations people have of #work, then you’re going to put the change in the hands of your people. You are going to create ways in which they can own the change and the future because people are the reason for change.  People own the change because they are co-owners of the change and their purpose, their #lifework is engaged. They are not just change recipients but change makers and their leaders are the changehosts.

In 1st Stream, the ethos is on automation and efficiency at the expense of people. People are assets on balance sheets, human capital. The focus is on doing more with less. But 2nd Stream has an ethos where technology and change exist to serve and augment people in their work, not to make them redundant but to enable them to flourish and grow from their purpose.

2nd Stream sees people as the reason for the investment. It sees work as a noble thing, as something essential to what it means to be human and work to be good. 2nd stream is about putting People First. By putting people first, organisations are discovering they can release more passion, energy and creativity in their people to do more with more, not more with less.

We have a choice as to which stream, we take. The good news is that if we choose to put people first the tools and methods are available to assist leaders and change makers to engage their people to shift from the Great Resignation to the Great Awakening so both businesses and people can flourish.

There are Five Topics that Matter in Change to people right now. We had the 7s Framework engaging change from outside in, now we have the 6Topics Framework, engaging change from inside out.

People want more meaning and purpose in their work and to work with companies whose values align with theirs. People want to experience kindness and care and they want to be appreciated for their contribution. And finally, they want meaningful technology which will eliminate the mundane tasks, releasing people for more human connectivity, collaboration and contribution.

My name is Jeremy Scrivens. I am a Director of the Emotional Economy at Work – a global consulting practice around the future of work, business transformation, organisation design and talent in modern working. I have the privilege to be invited by Louise Cully and Peter Cully to host the conversations and collaborations in a new division of the ACMP East Coast Australia Chapter which we are calling #ReframingYourFuture.

Louise, Peter and their colleagues at ACMP East Coast understand the Zeitgeist times we are in right now. They are looking to host the conversations and the equipping of leaders and their teams to engage their people in meaningful change and transformation and to make the transition to #modernworking.

McKinsey is right on the money. Knowing how to do this may appear inaccessible to many leaders and managers right now. The quality movement, Lean and Six Sigma taught us how to reduce variation. Now managers are being asked to release the variation in the context of the unique diversity of each of their people. This is reframing at scale.

At ACMP East Coast Chapter, we are looking to close this gap, so every leader and their people can thrive and flourish in these times.

The future is with us now. If you are a change manager, a change maker, a CEO or C Suite or an academic or anyone interested in joining our conversation, you are most welcome.
We are calling you to take the 2nd stream with us! In fact, we welcome you to join our Community of Belonging and Purpose at ACMP East Coast.

Would you co-create the future with us, we need your contribution!

One last note.

I am being invited by leaders in Australia, the UK and globally to work with their teams to facilitate the conversations with their people to become partners in the work to co-create vibrant futures, including #modernworking, transformational change and New Tech take up at scale. I have been asked if these courses are now available to other leaders and organisations who are experiencing disruptive change and for more information about these reframing conversations and courses. The answer is yes. If you would like to know more, here is a link.

The Emotional Economy at Work