Dr. Geoff Gilmore, one of the leaders featured in our book Evolutionaries says, “There is a pervasive line of thought in management that people are supposed to leave their home life at home and their work life at work. No personal calls at work, and no work calls or talking about work at home. But this is not how we really work as human beings. We don’t just shut off our children and families and loved ones when we go to work, and we don’t stop thinking about work when we are at home—especially when we love what we do.” For Gilmore, employees are whole people—all of the time. His work culture invites creativity and innovation by allowing employees to truly live in a work/life balance.
Seems like this Evolutionary idea is catching on.
Two months ago, Nike took a big step in blurring the lines between work and home life. Nike is now allowing people to use devices like iPhones and iPad’s—and connect them to the corporate enterprise server. For years the big kahunas in IT have tried to keep a tight leash on all devices that can interact with corporate resources for security and control—as well as the websites that are deemed worthy of use in a professional environment. Sources from Info World suggest that the Nike experiment has not caused any major calamity, no crashes in productivity—or hardware. No one has gone crazy…In fact it is working out quite well.
But let’s go even further. Another trend in corporate America focuses on the systems people use at work to get things done. Says one CIO consultant, “Most of the interfaces that people have to use in their jobs are just plain awful…” People are wondering why corporate intranets don’t look and work more like Facebook. Why document management doesn’t feel more like iTunes. One executive I spoke with at a recent Board meeting said; “It is like we are telling our employees we have to have crappy interfaces so you remember this is work!”
But bad ideas and work design are slowly being reworked and reimagined.
The blending of personal and professional technologies has prompted a new movement called CITE, or the Consumerization of Information Technology across the Enterprise. This is a vision where the boundaries that define “work” and “life” fade away; where your smart phone can interoperate with your enterprise systems—and the enterprise systems can take full advantage of the power of your smart phone.
One company moving quickly into the CITE world is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Their CIO Bill Martin, is on the leading edge of CITE thinking as he works to service 39 floating mega-hotels with capacity for 85 thousand buffet-loving guests. Martin “gets it.” He recognizes that service, quality, sales, and efficiency have to be bundled together all the time; they are not distinct activities or departments. He has to build the enterprise to support the demands of real people working to achieve multiple goals in parallel with one another.
The lines are going to be forever blurred. And there is no doubt that is making many a CFO feel a bit nauseous. How do we calculate ROI when the discreet deliverables of R&D, brand management, marketing, sales, service, and customer loyalty all collapse into one another? What if we stop counting trees and think about the whole forest?
For Evolutionary leaders, we say, it’s about time! Evolutionaries see the new economy as being one where all the lines are blurred. The CITE movement is a metaphor for a larger trend that will reshape many of the core ideas about what it means to work and be a professional.
Expect to see
- Sharp increases in the number of people who telecommute for all or part of their jobs
- The pervasive use of social media tools within day-to-day business dynamics
- Significant, strategic cooperation between competitors in business eco-systems like health care, travel, financial services, and consumer product manufacturing
- The end of the forty hour work week concept (isn’t that already gone anyway?)
- More “pay for performance” schemes instead of hourly wages
- Many more people operating as self-employed specialists working for many companies at one time
- More intrusion on what has been “personal” information and lifestyle choices—your triglyceride level might get you fired…
- New social norms that allow people to really “go dark” on vacations or retreats
This trend toward combining the social spheres of the professional and the personal is neither a “good thing” nor a “bad thing” per se. But it clearly represents a huge wave of changes in most every aspect of social interaction. Our ability to not only be connected to each other—but connected to our work resources and limitless global data means that we need never be “offline” from work or family or friends.
Evolutionary leaders will see these changes as opportunities to make the world a better, cleaner, safer, healthier, friendlier, and more enjoyable place to live.