Adding to the traditional stakeholders (shareholders, employees, clients), company heads, now, have to take into account a fourth leg that is the social environment (sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, extending into social economy that links private and public objectives together). Whereas, prior, one could focus on cash generation only, linking the client base (revenues) with capital providers (dividends), the human side is again a major focus. If it has always come back every 90 years, as I demonstrated in a work on economic cycles (technology, financial, human), it seems that we are shifting gears, right now, on the basis of another major cycle: from agricultural to industrial to service to information, from Alvin Toffler’s Third Wave to his Revolutionary Wealth. If some people continue to struggle and survive, others strive to make more money, but the new wave, represented by each of us contributing to knowledge and sharing it openly (e.g. Wikipedia, Digg , etc.) How do you motivate people when the stick (to do) is not valid anymore, the juicy carrot (to have) neither, and their main driver becomes their self (to be)?
A connected consciousness beyond borders
If we look at the current world, it has evolved in many ways towards this overall connectivity:
1. The concept of “noosphere” has become paramount. One cannot ignore the networking ability that has emerged thanks to information technology over the past twenty years. Whether you believe it is just a fad or you have espoused the whole trend, everyone is bombarded with shared knowledge and social networking. In fact, if the power used to lie with hierarchy, it now is all about information; there are the “haves” and “have not”; you can “add a friend” or “de-friend” anyone from your extensive lists.
2. The concept of generations has gathered steam: baby boomers (I must be one of them…), Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Web (I must be lost…) Look at the quagmire and find out about the last generation; they dwell on multimedia and share altogether with their friends, no strings attached! The body has dwindled to the benefit of the mind and, even better, the soul. Try to give them a sense of structure and you get another form of structure: disheveled, all over the place but organized in their own way, yeah!
3. There used to be a time where a job meant constraints: you had to adhere to a contract, you had to be on time, and you had to devote your whole energy to the task at hand… Forget it: you are an “old fart, pardon my French!” Are we talking “job for life” or “job for fun”? If it used to be stability first, it is now “go for it and fuck the rest”… The only thing that counts is that I have what I want, but, if I am restless, I shall decide to quit, go “into the wild” and find my way overseas. What the heck! The world is not enough!
If we tried to be a bit controversial above, it is because we have a different bunch to look after; they are not interested in the same values as we did; shouldn’t we be happy about it? Yes, the up and comers are different and may be teaching us that the world, if it is not enough, is certainly quite different. No need to keep stuck in the gutter, you need to move forward and manage this new bunch differently…