Work is broken. As Bill Jensen and Josh Klein point out in their book “Hacking Work”, companies are moving faster, but not really getting anywhere. In fact organizational performance has been deteriorating for decades, regardless of economic conditions. Companies have tried to avert this through short term fixes like layoffs and spending cuts however, in the long run the result is the same. Work is broken and needs to be hacked.
Employee engagement continues to decline, while leadership frustration continues to rise. We could blame the people (employees) or the economy but the truth is that as the complexity in the workplace has increased over the years the way we work has changed very little. People are frustrated with constantly shifting priorities, limited resources and an accelerated market place. The feeling of accomplishment and pride in work that feeds the ‘soul’ of the employee is marginalized because current (and by current we mean old) organizational structures haven’t evolved to accommodate shifts in the market, communication or technology, thus don’t allow for significant achievement. In short, it is the way we work that is failing to keep up, not the people.
Jensen and Klein suggest that the solution to the problem of how we change the work landscape is not a top down approach but rather will come from individuals at all levels of an organization challenging the status quo, daring to bypass sacred structures, using forbidden tools, and ignoring silly corporate edicts. In other words, they are hacking work to increase their own efficiency and job satisfaction. When enough of today’s workforce joins the hack, there will be a definitive movement towards functional work in the 21st century.
The Kingbridge Insight this week, like many others comes as a question:
Are you going to remain part of the problem, protecting the status quo? Or, are you going to join the tribe of individuals implementing the solution and teaching others how to hack work and make it better for everyone?