Colin Powell when asked about the “Essence of Leadership” stated that advice from his sergeant at infantry school was very powerful and had a great impact on him – “Lieutenant, you will know when you are a great leader when people follow you if only out of curiosity”.
Indeed, leaders seem to draw people to them as there is a sense of intrigue, anticipation and hope and being part of something larger than themselves.
Leaders inspire others to follow them as they have a strong sense of what lies ahead and imagine futures that are brighter, and something worth striving for as they are able to articulate a vision so clear and simple that people can feel the road-map ahead, even though the challenges may seem insurmountable.
Roselinde Torres in her research on “What it takes to be a great Leader” found that “Great leaders are not head down: they see around corners shaping their future not just reacting to it”. This characteristic of leaders is one that is nurtured over years of development and self-reflection, of looking at possible futures and using their intuition that is the accumulation of what they have read, seen, assimilated and reflected upon. They use their head, heart and gut to see around corners and have the courage to do something about their beliefs.
Collins in “Good to Great” found that great leaders have courage and humility and the steely determination to follow through on their intuition despite potential ramifications on their lives. They believe and follow through: action follows thought.
All this comes with a potent combination of Emotional Intelligence, empathy, trust, authenticity and energy.
Leaders have great intrigue, intuition and imagination and attract people to them.
The world is a better place because leaders dare to dream, and dream big, but importantly take action to ensure that they give hope to all.
In fifty years, “3D printed food” will be the norm, robots caring for and transacting on everyday needs will be common place, the first humans will have settled comfortably on Mars, agribusiness will be totally automated, alternative green energy will power all our needs, auto-propelled and driven transportation systems will abound,and generally all “work as we know it” will no longer exist.
The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in a 2015 report stated that 40% of Australia’s current workforce could be replaced by automation within the next 20 years.
In 50 years, this could mean the end of work as we know it.
Money may no longer be needed as trading of services between robots will create an environment of bartering of specialist robotic services between robots rather than monetary transactions for rendering services.
With work being done by robots, and thinking machines taking care of all other needs, will humans have a role to play or will we be a species in decline and without purpose?
What will be the role of humans in a world dominated by robots and thinking machines?
There are many alternate scenarios for the human race but 2 contrasting scenarios could be:
Scenario 1: Robots dominate the world and humans are moved into reservations with no sense of purpose.
Scenario 2: Humans have a higher order purpose and will have an even more meaningful existence negotiating and interacting with robots.
Scenario 1 is a scary proposition and one we need to strategise into order to avoid becoming a reality.
We need to think about how Scenario 2 will be the norm and humans will co-exist with robots and thinking machines but still contribute to and be part of a meaningful world.
Humans will need to capitalise on their intuition, lateral thinking, feelings and emotions and delve deep into their souls and spirituality in order to enable peaceful interaction with smart machines and robots. The latter will be able to think in multiple dimensions as well as converse between themselves and arguably bring about a new world order devoid of the need for human beings.
The robotic world will however need mediators, issue resolution expertise, conflict resolution skills, reflection and a sense of well-being; all qualities that humans have and can bring to a mechanistic world.
Thus while the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills is the current buzz, this will enable the creation of the ultimate thinking machines, and extend the meaningful purpose of humans for a limited time – probably till 2046.
Robots and thinking machines will think beyond humans and excel in the creation of mechanistic solutions for worldly problems – better than humans will in due course as the deeper levels of self programming will unleash higher order thinking machines.
Focus on the non-technical and arts skills as well as the esoteric creative skills, reflective innovation, well-being and happiness, mediating and conflict resolution skills and being in touch with the inner soul and spiritual sense of calm, will be key to humans still be able to contribute to the world in 2066.
Indeed life will be very different in 2066, but let us contemplate how humans will still be an integral part of that world and skill ourselves to be higher order beings with purposeful existence in the brave and challenging new world of the future.
Let the thinking begin.
“But you are not Bill Gates”. Those words were uttered by Arlene, my wife, three years ago in April 2013 when I told her that I wanted to give up a successful life in the corporate world and pursue my new-found burning passion to work on “creating brighter futures” for others by working on social and community causes. Arlene followed her first statement with “And you do realise that you are now 60 and social and community work is a low paying industry”.
And so true Arlene’s words were.
We did not have wealth nor enormous savings, had all the mundane expenses of a normal household, four kids, and needed a flow of funds in order to meet the daily expenses of life. Added to this, although I had undertaken management and leadership programs in the social and community arena, I was still an unknown in that area.
Yet the desire to launch into this unknown but needy space defied logic. I considered the definition of “having enough” was relative. After all, I had lived in Africa and India, and remembered that wealth is a state of the mind. Material wealth can open doors, but if I was to make an impact in this new endeavor, I would have to improvise and think differently.
My measure of success would not be the well trodden ROI, but a new one – EPL (Enriching People’s Lives). Not dipping into savings would be a bottom line indicator – my KPI. The Business model and activities for the company I created (Business Transformation Solutions) would have to be self-sustaining with a growth target in order for me to continue on the mission. I quickly thought of the need for an “Earning, Learning and Giving” model as volunteering (“Giving”) my expertise in management, leadership, risk and strategy in the social and community field was going to be a key plank of the new life. “Learning” had to be an integral part of the offering as currency of expertise is critical. “Earning” had to ensure that the business was self sustaining.
I also knew that lifestyle had to be a key ingredient of the new career.
The emergence of the 3+1+1=10 Prosperity Model ( http://www.climpacheco1.com ) was the way I would conduct my newly chosen vocation and career.
Fluidity in thinking and adapting to the challenges that have to be confronted has been a wonderful learning experience and this shows that small business is deep into the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity- US Army War College, 1990’s ) world. The entrepreneurial skills that are gained through operating at this level has been phenomenal.
Social media is such a boon to small business and has enabled spread of the purpose well beyond what was possible in past years. Networking (both e-networking and person to person) has been expanded through use of social media and technology and these are relatively low-cost investments for small business. Creativity and lateral thinking is facilitated through the new contacts made and the innumerable conversations over a cup of coffee, as there are so many people with brilliant ideas and also looking for new models of work and life.
Volunteering has amply nurtured the primary purpose of working in the social and community and been such a spark as well as lit new secondary purposes. This is a low-cost venture with phenomenal benefits. The gratitude from the organisations has been uplifting and the impact of giving ones skills to organisations doing extraordinary work globally means that your contribution to strategy, leadership and management is an enabler for the organisations to focus on their core purpose and excel in it. Learning through volunteering has been a two way interchange. In many ways, volunteering has enabled a one-person business to spread its contribution to the global environment through the organisation being served.
Earning will always be the key pain point for small business. Having a portfolio of offerings has ensured the revenue pipeline to be sustainable. Thus consulting, lecturing, and mentoring are key to gaining new business. The networks created through volunteering, social media connections and one-on-one meetings has enabled word of mouth marketing.
The 3+1+1=10 model fits so neatly into the Japanese “Ikigai” concept on the “reason for being” as it is the confluence of doing “What you Love, What the World Needs, What you are good at, and What you can be paid for”.
The 3+1+1=10 model is also an attempt in finding the “sweet spot in work and life” and in a microscopic way seeking a new work life paradigm in line with the “Gross National Happiness” concept that the former King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, proposed in 1972 and promulgated for the State of Bhutan.
Indeed, it is a case of “But you are not Bill Gates..” but minor steps to make the planet a better place can be made by anyone with minimal outlays.
Our purpose needs to be “enriching the lives of others because we cared and did something about it” – even if is a tiny drop in the ocean. That must be our legacy.
The origins of the 5 day working week trace back to the 1920’s when Henry Ford established the 5-day, 40 hour working week for his Model-T Ford workers (Mikael Cho, blog.crew.co).
Henry Ford instituted the change from a 6 day, 48 hour working week with the desired outcome to be one where, in his words,
“Leisure is an indispensable ingredient in a growing consumer market because working people need to have enough free time to find uses for consumer products”.
Almost hundred years on we are still tied down to the 5 day working week.
Is this appropriate for a world where population growth will far outstrip the number of job opportunities?
The current world population is 7.413 billion people (Worldometers, 4 April 2016) and growing by the second.
- Will there be enough full-time work for those ready for the job market?
- Will there be exploitation of those who are unable to find full-time work through the explosive increase in the marginalisation and casualisation of labour, with little hope of them ever re-engaging in the full-time workforce?
- Will there also be exploitation of those who are in full-time work with the result that the latter work far more than the 38 hour week with little breathing space to “smell the roses”?
“Japan is witnessing a record number of compensation claims related to death from overwork, or ‘karoshi’, a phenomenon associated with the long-suffering “salary man” that is increasingly afflicting young and female employees” (The Age, 4 April 2016, p.15).
Worker stress is on the rise and there does not seem to be a circuit breaker for the growing strains of working longer hours in order to hold on to jobs and meet the ever-increasing demands for increased productivity and the need to do “more with less”.
Technology has extended the working day to far beyond the traditional 9 to 5 as one is connected with work through smart phones and the like.
Leisure is often crammed into the 2 day weekend, with one of the two days being focused on home activities.
The Millenniums have got it right. Work needs to be balanced with having a good life, and doing this simultaneously.
Could there be a compelling reason to advocate for a three-day working week?
- With the increase in population, and the ever-widening gap between those with full-time work and those marginalised through casual work, there may be merit in reducing the working week to three days (or so) thus enabling work life balance for all and enabling at least two days or so full-time work for the marginalised.
- Society will be the better for enabling more people to engage in the workforce and having some guaranteed income for all on a weekly basis rather than creating an underclass of people.
- Governments have been grappling with unemployment and underemployment and one of the current employment definitions is “people …..who usually work one hour or more a week” (www.abs.gov.au). Thus although the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Australia in February 2016 is 5.8%, the above definition clearly indicates that the underemployment rate is far higher. Going for a three-day working week may increase the probability of those underemployed to gain at least two days work per week.
- Going for a three-day working week will enable companies to retain the very best staff as the new worker wants a balanced lifestyle– one where work with purpose is balanced with social and community causes, travel and the like. Millenniums and the generations to come will demand change.
- With innovations in technology such as robotics, smart machines and the like rapidly eliminating the need for labour, companies will need to think of ways to rightsizing their human resources and looking for ways to retain loyalty through innovative work life offerings. The 3 day working week could be an option.
- Baby Boomers may be quite content to reduce their working days in the twilight of their careers, thus enabling greater opportunities for Generation X and Y to take on higher positions currently held by the Boomers. A 3 day working week may enable this transition to occur. It also reduces the resentment often caused by generational biases towards older workers.
- Governments are increasingly finding it difficult to fund pensions for retirees and the pensionable age is creeping up. Hence, older workers find themselves needing to continue to work longer. The three-day week will enable older workers to still continue working and being less of a burden on government funds.
Human nature and the world of materialism and self-advancement however, imposes some barriers to this transition occurring. Working full-time is craved by most, and often society frowns on those who do not have full-time work.
There are no models to transition to, and hence a three-day a week model needs to be created that is viable, enables enough revenue to sustain the desired life style and also fulfils the need for a balanced life.
Change is needed and thinking about how to enable this transition from the current five-day working week will be inevitable.
Hence, in order to set the ball rolling, I have conceived of the 3+1+1=10 model and established Business Transformation Solutions on the 3 day working week model.
It is based on 3 days a week “Earning”, 1 day a week “Learning” and 1 day a week “Giving”.
It is a work in progress and is strengthened by my feeling that the days of the five-day working week are numbered.
Time will tell.
For further information on the 3+1+1=10 model refer to the website below:
The Federal Government’s 2015 Inter generational Report paints a sobering picture of Australia in 2054-55. Too far ahead for many to ponder but “life expectancy at birth in 2054-55 is projected to be 95.1 years for men and 96.6 years for women” (2015 Intergenerational report p.vii).
The report states that ” ‘active ageing’ presents great opportunities for older Australians to keep participating in the workforce and community for longer” (ibid p.viii).
Of concern too, is that the AMP NATSEM (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling) report that states that Australia’s youth unemployment is 27.2% and is 4.5 times higher than the rest of the population (ABC news website,Business reporter Michael Janda, 17 Nov 2014).
The ABS (Australian Bureau of Stastics) estimates the current seasonally adjusted unemployment rate Australia for February 2015 is 6.3% (ABS website, Labour Force, Australia, Feb 2015) .
The above statistics coupled with the displacement of workers through technological advances, robots “taking over menial as well as not so menial work” and the general slowing down of some global economies, calls for rethinking about what work will look like for the current Gen Y, Gen X and indeed Baby boomers in the years to come.
Jeremy Rifkin in his thought provoking book “The End of Work” published in 1995, stated that the “world is fast polarizing into two potentially irreconcilable forces; on one side, an information elite that controls and manages the high-tech global economy; and on the other, the growing numbers of permanently displaced workers, who have few prospects and little hope for meaningful employment in an increasingly automated world”.
That was predicted 20 years ago – and how true and worrying it is. The statistics prove the need for rethinking work and its new form.
Can entrepreneurship be the answer for some?
Should people be banking on the traditional forms of employment – working for someone else or for companies that are looking for ways to reduce the workforce – or take control of their destinies?
I believe the time has come for individuals from all generations to ponder the possibility of working for themselves and offering their unique services and skills either through consultancy services or contracting.
One should not be thinking of a “working for one company” strategy, but “working for multiple companies” strategy, and offering different skills to different companies or individuals.
This allows for longevity in work and one can continue working well into the twilight years without facing the judgmental voices of “when is this person going to retire or move on so that I can move into their role?”. Every generation will face this question.
It is a powerful and liberating feeling, with its share of challenges, but certainly worth considering. Business Transformation Solutions (BTS) was created 2 years ago based on the above entrepreneurial concept and hopes to create a model for others to consider. So far it has been an exciting journey.
If the future is a life expectancy of 95.1 years for men, and 96.6 for women, no government can ever be able to support any pension scheme and the current superannuation model is not sustainable with such life expectancies.
One needs to take control of life now.
Is it time to think about it?
Welcome to the journey.