Week of 01/04/2016:
The future of work is as hot a topic for discussion as it was a decade ago—but how often do predictions hit their mark? In 2005, Bill Gates released a memo to Microsoft employees called “The New World of Work,” which outlined shifts he felt would emerge over the next ten years.
In “5 Predictions About the Future of Work Bill Gates Nailed in 2005 — and 2 We Wish He Had,” Tech Insider’s Chris Weller took a look at what Gates had predicted. From using software to be more productive, the importance of collaboration, and the mobile workplace, Weller found most of it was spot-on.
“Not all of the predictions came true — we don’t all use software that recognizes when we’re swamped and filters out distractions automatically — but he got a surprising amount right,” Weller wrote.
One of Gates’ predictions was that collaboration—”with richer tools to automate workflow and connect all the people, data and resources it takes to get things done”—would be a key part of how we work.
This has proven to be true, but it isn’t always easy.
In “A New Year’s Resolution: Let’s Learn The Difference Between Cooperation And Collaboration” on Forbes, writer Ron Ashkenas says well-intentioned cooperation often falls short because collaboration breaks down. “Meshing the skills and resources of different departments, each focused on their own distinct targets, to achieve a larger organizational goal, is much easier said than done,” he wrote.
“In fact, it takes much more than people being willing to get together, share information, and cooperate. In addition, it involves making tough decisions and trade-offs about what and what not to do in order to adjust workloads across areas with different priorities and bosses.”
What can you do to help collaborative efforts work? Ashkenas offers two strategies:
- Focus on the outcome, and create a plan that outlines “what’s needed, in what form, and by when” so you can effectively discuss work across different teams.
- Formalize what he calls a “collaboration contract” with key people early in the process, to “work through the plans, make adjustments, and find ways to share resources and align incentives.”
What changes in the workplace have caught your attention recently? Tell us about them in the comments below!