Leadercast Experts on the Next Thing: The Future is All About Space

One of our favorite projects over the last few years has been working with Leadercast to interview their speakers and build up their leadership resource catalog. Here’s some of what we learned at their 2018 event about the future of work culture.

Even though our primary work has been creating video content for organizations, that work often has us considering work culture. We’ve been able to help our clients both with the external stories they tell the world and the internal ones they tell themselves. We’ve been able to help them build story-driven culture along with story-driven content.

That’s what makes our relationship with Leadercast so important and meaningful for us. Their leadership conferences pull together experts in all manner of work. They ask and answer great questions about how our daily work can make lasting differences in the world. They give great consideration to the human experience behind the scenes of successful ventures in the world.

Through our work with them, we’ve been able to sit down with the leaders they invite to their conference and interview them about building lives worth following.  On their website, you can find a curated online catalog of wisdom, the kind of resources that prepare you for everything from the pressing need of having a difficult meeting to the long-term needs of building a career that lasts.  

This year, at their conference in Atlanta, as we interviewed people with experience in newsrooms (Gayle King!) to kitchens (Marcus Samuelsson!) to churches (Andy Stanley!), we decided to use the time to ask them what they’re paying special attention to. When they come to Leadercast, speakers are often presenting material they have spent years researching and presenting. They are experts in any number of fields. But we wondered what they’re looking for next. What are they noticing in their world? What do they think will be the next conversations we’ll all be having about how to do meaningful work together?

Several of the leaders talked about the move towards more mobility. They saw changes coming in the way we all physically work together. The much-discussed shift towards a “gig economy” and a freelancer friendly culture raises interesting questions about recruiting, retention, and collaboration.

In short, nearly all of their answers to what might be next are about space.

 

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Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, sees a future in which companies will have to be open to people working remotely in order to recruit talent. She said forward-thinking organizations will have to figure out how to maintain what makes them united and unique with people working in different physical spaces: For those of us who are Boomers, community meant your neighborhood. But today community really means like minds, like thinking, like pursuits, like values. As we get deeper into that definition, I think we’re going to have to figure out a way to drive culture.”

Fabian DeRosario, an expert in issues of diversity and inclusion, believes that forward-thinking companies will have to consider community beyond just cross-town or state line distance, but global office space. Work spaces will need to be culturally agile as well as physically agile.

We heard from several experts that the move towards agility of all types will require going through a process of simplification.

Juliet Funt, a consultant who works with companies to reduce and evaluate their work rhythms so they have more room for whitespace and creative problem-solving, believes that simplification needs to be the next conversation organizations have. In her work, she often consults with companies who have giant, complex systems for accomplishing the smallest of tasks, She sees this starting to shift but notes that there is a lot of room for improvement: “I do think that there is an evolved leader personality that is emerging in a lot of companies that is starting to come forth and do things differently and say, ‘Work has to be simpler. Work has to be lighter.’” 

The next shifts are as much about mental space as they are about physical space. Derreck Kayongo, and entrepreneur, and winner of CNN’s Hero Award, says he is paying attention to the rest and vacation allowed to people at every level of an organization. For too long, he says these things have only been offered to the workers at the top of the hierarchy and this is having lasting effects on the workforce: “The wellbeing space at work is my next frontier. How do we make work more enjoyable and how do we make it more equitable for all of us?”

Perhaps all of this is wrapped up in Patrick Lencioni’s answer to the question of what he’s paying attention to: Lencioni has a long-time career of researching and writing about workplace culture. He says people are looking for “dignity” in their work. They’re looking for places that treat them like real human beings, while also accomplishing their goals. He has seen organizations where a lot of work gets done but people are also lifted up through the process: “Dignity and performance go together, and that’s what changes people’s lives.”

To learn more about Leadercast events and how to tap into their resources, go here.