My friend Luis Suarez pointed me to an excellent article by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, A New Style of Work. I met Irving at an IBM event around 2005 before he retired and was impressed with his thinking. In this blog post he refers to the post retirement phase of his life that has launched this new way to work for him. In another blog post on the topic, Tom Foremski, a journalist blogger commented, “In some ways, I see your post-retirement life as being somewhat futuristic, in that it will be the way many people will be working in the future. It's what I call an "atomic" model - collaborating with others on specific tasks/projects and then dissolving those collaborations as you work with others on different projects. In some ways, this is the way Hollywood has been working for decades. And it's also one that I increasingly see in Silicon Valley.”
This rang very true as I am now seven years into the post-retirement phase of my own life. I find myself operating in the same way that Irving describes as I have written about on this blog a number of times. I wear multiple work hats and am connected to several organizations. I also find an increasing number of my former colleagues doing the same. Except for most of them they are not yet in a post retirement phase as they are much younger than me. Luis himself falls into this latter category and his post discussing Irving’s article provides some useful thoughts.
Luis defines Intrapreneurship as an era, “where thanks to the Social Web, whether internal or external, or both!, knowledge workers, for the first time ever, are now in charged of their own productivity, of their own workflows and personal business relationships with others, of their own responsibility not only towards the work that needs to be done, but also towards the fellow peers they collaborate and share their knowledge with.” The reminds me of Charles Handy’s comment in the early 90s that when the workers own the means of production, that is their own minds, things will change. His forecast has come true.
Luis expands Handy’s idea to add that one of the ways that things have changed is now workers are much more transparent about their work and having more fun at the same time. We are out from under the hierarchical cloud imposed by the industrial revolution. It is easier to do this as an enterprise of one that is connected to many organizations as I have experienced. Luis is a great role model for this new style of working as he works from within a very large enterprise but has established a strong personal brand to the benefit of both himself and his employer. He is a great example of the social revolution moving inside the enterprise.
Earlier this week I wrote on a study that finds most people not engaged in their work. Here is a good way to change that.