Embracing the Future of Work: A Conversation with Ira Wolfe
As the host of the podcast, I recently had the pleasure of engaging in a thought-provoking conversation with Ira Wolfe, a long-time friend and fellow enthusiast of technology and the future of work. Our discussion revolved around our shared experiences as early adopters of technology, the concept of VUCA, and the challenges and opportunities presented by the future of work.
Early Adopters: A Trip Down Memory Lane
At first, Ira and I took a nostalgic trip back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, reminiscing about the upgrades we made to our computers during that era. Overall these advancements significantly shaped our perspectives on the future of work. We were among the pioneers who embraced technology in the workplace, and this experience has given us unique insights into how technology continues to evolve and shape our work environments.
Navigating the VUCA World
Our conversation took a turn towards the concept of VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This concept has become particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discussed the rapid pace of change and the emergence of quantum computing, which we both find fascinating and terrifying. These advancements hold the potential for significant progress in areas like healthcare and poverty alleviation, but they also raise concerns about the misuse of technology.
The Challenges of Remote Work
Drawing from my experiences with executive coaching clients, I shared observations about the struggles many are facing in adapting to remote work and effectively communicating with their teams. The importance of finding the right strategies for remote communication, building rapport, maintaining morale, and fostering accountability in a diverse and geographically dispersed workforce cannot be overstated.
Adapting to the Changing Work Landscape
We discussed the challenges leaders face in adapting to the changing work landscape. Above all, we agreed that many are still grappling with the complexities of remote work and hybrid cultures. Ira, drawing from his previous work on creating a great work culture in a remote world, emphasized the need for leaders to adapt to where the world is going, echoing Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote about skating to where the puck is going.
The Uncertainty of the Future of Work
In detail, it is important to realize the uncertainty and ambiguity that comes with the future of work. With rapid advancements in technology and the shift towards remote and hybrid work, there is no definitive plan or one-size-fits-all solution. Just a few years ago, 98% of businesses were in-person, and now they are grappling with how to adapt to the new reality.
The Importance of a Growth Mindset
Ira stressed the importance of having a growth mindset, resilience, and mental flexibility in adapting to the changing work environment. He emphasized the need to unlearn old ways of doing things and embrace new skills and technologies. We agreed that businesses should recruit and train employees who are adaptable and willing to embrace change.
Creating a Supportive Work Culture
Ira highlighted the importance of creating a supportive culture in the workplace. It’s not enough to just provide perks and gimmicks like four-day work weeks; what truly matters is how well employees are engaged and treated with respect. A safe environment that encourages innovation and trying new things is crucial for growth and innovation.
Connecting with Ira
As we wrapped up our conversation, Ira shared how listeners can connect with him. He suggested Googling his name or visiting his website, irawolfe.com, where they can also find information about the adaptability toolkit that was mentioned in the episode.
In conclusion, our conversation underscored the need for individuals and organizations to be open-minded, resilient, and adaptable in order to thrive in the future of work. I look forward to continuing these discussions and exploring the future of work with more guests.
Ira S. Wolfe – Top Voice 2023 | Top 5 Global Thought Leader Future of Work and HR | Workplace Futurist / Recruitment Marketing Strategist / Employee Selection Expert / Author / TEDx Speaker / Virtual Keynote Speaker/ Podcaster
I’m both fascinated and terrified by the pace of exponential change and VUCA. Disruption, innovation, creativity, and disruptive transformation inspires me. I’m excited how the convergence of ideas, humans, and technology might improve the quality of life for all, advancing education, reducing poverty, protecting our planet and …the list goes on. But the accelerating pace of technology also terrifies me, specifically when it comes to the growing knowledge gap, shifts in power, and widespread naivete of the masses.
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