Books we Trust: Jacob Morgan’s The Future of Work

Future of WorkJacob Morgan is the author of the newly released, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization (Wiley). He is also the principal and co-founder of the future of work consulting firm Chess Media Group and the FOW Community, an invite only membership community dedicated to the future of work and collaboration.

I first met Jacob a few years ago before he started working on his book The Collaborative Organization, previously reviewed on this blog. Jacob has a new book coming out called, The Future of Work which promises to get readers to think differently about how they work, lead, and build their organizations. Most of us get that the world of work is changing but many of us still don’t realize why it’s changing, how exactly it’s changing, and what we need to do about it.

The book is very well-researched (I read it in manuscript) and has some great corporate stories. Its release date is today, September 2.

Charlie Green: Jacob, your previous book was endorsed and supported mainly by CIOs, CMOs, and folks that one could say lean more towards the IT or technical side of things. That’s quite a stark contrast to this book, where you’ve lined up impressive testimonials from CEOs and respected business leaders. How did you get these guys involved and why did you up the ante?

Jacob Morgan: Getting CEOs was challenging. I started the process quite early on, but the CEOs that endorsed this book (from companies like KPMG, SAP, Intuit, Whirlpool, and others) are all strong believers in changing how work gets done. They all their own initiatives along these lines. My previous book was also more geared towards a specific audience; mainly those who were running collaboration efforts or were interested in collaboration. It wasn’t a broad book that someone might see at the book store and say, “Ah, I need to read that.”

The Future of Work is much more appealing to a broader audience, I wanted to write something that was relevant to employees and managers alike. We all have or need jobs which means that we all need to be thinking about the future of work!

CG: I’ve heard you say numerous times that “work as we know it is dead.” What exactly are you referring to? Clearly we still need to work.

JM: What I mean is that the common notions that employees are cogs, managers are slave-drivers, and that work is drudgery, are all dead. By the way, these are actual synonyms that you will find if you look up the words in a dictionary. We spend more time working than doing anything else in our lives so it’s about time that we start thinking differently about work.

CG: Well then, just what does the future of work actually look like?

JM: I get asked this question a lot. It obviously includes a LOT of different things. But broadly speaking on the employee side we will see things like flexible work, freelancing, decreased employee tenure, and a shift towards focusing more on projects and tasks vs career paths. For managers we will see greater use of collective intelligence, an acceptance of vulnerability in the workplace, and mindset change from “employees should serve managers” to “managers should serve employees.” Organizations will become more distributed, they will shift to the cloud, and will have to measure success by more than just profit.

CG: I’m sure some companies out there are thinking, “things are going fine for us, we’re making a ton of money, no need to do anything differently.” What would you say to do those companies?

JM: I don’t think those companies realize what they are talking about. What’s going on today is unique. It’s not just the fact that change is happening that’s important, it’s the fact that the rate of change is increasing. That means that being a late adopter is tantamount to being out of business.

There are five trends driving the changes we are seeing today: globalization, millennials, new behaviors, technology, and mobility. We’re also seeing a complete shift in who guides and dictates how work gets done. This used to be very top down but now employees are starting to drive the conversation. I always tell companies, “if your organization doesn’t think about and plan for the future of work, then your organization has no future.”

CG: Jacob thanks for sharing with us. The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

JM: My pleasure!


This Is How I Work (series)

This is my take on Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series. I was invited by Anthony Iannarino to follow up his post on the same subject. Hope you enjoy it.

Location: West Orange, New Jersey, US

Current computer: Macbook Air 13-inch (backup computer iMac)

Current mobile device(s): iPhone 5s, iPad mini

What Apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Like Anthony, Evernote has to be my number one app. I use Evernote for taking notes on calls; I forward critical emails and documents to it; I scan receipts and tax returns into it; I use it for medical records; I write blogposts in it; and I especially use it to store .pdfs of key documents I frequently mail out, because I can drag and drop them onto an email. Way easier than attaching files the old way.

Two things people don’t mention enough about Evernote: One is that you can add to Evernote by every input mode yet devised by man, including juice cans with string (well, maybe). Another is it’s a great text editor for plain text.

I am always on the lookout for a great ToDo manager. Anthony turned me on to Omnifocus  which is so far ahead of everything else out there that it’s not even close. Yet you don’t have to tap even a tenth of  its abilities to benefit greatly, and it’s not hard to use. It has the best user manual of any software ever, written by the amazing Kourosh Dini, called Creating Flow with Omnifocus. Still, it may be overkill for many people.

Related to the ToDo is the search for the perfect note-taker-on-the-fly. I’ve found it in Captio, a nifty little phone app. Click to open Captio; dictate whatever text you want; then click on “send.”  You can have the resulting text file automatically sent by default to your email, or to your ToDo list – mine goes to Omnifocus.  Bingo, the perfect app for “omigosh I’ve got to remember to…”

I use DropBox as well; it’s essentially my directory in the cloud, obviating the need for files kept on the hard drive. Among all the obvious uses, it serves as an auto-backup for photographs from the iPhone. Should you ever need it, DropBox has good backup recovery tools, or so I hear. I use 1Password as a password manager, to deal with the impossible task of having different passwords for everything.  This software just got massively better by offering a menu bar icon that logs you in with one click to any member site you visit.  Suddenly password security went from a pain to a delight.

On the social side, I use three twitter clients: Buffer is the main one, the original scheduling client, but also Echofon and HootSuite for particular issues.

And on the sales side, I am very excited about two tools that Ago Cluytens just showed me, Salesloft and Postwire. The first generates rifle-shot targeted leads. The second makes for great-looking and almost-instantly customizable sales and marketing collateral.  Stay tuned. 

What’s Your Workspace Like?

My office roams with me. I do a lot of calls from the car (usually parked). My MacBook Air has a new Thunderbolt display and sits on the end of an old dining room table. My iMac is at a traditional desk in the office. The iPad lives in the living room, where I use it to run Aereo on AppleTV (goodbye cable, haven’t missed you a bit – and I still get ABC and HBO on the Apple TV).  I like to move around. My best reading is done in the hot tub.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

I totally echo Anthony here. First, hire a virtual assistant: thanks Tracey DelCamp! Second, outsource the work for which you are not the primary value creator.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

The older I get the better I get at not being offended by things people say. But then again I’m starting from a low point.

What do you listen to while you work?

I use Internet radio, from Apple TV. For work music, I go for Ambient categories, meditation – massage therapy type music. For real listening, jazz.

What are you currently reading?

Give and Take, a Revolutionary Approach to Success, by Adam Grant

Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony C. Greenwald

Double Down: Game Change 2012, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, by Ed Schein

What’s your sleep routine like?

11PM to about 5:30AM when the dog gets insistent.

Fill in the blank:

I’d love to see ___________ answer these same questions? He’s got more perspective than I do: David A. Brock (who I am hoping will write his own response and name someone else).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s a tossup between, “Nobody cares all that much about your Big Issue anyway so just get over it,” and, “There is a god – and you’re not it.”