Are you happy in your organisational box? Or have you left it for a network, or a community, or even a tribe? Last Thursday, I had the pleasure to speak about the future of our organisational boxes at our  recent Partnership event ‘Digital Transformation: what’s next?’

A few years ago many people started to ‘think out of the box’ but now I say it’s time to jump out of our organizational boxes. After all, who likes to be put in a box, especially an organizational one?

However, still today, many companies draw their organisational boxes and put their employees into them. I believe that today’s restrictions of: permanent contracts, fixed salaries, a culture of one employer only, promotion based on or linked to seniority, corporate politics, the golden cages a lot of people are stuck in, etc… are keeping many employees in unnecessary boxes. But as the late Leonard Cohen once said ‘there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’. The light in this case, has the form of a circle, which I find to be a more natural shape.

Nowadays we see more and more signs that our culture of organisational boxes is at least challenged. Even in an hierarchical structure of organisational boxes, people create their own circle(s) of ‘friends’, circle(s) of ‘peers’, of people they talk to and people they don’t, of people they involve and people they ignore… “Circle of friends”, I have said, not a box of friends …

Our culture of boxes only exists on paper.

How will the future of our organisations look like? As from now and with an increasing speed, people will find their own circle of ‘friends’ and commit to projects or activities that are in line with their life purpose. They will not commit to one employer only, and they will choose for a purposeful job, working for the kind of people they will want to collaborate.

Therefore, I believe the future will look like this picture: did you see the small bird on the zebra’s back? For the bird, the zebra does not matter as much, as long as it can find insects to eat from the zebra’s skin, its purposeful job, the bird is happy and the zebra is happy because it is freed of the annoying insects – a win-win! However, the bird will consider the other birds it is co-working with. And when the work is done or a nearby giraffe seems more appealing, the bird can choose to jump onto its neck.

As a result of this employment evolution, “I believe that by 2030, we will organize ourselves in over lapping and connected circles, as a result, only 20 % of the working population in Europe will have a permanent contract with 1 employer.”

Do you agree?

Have you found your circle(s) of friends yet?

Take care,