What do CEOs and turtlenecks have in common?
By John Grubbs
What do chief executive officers (CEOs) and turtlenecks have in common? The changing landscape in business is going to reveal some strange adaptations in the future of the American business enterprise. A more youthful workforce will most definitely have a significant impact on both the environment as well as the management that occupies the typical corporate boardroom.
A continued examination of the workplace over the next five to ten years produces some interesting potential for those of us aspiring to occupy leadership positions. As the workforce becomes younger and younger, the confidence older leaders have may become eroded by the position of minority we will certainly occupy. In recent months, most of the new employees entering the
companies we serve are mostly under thirty years old. Combine the workplace changes with societal adaptations on the horizon, and even the most confident leader will become more and more influenced by the pressure of change.
Managers of the future will become more and more technology focused to limit the ridicule of “not getting it” from the younger more adaptive worker. Companies that resist technology will become the point of humor and may even become immortal on the World Wide Web. Managers of the future will change the current preoccupation with tradition and appearance. The
workplace of the future will be more adaptive to styles as well as common acceptance to body art and piercings that may not have been acceptable in the past.
These future leaders will also become more sensitive to the demands of the worker away from work. A work or career-centered manager will not gain the same respect (as was common in the past) due to a perception of not living life first. The employees of the next workplace will accomplish necessary tasks as a means to achieve other non-work-related activities in the daily pursuit
of life. Any manager that expects a prolonged work-life blend that leans heavier toward work will be ridiculed by the workforce. Amazingly, the manager of the next American worker will become more and more oriented toward the needs of the individual. Talented single parents will not feel ashamed of the need to leave work early or arrive later as long as the output is being accomplished. This significant change will force managers to reexamine compensation and the
beginning of the end of our preoccupation with the forty-hour work week will be upon society.
Employers will begin to hire and compensate based on productivity and outcomes rather than time. And truthfully, time is the least effective method to determine effectiveness on the job. Most informed individuals realize that this tradition of paying for time is in no way a representation of merit on the job. As organizational leaders, we have simply gone along with the
past. We have all also seen and worked with those individuals that truly believe the amount of time you spend on the job is equitable with effectiveness. This tradition is eroding fast amidst the new workforce. While workplaces will certainly not change over night, more and more will create adaptive and innovative methods to reward the employee of the future.
So, to answer the question at hand: What do CEOs and turtlenecks have in common? In the workplace of the American future that will soon be dominated by youth, many managers will be under tremendous personal pressure to act, think and yes, look younger. Our neck area is one of the most revealing anatomical parts of the body when it comes
to the judgment of age in others. The tendency to get larger and more impacted by gravity is a “dead giveaway” for our age. A certain amount of self-consciousness is perfectly normal as humans. The prevalence of young, healthy people in the workplace of the future will make those of us getting a bit older more likely to choose clothing that may conceal our age. Some may even choose a bit of "nip and tuck" to resist Mother Nature and her impact. Others
may simply choose the turtleneck.
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