The period from 2020 to 2022 has been a long, deep winter. The spring thaw reveals an Agile Future Of Work.

What was fluid and flourishing pre-pandemic is now frozen in stone. A captive in time, we wake to find that everything has changed. Old beliefs about time, autonomy, and contribution have smashed. We see the past for the strength of its illusion. The rules of work no longer apply. The employee handbook is ablaze. And this terrifies everybody.

From Uncertainty To Opportunity

For the first time in decades, we have to admit that we don’t know what the future holds. We can never know the outcome of our actions until we try them. We can see the way we once did things as a dangerous tinderbox. The status quo threatened the well-being of all people, everywhere.

The greatest opportunity arising from the past two years is the chance to change how we act. Provided we have learned. Assuming we have a true and honest desire to improve. Then we can see that we can’t continue the way things were.
The current push to return to familiar roles won’t work. A model where profit accrues to the highest levels first, and everyone else gets the pieces. A pyramid of permission and control. Once the veil has lifted, we can’t deny what we have all seen. We have proof that the machine functions without our 9-5 daily presence. There’s no excuse to allow the eight-hour day to become the sixteen-hour day. We will not surrender our most valuable resource to somebody else’s profitability. Not without limits. Not without question.

We have also learned that dependence on rigid processes will cause success to elude us. We are chasing an unchaseable goal. If there ever were a single perfect way to do things, we would all have done it already.

From Hypnosis To Clarity

People are beginning to see that fulfillment matters. Each of us can live with purpose. It’s OK to seek joyfulness and fulfillment. Our families, our passions, our gifts, and our grandest desires are NOT the scraps. They are the seeds – the nectar of existence.

And why has the thought only begun now? Because we were humming along in a comfortable rhythm. A dance so hypnotic, we couldn’t sense the danger. We believed that everything was quite OK.

It was easy to dismiss a different way of working. We trusted experts, studies and tests. We accepted that it would never work.
But in the last two years, we have actually seen the alternative. We’ve experienced it first hand. We explored it out of necessity, not out of curiosity. And there lies the difference – we only engaged in bold experiments because we had to. There was no second option.

Remote work, self-directed priorities, trust in teams, and value-driven work. All these imply letting go of control. Shattering the belief that the highest-ranking people drive the work and the decisions.

From Illusion of Choice To Actual Choice

It was an illusion. We can all lead. We can all build and develop trust. And we can do it from anywhere. We are so certain of a better way that many of us have left our jobs to prove it. We have chosen to care for ourselves first.

Choosing fulfillment over stability. Choosing a life of your own design, rather than one of somebody else’s. Deciding that surrendering your autonomy and happiness isn’t an option. Finding the courage to take big risks for the potential of reaping big rewards.

This is what emerging from the deep freeze feels like.

Welcome to the April issue of The Agile Horizon.