How will we “do” business in 2020?

How will we “do” business in 2020?

Having survived writing my first book Empower Me, The magic is in Believing it’s Possible, a story about my journey, my apprenticeship in the real world and how I have had a number of career shifts over the past 25 years – which when looking at others is unusual – it got me thinking about how we will “do” business in the next 5-10 years.

What will change and why? We know that by the time my children 7 and 10 years old leave school 46% of the traditional roles as we know them today won’t exist. They are likely to experience a number of career shifts too.

I think before we can decide on what the not-so-distant future will look like, we need to look at where we have come from. It seems to me that there have been themes and trends on how experts have marketed to others. Here’s my take on what those trends were.

In the 1980’s it was all about personal empowerment through fitness and exercise. Everyone was focused in business on getting fit and using fitness as a tool for collaboration, or back then, it was known as team work. Outdoor activities galore and people like Jane Fonda and tights and leotards. Gene Simmons bouncing around in Lycra. Jazzercise was cool. I remember even teaching children this at school.

In the 1990’s it was all about money and financial freedom. Books on how to make money quickly. How to be financially free in 100 days. Hundreds of books on financial freedom. Books on ways to market for instant profit. Brad Sugars was a household name. All the empowerment was about taking back control and being free. Pyramid schemes and networking marketing models galore.

In the 2000’s it was all about work/life balance. There was recognition that we were fit, and able to make money but working ourselves to death. Something had to give. More divorces, children, generational differences and those wanting to be around for our children not like our parents.

Businesses were grappling with how to make people “do” and “be” balanced but sending emails throughout the night and expecting work to be completed asap. Tech organisations were the worst. Burning out employees by placing unmanageable expectations on them every day. Everything was “do it now” as new technology hit the product lists daily.

2010 brought about Change Management – businesses needed to have a paradigm shift. They recognised the need to radically change the business world by restructuring the business and environment. This was the start of open plan offices. The mantra, let’s bring everyone together in an open plan office to create a better culture. The reality was that the same people issues were present. Simply changing the environment was not enough.

2015 is all about Empowerment. It’s the “self” component. Those out there banging the drums hard are focused on making a difference at an individual level. Empower the individual, and you have a better chance of leading the team to increased performance.

There is definitely merit in this and we are seeing the results. However, is it enough?

When we are more empowered, we gain our voice and will use it in business more often to get our needs met. Dysfunctional behaviours once tolerated will be brought to the surface. People will make different choices and there is freedom now to do other things.

So what is 2020 going to bring?

I believe it’s going to be all about community collaboration. It’s about bringing whole family units together to support each other so the younger generation can afford to have a house and lifestyle that they want. Being younger parents, student debt and getting the stepping stone into careers that may or may not exist today. Older family members will be sharing wealth in an open and transparent way rather than the traditional method of waiting until parents pass.

It’s almost like the Great depression of 1930’s where there was no money and families had to pull together to survive. The difference today being that there is considerable generational wealth that can be used a whole lot more effectively.

In the business world, it will be about providing the same community collaboration in the workplace. A workplace or environment that promotes freedom, creativity, collaboration and results.

Unispace I believe are, without question, the leaders in this space. The opening of their new office in Auckland in December puts them as firm experts in my view. They have even created the new refreshed words that put everything into context. Words like “liberated teams” who are free to choose how they work within the space given and on any day.

They are creating physical work spaces like the retreat, the vault, the lab, the sanctuary, areas of privilege and invited areas which all promote a sense of collaboration. Paperless offices, technology that is friendly easy and simple to access. All the desks have self-charging devices. No more need for power cords and tripping over cables. Training is provided to all on making good coffee. I want it and want it now. It “feels” right.

This will be the next generation of business collaboration. The results are already in with pilot sites improving productivity, empowering cultures and shifting overall business performance. Individuals will feel supported both at home and in the workplace which will lead to more productive outcomes and better results.

So, with a two tiered approach of community collaboration at home and at the office, 2020 will provide some respite from today’s hectic schedules.

As for 2030, let’s see what 2020 delivers. I can’t wait.


Rebecca Morris

Rebecca set up Paradigm Shift in 2011 because in her corporate career she repeatedly observed leaders choosing to let chaos reign rather than work out strategies for effective change. Or put simply – poor leadership.

With a background in educational psychology, roles as CEO, sales executive, business coach, business owner and teacher, Rebecca uses her proven experience and insights along with her practical tool box to get results.

Rebecca observes human behaviour and associated patterns and enables leaders to become present to their patterns through her IP, Observational Intelligence (OI). Rebecca uses her 'cycle of interruption' approach to interrupt, innovate and lead from new paradigms creating collectively powerful leaders and culture-safe organisations.

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