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What is in this episode and why you should care:

My conversation this week is with John Hagel, the Co-Chairman at the Center for the Edge at Deloitte, and we are talking about the future of work: what you need to know, how to prepare and what to look forward to.

Today’s guest is John Hagel the Co-Chairman at the Center for the Edge at Deloitte and author of 7 books including: The Power of Pull. John leads the Silicon Valley based research center for Deloitte. Their charter is to identify emerging business opportunities that should be on the CEO’s agenda, but are not, and to do the research to persuade them to put it on the agenda

Automation and the future of work are part of a bigger shift of how business is changing globally. The main issue is the rapid increase of technology. Hagel believes that ‘robots can restore our humanity’. He explains that the way we define work – highly standardized and integrated tasks – will be able to be accomplished by robots – which are much more efficient than we will ever be – leaving the creative work to humans.

Hagel says the availability of robots will become the catalyst for a shift in the work that humans will do. Instead of routine tasks that can be done with robots, humans will be focusing on being creative. This transition may be a painful one for some people – taking them out of their comfort zones – so we will need to look at how we can support people as they move to these new roles.

This change can be stressful, but we need to find a way to turn that anxiety into excitement. Hagel says, “People who learn fastest are those that are passionate”. They are constantly looking for the next challenge and are excited about it.

How do organizations or even individuals face this magnitude of change? Hagel suggests ‘starting on the edge’. In a large organization, such as a school, find a way you can demonstrate a new kind of work to use as a magnet to pull people in. Use time after hours to encourage creativity and provide opportunities rather than trying to change the traditional school setting.

Individuals should think about what makes them really excited. What hobby are you passionate about? Start to explore how you can make it more of what you do for a living. Start on the edge…don’t quit your day job, do this on the side.

Develop a questing disposition – what are your reactions to unexpected challenges? Most workers go into fear and avoidance mode. The passionate are excited by the challenges and actually go looking for them.

Another element is a connecting disposition. People with this attitude seek out others who are experienced in the field they are pursuing – so they can get answers faster. They work to connect with others.

What is the future of work? In the short term there will be 3 things:

Evolving in world as customers we have more power. We want creative services and products that are customized – not standardized mass market.
Recognition of different work segments – Millennials and Boomers who are looking for ways to do more creative work and learn more in the process
Technology coming in and replacing routine tasks – work meant for humans not done by machines.

What you will learn in this episode: 

How can robots restore our humanity?
Will there be a job apocalypse?
How your favorite hobby can be your next job!
How gamers and surfers’ perspectives can help you find your next job
Advice for parents and employees about the future of work

My new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley, March 2017) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Subscribe to the newsletter here.