Disruption Collision Course


Workplace Disruption is the buzzword right now. As with most new business phrases there are those amongst us [the ‘a bit long-in-the-tooth’ brigade] who can easily recall previous disruptions that have occurred over the years.

They were called by other names such as the brick mobile phone, computers, earthquake, oil crisis, carless days, and bird flu. They created disruption in some way impacting business with varied flow on effects depending on how close to the disruption we were.

I can still recall when, as a consultant, I was one of the first to get a mobile phone as part of a company initiative. And as big and cumbersome as it was [and needed my car to run it] the thrill of being able to call my office as soon as I had left a client’s office and get a head start on my competition in the search for talent was heady stuff. It was a massive technological advantage and certainly a disruptor in its day.

27 years on and mobile technology is still being described as a disruptor. Recently I was with an employer who, with palpable excitement, described their latest application of mobile technology and how it was going to be a business disruptor. Naturally being a lover of new technology, I immediately asked to be signed up for the first release because it sounds like a hot-ticket item.

There is no doubt these are interesting times. Fast prototyping, fail fast/fail cheap, the next best thing, apps, apps and more apps, online booking into someone’s apartments versus staying in a hotel, cabs that come on your command are paid using a mobile phone and printers creating 3D prosthetic noses. It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed at the pace of change some days.


And there is more to come. On a macro workplace level, a whopper disruption is coming our way. We are on a collision course with a disruption previously unexperienced.

Millions of baby boomers are about to exit the workforce and have their lace-ups filled by Gen Y and millennial employees. When asked the question; “Is there even enough of them?” Our answer, given already evident skills shortages, is a resounding; “no there is not.”

And as to possible solutions; in short, plans are needed right now. It’s time to:

  • Start planning to meet the peculiar demands of the new workforce generation.
  • Take advice on new modes of attracting talent. [Forget the old stuff. It isn’t working.]
  • Hire creative people to force your company to adapt and keep competitive.
  • Workforce plan!

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