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Work 2.0: Rewriting the Contract

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Bill Jensen

Now that the economy has tanked, it's time for corporate execs to remind their employees of who's who and what's what, right? Wrong, warns Bill Jensen inWork 2.0, his rousing but practical blueprint for creating the productive workplace of the future. … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Bill Jensen
Publisher: Basic Books
1 review about Work 2.0: Rewriting the Contract

So Simple, So Essential, and So Inevitable

  • Mar 5, 2002
Those who have already read Jensen's previous book, Simplicity, will not be surprised to learn that in this volume he again focuses on essentials. "This is a toughlove book for tough times. The human toll of September 11 was just the beginning. Virtually every sector is now being hit with breathtaking drops in earnings. No wonder you'll find in these pages recurring themes like productivity, assets, and ROIs." Jensen's purpose is to "take the People vs. Profits to a completely new level. To change the lens you use and change the solutions you consider even as you fight for your very survival." In essence, what is Work 2.0? Jensen advocates four "Four Forces of Creative Destruction" which enable enlightened self-interest to focus on productivity by taking respect for the individual to completely new levels:

1. :Asset Revolution: "Workforce assets include their time, attention, ideas, skills, knowledge, passion, energy, social networks, and more. How will you create better ROIs on these assets?"

2. Build My Work My Way: "The future of work is personalized and tailored. Information flows, tools, and compensation structures will be personalized so that people can have more control over their own destiny."

3. Deliver Peer-to-Peer Value: "Nobody needs companies to help them collaborate, share, understand, or create. people can self-organize and connect amazingly well, thank you. You're the middleman. What value do you add when peers connect?"

4. Develop Extreme Leaders: "The future of leadership is extreme accountability for life's precious assets. From this point forward, R-E-S-P-E-C-T includes better use of the assets the workforce brings with them."

According to Jensen, there is a "New Coin of the Realm" for a new work contract. He identifies 20 Articles which range from "Our working capital gets stuff done" to "Work 2.0 value starts with me." In the Work 2.0 world, the most effective organizations will be meritocracies. Those involved will agree upon a combination of the 20 Articles (all, most or only some) which are most relevant to their individual as well as collective needs and interests. Those in the workforce will demand an ROI acceptable to them; the nature and extent of their personal success will determine the nature and extent of producing more sooner and at less cost; motivated by enlightened self-interest, their passion will drive innovation and productivity; their peer-to-peer connections (both within and beyond the organization) will deliver personal freedom, growth, and success; they will measure only what they value; in the world of Work 2.0, there will be greater trust and clarity as well as more effective communication between and among those involved; finally, each participant will assume responsibility for -- and be held accountable to -- much higher standards because, in the world of Work 2.0, the standards are determined by those in the workforce. The ROI of each will be diminished by another's failure to meet those standards.

Gary Hamel has written a book in which he urges his readers to "lead the revolution." At one point, he observes: "This is a book about innovation -- not in the usual sense of new products and new technologies, but in the sense of radical new business models. It begins by laying out the revolutionary imperative: we've reached the end of incrementalism, and only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy. It then provides a detailed blueprint of what you [italics] can do to get the revolution started in your own company. Finally, it describes in detail an agenda for making innovation as ubiquitous a capability as quality or customer service. Indeed, my central argument is that radical innovation the [italics] competitive advantage for the new millennium." His is an excellent book which I hold in very high regard. Those who share my admiration of Jensen's two books, Simplicity and Work 2.0, are urged to check out Hamel's book. Both Hamel and Jensen challenge what Jim O'Toole correctly characterizes as "the despotism of custom" and "the ideology of comfort." Anyone in any organization (regardless of size or nature) who has attempted to be a change leader is already familiar with both.

Jensen does indeed focus on essentials in Work 2.0. "The new war for talent will be fought over who provides the best returns on investments....The future of work is customized, personalized, and tailored to each individual....bottom-up criteria will drive more and more of your collaboration budgets and strategies....The future of leadership includes greater accountability for performance through greater willingness to be challenged on, and address, work-level details." Have he, Hamel, O'Toole and others come up with all the right answers? Of course not. But they have raised all the right questions and then responded to them with precision, passion, and eloquence. How will you respond? I conclude by presuming to suggest that if your response is essentially irrelevant in your current organization, find another in which the robust spirit and muscular practice of Work 2.0 principles are essential.

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