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The Changing World of Work
by Cheryl Leitschuh, Ed.D. LP
March 2005

Ask yourself the following:

  • Do you find that your organization is constantly changing, that you are not sure where to focus your time and energy?
  • Do you find that you struggle to put your life in balance and that work is an overwhelming amount of time in your life?
  • Do you question, “Am I in the right job?”

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. The world of work is changing and becoming more demanding. You need to change with it. But how?

In my work as coach, trainer and consultant, I have observed the changes in the world of work and the impact on the individuals stress, satisfaction and productivity.

In the 1980s organizations focused on quality. It was about doing the best for clients and providing quality products and services. The 1990s moved to the era of speed. We are asking to do more, faster. Faster would be possible if organizations were not in constant change, and change will be a fact of life in the 21st century. We see very conservative industries like banking and phone companies merging and changing, often leaving professionals struggling to remember the name of their employer.

Research shows us that the secret for individuals to deal with constant speed and change is knowing who you are, your natural talents, what you desire and how to connect with the new changes.

The changes in the world of work were not just observed by my work; these changes have also been written about in the leadership and management publications.

Peter Drucker has been the organizational and leadership expert since the 1950s. His early works indicated that the success for organizations was in establishing an efficient organizational structure and then hiring individuals to meet the needs of the structure. This made life much simpler for professionals as they were clear on job expectations and how they operated in the organizational structure.

In Drucker’s current book Management Challenges for the 21st Century (HarperCollins, May 1999) he acknowledges that the old paradigm no longer works. Due to the realities of the marketplace, organizations need to be fluid in their structure to meet the economic needs of the organization. Instead, he indicates that success for future organizations is to have flexible professionals, ready to change as the needs of the organization and the economic climate changes. Drucker states, “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves – their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” The “old” paradigm no longer works.

A new paradigm is critical to the success of organizations in the 21st century. This paradigm requires that all workers are aware of their vision, the best role that they play in achieving productivity and success. And, that each organization understands the talents of their players and assigns them to the most effective role possible.

Organizations who have moved to this new paradigm are also seeing the economic results of making this shift. In Fortune magazines article “Happy Workers, High Returns” (Jan. 12, 1998, p. 81), the magazine looked at the 100 Best Companies to work for in America. They focused on the question “ Do happy workers improve corporate performance?” The Gallup organization surveyed 55,000 workers in an attempt to match employee attitudes with company results. The survey found that four attitudes, taken together, correlate strongly with higher company profits.

The four attitudes are:

  1. Workers feel they are given the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
  2. They believe their opinion counts
  3. They sense that their fellow workers are committed to quality.
  4. They have made a direct connection between their work and the company’s mission.

A New Paradigm – A New Dilemma

This new paradigm creates an interesting dilemma. Most individual professionals have not been taught how to create a vision for their career. Most professionals cannot clearly identify the best role they play in the work world using your talents and abilities. In my speaking and training, I will ask the group if they learned how to create a career vision or focus in high school. Few, if any, hands come up. College? Maybe a couple of more hands go up. The only response comes when I ask how many have taken the time to search the answers to these questions themselves. Most of us have never learned how to create a vision for ourselves, how to operate from a sense of our strengths and bring our strengths to our work world at every endeavor. It’s not difficult, but it does take time and an understanding of the factors necessary to create a clear and complete vision.


Dr. Cheryl Leitschuh, Ed.D. is a Leadership Development Consultant. Her focus is to create measurable results in career satisfaction, motivation and productivity for both the individual and the organization.

Practice services include:

  • Career Development assessment, retreats and coaching.
  • Practice Develoment coaching and assessment.
  • Key leader development and assessment.
  • Executive Coaching.
  • Team Coaching.
  • Performance Improvement Coaching and Assessment
  • Speaking and training on key aspects of workplace development.
  • Succession Planning.