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.
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
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
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
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:
- Workers feel they are given the opportunity to
do what they do best every day.
- They believe their opinion counts
- They sense that their fellow workers are committed
- 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
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
- Succession Planning.