The evolution will not be dignified

Back in February 2012 I wrote a post about stuff that was over and done with in the workplace. I thought it may be worth updating with another batch of Darwin’s also-rans. While not suggesting that any should be bred in captivity for the sake of our children, as I know some people love these beasts, there is a positive message in the chaotic demise of them all:

The “seat at the table” – you’re not going to get it, and even if you did would you have any idea what to do with it? You’ll have absolutely nothing in common with all of the other people in the seats around the table because they have been there forever. It’s no longer an excuse for doing nothing. We have more potential than ever to make a huge difference without being at the table at all, thanks to social technologies and our increasing sophistication in their use. Who needs all those extra meetings and prep anyway?

Cafe working – well, after all the hype and hope, other than for a break between other more functional places, its crap isn’t it? Co-working centres have blossomed for good reason. Café working is lonely, sticky, and at some point you’re going to have to go for a pee. Forget that café working is anything other than transitory, and focus on creating – and working in – great workplaces.

The CV – if it has anything more on it than is on your LinkedIn profile, it’s too long, and if it has about the same, then there really was no point in re-typing what you already typed into LinkedIn. LinkedIn also bears a curious resemblance to a CV. How very strange. LinkedIn may not be your favourite “social” application – but for summarising your career and skills in real time, it works.

*cracy for running an organisation – replacing one systemic idea with another systemic idea is the revolution that was – well, systemised. The search for the next *cracy as an organisational model nearly received its own paragraph for being as unashamedly pointless, but that would have been according it too much credence. If a *cracy needs replacing (not the argument here), it’s with something with an entirely different DNA. Not with an interbred deviant offspring. Thinking in a different conceptual space altogether is required.

Human capital – the anthrax term that will one day have its own quarantined island, inhabited by a diminishing band of zealots, slowly consuming one another. Pop will eat itself. Conceived in a bio-warfare lab, it somehow managed to escape in the folds of a rejected consultancy proposal. It’s all about people. We are people. Simple, true.

The future of work – because if we don’t do something positive about the present then the future will be just like the present, the good bits (for there are many) and the not-so-good. But then daydreaming about the future is easier, and everything is right when you can’t judge the accuracy of your premonitions from the sanctuary of today. Go on, let’s have another conference about it, to avoid doing anything constructive. Alternatively let’s create a better future with small steps today. Its about people too – not technology. And we know enough about ourselves to start.

“New” ways of working and smartworking – they are just ways of working, a complex blend of the established, the analogue, the social, connected and technologically-enabled. Some parts new-ish, some parts borrowed from the Ancient Greeks or further back still. There probably never really was a “new” way of working – but if there was, it isn’t new anymore. It just is. And “smart” is so entirely subjective in this context as to be meaningless. It’s about what works for you – and if it works, keep doing more of it.

Alternatives to PowerPoint – you may have spent most of your working life loathing PowerPoint and joining in its vilification, but that’s the rub – it has been the ultimate survivor. We all use it because it works, and will go on doing so. Even pecha kucha and ignite and reliant on it. Its benign – it doesn’t encourage bad presenting, doesn’t prevent great storytelling, and takes no account of our shortcomings as presenters – but we still blame the tool when it’s the content and/or delivery that’s pants. We need to tell better stories better, be more engaging – and work with the tool, not against it.

Maybe we should bury some of this stuff in a tin beneath a big tree.

Or just let it slip quietly away. Much more dignified.

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