22. Signposts along the Gig Mindset journey

From Inside Outsider


Chauvet cave paintings from over 30,000 years ago, photo Jane McConnell

I wrote about Creative Resignation in the last issue of Inside Outsider. “Leaving the old, building the new”: staying in your organization but finding ways to trigger change.

Today I want to share three themes that are covered in a series of 12 exercises in what I call the gig mindset journey. They are Adventure Signposts because they serve as guides along  the path towards a gig mindset work culture.

The three themes:

1 – Getting and keeping people.

2 – Energizing individuals throughout the organization, all levels, all functions.

3 – Extending beyond walls, silos and habits, and moving towards a freer, more purposeful way of working.

Let’s do a quick run through the themes. First, “Getting & Keeping People”.

I use the word “beyond” often because we need to move beyond much of what we do and how we do it today.

This includes going beyond hiring based on CVs, annual performance reviews and even job descriptions. A very positive step is to set up an internal talent marketplace giving people full control over it.

Moving on to the second….

Energizing has three signposts and they are strategic, pragmatic and essential!

Reverse leadership, long a theme in my research, and, sadly, sorely lacking today. Most organizations do not have what they call “open and participatory” leaders.

Freedom in a framework, which is based on establishing a small number of fundamental strategic principles, then opening encouraging decentralized decision-making.

Openness and learning are states of mind, manifested in the work culture, that underpin everything else. Without them, organizations go stale and die.

And for the third…

Extending beyond our blindly accepted limits, overcoming fears – in individuals and the organization itself – is the indispensable next move to survival, and, more important, thriving.

Reachability is part of Extending because in so many organizations there are people who cannot reach others, nor be reached, because of location or type of jobs. I wrote about that a couple years ago. It’s possibly easier today, thanks to the impact of lockdown and virtual work.

Scanning the horizon has always been a challenge. It is a key part of Extending, but people who follow what’s happening around their organization do not usually have easy ways to share with others.

Adaptive capacity plays a critical role in building proactive resilience. In my annual research studies over 10 years, I saw that most organizations are unable to be adaptive. I wrote about it here, where I showed that the British Standards Institution had very similar results to mine. Both adaptive capacity and scanning the horizon are key parts to building proactive resilience.

Improvisation, not to be confused with innovation, is deliberate, extemporaneous and occurs during action. It’s using what you have at hand in a new way to solve a problem. There is an urgent need, no time to plan, and you must react immediately.

This third step is the deepest and the hardest, and needs to be developed slowly and with other people around you.

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