Sunday October 27, 2013 | 03:38 PM
Posted by Scott Woodard

The way we work isn't working.  

So say a number of thought leaders and influencers who gathered in New York City in mid-September in a unique conference to brainstorm about work and work culture.

In the past year, findings have been published that measure employee engagement - the extent of their positive or negative emotional attachment to their jobs, colleagues and organizations that influences their willingness to learn and perform at work.  The Gallup organization was one of the more well known reports.  It's "State of the American Workplace" shed some disturbing light on how Americans feel about their jobs.  Gallup's finding indicated that 70% of Americans are emotionally disconnected form their workplaces and cost the U.S. between $450 billion and $550 billion in lost productivity each year.

To address this lack of engagement, The Work Revolution Summit participants - leading entrepreneurs, startup investors, futurists, organizational designers and technology experts - convened in a two day session to begin the process of fundamentally re-designing the "operating software" of work.

The Summit yielded a number of insights about work and the culture of work...below are a baker's dozen of my favorities.

  1. We're no longer in an industrial economy; rather we're in a connection economy.  One's value is represented by their connections - both quantity and quality.
  2. We should challenge ourselves not the system.
  3. We already have the tools to organize for positive change.
  4. We should focus on humans over product.
  5. Organizations with the most passionate employees are specific about their culture.  Clarity = transparency + understanding.  
  6. It's not just about transparency and innovation, but also opportunities for growth.  
  7. It'sproblemmatic when  there's a disconnect between what empoyers say and what they do.
  8. Organizational culture change needs a framework that considers: Discovery, Vision, Readiness, Orientation, and Review and Revision.
  9. Demand on our time is increasing, but our capacity isn't.
  10. If people know how to do their jobs, why do they need a boss?  It's possible to manage ourselves.
  11. Personal accountability is critical.  Ask yourself, "why are you here?" and "what does excellence look like in your role?"
  12. The leader is the fulcrum between the past and the future. 
  13. Nothing happens independently.  Everything is tied to something before it.

These insights will form the framework for developing solutions to improve the culture of work and employee engagement.

What do you think?  Are these insights on target?  Would you add others?  I'd be interested in your comments.


About this Blog

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.

With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.

An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.


Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.

Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.

Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.

Previous entries

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.