According to “What Color Is Your Parachute?"—the enduring career manual by Richard Bolles—your job actually has seven distinct components. But automation is rapidly “unbundling” those too. Learn how to think differently about your job, and the jobs of your team members.
- Now as you may have guessed, even as entire industries are becoming unbundled, it turns out that jobs themselves are becoming unbundled as well. According to Dick Balls in What Color Is Your Parachute, the enduring career manual, jobs have seven important parts. In addition to the skills and knowledges required for a job, jobs also include the people environment, the workplace environment, geographical location, compensation, and the purpose the worker feels they're fulfilling. You may think of other characteristics, but no matter what components you prefer, the various characteristics of a work role have traditionally been bundled together into what we call a job.
Technology and globalization have turned these components on their sides, unbundling them and allowing them to be separated into different layers, and fundamentally changing the way work is performed as well. Take for example, geography. Many jobs used to require the work to be conducted in a specific location, like an office or a factory. But with the combination of automation and globalization, a variety of work can be performed in another place. From your home or a coffee shop, or outsourced half way around the world.
Now, I work out of my house for clients spread around the globe. I haven't had a real office in a dozen years, and I can't imagine going back to one. But automation and globalization have far more seismic implications for work than simple outsourcing. Together, they allow work to become completely unbundled, down to a very, very granular level. If you look at services like TaskRabbit, Uber, Mechanical Turk, each of them allow work to be conducted in narrow context, dramatically impacting the way we work. In fact, the words employee and employer are becoming less and less accurate, as we have fewer and fewer traditional jobs.
Worker and hirer are more accurate labels for the relationship between the person who does the work and the entity that has the problems to be solved. So how does an unbundled job operate in practice? What happens when, say, there's a customer who wants to go from point A to point B in a city? Now in the past, we called the hirer a cab company, and the worker, a cab driver. In 2012, there were maybe 230,000 cab drivers in the United States. What are the most frequent problems that a cab company has? Taking the customer's order, dispatching a vehicle, to pick up the passenger at point A, depositing the customer at point B, and charging the customer.
Now, in a traditional cab business, the tasks needed to solve these problems would've been performed using the skills of a dispatcher, who takes the customer's order, tells the driver to pick up the passenger, and the driver, who transports the customer and takes the customer's payment. Along comes Uber. The tasks needed to solve the problems are now performed by an app, which takes the customer's order, tells the driver to pick up the customer, and then takes the customer's payment. And a typically untrained driver with a car transports the customer.
The job of driver and dispatcher have become unbundled, and it's happening in industry after industry after industry. Now it doesn't mean all jobs are going to become unbundled tomorrow. Despite the rise of the internet and new media, we still have old media, like radio and record players. So jobs will be around for a long time, but just as unbundling is affecting entire industries, this unbundling is impacting a wide range of jobs today. And it's going to affect an increasing amount of the work that people do.
What does this mean for you as a manager? Well, it changes pretty much everything. It changes the way you hire. It changes the way you develop workers. And it changes the way you manage. In other videos, we'll take each of these in turn, but the key takeaway for you is that you and the workers you manage and the leaders in your organization will all have to think about work and jobs in entirely new ways. Here's something to try for yourself. On a piece of paper, write out the seven labels. Skills, knowledges, people environment, workplace environment, geographical location, compensation, and purpose.
Now, next to each of these, write a few examples for your job. What skills do you use? What kind of people do you work with? And so on. Now imagine that just one of these is changed dramatically in the next year. How would that affect your work? That kind of perspective will help as we talk about managing in a world of unbundled work.
- Dealing with disruptive change and the new rules of work
- Establishing a new contract with workers
- Rethinking job qualifications
- Hiring for diversity and inclusion
- Identifying key skills for adaptive workers
- Helping your team become lifelong learners
- Leveraging automation for your team
- Becoming an adaptive manager
- Making human resources a partner
- Recognizing when your adaptive strategy is working