What if our professional legacy is dismantle old ways of working?
If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is that our sense of ‘normal’ was somewhat warped. While many long to return to ‘normal’, some say we are heading for a ‘new normal’, and others argue we should prepare for a ‘post-normal’. Just as a relationship cannot return to what is once was when a partner betrays another’s trust, or how a person’s status (and arguably their life) is forever changed once they become a parent, so too can businesses not fall back into old habits, outdated ways, or dead ideas.
“We can’t blindly accept what’s presented to us as normal,” said a participant at this year’s Global Business Anthropology Summit. Although it is a difficult sell convincing a legacy team of the changes needed – not just in practice but in mindset too – herein lies the promise of a better tomorrow. It is in the ritualised negotiation of ways of working that change manifests and sustains an organisation moving forward.
Living in a DELA world
Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter first formulated the term ‘creative destruction’ in 1942; a time nearing the 3rd industrial revolution and at the height of the Second World War. He described it as: "the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one." While this is often associated with the development of capitalism, it could be useful in its application when thinking through our own ways of working today. Especially considering that we find ourselves at a similar pivotal moment; entering the 4th industrial revolution and situated in the middle of a global crisis.
We can apply the DELA framework to help us make sense of the story that is unfolding, and to shape our own narrative going forward.
Our world requires a deliberate dismantling of oppressive, exclusive, or passive practices, to allow for an emergence of improved, inclusive, and active processes. We need to commit to making shifts in our business spaces, realms of work, or spheres of influence; even if just incremental change, it matters. We need to break free from the constraints of normal.
This was originally published on Marklives