Ade McCormack
Ade McCormack
Digital Readiness Institute

Ade McCormack is a former technologist who today advises leaders on transformational matters. Most recently, he has established the Centre for Leadership and Disruption Readiness to help organisations and societies adapt to an unknowable future.( .

He has written for both CIO magazine and the Financial Times as a columnist focusing on digital age leadership. His experience extends to around four decades and forty countries, across many sectors. 

Ade has written a number of books, including Biz 4.0: An anthropological blueprint for business in the digital age. He has also lectured at MIT Sloan School of Management on digital leadership and is an associate at the Møller Institute, University of Cambridge.

By Ade McCormack, Digital Strategist

This article is by Featured Blogger Ade McCormack from his Linkedin page.

Imagine a world where people didn’t enjoy what they did and looked forward to the end of the day, week and their working life. Imagine they were paid by the hour, and so naturally did as little as possible, given they were not paid for their productivity. Such behaviour might well be called laziness. Such behaviour would require a class of workers who whilst not factory owners, were sufficiently remunerated to turn on their co-workers and prod, goad or bully them into keeping up with the conveyor belt.

Perhaps your organisation is structured so. This is the essence of the industrial era model, but its time has come to an end.

Now imagine a world, where workers are passionate about what they do because it is genuinely cerebral to a point that they cannot be swapped out by an ‘algo’ or robot. Imagine the workers are so passionate that they are more motivated than their employer to do a great job, because, in fact, their next job depends on it. Imagine such workers are paid on an ‘eat what you kill’ basis. They ship, they get paid. No ifs or buts.

What do you think management’s role is in this new model, given there is no need to ‘strap’ the workers, if they are being hyper productive? The natural conclusion to draw is that in the digital economy, you are either a leader or talent. There is no place for managers.

This transition is well underway. If you are a manager, job number one is to decide whether you are going to become a leader, or dust down your ‘technical’ skills. Or you could try to spin out the rest of your career trying to seek out industrial era companies who somehow are avoiding disruption.

I wouldn’t recommend plan c. Like a polar bear hopping between rapidly shrinking and increasingly separated ice floes, this will become increasingly stressful and pathetic to observe.

Originally published on LinkedIn