by Cyndee Miller
Pretty much every pundit out there has a theory about the future of work—and how things will actually get done. For a while, it was all about the gig economy. Now perhaps I’m horribly biased, but I’m way more intrigued by The Project Economy: execs structuring their organizations around a portfolio of projects designed to deliver the most value to their stakeholders. It’s happening—and you, my friends, are in a prime position.
Project managers are in the vanguard of The Project Economy, said Bob Safian, former editor of Fast Company, at the start of day two of Global Conference.
“Projectization is moving through the economy,” he said. “It’s happening—I hear it talked about in the halls of power in companies around the world.”
The future of work will be defined by tasks, not titles, Mr. Safian said. Technology is making existing structures within organizations feel archaic. And younger workers are looking at their careers as a sequence of tasks—a.k.a., projects—too.
People will work on a project, deliver value and then move on, said Tech Mahindra’s Vikram Nair during Sunday afternoon’s Fireside Chat with PMI president and CEO Sunil Prashara.
With that comes a new set of “it” skills. Forget soft skills—or at least stop calling them that. Stanford University’s Behnam Tabrizi is out to rebrand them as power skills—since they’re what will give people power in the future. It’s about communication, empathy and what he called understanding yourself, or “being clear about what your role is in the world” and “showing up in the most authentic way possible,” he said.
It’s also about embracing diversity: You need to have people on your team who don't look like you, said Frederic Astier of Accenture.
The Project Economy is going to require a different mindset—no matter your age or title on the org chart. “We must all possess a willingness and ability to adapt to the constant changes that are coming our way,” Mr. Safian said.
Chaos will rule. “The old rules of business don’t apply anymore,” Mr. Safian said. “We have to recognize that there are no new rules. There’s no real consensus about what’s going to succeed today.”
It’s a little scary, but also wildly exciting. So, are you ready?