Nomadic Career Management

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jul 08

Original NomadsToday, “businesses are primarily organized in 1950’s-era style.” But, increasingly, the world of work is not. So says Chris Brogan in a thought-provoking article on “Threading Some Trends Together.”

There is a paradigm shift coming to companies willing to look. Work is increasingly based upon knowledge delivery. And costs continue to rise for traditional office space. Chris notes we need to change the measure of success:

Shift measurements from “being there” to “what you’ve done.” Look for deliverables that are based on pieces of information, goals met, business moved forward.

It is a classic Results Only Work Environment. But will companies see the change with global competition and quarterly earnings interrupting everything proactive?

Companies embraced global connectivity in order to move work to the least cost workforce. And miss that the connectivity works just as well locally, eliminating the need for thousands of square feet of office space and costly infrastructure.

Companies embrace global connectivity and miss that their Cubicle Warriors are becoming “nomads” in the work environment. Chris quotes Steve Rubel:

Digital Nomads are growing in numbers and they will create ripples. This trend will accelerate use of Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace. Over time, this may slow the efficacy of email marketing and accelerate the reliance on social media engagement.

However, it goes deeper than that. If you don’t allow your employees to become nomadic, they may do so and even compete against you in the process.

Connectivity and bandwidth level the playing field. Company management has used connectivity to spread work across the globe. But company management misses the fact that the same bandwidth and connectivity allow Cubicle Warriors to work for anyone on the planet.

The traditional company management hierarchy is set up in a structure that existed before I was born – and fails today’s digital environment.

An employee today is alone delivering tasks, yet connected to thousands of others through the bandwidth offered by the Internet. This employee doesn’t work productively in a company driven by militaristic structures where showing up for work is rewarded and accomplishing goals is not.

The management that engages Cubicle Warriors — the skill sets of today’s digital nomad – will find their efforts rewarded through increased employee engagement and productivity.

Does your company’s management structure work well in today’s networked, bandwidth-is-everywhere environment?


  • Rosie Sherry says:

    Have you looked into the coworking movement? At the moment it is has attracted more web types than other people, but it is increasingly attracting all types of people who want flexiblitity in their lifestyle. It’s mostly for people who work for themselves (freelancers or small businesses), but there’s a small trickle of ’employees’ who use it as an option too.

    There’s a wiki, of course,

  • Scot Herrick says:

    @Rosie Sherry

  • You’re spot on with the point that companies went from in-office to overseas, and missed the step where they could’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars (hundreds of thousands in larger companies), while retaining domestic jobs, maintaining a slightly better proximity for meetings and other needs, and all the other benefits that would’ve come from keeping their employees closer than several continents away.

    Fascinating times. Your point isn’t missed about this not being the ideal time to try proactive things, and yet, with budgets on people’s minds, if I gave you a way to dump a building by dumping employees back into their dens, would that save a business money?

    • Scot Herrick says:

      @Chris Brogan… – It would save the money…but require changing the culture of the company, including a lot of the management style. That’s much harder than saving money by working at figuring out new ways of doing work.

      It is much easier for management, from a decision-making viewpoint, to lay off employees. It is also more acceptable to Wall Street. It’s just tough on all the people that work in the company!

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