NFON brochure - Flipbook - Side 13
Back in 1959, Peter Drucker was considered radical for
predicting that knowledge workers would become the
most valuable assets of modern organisations. Today
such a claim is unquestioned.
The fear of the unknown is a popular motive
to resist organisational change. But as we
move into the digital future, new generations
entering the workplace are simply
oblivious. Life and work are already digital
for them. This development was always
going to happen, according to foresighted
management thinkers like Don Tapscott and
Peter Drucker. Back in 1959, Peter Drucker
was considered radical for predicting that
knowledge workers would become the most
valuable asset of modern organisations.
Today such a claim is unquestioned!
It is imperative that the new world of
work becomes the ideal environment for
knowledge workers, reflecting both their
importance and their rapid emergence
as the major workforce group within all
developing countries. A hundred years
ago, manual workers outnumbered
knowledge workers by two to one, but
today’s ratio is more like one in nine.
This is a result of the transition from
manual to automated manufacturing and
knowledge-based production, driven by
In contrast to historic, manual working
practices, a typical day in the life of a
knowledge worker can be incredibly
varied and often unstructured, supporting
multiple simultaneous workflows to
maximise productivity in the pursuit
of clearly defined tasks and objectives.
Traditional organisational structures and
hierarchies disappear and get replaced by
virtual teams working toward joint goals.
This, in turn, presents new challenges for
executive leadership, who must become
far clearer about what they want their
teams to achieve. Today, most of the new
talent joining the workplace are digital
natives, meaning individuals who are
always connected and always on, and
these digital habits place different and
greater demands on organisations.
Richard Branson, serial entrepreneur
and the founder of Virgin Group, saw
this development coming back in 2013.
Branson is known for his relentless focus
on getting things done by creating the
right environment and motivating his staff
to be as productive as possible. Forcing
employees to follow prescribed working
practices contradicts his philosophy of
choice and of trusting your people to deliver
value. This approach will be increasingly
important as digital transformation
encourages organisations to revisit or
enhance their corporate cultures.