34: Bridging the Gap Between Hierarchies and The World of Networks

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What was it like coming of age in a more hierarchal top/down world of work? Who are the catalysts to help move organizations through the transformation from the world of the "Hierarchy" to the world of the "Network"? Seth Mattison, HR Studio Podcast’s first guest (see Episode 1), is back to discuss research he's been doing over the last four years for his most recent book, The War At Work. His insights will be of interest to all HR leaders who are grappling with transforming their organizations in readiness for the next generation of leaders. As founder and Chief Movement Officer of Luminate Labs,
Seth is an internationally renowned expert and author on the future of work and leadership. He advises many of the world’s leading brands and organizations on key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work. He has touched most industries and has worked with brands including IBM, Microsoft, GE and Chevron.
Listen (above) in or watch the video (below) to catch Kyle's latest interview with Seth.

Key Learnings From This Episode

Download the Show Notes

  • The War At Work is a leadership, future of work book told within the parameters of a parable. Seth and his co-author set out to tell a compelling story about the transformation and journey that leaders have been navigating over the past two to three decades. The main characters are in their mid to late 40’s, having started their careers in the early to mid-90’s. They are essentially Gen-Xers. They were selected as the main characters because they are viewed as the catalysts for helping everyone move through this transformational period of time. Gen-Xers seem to often get left out of the conversation, and they are ironically the next generation to likely step into the C-suite roles.
  • Research refocus - from looking at generations to looking at trends. The book was a four year research project. While Seth was working with clients, he was doing ‘reconnaissance’ and research - testing theories, ideas, and strategies with his clients ‘in the moment’ and getting real-time feedback. He would ask questions and share case studies, gauging 'audience’ reaction. Did it connect with people? Did people hear him tell a story of what it was like coming of age in a more hierarchal top/down world of work, and did they appear confused or think ‘yes, that was my life’?  Every time that happened, Seth would make a note – that was a story or concept that connected. The profiles of the characters are representative and symbolic of leaders who are getting ready to take over organizations and step into those next leadership roles.
  • Seth Mattison Quote on HR Studio PodcastThe world of the hierarchy and the world of the network. We are entering an era that we will look back on and call the age of the networks. We are living in a society of networks – networks of information, contacts, resources, knowledge attainment. The challenge for most leaders – anyone who has been working for about 15 years or more – is that we have been operating in a world where the structures and, more importantly, the deeply embedded culture of the hierarchy has been our reality. Having been ‘birthed’ into that world shapes how we see the world. Hierarchy exists in all aspects of our lives, not just in the workplace. The book represents the collision between the hierarchical world and this new emerging world of the network. How do leaders lead through this change? How do we let go of the ‘unwritten rules’ of navigating the hierarchy? This is relatable for Boomers and Millennials alike as well.
  • For leaders, there needs to be an awareness of:
    1. Coming of age in these structures is shaping how they see their business, how they see the marketplace, how they see talent
    2. The perspective of some of the new operating principles of this network; how the network is acting and responding
    3. How do I show up? You cannot change organizational structures and how your business operates without first making an internal shift.  HR leaders should be thinking about how you can ‘show up’ and support the leaders that you are helping and guiding – how do you help them make this transformation?
  • Bridging the gaps between hierarchies and networks comes down to four pillars – addressing:
    1. Mindset:
      1. the humble mind shift – moving from the unwritten rule to never question authority to understanding that even the leader does not have all the answers
      2. the abundant mind set – there is more than enough to go around, one’s success is not dependent on another’s losing, bring gratitude into the organization – what are you grateful for in the business? The Five Minute Journal is a great tool and resource.
    2. Culture
    3. Process
    4. Technology
  • Looking ahead, Seth is planning on taking the book and creating more tangible tools to help implement the ideas outlined in the book including video assets. They will also be rolling out a Luminate Community which will go live at JustLuminate.com. They will be targeting the next generation of leaders. The community will be a place to come and be inspired and will focus on content in a couple of key areas, shining a light on the way we work, lead, live, and love. Seth and approximately 50 thought leaders will be writing, contributing and publishing content.

Recommended Reading and References from this Episode

Seth Mattison HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Seth Mattison HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 8:00am
Kyle O'Connor
Seth Mattison
HR Studio Podcast