Work 2.0: Rewriting the Contract

Work 2.0: Rewriting the Contract

by Bill Jensen

More Than Ever Before, we're rediscovering that people do matter! The human-side of the equation still drives productivity, efficiency, and business results. And that's where some of your greatest pressure is coming from. It is no longer acceptable to say that there's work and there's life and it's up to employees to balance the two. In Work 2.0, Bill Jensen delivers…  See more details below


More Than Ever Before, we're rediscovering that people do matter! The human-side of the equation still drives productivity, efficiency, and business results. And that's where some of your greatest pressure is coming from. It is no longer acceptable to say that there's work and there's life and it's up to employees to balance the two. In Work 2.0, Bill Jensen delivers a powerful new covenant for today's tough-love economy. This direct, compelling guidebook takes leaders and managers step-by-step through a radically changed relationship with employees.

Make no mistake, a Work 2.0 world is not about entitlements or the superficial trappings of a "great place to work." We're in the midst of a fundamental shift in which frontline workers realize that their time, attention, knowledge, passion, energy, and social networks are real currency in a tight economy. They want better returns on these assets. This forces leaders to change how they think about tools, information, infrastructure, control, communication, and their accountabilities to employees.

Telling the stories of the new pioneers, Work 2.0 is a handbook for uncertain times, with practical tools and how-to steps you can put to use immediately. The New Contract. Employees are proposing a work contract any leader could love. It's all about better profits, productivity and speed, satisfying customers, and lots more. However, hardwired into all those results is a bare-knuckle fight over how you use people's time, attention and energy. Work 2.0 lays out a roadmap for twenty-first century leadership under the new contract. In a Work 2.0 world, the future of business success is tied to every individual's success. We win together, or not at all.

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Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
There is a coming war for talent -- no matter what the state of the economy or the job market may be -- and leaders who don't dedicate themselves to creating a people-oriented work environment, who don't understand the importance of intangible assets, may find themselves saddled with less productive employees, a less energetic corporate culture, and, ultimately, a less profitable business. Throughout this refreshing and engaging book, Bill Jensen outlines what he believes will be the next version of the social contract that has traditionally bound managers and their people together: The "new rules of engagement," in Jensen's view, will allow organizations to keep the most talented workers only if they acknowledge those workers as partners. As he writes, "The economics of work are changing -- not so much in who gets paid how much -- but in who counts as investors in your firm, and what they deserve in return."

These next-generation employees will offer their intellect and enthusiasm, but they'll ask you, the CEO or team leader, not to waste their time. They'll need individual attention, the right tools, the right team structure, and the respect of their supervisors. If any of this sounds commonsensical to you, then you're the kind of leader who would buy this book to learn how to put these principles into action. If you're skeptical -- or believe that tough economic climates make employees a dispensable line item -- then you need this book to help you keep your enterprise healthy.

Whichever type of leader you are, you'll enjoy the accessible and friendly prose style as well as the many examples of good leadership and creative ideas (for example, IBM's Extreme Blue internship program for talented computer science and MBA students) to be found in this book. We all instinctively know that our culture is changing, and Bill Jensen helps us better understand how these changes will manifest themselves in the employer/employee dynamic. (Holly McGuire)

Holly McGuire is a book editor and consultant based in Chicago, Illinois.

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Product Details

Basic Books
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Work 2.0: The new contract

Dear Leader:
A funny thing happened on the way to the revolution.

Your emphasis on productivity and cost-cutting forced us to change how we think about the war for our talent. For that, we thank you! Your ability to stay focused on the bottom line has inspired us.

We had gotten lazy about controlling our own destiny. We figured if we focused on customers and profits, continuously changed and grew, drank the corporate Kool-aid, and did great work - we'd be the masters of our own fate. Boy, are we glad you woke us from that fairy tale.

So we watched what you do. We studied how you constantly push for greater returns on investment to ensure your own future. Based on what we learned, we have rewritten our work contract. You are not effectively managing the assets we provide, and we're calling you on it.

Decent pay, appropriate benefits, great culture and leadership - all are givens in this contract. Important... but baseline issues. After that, it gets interesting, and personal.

This new covenant between us cuts to the heart of who owns, controls, and sets the rules for productivity. Specifically, how much value you create for us when you organize our work.

It's pretty simple, really. More and more, a big piece of the working capital you leverage to get stuff done is ours. You want us to spend our assets - our time, our attention, our ideas, knowledge, passion, energy, and social networks - on work that you think is important. That means, more and more, we've got to think like investors.

We are students of the marketplace, have learned quickly, and need to audit your efforts: Are you making productive use of our assets? Would an hour invested in a competitor's firm provide a better return? Are you creating better communities than we can find outside in the networked world?

Throw out much of what you thought you knew about creating a "great place to work." A new work contract is hitting your shores. We call this new covenant Work 2.0. Our relationship with you must return more value on our working capital.

Here are the Articles of our new work contract. If you want to attract or keep us, the next step is yours.

The New Coin of the Realm

Article 1.
Our working capital gets stuff done

You use our assets - time, attention, ideas, knowledge, passion, energy, and social networks - to make your company go. The new contract is all about how to leverage our working capital, and how not to.

Article 2.
Our work is an investment.

Our time and attention are finite, becoming more valuable and sought-after with each tick of the clock. We choose whether to invest our experience, knowledge, passion, and energy and how much to invest. And the social networks we use to get stuff done are the friends and teammates whose trust we have earned. Tell us again: Why should we invest all these assets in you?

Article 3.
We want better returns on our investment.

If an hour invested in your firm could be invested in a competitor for greater return, your best people will leave to make that investment. If you want us to stay with you, here is how we think about ROL

  • How easy it is to make a big impact
  • How much of our time is spent doing great and important work
  • How much and how fast we learn
  • How challenging, rewarding, and exciting our work remains
  • How much personal success and balance we achieve however we choose to define these things
  • How well, or poorly, you use the assets we provide
Article 4.
Hello, value - or goodbye.

The idea of getting greater returns on our working capital forces new criteria into the employment contract. You and the company are a middleman between us and our teammates, customers, and the marketplace. Our exit criteria are no longer just warm-and-fuzzy issues like feeling appreciated. Middlemen must add lots of value, or we dump them. Fast.

Article 5.
Productivity is personal.

We know the formula for productivity: Make more at less cost. Here's how it gets applied in our new contract: More personal success - that comes faster and deeper and is more meaningful - with a lot less wasted time and energy. We have very high expectations for how long it takes to see the impact of our work. For every day spent with your company, it must get easier to do great work, make ourselves better, and make the world a better place. Now, that's productivity and efficiency in a knowledge-based economy.

Article 6.
What must radically change is how we use the company to get stuff done.

Your firm is a tool we use to connect with customers and the marketplace. Start acting like an elegant tool. We believe that infrastructure - not just conversation - is part of our dynamic relationship with you. Technology, processes, information flows, and everything that connects us and organizes our work need to change. Change them to meet our needs, just as you currently adapt to meet customer and company needs.

Article 7.
We win, you win, they win.

The New Economy changed the nature of a lot of the work we do - from making things to making choices. More and more, corporate and customer success are tied to the decisions that each of us makes, and how we make them. So if you focus on creating value for us and on how we make decisions, everybody wins! This three-way win is the anchor of the new contract. We're no fools. We've designed this covenant to ensure that our workplace enhances our ability to satisfy corporate and customer needs. Pay attention to what we can teach you about that workplace, and we'll help you keep your job longer too!

Article 8.
Results follow passion.

If you want faster innovation and productivity from us, listen to what we're passionate about. Listen to what rocks our heart, what inspires and excites us. Ask and listen first, and then set your targets, goals, and plans. We'll exceed them every time.

Article 9.
The important fundamentals haven't changed.

None of this changes the basics: decent pay, appropriate benefits, being on a winning team with great people, great leaders, and great communication. These are the foundation you need to build upon.

Creating Value for Us

Article 10.
Work 2.0 value is My Work My Way.

More and more, the best places to work will be those that tailor work to who we are as unique individuals. We are business units of one. We all may win together, but the speed, effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of the team are built upon what each individual brings to the effort. The great places to work will set new standards in real-time responsiveness, interactivity, customization, and personalization.

Article 11.
Work 2.0 value is peer-to-peer connections that deliver personal freedom, growth, and success.

Every day, the networked marketplace makes it easier and cheaper for us to connect with great teammates and amazing people who care about the same things we do - who are handling the same challenges, at the same time. We're beyond comparing the culture of Company A and Company B. We scrutinize how you build teams and communities according to our personal standards. If your social networks and peer-to-peer connections are better than any we could experience without you, that's value.

Article 12.
Work 2.0 value is more useful, usable, and practical tools than we could build ourselves.

The marketplace is creating awesome informational and productivity tools. As consumers, we can get the information we need to make decisions, tailored to our needs, easily and cheaply. With our friends and families, we are building new ways to exchange ideas, information, and decisions that would blow your mind - and those experiences outside the workplace are changing what we expect from you. Value, to us, comes from tools that are better than what we could build or buy ourselves....

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Meet the Author

As CEO of The Jensen Group-a change and communication consulting firm-Bill Jensen has advised such Fortune 250 companies as Merck, Duracell, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and American Express. His previous book is Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage in a World of More, Better, Faster (Perseus Publishing, 2000). He holds degrees in Communication Design and Organizational Development from Rochester Institute of Technology, and lives in Morristown, New Jersey.

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