25 Years - The Changing World of Work


1st December 2015

25 Years - The changing world of work

It is compelling to look back at how the world of work has evolved for people since Contact Consulting was formed in 1990. We think the most significant developments are - 

Since our early days the globalisation of business and the rapid internationalisation of the organisations we work with has been a major change. It has suited us well as English has developed into not just the accepted business language but, more importantly, a standard pre-requisite for anyone working in a multinational or global company. Although we now have the capability to deliver programmes in French and German, we still get feedback from client groups saying that a big additional benefit of some of our workshops or courses has been the exposure to native English speakers!

The internationalisation of organisations has also presented us and others with two significant sources of learning, which I still hold firmly as basic requirements for a good management consultant; a rich experiential map and exposure to different ways of approaching issues. I have come to appreciate more and more and really feel enriched by the fact that very similar issues are very often handled very differently in different cultures. 

No company, no organisation, no culture, no style has ownership of excellence. They all have things they excel in and things they do less well.

Probably one of the biggest changes we have witnessed in the world of organisations, however, has been the loss of trust and confidence in hierarchy. Progressively and, without doubt, since the financial crisis of 2008 and with the explosive increase in the connectedness of individuals and the availability of real-time data and information, the so-called digital world, there has been a real move to create more open and more inclusive ways of working which promote collaboration and more engagement from employees. The top down, know all leader who expects others to execute and dutifully follow is, in today’s organisations, looking more and more anachronistic and isolated and, dare I say it, usually male! The talk is more and more of leaders with the ability to make meaning out of complexity and join up the dots, to inspire through example not through ego, managers who can easily adjust to change, coach and empower their people and structures that give flexibility, promote agility and give people space to perform.

The clarion call for more diversity and inclusion that is now resounding through the corridors of most companies is nothing more than the next step in the process of creating less formal, more representative organisations with the power to innovate more quickly and reach a constantly changing customer base. But at the same time, the need to do many of the basics when it comes to leading and managing people has not gone away.

The good news for us is that, from the USA to China, from France to Japan, the skills to get the best from people, to develop them and to enable them to remain engaged, committed, productive and excellent are as much in demand in our clients as they ever were. Our philosophy of anticipating and understanding our clients’ needs, working with them to create appropriate solutions and ensuring that we do the basics right still seems to work.

As you may know we are celebrating our 25th anniversary! Founder Graham Stickland looks back at the story of Contact Consulting.

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