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Future of professional work: Leading collectively through uncertainty

Through my keynote speeches and advisory consultations, I work with leaders to help them prepare for the future of professional work.

In the past few years, much that we once took for granted has been called into question, and much that was previously unimaginable is now an everyday fact of life. Clients turn to their professionals for answers, yet professionals too are struggling to answer some fundamental questions about the future of work. Leaders are feeling this most acutely.

Some leaders I speak to talk about “giving up” on their older partners, recognizing they are unwilling or unable to adapt to changes in their work and their organizations. Or they speak with exasperation about junior colleagues, whose values and expectations are so different from their own. The generational divide among professionals seems greater than ever before. Yet ultimately it is the younger generation which will determine the future of professional work.

I help professionals understand the challenges that lie ahead and how to work together collectively to prepare themselves and their organizations for an uncertain future.

The who, the what, and the why

To adapt to the complex and converging forces shaping the future of professional work, leaders need to understand three densely interconnected issues:

The future of workers

Professionals are questioning the role that work plays in their lives and demanding more from their organizations.

The future of working

The professional workplace is evolving rapidly thanks to hybrid working, digitalization, and automation.

The future of work itself

Professional work is evolving in response to macro forces and societal shifts outside professionals’ control.

Future of professional workers

Future of professional workers

Liminal experiences are disturbing and disruptive, but also represent potent opportunities for reflection, discovery, and even reinvention. The pandemic was an intense liminal experience, affecting professionals in profound diverse ways. Many professionals are reevaluating their relationship with work and their workplace.

Going forward, professional organizations need to retain some long-established cultural beliefs and practices, institutionalize others developed in response to the pandemic, and discard those which are no longer fit for purpose. Do you know which is which within your organization?

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Future of the professional workplace

Professionals have been working hybrid for many years, but in an individual, informal and unstructured manner. Now that professional firms have formally adopted hybrid working, they can make more thoughtful and conscious choices about what professionals do, where they do it, and how long they do it for. Key questions to address:

How will your colleagues acquire and apply expertise?
How will your colleagues accumulate and negotiate power?
How will your colleagues construct their sense of self and their organization?

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Future of the professional workplace
Future of professional work

Future of professional work

At the Professions’ Summit, I brought together senior leaders and significant scholars of the professions to debate the key issues confronting professional organizations. We explored technology and professional work; leadership and professional people; leadership and professional organizations; as well as ethics and professional culture.

Debating the central theme of the Summit, “Leading through uncertainty to clarity”, our discussions emphasised the importance of maintaining a critical perspective in a world filled with hype.

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Other specialist subjects

Laura offers advisory consultations and keynote speeches which draw upon her 30 years of academic research to help professional organizations navigate their most pressing challenges. Here is a selection of the subjects she covers.

Collective leadership

Distinctive dynamics among professionals.

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Power of partnership

Realizing the individual and collective potential within professional service firms.

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Leadership and culture

Reinvigorating professionals and their organizations.

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Growth and change

Navigating rapid growth and change in professional organizations.

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To discuss booking Laura for a keynote speech, facilitated leadership offsite,
or advisory consultation, please get in touch.