Smarter and faster

What will happen if the average lifespan of companies gets down to just a few years? As this photo by Jay Cross shows, there seems to be a trend for shorter-lived companies, staffed by longer-living employees.

lifespansWhat will happen to employee loyalty, pension plans, or other company benefits? I think many people know, because they are already living this reality. Add to this another statistic from the Standard & Poors (S&P) stock index – today, most economic value comes from intangible assets – over 80%. There is little “real stuff” being traded any more. Smarter Companies classes intangible assets as a combination of Relationship; Strategic; Structural; and Human capital.

S&P intangiblesSo not only are companies lasting for shorter periods of time, but most of what is created is not concrete. Intangible assets do not have to shipped and stored like real assets do. This increases the volatility of the marketplace, with larger and more frequent fluctuations over perceived value.

So what? Here’s what I think:

  1. Networks will likely replace companies for worker loyalty.
  2. The era of “jobs” is almost over.
  3. New skills will be needed to thrive in connected workplaces.

Hugh MacLeod sums it up best:

It’s all about thriving in markets that are smarter and faster than you are. It’s all about being utterly screwed if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The same goes for both workers and companies.

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