Newsletter: What Are the Unwritten Rules of Your Hierarchy?

Seth Mattison explains…

The Unwritten Rules of the Hierarchy

Every day we read another article or media post about this new-networked world we live in. Digitally charged and hyper connected, it grants access to information and influence, innovation and collaboration. They say the future of work is here and now.

However, what’s often overlooked is that the structures and the culture of the hierarchy still exist. And these two worlds are at battle with each other, though most of us are completely unaware of it.

A diagram of each is below.

Workplace Cultures

My friends, we are living in a half-changed world. 

The modern workplace, as progressive as it thinks it is, still holds tight to unwritten rules of the hierarchy; rules around communication and etiquette, policies and procedures.

For example, one of the most well-known and universally understood unwritten rules is: Don’t go above your boss’s head!

However, as the workforce of the future continues to flood the ranks of organizations, it’s becoming clear they do not see the world through the same lens. In fact, they’re unaware of most of the unwritten rules that are so innately understood by more experienced generations.  They are, in truth, living in the network.

These two worlds are playing out in every single organization today.

Unfortunately, neither side really understands the other and the rules they’re playing by, which creates massive tension. I think it’s time to have some honest conversations about what this transformation means for our cultures.

It’s time to shine a light on our unwritten rules and decide which we want to keep and which we’re ready to let go of as we step forward into this new world of work. Because it’s not about out with the old and in with the new. To win in this new half-changed world requires us to meet people where they are, without losing who we are.

Seth Mattison is an internationally renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics


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