Thriving in 24/7 is the closest thing to a guidebook I’ve ever written, and is intended to be of great practical value. It offers everyone—men and women, young and old, free agents and the fully employed—clear and concrete leadership strategies for negotiating the complex, challenging, unstable, opportunity-rich, often confounding, yet potentially exhilarating new world of work. People as diverse (and brilliant!) as Tom Peters, Steven Covey, and Cherie Carter-Scott have great things to say about it.
The book takes as its starting point the fact that today’s 24/7 environment have totally transformed the rules of work. Cheap, fast, and portable networked technologies have begun to free us from dependence upon large organizations, while also invading our most private spaces and intensifying the demands upon our time. Long-standing barriers between work and home, public and private, men and women, boss and employee, even adult and child, have begun to erode. The emphasis on meeting niche needs in the marketplace has led to an overabundance of options and choice—in many ways an advantage, but a situation that requires us to make decisions at every turn.
As a result of these trends, the industrial world of work has vanished. Yet most of us are still trying to live by its obsolete rules. This is the true source of our frustration. Not recognizing that it’s a losing battle, we struggle to work harder, faster, and smarter, to discipline ourselves not to waste our moments, to multi-task in order to keep up. Yet our heroic efforts often have the effect of robbing us of spontaneity and joy, making even pleasures that should refresh us feel like items on an endless to-do list that threatens to swallow us up. As one bewildered woman I interviewed for the book expressed it, “Sometimes, I feel as if my body is just a vehicle for carrying my head to the computer.” Clearly, this is no way to live!
Thriving in 24/7 points to another way by setting forth new leadership strategies for working—and for living—that are appropriate for the post-industrial era. These strategies include:
Starting at your core, which requires confronting your personal history, locating your inner voice, getting comfortable in the neutral zone, and taking inventory on a regular basis.
Incorporating the principle of zigzag by learning from the youngest generation; thinking in terms of projects, engagements, and gigs; planning to keep learning all your life; defining what you mean by loyalty; and internalizing optimism.
Creating your own work (even if you stay in your job) by articulating your value, integrating your passions, identifying your market, running your own shop, and targeting multiple centers of gravity.
Building a strong and powerful personal web of inclusion by going deep fast, understanding the strength of weak ties, grabbing the spotlight, and mastering the simple art of looking people up.
Branding yourself unforgettably by being highly conscious of your practice, your materials, your design, and the symbols that you use.
Integrating renewal into your every day by connecting with timeless rhythms, identifying the true sources of your joy, practicing mindfulness, and cultivating the elements of Slow.
You—me—all of us are moving into unmapped territory now, an exciting yet daunting geography of change and opportunity. Thriving in 24/7 serves as a guide to help us navigate what we find as we go.