It is always interesting to reflect on how the American workplace has changed over the decades, especially concerning fundamental changes to the playing field. As we have progressed from the previous century to the new one, thanks to technology, the playing field had enlarged in a very big-time way. We have gone global. Today we live and operate in a global economy.
Business globalization’s irreversibility has been difficult for many to accept. Accept it or not, it is here to stay. It is our new reality. The smart company and the smart person will adapt and overcome. What else can we do?
Tragically, these sweeping global changes have resulted in economic and job disruption for many. We all feel that pain one way or another. However, trying to turn the clock back is not the answer. We must continue to contribute to the economy we hope to achieve. We must continue to search for creative solutions to every challenge. We must commit to moving forward productively and ethically. By taking this positive approach, we will maximize the opportunities for everyone involved and we will not forget those facing the biggest challenges and disruptions. I like the way that Thomas Friedman summarizes this imperative in his seminal work, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006):
“The great challenge for our time will be to absorb these changes in ways that do not overwhelm people but also do not leave them behind. None of this will be easy. But this is our task. It is inevitable and unavoidable.” (pp. 46-47).
We are in the middle of an economy makeover. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to get involved. When we do that, we will achieve the best possible outcomes.