So, last Saturday, I presented my synopsis of Uncontainable by Kip Tindell (CEO, The Container Store) for a group of MBA students at SMU’s Cox School of Business. I began with a PowerPoint introduction, and included this slide:
The body language of the students, and the interaction that followed, told me that this resonated. They got this!
Here’s the challenge. The average life span of a Fortune 500 company is down to about 20 years. (Read Geoff Colvin’s excellent article in Fortune for more insight into this changing corporate landscape we live in: Why every aspect of your business is about to change). So, even if someone starts out intending to work for the same company or organization over the long-long-haul, the chances are slimmer than ever that that will happen.
Here’s Mr. Colvin’s key paragraph on this:
And now one more mind-bending concept for the 21st century: Corporations, even as some achieve colossal stature, will on average live shorter lives than they used to. The trend is striking: The average life span of companies in the S&P 500 has declined from 61 years in 1958 to about 20 years now, says Yale’s Richard Foster, who predicts further steady declines. Well before the 21st century’s end, the concept of companies as continuing institutions could even cease to be the norm.
So, in one sense, we are all, including the MBA students of today, living in a Free Agent world, where tomorrow’s jobs are so uncertain, and so unpredictable.
But this much we do know. We do work:
for bosses (even if that boss is yourself),
I hope you get lucky with a good boss.
I hope you work with good team members.
And, by the way, if you are a boss, be a good one.
And if you are team member (and, I suspect you are), be a very good one.