This morning on the way to work, I heard a financial analyst describe the how the European Currency — the Euro — came to be. Granted, the explanation was overly simplified but the Europeans actually were inspired by the United States. They noted how a company in the State of Texas could do business with another in the State of California, for example, using the same currency, without having to worry about travel visas or political policies of either state. They marveled at how this model within the fifty US states drove, in part, the great collaboration and business success we experience.
Though it is hard to imagine how countries from all continents could ever realize such a model of a single currency and free-flowing workforce, it is not hard to imagine how geographical barriers have already been eliminated in how we work and do business. If I need help with my non-functioning laptop at an odd hour, I often will be routed to an 24/7 operation in India. If I need help with a specific project and the best person happens to be in New Zealand, I can simply contract the person and connect via email, web video, or other collaborative technology, and get it done.
In the new movie, Avatar, arguably the most expensive movie ever made, the director worked with teams from several countries who each had the best technology or skill set to bring together a unique movie that blended avatars and real human beings. There is no reason why any project or task at hand should not have a barrier-free model. Why should employers limit their productivity and output based solely on just the employees they employ? It is conceivable that project teams will soon involve both internal members and external members – the criteria for membership being function-based, not geography or cost or place of employment.
Leaders and managers need to prepare to be resourceful … and break down traditional barriers in all that they do. If one has a million dollar budget for a initiative due in six months, the leader should explore the skills required for the success of that project and based on that, explore any and all ways to achieve it … just like the director of Avatar did. If I am in sales and have a target to hit, why should I be limited to my own sales force, or my own network? Based on my target and all the activities involved in a sales cycle, can’t I hire others to perform certain functions and optimize my time and that of my sales staff? It’s not just about giving people the right tools, like we have the past few decades — it’s about accessing resources and tools without ever having to buy them to meet specific goals. In this regard, huge operating overheads can be eliminated and productivity can soar — who does not want that? It’s already being done … are you ready?