Heiske Nonnekes, Lumina Learning Practitioner, Tomorrow’s Leadership



My dream is a happy and healthy life on Earth for the children… of the children… of our children. What does this mean if we look at the future of organisations?


Current global research into workplace happiness reports that about 70% of people are disengaged at work. And what’s the number one disease in a work environment? I would say burnout. In the Netherlands, where I’m from, 1 in 7 people experience burnout at work.


So, what can we do to ensure happiness and healthiness at work for future generations? What skills and qualities do we need to value?



The industrial era

To think about the future of organisations and what we need going forward, first we need to look back and see how we’ve got to where we are.


The Industrial Era timeline


In the past 100 years – only three generations – the world has changed rapidly. We got electricity, we got digitisation, globalisation. This era has brought us a lot, it has brought us wealth, it has brought us plenty of food, and an ease of living. But it also came with some downsides – depletion, pollution, and the definition of success. Because the definition of success was about making profit – be profitable. And if you want to be profitable you need to be efficient.


What happened? To speak in Lumina Learning language, we got in the Overextended mode. If you want to be very efficient, you think about the most efficient way of doing things and tell everybody to follow that way. Follow the process. And if you become Overextended, the process becomes leading and not the purpose underneath anymore.


And this impacts the skills and behaviours that we value. So, many organisations that were founded two decades ago value the process way of working, they value getting the results. They value less the People Focused and the Big Picture Thinking.



Looking to the future of organisations

But what skills do we need in the future?


With new technology and artificial intelligence coming in that can assist us in carrying out processes and getting results, that leaves us needing to develop the People Focused and Big Picture Thinking.


The World Economic Forum defined the following 2020 skills:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgement and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility


Four of the ten skills are what may be termed ‘soft-skills’, drawing on the yellow and green areas of the Lumina Spark Mandala. It’s up to us to make sure that the top part of the Lumina Spark gets valued equally to the bottom part of the Lumina Spark.


Lumina Spark mandala



The era of happiness

The current knowledge era we are in has been termed the era of hope and happiness. What do we need to have to be happy?

  • A feeling that we’re meaningful
  • The opportunity to be in our flow
  • Good relationships with others
  • An optimistic mindset


These are all soft skills that are important.


In this new era, hiring will change, and already is changing. With more and more people getting highly educated, your education is no longer a differentiating factor. So, what will you be hired on? Your passion, your purpose, and your potential. So, as people developers we need to help people to learn what their passion, their purpose, and their potential is.


Why is it important to change? We are on the shop floor with four generations who all have different needs. What do the younger generation value? They want to be adventurous, and they want to be entrepreneurial, and they like to develop themselves. We’re looking at the upper part of the Lumina Spark Mandala again.


And last but not least, we are all knowledge workers. Knowledge workers don’t like to be managed by rules and procedures. We want to do what we think is best, not follow a procedure and switch our brains off.


That’s why Lumina Learning Practitioners can make a difference – we can help people to know themselves. Because self-knowledge is key to happiness and mental health. And it is now more important than ever – it is what distinguishes us from robotics and artificial intelligence, and all the new technology that we will see.



Guidelines for future readiness

With the faster adaptability of technology, and new technology getting cheaper and more accessible, what does the future of organisations look like? What changes will we see in organisations as we move from the industrial era to the knowledge era?


Guidelines for the future of organisations table


To be future ready and keep up with technology-driven trends of globalisation, digitisation, customisation, and servitisation, organisations must:

  1. Shift from a hierarchy to a more organic structure
  2. Define purpose and values
  3. Leverage passion, purpose, and potential
  4. Have a flexible strategy to sense and respond
  5. Stimulate innovation and cooperation



What can you do to continue happy and healthy living on earth?

Put the human being in the centre – make sure people know themselves, but also that they know each other in such a way that we can leverage each other’s potential. Equally valuing all the behaviours of the Lumina Spark will create a culture that fosters innovation. We can then use innovation and transformation to make our world a little bit better.



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