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Resignation, Reset and Renewal: Charting a New Path Forward At Work

This edition is the first of two parts looking at the implications of what is being referred to in varying degrees as “The Great Resignation” and “The Great Reset.” I have culled a wide variety of reading and listening re: the state of work, employment trends, emerging ideas and practices, etc. There are many perspectives to consider and lenses by which these significant trends can and should be viewed. As they show no imminent signs of abating, understanding our current state context should help us strategically think about and position for work and culture changes in 2022.

Highlights include:

  • A longitudinal perspective of the roots of the Great Resignation and how the pandemic is the culmination of a decade-plus desire for increased employee flexibility and meaning/purpose at work;

  • Tips on how to empowering employee autonomy and the importance of this, as the ways in which we work and the manner in which we measure success, productivity, etc. need to shift; and

  • A recent meta-analysis of common career advice and how to leverage it amidst so much change. While there is no shortage of career counsel to consume, it can be difficult to discern the signal from the noise. By examining the data associated with the four most common pieces of advice, we are able to better understand their utility for achieving objective career success, subjective career success and job outcomes.

As always, happy reading and listening!

Be well, take good care of your families and community.



CNBC: A record 4.4 million people quit in September as Great Resignation shows no signs of stopping. “As of September, there were seven unemployed workers for every 10 job openings — a record low — giving people the upper hand in being choosy with their next role. Of course, those are nationwide averages…some markets, especially in the South and West, could have even fewer available workers for every job opening.”

Axios: Jobs people want — and don’t want — after the pandemic.Workers have the power, and some industries are struggling way more to hire than others, according to a new report from the jobs site Indeed. Labor shortages in those industries will continue to hobble the economy.”

Inc.: The Roots of the Great Resignation Stretch Back a Decade, Says Wharton’s Adam Grant. “But one thing is clear: The pandemic didn’t spark workers’ hunger for greater flexibility and meaning. It just poured gasoline on a trend that had been slowly kindling for years. Which also suggests employees’ determination to find a better accommodation between their personal values and their professional lives probably won’t be dying down anytime soon.”

Fast Company: One reason for the tech industry’s Great Resignation: lack of diversity. “A survey from educational publisher Wiley finds failure to fix equity and inclusion issues can make tech workers unhappy and even drive them out the door.”

Harvard Business Review: Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy. “For organizations looking to remain competitive in the hybrid future, enabling and empowering employee autonomy will be the single most important enabler of flexibility. By ditching policies for principles, investing in competence and relatedness, and giving employees the tools they need to do their job well regardless of location, leaders can create a culture of autonomy and flexibility to the benefit of the organization, teams, and individual employees.”

Harvard Business Review: Putting Common Career Advice to the Test. “A great deal of career advice, while given with the best of intentions, is often not based on verified evidence and is anecdotal, hackneyed, contradictory, or outdated. So the next time you hear or give career advice, consider that not all advice is equally valid. Our recommendation for your career journey is to pack your own parachute, enjoy the ‘boundaryless’ scenery on the trip, don’t be too picky about the destination, and don’t be too eager to jump at the next stop.”

Harvard Business Review: How to Reframe What Work Means to You. “Applying this very human sense of purpose to work changes how we approach it and therefore how much we engage in it…A personal sense of purpose is not in and of itself the only thing that fires people up at work. But being able to connect what we do every day with a bigger sense of why we do it helps infuse us humans with energy, drive, and direction.”

Harvard Business Review: Do You Know When to Give Up? “Undeniably, tenacity can help us succeed. But for your wellbeing, it’s important to learn how to distinguish quitting too soon and clinging to a losing course of action. By offsetting cognitive biases, considering your strengths and outside perspectives, and being self-compassionate, you can overcome your tendency to stick to things for too long and cut your losses when it’s time to do. And while letting go can be difficult, it will free up your time, energy, and mental space to imagine new possibilities and pursue new opportunities.”


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. “A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined…Humorous, compassionate, and wise, Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.”


TED@BCG: Three tips for leaders to get the future of work right. “Work that’s dictated by a fixed schedule, place and job description doesn’t make sense anymore, says leadership expert Debbie Lovich. In light of the cultural shift towards remote work sparked by the pandemic, Lovich gives three essential tips to leaders so employees can keep their autonomy (while remaining productive), companies can let go of rigid bureaucracy and we can all reshape work to better fit our lives.”

Trello:10 Podcasts That Every Leader Should Have In Their Listening Queue.”

Blog Posts
Seth’s Blog: The next big idea. “In the middle of all the trauma and change in our lives, we are all on the cusp of a huge multiplication of new business models, new funding models and new ways of being in our communities. If you’ve been waiting for a moment to start a project bigger than your own hourly contribution, this is truly the best moment I can recall.”

Kellogg Insight: The Insightful Leader. “…In addition to focusing on how to make your idea—whether it’s a new product or a departmental reorg—more appealing, you should also think about how to remove the obstacles that are keeping people from adopting it.”

Arts, Music, Culture & Humor Corner

Fast Company: The pink playground effect: How Chicago turned 12 vacant lots into vibrant community space. “Chicago’s Architecture Biennial could permanently transform the city’s vacant lots.”

The New York Times: How Aaron Dessner Found His Voice (With an Assist From Taylor Swift). “The ‘shy’ producer and musician from the long-running indie-rock band the National emerges via his own project with Justin Vernon, Big Red Machine.”

The New Yorker: It’s Time to Stop Talking About “Generations.” “From boomers to zoomers, the concept gets social history all wrong.”

The Hollywood Reporter: Will Ferrell Just Wants to Entertain You (and Himself). “The ‘Shrink Next Door’ producer-star on building (and winnowing) his empire, splitting with collaborator and pal Adam McKay and chasing the funny above all else: ‘I’ve always loved making other people laugh. I’ve just never needed to make you like me.'”


“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”

– Kofi Annan

“A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”

– Jorge Luis Borges, Source: Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges: Including a Selection of Poems

Originally posted here.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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