Threaded Environments: changing the way we work

In our summer 2010 issue, Marnie Green, principle consultant of the Management Education Group, wrote about the growing trends that are changing the public workforce and dictating not only who we hire, but how we work. These four trends are:

1. Threaded Environments
2. Self-Reliance
3. Knowledge Sharing
4. Portability

Threaded environments require the development of internal and external alliances in order to reach intended goals. In a threaded environment, we depend on relationships, and today, those relationships are likely to live in a virtual world. Workforces that thrive in threaded environments will rely on a new set of skills than what is commonly found in today’s public workforce.

“Public Organizations will continue to develop a network of partnerships and alliances with talented people-small niche players who provide nimbleness – and access to new tools and services on an as-needed basis. The government workforce of the future will be more dependent on relationships with external providers and will require greater skills in the areas of alliance-building, negotiating, and virtual teambuilding skills.”

We are already seeing changes take place in reaction to these new threaded environments. California, for example, now has more than 65 official “contract cities,” local governments that operate primarily through contracts with other organizations to provide basic governmental services. This form of local outsourcing is expected to grow into a $20 billion market by the end of this year.

As your work increasingly becomes more threaded, your reliance on virtual communities and relationships with external service providers will expand. To help your organization make the most of this growing trend, follow Marnie’s advice below and read more about these workforce changing trends in the summer 2010 issue of The Public Manager:

• Seek alliances with niche providers
• Explore new ways to share information and train employees
• Encourage professional networking via social media technology
• Invest in centralized conferencing and web broadcast facilities to emphasize learning opportunities that do not require travel.

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