How LeBron James Showed Us the Future of the Workplace

I have a confession to make. Ever since LeBron James gave his notice to the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a blaze of self-important glory, I’ve had a stick in my craw. There was something about that whole episode and subsequent donning of the Miami Heat jersey that bothered me more and more. It had something to do with how he did it and why he did it that rankled me the most. Then, last week, as I watched the Miami Heat win the NBA Championships and saw the unbridled joy on LeBron’s face, it finally dawned on me what was irking me about the whole scene. LeBron James just showed us what the future workplace could look like. My problem: institutionalized thinking that the coaches called the shots and the managers made the deals… and the players simply played... just like today’s workplace. But what the Big Three did wasn’t how it was supposed to work: the senior management was supposed to be in charge and make the decisions, and the talent was to follow those directions. But instead, somewhere a very short time ago in some room in some city somewhere, I’m going to guess that LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade sat down and hatched a plan. They recognized the collective talent they owned and pooled it. They made a package together that hedged the bets, and subsequently shook up the system. Instead of the old matrix where the executives ran the team, the collective voice of the Big Three suddenly gained volume. A somewhat self-assembled team convinced the powers that be that they could make it happen. They could meet the goals of the Miami Heat organization from the bottom-up rather than the top-down. Did it work out the way that they wanted... the first time? Nope. But it sure did the second time. But only after they learned from their mistakes made that the first time. Which gave them the mature edge that they needed to rise to the top. And as much as I didn’t like LeBron James’ attitude upon departing Cleveland, he was changed man last night. He showed focus, determination, an unquenchable thirst that was unyielding until the NBA trophy (and MVP one too!) was in his hands. He was awesome. He deserved it, and I am happy to admit it. But the insight I want to share is that I really think that this is a precursor of what we might see in the future workplace. As technology and the overall tempo of how we live and work speeds up, people will be gaining skills faster. They will also start being connected to similar talented people, and there is suddenly going to be more collective bargaining power when convincing employers to hire the self-assembled group as a package versus individuals. What is shifting is this: Groups of young talent can crowd-source the solutions to problems faster than management can mandate. These young workers see opportunity within themselves instead of counting on the infrastructure to attract or provide it. It’s a revolutionary new concept that pushed my envelope and thinking. It’s uncomfortable to think about. But for too long, we have put too much emphasis on the top-down (“Gotta put your time in, kid”) thinking and realize that the next generation of employees aren’t (and don’t) want to wait to make things happen. They are hungry now. And they are talented. Once they realize the power that they can pool, there’s going to be no stopping them on the way to the top. Workplace LeBron James via Sportsgeekery.com

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less