Shapers Book Summary - Shapers Book explained in key points
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Shapers summary

Jonas Altman

Reinvent the Way You Work and Change the Future

4.6 (38 ratings)
17 mins
Table of Contents

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Disengagement at work is endemic, and it has serious consequences.

    Do you ever dream of being able to slack off at work? One employee not only dreamed of this, he made it happen, by creating software that made it look like he was working on his computer while, in reality, he was doing other things. Imagine if he’d taken that same ingenuity, and actually applied it to his job!

    Not all unmotivated employees are so creative in finding ways to avoid work. But many share the feeling that they’d rather be anywhere than at their desks. A recent global Gallup study found that 85 percent of the world’s one billion full-time employees are disengaged from their work. That means that eight in ten people are going to work on Monday and dragging themselves through the week until the weekend comes around.

    The key message here is: Disengagement at work is endemic, and it has serious consequences. 

    Employees who are disengaged are also more likely to get burned out, get sick, have an accident, or become depressed. Unsurprisingly, this has a big economic impact. In the US, the economy loses 350 billion dollars every year because of dwindling productivity and sick leave. 

    So what’s causing these epidemic levels of disengagement? Well, the sad fact is that most workplaces are stuck in the past and most employees are still chained to a desk. But in today’s networked world we have extraordinary possibilities for creating new ways of working. In fact, many of us could work from anywhere on the planet and at any time of day. But the majority of companies still insist on a standard 40-hour work week in a traditional office environment. 

    What’s worse, many companies patronize employees by treating them as inherently lazy or incapable, as if they have to be bullied or even bribed into working. Well, guess what? If you underestimate what people can do, they’ll often prove you right. There’s nothing more demotivating than working for a company or boss who doesn’t believe in you. 

    People crave autonomy. They want to be shapers: workers who have the space to craft their jobs to fit their unique skills and capabilities. Most of all, they want to feel like what they’re doing is meaningful, that they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. But these days, most employees see themselves as small cogs in big machines they don’t fully understand.

    So how can we begin to fix the world of work? That’s what you’ll discover in the upcoming blinks. 

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    What is Shapers about?

    Shapers (2020) chronicles how technological and organizational shifts have transformed our workplaces. Most importantly, it outlines the key competencies that modern organizations and workers should develop to thrive in a world of uncertainty and disruption.

    Who should read Shapers?

    • Entrepreneurs looking for advice on creating sustainable, innovative companies
    • Employees who are fed up with their dead-end jobs
    • Managers who want to learn how to lead

    About the Author

    Jonas Altman is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. His design practice, Social Fabric, aims to make the world of work more human. His writing has been published in the Guardian, Quartz, and the Sunday Times.

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