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The Next Rules of Work summary

Gary A. Bolles

The Mindset, Skillset, and Toolset to Lead Your Organization through Uncertainty

3.9 (148 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

"The Next Rules of Work" by Gary A. Bolles is a guide to navigating the rapidly changing nature of work in the digital age. It examines how technology is transforming various industries and provides actionable advice for staying relevant and thriving in the new world of work.

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    The Next Rules of Work
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    Today’s work environment needs a new framework that’s both nimble and innovative.

    Rules about work have existed for as long as we, as a species, have worked. They haven’t always stayed the same, but many of our current rules have existed for centuries. Much of our work is governed by traditional definitions of what terms like job, skill, career, team, manager, and workplace mean.

    These old rules of work aren’t inherently wrong and have served us well up to now. But with increasing pressures from disruptive technology, greater competition, and global trends – and with customers demanding more rapid value – they’re simply not innovative enough, even for today’s work environment. 

    Now let’s think about how work might have changed 20 years from today. The first thing we might notice is that organizations have been replaced with a worknet that’s operating both locally and internationally. People come and go, problems are identified and solved, and then people move on to a new problem. There are no managers; each worker has the agency to solve problems. And there’s no recognizable workplace either. It’s been replaced with a flexible environment that adapts to the needs of onsite workers, while others work remotely.

    But wait. Stop. This isn’t the future. This is already happening! Not every organization currently behaves this way, but many of these practices are undergoing a process of change, adaptation, and improvement. What we think of as the future is already here.

    In order to react faster and adapt, we need a new set of rules that allow for nimbleness and innovation right now. We don’t just need new rules fit for the twenty-first century; what we actually need are the Next Rules.

    Gary A. Bolles gives us four of these rules. Together, they offer a framework for both employees and leaders to develop the mindset, skillset, and toolset for work both today and in the future.

    First, empower effectiveness. Workers need to be able to innovate, solve problems effectively, and create value for stakeholders. At the same time, they need to be compensated adequately for their contributions.

    Second, enable growth. Workers need to develop growth mindsets, become lifelong learners, and maximize their potential. They need to thrive.

    Third, ensure involvement. Organizations need to promote diversity and inclusivity; encourage growth, effectiveness, and alignment across the whole organization; and remain focused on stakeholder needs – especially those of the community and society at large.

    And finally, encourage alignment. Team members need to coordinate effectively and remain aligned with each other’s work and the organization’s strategic goals. Workers and organizations need to have a sense of meaning and purpose that remain aligned.

    In the following chapters, we’re going to explore how each of these four rules is reflected in what we need for future work.

    As you and your organization move forward, your goal will be to follow the four Next Rules – but keep in mind that there’s no single best way to implement them. You’ll have your own priorities and will need to do what’s best for you. Just remember that you ideally want to create more human-centric work – so keep the mantra “no human left behind” front and center.

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    What is The Next Rules of Work about?

    The Next Rules of Work (2021) is a kind of cookbook – or “landscape of ideas” – on what’s here now and what comes next in the world of work. It offers a new mindset, skillset, and toolset that’ll equip you to succeed today and in the future. 

    The Next Rules of Work Review

    The Next Rules of Work (2020) is a thought-provoking book that explores the evolving landscape of work in the modern era. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers valuable insights and strategies for navigating the changing dynamics of work, empowering individuals to thrive in the digital age.
    • Provides real-life examples and case studies that illustrate how individuals and organizations have successfully adapted to the new work paradigm.
    • With its pragmatic approach and actionable advice, the book equips readers with the necessary tools to embrace the future of work.

    Who should read The Next Rules of Work?

    • Leaders looking to futureproof their organizations
    • Workers seeking the right skills and mindset to thrive today and tomorrow
    • People who don’t want to be left behind in the face of automation

    About the Author

    Gary A. Bolles is the adjunct chair for the Future of Work at Singularity University and a partner at the consulting firm Charrette LLC. He’s also a cofounder of eParachute, which helps people get ahead in their careers. Previously, he was the editorial director of Inter@ctive Week and Yahoo! Internet Life, the chief operating officer at Evolve Software, and VP of marketing at Network Products Corporation.

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    The Next Rules of Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Next Rules of Work?

    The main message of The Next Rules of Work is to adapt and thrive in the changing world of work.

    How long does it take to read The Next Rules of Work?

    The reading time for The Next Rules of Work varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in a few minutes.

    Is The Next Rules of Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Next Rules of Work is a must-read for anyone navigating the modern workplace. It offers valuable insights and actionable strategies.

    Who is the author of The Next Rules of Work?

    The author of The Next Rules of Work is Gary A. Bolles.

    What to read after The Next Rules of Work?

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