We work hard to stay on top of the latest thinking and debate around the future of work. There’s so much stuff out there that picking the best nuggets of wisdom can be a challenge. So in case it saves you some time (or perhaps we’re just adding to your distractions?!), we thought we’d share our top picks of the best discussions and content we’ve come across this month…

  • Would you like to be managed by an algorithm? It’s a growing trend with companies like Uber and Deliveroo managing a gig economy workforce with ever more complex algorithms. The systems remain opaque because they are a source of competitive advantage for the companies but this opaqueness is also a cause of discontent among the workforce who feel a diminished sense of control. With the gig economy and algorithmic management likely to be a growing presence in the working world, this HBR article has some useful advice on how companies can complement algorithmic management while not missing out on the benefits it can bring.
  • If the HBR article made you worry about algorithmic management, this one might get you thinking that a robot could do a better job than your current manager! It’s an alternative perspective on the same issue. Our conclusion from both these articles is that management by robots is coming whether we like it or not so it’s worth exploring what this could mean and how we want to shape this future world.
  • In September I made a pledge to myself that I would read two books a month until the end of the year. Of the 4 (whoop!) books I read in September, I want to call out ‘The Art of Quiet Influence’ by Jocelyn Davis. It’s a captivating exploration of the teachings of ancient sages, weaved into lessons learned from a career working in leadership development. If you’ve read the work of Robert Cialdini, you’ll find this book contrasting in style. Where Cialdini cites recent scientific research in psychology, Davis is inspired by ancient wisdom and philosophy. I think there are merits in both approaches and would recommend this read.
  • This is a really good article on digital tools and software in the workplace. It’s especially relevant to anyone grappling with an internal company challenge of improving the way people use a wide array of available digital tools. In my opinion it’s a must read before embarking on a project of trying to improve things.
  • This is a fantastic resource if you’re considering how to introduce, manage and support remote working in your organisation. 
  • Finally, given its name we couldn’t help but notice a new podcast appearing on the scene this week – Pioneers with John Amaechi. It features interviews with business leaders who’ve grown their ventures from the seed of an idea into multimillion pound operations. The first episode was coincidentally released on our sixth birthday (yes we really are that old now). It’s definitely worth a listen. If listening to the first episode leaves you impatient to hear more stories – you can check out our own podcast – Pioneer Stories – at the same time. You’ll find 8 episodes waiting for you, featuring interviews with business founders and leaders who’ve grown companies with inspiring cultures, sharing their practical advice and insight into how they’ve done it.