Workforce Development = Pick-Up Basketball*?

Feb 25, 2011


Agile Works Teams. 

I love wiki - wiki culture, wiki people, even the word 'wiki' (quick in Hawaiian). There's a saying in the wiki world (also common to other open-space-style communities) that goes, "whoever is here is the right people."

Workforce leaders told us this sounded familar. Traditionally, they worked within organizational structures or formal inter-organizational bodies, like advisory or governing boards. Increasingly, they work with whomever wants to advance the agenda they seek to advance. And the work happens in bursts, through teams and action groups, even barnraisings (both on and off-line) rather than just through committees or boards.

Changing Contexts.

They told us it is not easy, but the economy, their communities, even their formal boards demand ever more agility. "Yes," they said, "it is a little like pick-up basketball."


  • The location of work matters less and less. Technology helps us connect from home, the office, the road, even the air, all over the world.
  • Workforce "partners" go beyond the usual suspects. The distinctions between public and private sectors, partners and customers blur as private organizations and individials become important workforce actors. Workforce leaders seek to bridge, blend, and otherwise link these worlds.
  • Plannning and doing are no longer linear, sequential, or long-term. Some collaborations emerge to resolve short-term problems, other operate on longer time horizons. Strategy is essential and increasingly complex. Workforce leaders are struggling to support change while providing a modicum of stability.


"Leadership has to see a greater range of changes coming and deal with them faster and better than ever before. We do what we can to anticipate change – and make sure what we design is sustainable after the flurry is over." Mike, WIB Marketing Specialist


*Credit to Sam Leiken of the Council on Competitiveness for the quip.