Oh boy do I love hearing about the metaverse, omniverse, and even the spider-verse (yes, I’m a Marvel nerd from long ago, deal with it!). For those wondering, these “verse” options are basically an online world for anyone to go to. Imagine never leaving your home, however, you can shop, hang out with friends at a virtual beach, play games in space, and even have meetings with people from around the world all around a virtual board room that comfortably seats the exact amount of people coming to the meeting. It’s a weird concept to wrap your head around for sure, but it has gripped the western world in a trance to see what’s next.
Naturally, I started to think about “what does this online universe mean for organizational culture?”. While there is NO WAY to know all the ins and outs of an entirely new platform, I do think there are some staples that will carry most organizations further than others. Similar to when the internet and computers became a staple for most companies, those that adapted to them and used them as resources tended to flourish while other organizations who were slow to adopt them have basically been tied down and forced to figure things out in an already growing virtual world. Now, those that don’t do most things online are about to get a hard shove towards an even bigger transition and it’s important to see how we can move towards this new virtual reality and keep the things we hold valuable.
So, as we know these online worlds to be for organizations it can open up a huge opportunity for collaboration. Right now, we’re dealing with keeping connected with teammates, knowledge share is at a critical level, and one of the most frustrating things about this post-pandemic world is the social interaction or “water cooler” talk that happened organically in organizations from coworkers bumping into one another (we like to call that social collision). With the online worlds, imagine with me, a virtual work building where once you login, you are transported to this online workspace with all your coworkers, allowing you to interact, joke with, collaborate, and even sell your kids girl scout cookies to everyone (well, not everyone, but still some!).
From a social perspective this is great. Now, from a business perspective think about being transported to the virtual boardroom where all the necessary parties are listening to a presentation. The presenter (who is in another country) can have references available that are quite literally available at your fingertips and even loaded into the boardroom itself. Forget your paper copy of the pdf you were going to give to your client to walk them through the information? No problem, you can access this while you’re even sitting at the virtual table and then ‘POOF’ it appears in front of everyone – ready to be read along with the presentation. Or even if you’re looking to build schematics – think about the collaboration possibilities between peers that are at the click of a button.
All of a sudden, this is looking like the speed of business is getting even faster – something we as Americans salivate over. It even appears to help alleviate the strain of remote work that plenty of leaders are concerned over, making it to where anyone can still work from home but also get all the benefits of working at an office…you know, beside the free coffee and healthy vending machines 😉 So, why haven’t we already dived into this? What are we waiting for? Isn’t this something that we should be all-in on? While this has it’s pros and cons, we want to be sure to address one major issue as it comes to culture.
Yes, these online worlds can be fun, collaborative, and even something that can be a great investment into a lot of our pillars of wellbeing however, what organizations are going to still struggle with will be the emotional intelligence that is needed with this type of transition. Unfortunately, the same basic things that we’ve neglected for years is STILL going to be the difference in having a successful culture, and I’d argue that it’s going to be needed even more so in the future. With computers doing more and more, the human relationship is growing in need. Needing to feel known and needed within an organization that is often ran by machines is imperative, and we’ll need to double down on our emotional intelligence.
If you are looking at this saying “where do I start” – start with you. Start with Leadership. Start today – you can do some things among yourselves, but also know that you’ll most likely need an expert in this area to guide you because truth be told, if you think you are well enough equipped to train and mentor others on emotional intelligence with ZERO training…you’re probably the one that needs it the most in the organization.