One of the predictions that the Gartner Group has for the workplace in the next decade is the introduction of swarms as a more common way for companies to get things done. I think that a swarm is designed to be a rapidly formed, ad hoc group that comes together for a period of time. They are self forming, probably driven by one person that needs help with a problem and either seeks out colleagues, or perhaps just somehow posts a request for help from people in the company.
It sounds a lot like an action movie plot where the best soldiers are pulled together for a mission suited to their unique skills. Hopefully it’s more like a Mission Impossible team and not a Mystery Men one, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see more team formed like the one in the latter movie.
This is really like the crisis team in a company, or a new project team crossing multiple departments, but organized in a less-formal, and much quicker manner. I do think that more and more we will be called on to do work for people who are not our supervisors as businesses look to be more reactive and responsive to changing requirements.
I can see us evolving some businesses to having a “guidance counselor” who approves our expense reports, performs periodic reviews, helps us manage our careers, and is available to discuss issues. I think many of us might prefer this to a direct manager that is looking to assign us work. It might be more interesting to go find your own work, or respond to requests from others inside the company.