‘Always Be Changing’: New Book Challenges Stagnant Workplace Norms as Employees Seek Purpose

Blaire Palmer’s new book “Punks in Suits” provides a manifesto for workplace reformation, highlighting six key areas where organizations need to rethink their approach, such as embracing humanity, creating trust, deconstructing hierarchies, redefining leadership roles, continuous change, and using business as a force for good. With practical advice and real-world examples, the book offers a guide for leaders to question the status quo and drive positive change to equip their teams for the modern era amidst rapid technological advancements like AI.

Despite constant discourse around how workplaces are transforming, in reality, organisations and people have been working within the same constraints for the past 200 years and the effects of this are evident. According to Gallup’s 2023 Workplace Report more than half (59%) of employees are either quiet quitting or doing the bare minimum. When this is coupled with rising industrial action, active campaigning for fairer workplace policies and legislation, and employees seeking more purposeful work, it’s clear we need a workplace reformation. Using her new book Punks in Suits, Blaire Palmer is bringing business firmly into the 21st Century. By acknowledging how the world has changed, especially with rapid advances in technology like AI, it is possible to dismantle unhelpful hierarchy and redefine our understanding of leadership.

A passionate advocate for shaking up the bland and grey world of work and a trusted voice driving the movement for workplace change, Blaire Palmer is a former BBC journalist turned leadership consultant and keynote speaker. For the past 24 years, Blaire has worked with organisations helping to drive real change in their businesses and create places where people can come and do their best work. Punks in Suits is her manifesto for change, daring leaders and their teams to ask uncomfortable questions to understand why things are a certain way. Is this because it is most effective? Or just because that’s how it has always been done? If it’s the second answer, it is unlikely this is still fit for purpose.

An honest assessment of the world of work with practical takeaways and engaging illustrations, Punks in Suits highlights six key areas where organisations need to rethink how they work and how they use people. Key topic areas covered in the book include needing to embrace people’s humanity; creating trusted environments; deconstructing hierarchical thinking; thinking differently about a leader’s role; always be changing and focus on business as a force for good. Underlying each of these sections is the need to focus on the human element of leadership. In an increasingly technology-driven age, humans are fundamental. Each chapter has a corresponding interview with an industry leader to demonstrate the real-world impact and increase relatability for the reader.

Akin to the impact of the industrial revolution, the way we live and work is going to need to dramatically shift in order to embrace the power of people and digital in parallel. The expectations people have of work have already been shifting for decades, accelerated by the pandemic. It is only by being ahead of the curve, embracing their humanness and being open to change that leaders can ensure their teams and organisations are equipped to thrive in this new era. Punks in Suits is both a call to arms for leaders to embrace curiosity and to question the status quo, and a practical guide offering clarity on the most pertinent workplace challenges of the modern era. It is only when leaders actively seek to make positive change that they forge a lasting impact that drives business forward and builds a legacy that ensures they leave the workplace feeling fulfilled.

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