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Thrive in the Future of Work: How Embracing an Agile Mindset will Benefit You and Your Organisation

Thrive in the Future of Work: How Embracing an Agile Mindset will Benefit You and Your Organisation
Our Price:  €25.00(VAT Free)

ISBNs:  9781781194553 (PB) / 4560 (ePub) / 4584 (PDF)
Year Published:  2021
Author:  Kevin Empey
Hardback:  40.00
Paperback:  25.00
ePub ebook:  10.00
PDF ebook:  10.00

KEVIN EMPEY is Founder and Managing Director of WorkMatters and has specialized in organizational change, leadership and people strategy for over 25 years. With a background in technology and business development, Kevin developed an international career in people consulting, coaching and leadership development, working across a wide range of organizations, sectors and geographies. A former member of the Labour Market Council in Ireland, Kevin has also won several national and international awards for his work in the areas of employment policy, social entrepreneurship, and Future of Work research.  


What can you and your organization do to thrive in the changing world of work? How can you shape your own Future of Work against the backdrop of current and future workplace trends such as emerging technologies, uncertainty, and seemingly constant change? 

THRIVE IN THE FUTURE OF WORK provides a journey through the realities, implications and solutions for the rapidly changing world of work we live in today. It is not trying to be the remedy for future of work success.  It is a practical account of what we know so far from those who have been there - and both a guide and an invitation for you to explore what your path will be towards future of work readiness and fulfilment. 

The book is presented in four parts across eight chapters. Each chapter provides a mix of case studies, research, tools and prompts to help you address the question of what you can do in practical terms to help future-proof your career and your organisation in the changing world of work. 

Part 1: “The Changing World of Work” examines the shifts and trends apparent in the world of work and how they have intensified in recent years.  We explore what the Future of Work means in practical terms and how can it be broken down at individual and organisational level. The case for Agility as a core capability for future of work readiness is discussed and we explore the features, benefits and challenges of Agility and how it can be managed.  

Part 2: “Personal Agility” focuses on Future of Work readiness and Agility at the individual level.  We explore what an agile mindset actually is, why it matters, how it can be developed and how it can help to proactively manage uncertainty and change with purpose and confidence.  The research-based skillset for personal agility is also presented to demonstrate how individuals can – and already are – successfully navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing world of work.

Part 3: “Shaping the Future Ready Organisation”  explores the practical realities and implications of the Future of Work at the wider organisational level.  We discuss the emergence of a New Employment Deal, as well its implications, challenges and opportunities for leaders, employees and for HR. We look at the future role of the leader and of HR in shaping the new world of work.

Part 4: “A Call to Action for the Future” touches on current thinking in terms of wider policy and societal choices concerning how we approach the Future of Work – and transition from a mainly 20th century mindset and model or work. The book concludes with the overall case that all stakeholders need to be more proactive and deliberate about shaping the new world of work and a productive society where no one is left behind. 


Foreword – David Ulrich


Introduction: An Invitation

A fundamental shift is underway

So, what does the Future of Work mean for me?

The structure of this book

Embracing tomorrow’s potential



Chapter 1: The Future of Work

What is the Future of Work, and why does it matter?

Implications for individuals, leaders and organizations

A new era in work and working life

Where do we go from here?

Chapter 2: The Case for Agility

Why agility?

The roots of Agile

Agility v Agile

The agility challenge

The prime source of agility

Where do we go from here?



Chapter 3: The Agile Mindset

The dance of personal change

Mindset: The key to agility and adapting to change

Re-programming our mindset

Putting it all together

Where do we go from here?

Chapter 4: The Agile Skillset

Adaptive skills and qualities for the Future of Work

The Personal Agility Model

Personal agility assessment

Where do we go from here?



Chapter 5: A New Employment Deal for the Future of Work

A tipping point for the world of work?

The old deal is dead

Where do we go from here?

Chapter 6: Future Ready Leaders

The emerging role of the Future of Work leader

Evolving leadership models

Finding your own leadership brand

The 4 Cs of Agile Leadership

Where do we go from here?

Chapter 7: Future Ready HR

HR then

HR now

Where next for HR?

HR enabling agility

Where do we go from here?

Chapter 8: Organizational Agility – A System Perspective

Key themes and factors

SCOPE – A model for organizational agility

Where do we go from here?



Chapter 9: Societal Imperatives for the Future of Work

Society’s role and obligation

The investment community’s role and responsibility

Politicians and policy-makers need to lead and align

Back to the future

Chapter 10: Your Call to Action in Shaping the Future of Work

Five steps towards your Future of Work


Selected Further Reading & References

About the Author



THRIVE in the Future of Work is a ticket to a transforming future. All you have to do is read it, do what Kevin recommends and find yourself free to define your own life and work, no longer an underpaid slave to a distant boss but master of your own life and destiny. This book should be read by everybody (especially everyone under 50) interested in shaping the future world of work for themselves and others. It will change their lives and ultimately change the world we live in. It is that important. 

Charles Handy, best-selling author of The Empty Raincoat and The Elephant and the Flea


When I sat down to read Kevin's draft copy of THRIVE in the Future of Work, I was swamped with work and the last thing I needed was another book to add to the pile on my bedside table. But I could not stop reading! Thank you, Kevin, for writing this amazing easy-to-read book that summarizes so many important Future of Work concepts at both individual and organizational level. This book is a gem for anybody who is curious about the agile mindset and wants to understand how fundamental it is for adapting to the changing world of work. Read it to understand what agility looks like – and ultimately to thrive in the Future of Work.

Pia-Maria Thorén, Founder and Inspiration Director, Agile People


This is a wonderful book that provides a clear and practical roadmap on how to embed agility into the systems and DNA of an organization, as well as in the mindsets of individuals. It will be an invaluable resource for the boardroom and the HR department, as well as for individuals and leaders. Don’t just buy this book, read it!

Costas Markides, Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship / Holder, Robert Bauman Chair in Strategic Leadership, London Business School


In a space dominated by general trends, sound bites and predictions about the world of work, THRIVE in the Future of Work puts the individual at the center of the debate.

Tracy Dodd, Head of Global Talent, Tiffany & Co. 


Navigating a world of work that is in a constant state of flux is a critical challenge for organizations and individuals alike. In THRIVE in the Future of Work, Kevin Empey charts a path through the complexity with an ambition not only to navigate these challenges but to help individuals to thrive in the new world of work. The book is packed with practical insights for leaders and employees to lead themselves and their organizations in the exciting and precarious times we find ourselves in. It is essential reading for anyone with the ambition to take ownership of the Future of Work for their individual career and/or their organizational strategy. 

David Collings, Professor of Human Resource Management, Dublin City University


The Future of Work is not only about “work;” it is also about our human condition and our society as a whole. Kevin addresses this elegantly in this highly informative book and provides hugely valuable insight for anyone rethinking their strategy and wishing to be prepared for that future.

John Herlihy, ex-VP Google and ex-VP EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn


Kevin Empey has done a masterful job of folding the future into the present in one of the most prevalent settings in life: our work and working life. By focusing on the rapidly-changing nature of the Future of Work, Kevin builds a compelling case for embracing agility for the uncertain and changing business world. With the logic, insights, tools, and examples contained in this book, mastering agility will turn threat and uncertainty into future opportunity and daily practice. Bravo!

Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor of Business, Ross School of Business / Partner, The RBL Group


THRIVE in the Future of Work is an essential primer on the “irrefutable realities” facing us as business leaders of the post-pandemic era. Kevin Empey provides evidence and actionable roadmaps to sense, proactively respond to and lead the ongoing change coming at us with increased frequency in the modern age. Throughout, Kevin offers tools and techniques for what we can do to be a pro-active shaper of our organizational and individual working lives. 

Kevin Mulcahy, Co-Author, The Future Workplace Experience


There are times as senior leaders when we need to get out of the weeds and look around us to see and appreciate what is happening, particularly in times of rapid change and great uncertainty. To have Kevin’s thinking as a guide, and as a source of good practical advice and insight, will really help us understand the context in which we must operate and the tools and skills necessary to not just survive but to thrive.

David Cagney, Chief Human Resources Officer, Irish Civil Service


In tackling the practical realities and implications of the Future of Work, Kevin Empey’s book demystifies the skills needed for business and personal agility which are such critical and strategic topics across industry today. 

James O’Connor, VP, Microsoft International Operations


The Future of Work is here – and ready for the taking. Kevin takes readers on an eye-opening and most fascinating journey into the challenging yet inevitable and rewarding world of agility. This is a book is full of important information for those brave enough to shape and thrive in the new world of work.

Fabiola Eyholzer, Co-Founder, Just Leading Solutions


For years, Kevin Empey has been at the forefront of the Future of Work topic. As always, his analysis is distinguished by a refreshing focus on practicality: exploring the reality of how organizations and working lives are changing today and tomorrow … and what leaders must do to get ahead of, and navigate, these trends. In THRIVE in the Future of Work, Kevin provides an invaluable blueprint that enables us all to make sense of changes that are already all around us and to hone our agility for the journey ahead.

Simon Boucher, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Management Institute


THRIVE in the Future of Work is a joy to read, with every page giving practical and accessible accounts and tips for leaders, for HR and for individuals to navigate the changing world of work, in the most engaging way. What’s particularly impressive is how this book inspires you to think from different perspectives on an organizational level but layers on what you, as an individual, can do to thrive. This isn’t an ordinary business book, it’s a powerful, engaging and inspiring piece of work, that will keep you thinking long after you put it down. 

Aisling Teillard, Co-Founder and CEO at Our Tandem


Kevin Empey is a leader in the Future of Work debate and this book again takes his work to the international stage. THRIVE in the Future of Work combines both academic research and practitioner insight in a highly readable way. The need for personal agility to thrive in the new world of work is clearly presented and the book is full of practical advice on how to prepare for the future world of work. His recommendations on how to master personal and organizational agility will find a receptive audience amongst employees and leaders, while the lessons distilled for leadership development will resonate with HR practitioners internationally. I strongly recommend this book.

Patrick Flood, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Dublin City University Business School


Any leader who wants to be more successful must read Kevin’s book. After 40 years as a leader in the military, business and public sector, much of it developing senior leaders, it’s clear to me that agility is one of the top three drivers of success. In a dynamic world, the other drivers – effective task delivery and engaging people – are themselves dependent on agility to optimize them to the environment. Agility as a deliberate and core capability has been neglected for far too long in the development of all but military leaders. Kevin shows agility is not some mystical gift you are born with, giving every reader the opportunity to truly understand, develop and deliver agility to become more successful and future-fit. Buy it, read it, do it!

Chris Roebuck, Hon. Visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership, Cass Business School 


Kevin’s stimulating book, full of insights and practical advice, is a thought-provoking invitation for business leaders and HR professionals to embark on a purposeful learning journey towards enterprise agility: start now, and start small; find your “buddy group;” get the right talents; and, together, let us all ensure we will truly thrive, rather than just survive, in the Future of Work! A really great read.

Otti Vogt, COO and Chief Transformation Officer C&G, ING


The world of work is changing rapidly. Kevin’s book skillfully navigates us through the practical implications of these changes and how we can thrive in the future. THRIVE in the Future of Work contains a powerful blend of facts, research, case studies and tools, all underpinned by a clear focus on acting with purpose and agility. This is an important read for all of us in business and in the people profession.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD)


As events in recent years have proven, the uncertain nature of our future is one of the only certain things in life. What Kevin has so eloquently brought to life in his book is the understanding that, for all of us, the Future of Work is essentially about agility and how we build agility into our organizational and individual lives.

Evan Leybourn, Co-Founder and CEO, Business Agility Institute 


With a rare gift of simplicity and common-sense in an overcooked library of complexity, mumbo-jumbo and clichés, Kevin has brought the possibility of our working tomorrows into our today in the most relatable and consumable way. A must-have for everyone with leadership ambitions and curious about the realities of the Future of Work. 

Ger Mitchell, CHRO and Corporate Development Director, Permanent tsb


To start with the conclusion: if you believe that the Future of Work will be not the same as it is today, read this book. Why? Because Kevin‘s roadmap will definitely help, his insights are provoking, his many case studies are inspiring. However, I hope you will not only read the book, but actually start doing, start implementing what’s inside. Start your journey, shape your future! Your people deserve it, your organization deserves it, you and your family deserve it! Let’s change work for good!

Tom Van der Lubbe, Co-Founder, Viisi Mortgages


THRIVE in the Future of Work is a pragmatic and insightful book that will help any leader adjust to the new workplace paradigm with confidence. This is a no-nonsense guide for leaders charged with shaping the next phase of work and working life for the workplaces of today and tomorrow.

Dan SchawbelNew York Times best-selling author and Managing Partner, Workplace Intelligence


Kevin’s book offers a hands-on approach and guide to the Future of Work. He helps us on a practical journey towards greater agility, guiding readers through the essential need for personal agility and then exploring the roles of Leaders and HR in enabling organizational agility. Kevin also importantly touches on the societal imperatives for the Future of Work so that no one is left behind in the emerging and ever-changing work environment. The book offers plenty of fresh ideas and tools so that you are equipped for this journey – after all, you cannot solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s thinking.

Mihaly Nagy, Founder and CEO, The HR Congress Summit Series


In 2020, organizations globally were catapulted into a virtual world. Today, organizations need to reshape work and the workplace – to allow both the individual and the organization to continue to thrive and adapt. Kevin’s book, an insightful and practical guide, will help both organizations and the individuals who lead and work in them to take on learnings from recent years, to help shape a new and better world of work for the individual, the organization and society. A highly valuable and timely book.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland


THRIVE in the Future of Work offers a combination of strategic models, use cases and industry research to challenge leaders at all levels to rapidly adapt and not simply react to the multitude of competing requirements. HR has an opportunity to act strategically and to create a more integrated, agile and self-sustaining system of personal and organizational engagement. As individuals and organizations navigate the complexity of new ways of working, Kevin Empey offers clear and actionable guidance to create skill sets and mindsets essential for the Future of Work.

Amy Loomis, Ph.D., Research Director, Future of Work, IDC


This is a great book that systematically details how to create future ready teams and individuals. Kevin’s holistic view, covering both outside-in and inside-out approaches to rethinking organization structure, skills, and culture, helps us all to move forward in the uncertain, post-COVID Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Shu-Tze, Author of Human Race 4.0: The Science of Getting Ahead in the New World Order


By bringing his talents to unpack concepts associated with the Future of Work, Kevin has produced an essential text for our time. THRIVE in the Future of Work combines compelling evidence, practical guidance and a genuine empathy and kindness for everyone seeking to carve out routes to success amidst shifting organizational landscapes. 

Dr. Jean Cushen, Associate Professor of HRM, Maynooth University School of Business


There's nothing quite like a global pandemic to underscore the value of agility. Kevin's book has arrived just-in-time for the next phase of adaptation in the world of work. His practical guidance helps readers make tangible steps forward as we reimagine how work will evolve for years to come. Kevin strikes a healthy balance between what is good for the individual and for the organization, as both need each other. The principles he outlines are evergreen but are put in today’s context – fostering a growth mindset in our ability to learn, adapt and thrive in an environment that will remain ever-changing.

Mary Slaughter, Global Head of Employee Experience, Morningstar, Inc.


The Future of Work has approached all of us at a much faster pace than we expected. Individuals, teams, and organizations need to be agile to not only cope with the challenges but also to thrive during the uncertain and challenging times ahead. If you are looking for answers to what, when and how we work and live better in the present and future, this book is for you. 

Na Fu, Associate Professor Trinity Business School and Digital Workplace Lead, Trinity Centre for Digital Business


As organizations struggle to tackle new sources of competitive disruption that challenge both customer and colleague retention, C-suite execs should reach for this pragmatic playbook on how to best navigate the challenges of today and tomorrow. Kevin Empey’s deftly written book demystifies the Future of Work and provides an easy-to-follow guide that will benefit leaders of organizations big and small as they chart the course to continued success. 

Susan Steele, Chief HR Officer, Ocean Technologies Group, and Advisory Board Member, Open Classrooms London