Can we measure ourselves to be more than just numbers?
Yes, every aspect of the workforce and their output is now measurable in real-time, well, almost!
Rapid strides in digital transformation across the globe are ensuring that the world be gradually shrunk into a global village where knowledge is both, transformed and transmitted at the speed of light.
The idea being, each individual and or organization is aware of what the other delivers and at the same time the value of information which today, is pure power remains constantly measurable in real-time.
I was recently reading the HBR article on ‘How Industrial Systems Are Turning into Digital Services’, written by Joe Sinfield, Ned Calder & Ben Geheb. This insightful article stressed on three core aspects that showcase a paradigm shift in the way the companies in the future would perform and or deliver. It suggested a radical transition from selling equipment to selling outcomes, designing solutions that transcend the notion of products and services and moving from value chains to value networks.
These are powerful visions of the future and just as we are discussing them, we can see them happening all around us. Why?
The technology of today already demands from us the results that we envision in the coming years. Such is the power of data using which we have gradually moved from analyzing to measuring and are entering an era where we are going beyond predictions of logic and trying to land ourselves firmly on the foundations based on the predictions that are derived out of intuitions, but from machines.
We want data to have thinking power of its own today, why? Because if history has taught us anything, it’s that results and outcomes can be irrational and unpredictable so much, that the bubble is right there in front of us and the brightest of minds have failed to see it.
So we presume that if we empower machines with magnanimous data, add a skill to it to think like humans do, with intuition, we might be able to crack and track the paths that lead to downfall or destruction of industries or colonies.
But, there seems to be a huge problem. We are again, working on empowering machines rather than people.
In almost every book of his, Peter F. Drucker spoke about the new era and not only that, he coined the term ‘knowledge worker’ wherein his emphasis was always on enabling ‘people’ to perform tasks that are creative, thought oriented, one’s that leverage their skill and thinking and in return constantly deliver results which heighten both, the employee and the organization.
His thoughts on, how mind-numbing the routine chores would make us, wherein all we could achieve would be are automation of processes with little or of less value in terms of the quality of outputs in the long run, are truly timeless and extremely relevant, all around us today.
So where are we going wrong? Well, the first approach to taking the right step here would be to accept that, yes, we are indeed going wrong somewhere.
This is why the theme of the 7th Annual Global Drucker Forum on, ‘Claiming Our Humanity: Managing in the Digital Age’ means so much today. It is the need of the hour. This requires becoming and taking a fundamental step forward for every knowledge worker today and it necessitates to be resolved with a sincere sense of urgency.
So what needs to be done here to make better managers, better resources and to truly optimize the core of human engagement?
Increase the value of the knowledge worker simply by enabling them to make and take decisions that require creative ability, their skills based on their intuitions and experiences and at the same time reduce their need to be a part of routine tasks which only result in empowering machines over and over again as mundane chores.
Did you know that majority of the employees who quit their jobs quote “unhappy working environment” as their main reason and not salary? Strange isn’t it. An unhappy employee often results in poor productivity and this in turn results in, overall downfall of the organization’s capabilities to succeed as a growing organization.
So why do we not use this as an opportunity to develop the skills that are more human and less technical in nature among managers and team leaders who are running teams and ensuring that they perform at their peaks. Here again, the stress needs to be not merely productivity in terms of targets and or numbers, but rather, the overall delivery process that encompasses both, the result oriented employee and the growth of the employee which would automatically result in the organization’s overall development too.
Here, it’s crucial to train these team leaders and managers who are responsible for their teams to develop skills beyond the technical so as to understand their teams much better to connect with them.
To quote Peter Drucker on this: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”
Machines need to be given the tasks of routine nature, which is why we created them, isn’t it?
But today, the so called automation requires us to constantly spend mind-numbing hours behind their maintenance and ensuring that they stay automated. This in turn renders the entire concept behind creating them moot.
In another timeless article of his, Peter Drucker mentioned about how a tool smith or a sculptor chisels the stone and eventually the tools change, but his skills remain the same or end up getting upgraded with time. Similarly, we need to ensure that we see these machines as objects that simplify our routines whereas our skills remain both, same as well as easily upgradable to something more valuable and relevant to that era.
This will not only make a statement that the machines are no longer a threat to the jobs of the employee today, but will also boldly state that they are really here to help. They are merely the electronic chisel or hammer, but the creative brains and ideas are and will always remain safe with the upgradation of the knowledge worker, the sculptor, the one who would remain the true creator of the idea as a whole.
So in other words, the only way, we can truly claim our humanity in this digital era is when we claim our dignity as individuals who create, control and evolve with each other making valuable contributions that are significant to the growth of both, the organization and the society in general, when we value ourselves more than numbers!
Have a wonderful connect ahead.