HRHeadStart #2: Digitalization; Org Design; Learning Superpower; Productivity Puzzle
The Talent Agenda
Hardly a day goes by without hearing, reading or talking about digitalization. There is considerable literature on how technology will lead to new business models, reconfiguration of the organization and a new reskilling agenda. Eventually, we will see a drop in demand for physical skills and basic cognitive skills as we invent ways to automate those types of work. It is also predicted that demand for advanced cognitive skills, social skills and technology skills will go through the roof. This will have significant implications on defining what work is to be performed, who performs the work, how is the work performed and where a.k.a. Operating Model. This piece frames all these issues well.
Building forward on the points about Operating Models, another interesting area of work is Organization Design - often equated with the drawing of boxes and lines denoting the power dynamics in an organization. But it is much more than that and it takes exceptional business acumen, stakeholder management and change management to land it successfully. The framework I often go to is the Star Model by Jay Galbraith. It calls out five design levers - "The first is strategy, which determines direction. The second is structure, which determines the location of decision-making power. The third is processes, which have to do with the flow of information; they are the means of responding to information technologies. The fourth is rewards and reward systems, which influence the motivation of people to perform and address organizational goals. The fifth category of the model is made up of policies relating to people (human resource policies), which influence and frequently define the employees’ mind-sets and skills." I personally find the organization design space to be one of the most direct ways in which HR can create business value.
Learning is work. And it is important work. I have found 3 magical steps to getting better at it.
Think about Learning: Prime yourself for learning by constantly thinking about what you are interested in learning.
Do the Learning: The actual act of learning which could be through reading, watching/listening to content, attending courses or speaking with someone.
Share the Learning: To reinforce the learning, write a short summary or explain what you learned to a friend. If doing the latter, encourage the friend to ask questions, so you can clarify your thinking even further.
Learning is actually a skill and perhaps the greatest superpower!
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, take along Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft for an inspirational talk on organizational purpose, culture, empathy and leading by example. He says, "Don’t wait for your next job to do your best work. Think about every job you get as the most important job."
Working longer hours does not necessarily mean higher productivity. Focus on the right problems, ask the right questions and make progress on them every day.