Technology and people strategy

Burke Turner
Are there any holes in your people strategy?  In today’s knowledge economy, where business relies on enabling talent to thrive, your people strategy must have the agenda of unlocking talent to deliver sustainable corporate growth. It’s about providing the right set of tools to reduce or remove as many perceived layers of hierarchy and technology as possible. Note the use of the word, perceived. Corporate hierarchy need to exist for many organisations to function, (contact me for examples where companies thrive without it) but it’s when your newest recruit feels confident that their ideas can see the light of day, and who don’t fear to contribute or collaborate with the most seasoned employees and vice versa, that you begin to see just what unlocking talent can achieve. In the world of Formula 1, mechanical reliability will never win a race, but will cost the victory every time. (Tolerances are so tight, the engines cannot turn over when cold) So too is the play for IT in the workplace. If your people are not talking about it, it’s doing what it should be doing.

If it’s in the way..

People leaders should be seeking ways for technology to better serve the people strategy. Steve in sales may be in another room, city, state, or country, but still needs to be able to communicate effortlessly with Marie in marketing. Human, immediate, transparent communication and digital ways of working can create greater efficiencies and foster collaboration. It’s not about technology, yet the people leader should be spearheading the conversation alongside IT. Were your people leaders even in the room during the last budget review for IT? Didn’t think so.

Technical people love technology. Now, if only that were relevant.

In a rare move for a technology company at the time, Apple consumer electronics sold since the late 1990’s did not include instruction manuals. If the product was not intuitive enough to use straight out of the box, the product was likely considered a failure. Far from a dumbing down of technology, this approach allowed the technology to achieve it’s objective faster; to get you enjoying your music, your photography, try movie editing, or creating and communicating online. The inverse to this approach is demonstrated through a device with far simpler a function, yet which was infinitely more complex to use than an iPod or a MacBook; to this day, I bet you never learned to program your old VCR. You are not stupid, you simply gave up; if you need to read pages of instructions just to set the time, something is horribly wrong with the technology. How does IT support the people strategy in your workplace? Is it an iPod or a VCR? Is it a barrier to human interaction or does it disappear and facilitate the flow of communication and access to knowledge? Does it unlock ideas and collaboration or does it unlock frustration? A flawless experience is expected in the consumer world, and products and services that create a poor experience are discarded, so why do we put up with such substandard experiences in the world of work? Get the support you need to ensure that your people strategy is both digitally enabled, and set to engage with critical partners, including technology. It’s the only way to win the race.

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