I was catching up with an erstwhile colleague, “K”, who was smarting from being passed over in the office. He had expected the big corner office and the perks that go with it. Instead life offered him a googly. Someone his junior had been handpicked by the board to head the function. The tables had been turned. “K” would now report to someone who had once been a reportee in […]
Teaching has long been considered to be a “noble” profession. They shape the future of our progeny. But the path towards becoming a professor is hard and time consuming. In US, they chase the mirage of becoming a “tenured” professor – a process that lasts up to a decade if one is lucky. “Publish or perish” keeps them doing research and writing papers that no one may read or use. […]
I am a fan of Pixar’s storytelling style. I don’t know if you have ever read their famous 22 rules of storytelling? If you have not, you must. Some of the tips are really super useful to newbies like me who are fascinated enough by the magic to want to be a magician. But for now one has to be grateful that I am getting to read the magician’s book of spells before he returns. I make a quick note of rule number 2 in the Book of Spells.
Affectiva has gathered more than a billion data points to learn how human emotions differ based on the device, the content and of course, the individual viewer. These data points are then analyzed based on inputs from psychologists and experts. The machine tries to identify emotions in real time. The human experts coach the machine and tweak its algorithm and help it improve. Why don’t we teach humans with the same rigor.
Mastery is an endless pathway that you can use to stay motivated regardless of the work you do. A barista could build further expertise by learning about different recipes of coffee. Or about the rituals around coffee in different parts of the world. And become a storyteller who tells a new story involving coffee to a customer. Maybe you could have storytelling sessions about all the interesting people who love coffee. The day you can discover that the opportunities for mastery in your field, whatever that might be, is really endless, you will stop dreading the beginning of the work week.
It may be time to heed the advice of Sun Tzu, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” That advice certainly holds true in the digital age.
Technology is becoming like electricity — it is invisible. Its presence does not draw attention any more, but it periodically strikes like lightning, leaving behind a trail of devastation. Unable to keep pace with fast fashion and the consumers’ preference to shop online, The Limited shut down 250 stores in 2017. 460 outlets of Sports Authority went out of business in 2016. PacSun, Aeropostale, and American Apparel filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Macy’s has just slashed 10,000 jobs and shut 68 stores. All sectors are tech sectors. All jobs are tech jobs.
HR needs to go beyond its role as a “touchy-feely” only function. The HR team must be able to design an amazing employment experience based on research, evidence and science. The real role of HR lies in shaping the culture of the organization, finding ways to attract and develop top talent and to be a futurist for the organization. Being able to design the right experience is the real value of the function. That needs expertise.
Here are three parameters to gauge whether a job can be done by robots:
The job is driven by a clear set of rules and scenarios. That’s how robots are programmed.
Efficiency and productivity are the main measures of the job.
The role of soft skills — collaboration, influencing, negotiation etc — is limited.
Do the same rules apply to an industry? How does your industry measure up?