The best definition of a professional I’ve seen comes from David Williamson Shaffer, author of How computer games help children learn [not really about children] as:
anyone who does work that cannot be standardized easily and who continuously welcomes challenges at the cutting edge of his or her expertise
Let’s face it, no professional can know everything and is dependent on others for knowledge and expertise, hence the growing need for effective networks in our work and learning. Our networks are becoming all-important in our work and this requires an attitude of openness and collaboration, not the norm in industrial corporations nor command and control organizations.
If you agree that networks are more powerful and flexible than closed hierarchies, especially in complex environments, what should the support departments (HR, OD, KM, L&D) do to make their organizations more networked?
Jay Cross suggests some new roles for the networked workplace: “When my colleagues and I advocate cutting back on workshops and classes, we don’t suggest firing the instructors. Rather, we recommend redeploying them as connectors, wiki gardeners, internal publicists, news anchors, and performance consultants.“
In looking at our current organizational roles that support the enterprise we should ask, how do these help to strengthen our networks? If they don’t, then it may be time to change, abolish or create new roles.