New roles for the networked workplace

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.

2 Responses to “New roles for the networked workplace”

  1. Karyn Romeis

    Part of this has surely got to be about really caring about the people who work for the organisation. Not in the manner of some benevolent dictator who perceives that he derives his wealth from the minions, so gives them just enough to shut them up.

    There are too many organisations who pay lip service to their people. “Our people are our most valuable asset!” they say. But when the downturn comes, numbers get cut and development programmes are put on hold. As long as they see their people as any kind of asset at all, this will be the approach.

    People are not the company’s asset. They are the company. We’re all in this together. Let us explore together how best to tackle the bumps in the road ahead.

    Reply

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