temporary, negotiated hierarchies

Hierarchies in Perpetual Beta

A Post-Job Economy

The job was the way we redistributed wealth, making capitalists pay for the means of production and in return creating a middle class that could pay for mass produced goods. That period is almost over, as witnessed by 54 million self-employed Americans. The job is a social construct that has outlived its usefulness. Freelancing may be a replacement but often lacks a safety net, and many of the self-employed become pawns of the platform monopolists. We are entering a post-job economy. Our careers will be shorter as our lives get longer. Companies and institutions are no longer the stable source of employment they once were, as even the Fortune 500 companies now have an average lifespan of 20 years, as opposed to 60 years in 1960. (more…)

strategic transformation of workplace learning

Is your learning and development team able to transform so it can support complex work, help people be more creative, and adapt to the changing nature of the digital workplace? Strategic transformation is more than changing what you work on.

“Strategic Transformation. This means changing the very essence of what ‘learning’ means in the company, through both a new understanding of how it happens in the workplace (i.e. not just through conventional training but as people carry out their daily jobs) and how performance problems can be solved in different ways. It also means that learning and performance improvement is no longer the sole remit of the L&D department, but something that everyone in the organisation – managers and employees alike – has responsibility for.” – Jane Hart (more…)

unified models for work and learning

There are two models that I regularly use when explaining how organizations need to integrate learning and working in the network era. Individuals need to master the ability to negotiate social networks, communities of practice, and teams doing complex or creative work. Personal knowledge mastery is the individual skill, while working out loud helps groups stay in close contact with the work flow. Everyone needs to be adept at cooperating in the openness of social networks in order to be open to possible innovative ideas. At the same time these workers have to be focused on co-creating value at work. They also need to find a trusted middle ground to test new ideas. Communities of practice become a business necessity and a professional development imperative. This is the network learning model. (more…)

network management update

You cannot manage a network. As networks become the dominant organizational form, the way we think about management has to change, as well as the way those in positions of authority try to influence others. In a network society, we influence through reputation, based on our previous actions. This is why working out loud and learning out loud are so important. Others need to see what we are contributing to the network. Those who contribute to their networks will be seen as valuable and hence will have a better reputation and may be able to influence others. Management in networks is fuzzy. (more…)

working for a living

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@girlziplocked – “The current economy has no place for intellectuals and is desperate to make entrepreneurs the socially recognized genius.”

@matthewsyed“It is partly because we are so willing to blame others for their mistakes that we are so keen to conceal our own.”

@atduskgreg“Machine learning is automated bureaucracy. It spits back the systemic biases we feed it in feature vectors, training sets, reward functions.” (more…)

Black Box Thinking Review

When things go wrong, people have a tendency to want to blame someone, often as soon as possible. It makes us feel better to find the culprit or get the ‘bad apple’. We have the opposite tendency when it comes to ourselves. The cognitive dissonance of not meeting our self-image or expectations can be so powerful that we make up stories to cover our failures. And we actually believe them. This happens to judges, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and many other professionals. But it happens less frequently with pilots. Why? It’s all about the systems they work in. (more…)

seeking and sense-making

How do you make sense of your work? Many of us subscribe to newspapers, magazines, web feeds, blogs, and other forms of push information. In themselves, these are low sense-making activities and often are difficult to share, due to digital rights management restrictions, or because of the format. I use Feedly to organize my web feeds and Diigo to capture what I find on the web. The key is to subscribe to a diverse assortment of perspectives and opinions. (more…)

learn like a gamer

Learning is the new literacy. Personal computers are just one example. We buy new ones every few years. Operating systems change. Programs change, get replaced, or become obsolete. But we often continue with the same habits until something goes wrong. Few of us do the equivalent of ‘looking under the hood’. We learn enough to get our work done, but often do not take time to understand the underlying systems and logic.

By not being active learners we lose the agility to react quickly to changing situations. We have to take the time to keep learning. It’s an effort that too many of us avoid. When was the last time you learned a new computer program? How many books do you read? When did you try to master a new skill? These are things we need to make a priority. If not, we risk becoming obsolete before our time. Aiming for retirement is not a bad thing, but what happens when it is forced on us and we are not ready? (more…)

learning responsibly

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy – via @AdriaanG_LP

@Tom_Peters: “Presidents rarely get good advice. Every “presenter” presents a totally biased solution–often suppressing competing evidence.”