In the human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts. The know-how and analytic skills that made them indispensable in the knowledge economy no longer give them an advantage over increasingly intelligent machines. But they will still bring to their work essential traits that can’t be and won’t be programmed into software, like creativity, passion, character, and collaborative spirit—their humanity, in other words. The ability to leverage these strengths will be the source of one organization’s superiority over another.
The author presents evidence that managers are recognizing more and more the human element of organizations:
The management community knows on some deep level that humanity is important to enterprise success. In hiring, a recent study of over 1,000 CEOs indicates that above all they seek candidates who are “collaborative, communicative, creative, and flexible.” (Contrast this with the Knowledge Economy’s premium on sheer intellect.) A recent study entitled “Only Human: The Emotional Logic of Business Decisions” finds a majority of executives insisting that “human insights must precede hard analytics.” Elite business schools now offer "soft skills” courses, ranging from the art of giving feedback to the practice of meditation. Companies are trying to outcompete by branding themselves as “human” (Chevron is the “human energy” company and Cisco is the “human network”)—so much so that Ad Age has proclaimed “human” the newest marketing buzzword.
|The corporate ladder|
This is inspiring. Business organizations are communities fundamentally built on relationships: relationships between co-workers, managers, executives, and customers. Too often, employees can be reduced to numbers, to costs, to objects. Co-workers see each other and/or their bosses as competitors for higher positions and raises. This zero-sum outlook leaves organization members vying for promotions in a constant battle to the death on the corporate ladder.
Seeking out those capable of "human insights" will allow businesses to put aside their petty conflicts, united their organizations, and get on with their true purpose: serving society.