Hiring Minds That Work

by Jay Deragon on 02/23/2013

must have a clueThe economics of the Social Era are fueled by minds rather than machines. As a result organizations need to significantly change “how” they define work and find “minds” to do the work.

The idea of matching someone’s skills and experience on a resume to a job description consisting of an arbitrary list of skills and experiences is archaic and reflects a lack of thinking. Anyone with a “mind” knows that yesterday’s job descriptions were built to find laborers whose skills and experience matched the “standardized labor” requirements. The problem with that process is that it reflected the business models of the industrial era which mimicked the mental models of slavery.

What mattered most in the Industrial Era was producing a lot of things. These were tangible things that the marketplace willingly and aggressively consumed. Producing, distributing and selling things were the method for creating tangible results…..jobs and money which went to buying more things and hiring more production labor.

The economics of business has shifted from an emphasis on tangible things to the recognition of intangible value. Subsequently the nature of business has shifted from “using machines to using minds” to create more human value by adopting human values. This represents a shift in thinking. Business results are now the result of effectively using intangible capital, previously hereto called the “soft stuff”, to produce tangible results.

The Structure of Work Has Changed

Harold Jarche writesOur dominant frameworks for structuring work are currently hierarchical structures, like corporations and bureaucracies. But these structures are failing us, as the world gets so networked that traditional command & control structures cannot deal with the rapid change and increasing complexity. As Umair Haque asked last year, “Name a “working” institution. Just one. Better yet, define a “working” institution. See the problem? ”

Because of powerful software and cheap worldwide  communications, routine work is getting automated and outsourced. Routine means work that can be standardized, and that applies to any work that can have a “job description”.

Just in case you haven’t noticed yesterday’s business theories were developed based on mass marketing of things that were designed for mass consumption. The job descriptions were built to attract people who knew how to run machines and do labor required for mass productiion.  The “job” was to be able to produce more by learning less.

Today, and for the foreseeable future, the #1 demand for all organizations is to produce more “value”.  The production of value isn’t about standardizing work it is about hiring minds that can continuously learn how to create more value.

Try writing a job description for learning minds that work.

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