At work last week it struck me that there are two different kinds of workers today… those who aim to protect their jobs and those who know that working together will ultimately lead to success for everyone.
Two Types of Workers
The first type of people generally specializes in their job, but hold onto information and protect skills they have learnt by not sharing with others. They believe knowledge is power.
Then there are the people who are enablers. Confident in their abilities, they understand that knowledge transfer, process optimization and working together are key to everyone’s success – including their own, even it if means working themselves out of their current role if it becomes obsolete in its current form.
Business in the Twenty-First Century
Peter Sheahan states in his great book called “FL!P” that:
We are fast exiting the Knowledge Age and entering the Relationship Era.
In the years ahead, two things will count the most:
- Your ability to unlearn the things that are losing relevance… and to learn the things that are gaining relevance; and
- Whether people come to know and trust you as they struggle to bring their own learning forward. That is do you really care about and respect them?
In his book called “Screw Work, Let’s Play” John Williams reiterates a similar message when he summarises American author Daniel Pink by saying:
Back in the nineteenth century the Industrial Revolution gave us massive factories and efficient assembly lines. The factory worker needed physical strength and manual skills to thrive.
The twentieth century ushered in the Information Age with the knowledge worker who needed analytical and logical skills.
Today in the twenty-first century we find ourselves in the Conceptual Age. The skills we need now… are what you might call right brain functions such as design, empathy, and big picture capabilities.
Logical Information Age skills are still necessary but they will no longer be sufficient. Work that can be easily defined and reproduced is likely to be either automated or outsourced. To survive, you must develop skills that computers [or other businesses or countries] can’t do better, faster, or cheaper.
What type of worker are you? If you are a business owner, what are you doing to improve knowledge transfer and relationship building in order to help others?