My recommendation to companies avoid the top-down, HR-led approaches to training employees on how to be more productive in the new fast-and-loose, postnormal economy we have moved into. Instead, the new HR has to be fast-and-loose itself, if it is to be effective. What does that mean? A fast-and-loose approach to HR must include these characteristics:
- The new HR must relax the tight connection model, and adopt looser connections with everyone. That translates into letting people figure out how to train themselves, and how to do their own jobs better.
- Instead of analyzing work in an abstract way and trying to optimize it in the general, find the people who are most advanced in adopting the new behaviors leading to greater network productivity. These “positive deviants” are the ones best suited to serve as role models for others (see How ‘positive deviants’ help a culture change itself), and HR should work with them to get their take on how best to get others to understand the new behaviors.
- HR should work to change the cultural barriers to people creating more connections in the company, both loose and strong connections. Is hanging around in the cafeteria talking with others treating as a necessary aspect of work, or is it considered goofing off?
- Instead of putting up inspirational posters, HR should work to break down barriers to work experimentation in practices, tools, and social relationships.
In a world that is changing at a dizzying rate and in unpredictable ways, HR needs to work toward a business culture that is more improvisational, where people realize — and are rewarded for — participating in spontaneous projects to improve how work gets done, and to potentially shift to a new approach and leaving the old way behind.
And the biggest barrier to innovation in the workplace might be management.
Go read the whole thing.