The Use Of Technology In Organizations In 2020
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3 Key Paradigm Shifts Required For 2020s Success

3 paradigm shifts are required for a decade in which technology will deliver levels of human-connectedness that will see organizations have access to capabilities and opportunities that will only be limited by what the human mind can conceive. Poor conduct will go viral and good ideas will be shared.

Paradigm 1

The advances in technology, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence conjure up, for many people, negative images of a world where machines/robots take over the work of human beings. This is not conducive to leveraging technology to make the world a better place.

Call To Action

Embrace technology to build people-centric organizations. Synergy and collaboration are going to be key performance multipliers this decade. Consider the possibility that collaboration will outstrip a competitive advantage to grow your business. Leverage technological advances to:

  • Build sound relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities around you. Technology offers the opportunity to continuously and instantaneously communicate, gather, and organize information as well as to measure how people in key relationships with your organization feel about your organization. Use this information to respond accordingly to build healthy, vibrant relationships.
  • Extend the value add of your LMS. The "wow" factor comes when your LMS is used to give your employees the confidence that they can and will be re-skilled timeously in preparation for the changes in the workplace that technology will initiate.

Paradigm 2

Organizations, and even countries, are closed systems with specific cultures, values, and beliefs of their own. It is more important to look after your own interests than to be concerned about what others are doing. However, technology has "opened" our world and even the rulers of countries like China are realizing that they cannot isolate their people from global thinking, ideas, and influences.

Call To Action

Embrace technology to build an organization that is a healthy, open-ended community of people with superior levels of connectivity, insight, and constructive action-orientation.

Relationships between employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities that surround your organization can be seamless, healthy ones. So too the relationships between communities within countries and between countries can be healthy and synergistic. Technology can help bridge gaps across language barriers and leverage opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. To do this, we need to emphasize commonly held universal ethics and principles to forge relationships that are mutually beneficial. Workforces can become global forces in what can be a much healthier, more productive world.

Consider the following:

The concept of organizational culture is old-fashioned and divisive. Make your organization part of a global community that respects and abides by universally recognized, healthy ethics. Research supports what is already apparent to many of us, regarding smartphone usage. Employees with smartphones, who are fast becoming the majority, are connecting more on an hourly basis to sources outside of the organization than their supervisors and most of their colleagues. Smartphone users are connecting multiple times an hour with sources outside of the organization and it can be reasonably expected that these sources will play a significant role in how they are feeling and acting at work. Managed constructively, this can be an opportunity to expand your company network and reach exponentially.

Your organization will no longer be judged by the values you have chosen to display "on your walls," but rather against universally accepted good ethics and the way your employees interact with each other, customers, suppliers, and the communities in which you operate. Use technology to reinforce universally good ethics among your employees as well as to gather and give ongoing feedback as to how they are doing and where and how to improve. Hold employees—and by definition your organization—accountable for how they behave versus just paying lip service. Communities will comment on your organization and judge it by what it does, good or bad. This commentary will be "out there," so your organizational behavior is going to be increasingly important. The adage "your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying" comes to mind.

Share your expertise to benefit and build the communities around your organization. Their well-being will be your well-being and it will no longer go unnoticed or unrecorded.

Paradigm 3

We have ways of working that are tried and tested. Why waste time and money sending our executives and specialists on expensive external courses, which consist of mostly what we know. The pace of change in the 2020s will be unprecedented and our only option is to leverage technology to help us keep abreast, and for really smart organizations to be ahead of the curve.

Call To Action

Embrace the fact that most knowledge and new thinking are open sources and the only cost is the time it takes to search for what is relevant. Use technology—machine learning and AI—to search for, identify, and filter knowledge and new thinking that can benefit your organization. It should then be routed to the appropriate SME (Subject Matter Expert) in your organization, in a way that can quickly and easily be assimilated and tested for relevance. It is the "taking of ownership" of what is done with this knowledge and new thinking to extend know-how and capability that will deliver superior, sustainable performance for your organization. Specifically:

  • Understand the opportunities that technology offers to build and iterate your organizational capability. Technology can help you store, easily access, and iterate organizational capacity in terms of systems, methodologies, techniques, and ways of working.
  • Develop a mindset of applying futuristic thinking. Start building and testing models of the capabilities you will need for future points of inflection. Technological advances in this regard will be enormous as we move further into the new decade. Stay abreast.
  • Require employees to be committed to your organization's purpose and to develop capabilities that will deliver this in a successful and sustainable manner. Your employees are members of multiple communities and there is an opportunity to leverage the insights that they gain from these communities to improve your organizational capability.

Finally And In Summary

All of the above can only happen if you have simple, holistic, inclusive organizational models that provide a logical, easy-to-understand "why" frameworks for your people to reference and apply the opportunities that advancing technology offers. Importantly, avoid clichés and concepts that are not fully understood or can't be referenced to the value-add in terms of the bigger picture, as contextualized by your organizational "why" frameworks.