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The applications of innovations in general and with training in specific remind me of the story of Epaminondas - I had forgotten his name (perhaps when I heard the story the name had been changed) but I remember the lesson.


Today I wonder if our economy is acting like Epaminondas - we are trying to manage and gain productivity from knowledge workers the same way we managed and gained productivity from machines during the industrial era.


One characteristic of the industrial era that has changed dramatically in the knowledge era is the ratio between the cost of the person and the cost of the machine.


The computer is the best example - It used to cost many times the salary of one programmer. Today it is the opposite. Ironically, the computer has also been at the core of our entry into the knowledge era.


When training knowledge workers we need to start with what they want instead of what we need.


The knowledge worker will also define the results that they will produce. The employer can then decide what it is willing to provide (salary, benefits, challenges) to compensate the knowledge worker.


Are we training people today as if they were machines or if they are knowledge workers?


What is the support for your answer?



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Replies to This Discussion

The performance review process is an example of managing knowledge workers like machines. Everyone must fill out the same form and be measured on the same criteria. This makes sense for many important reasons.

Is it producing the desired results? Depends on the results we want! - It likely is useful when it comes time to terminate an employee or to defend a company against a wrongful termination. Does it motivate performance improvement? Is it viewed as effective recognition? Does it have potential to demotivate?

What would be the consequences of allowing the employee to determine how their performance would be measured?


What role does training play in maximizing the beneficial results of such a "radical" change?


The Smart Simplicity concept that prepares us to work in a VUCA world instead of a process and structure world is worth considering as a template for a 21st Century Performance Review - at least for a while - until it becomes outdated.


Is this too disruptive? How could it be ineffective? Which do you favor - Smart Simplicity or Process & Structure?


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