Sunday, December 16, 2007

The People are the Product - Part 2: Alignment

Once we recognize that people are the critical asset of a knowledge-based organization, it is easy to see how human interaction can become a powerful engine for success. In his book "Ten Steps to A Learning Organization", Peter Kline writes:
"The Transformation of Relationships is what, in business settings, we must increasingly deal with. It is now more widely recognized that an organization’s greatest asset is its people, provided they are able to work well together and proceed on a path of continuous improvement. It is also recognized that cooperative team work beats competitive territorialism every time."
Organizations are combining these principles with emerging social computing tools to accelerate virtual teamwork and collaborative innovation. The opportunity leaps upward when this capability is extended outside of the organization, creating rich interactions with supply chain partners and particularly with the customers themselves.
"It's no longer viable to offer commodities, or just the best products or services. Companies must now open a two-way dialog with their customers in order to meet their needs throughout the consumption process, for they don't want your products and services in and of themselves, they want solutions to their needs. In today's fiercely competitive business environment, you must provide the complete experience that delights each and every customer."
Peter Fingar, co-author of "Business Process Management - The Third Wave"
More than ever before we have the ability to encourage human interaction to accelerate organizational success. I have been intrigued by the work of the people at Role Modellers as they demonstrate early prototypes of HumanEdj, their Human Interaction Management Systems. Although I'm not specifically advocating their system, I appreciate the way they articulate the principles of human interaction:
The benefit from using a HIMS to implement human interaction management is that it provides workplace software that understands human work patterns, and supports the inherent spontaneity of the human mind. The way people really work is via interactions, which lead to commitments, which lead in turn to actions. IT in the 20th century was based on information processing. The HIMS is a new kind of IT solution for the 21st century, based on commitment processing.
"No Person is an Island", particularly when the people are the product!

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