Life as we know it

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“Life as we know it” has certainly changed with COVID-19, but will it change for ever?

What if no vaccine is found and humankind gradually morphs into a COVID-19 tolerant version of ourselves as postulated in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? What would we, and the corporate workplace look like in the future?

Governments all around the world have decreed that face-masks need to be worn at all times when in public, and even in the office. Studies have indicated that when one of mankind’s senses is destroyed, or not used, another sense is increased to maintain the sensory balance.

The wearing of a facemask impinges our ability to smell, to get sun on our faces. Will this lead to our nostrils becoming larger in order to absorb more odours, our skin becoming more bleached with less exposure to the sun’s rays, and the days of men needing to shave ceasing owing to minimal facial hair follicle stimulation? Will our noses and ears become more pointed to assist with holding a face-mask firmly in place?

Many of us are now working from home. Will we need an office in the future? Will cities be replaced with a sprawl of suburbia where we all comingle electronically rather than in person? Will a computer keyboard be required for the typing of communications? If not, will our fingers become less nimble and take on a short, stumpy appearance?

Relax, and take no heed, nor concern to the above, as innovation will indeed find the requisite solution. According to Newton’s third law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Mankind is creative, and whilst a facemask is dulling some of our facial senses, be assured that the corresponding thought senses associated with innovation have been given a boost of creativity and are working to the maximum.

A welcome solution to COVID-19 will indeed be found and “Life as we know it” will continue, albeit with a temporary hiccup in time. Our faces will be the same, men will continue to shave, and the corporate office will still exist, but maybe with some efficiency tweaks of improvement from a positive outcome from working from home.

So what do we need to do in this time of COVID-19 crisis…..Innovate!

The Transfer of Wisdom

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I looked with a sense of pride at my fellow colleagues as I slowly, and methodically, sat in the large well-worn leather chair in the HR Director’s office awaiting her arrival.

This was my first day of employment following the completion of my university degree three months earlier. After what seemed like a torturous series of endless interviews and countless tests, I had finally made it. I was now about to start my career in one of the most innovative and famous global companies. It was hard to disguise the smile that was slowly permeating within me, but the feeling was electic, and one that I’m sure I will never forget for the rest of my working life.

Susan finally arrived and walked into her office with a confident stride that just oozed with a persona of success. I liked her immediately.

After a few minutes of pleasant small talk, Susan took a piece of neatly folded paper out from her folder and handed it to me. At the top, it said Myers-Briggs personality profile “ENFP”. Susan then smiled, and then pressed a button on her desk. Thirty seconds later, an older, and immaculately dressed woman appeared called Megan who I surmised was nearing retirement, politely introduced herself to me. Following a brief and most enjoyable discussion, I learnt that she was also an “ENFP”, and was the company’s Global Director of Innovation.

I noticed Megan give a surreptitious nod of what seemed like “approval” to Susan. Following this gesture, Susan then excused herself from the room and I was left alone with Megan.

For the next 30 minutes, Megan explained to me the secret of this company’s success. The key, was how they passed on their experience to the new employees to ensure that the young graduates quickly obtained years of wisdom from those who were like minded. Apparently, Megan and I had a 99.99% “ENFP” personality match!

Megan, then with my permission, then commenced the secretive “wisdom transfer procedure” that “transmitted” her years of professional, social and people logic into my inexperienced and quite naive persona. At the end of the process, although I was only 22, I had the business experience of a 59 year old. I would have the unique skill set combination of youth and seniority not typically found in a person who had just commenced their first day of employment. I soon learnt, that all new starters in this company went through this procedure.

Wouldn’t it be great if all organizations could exchange knowledge between employees in this way! Although, the “wisdom transfer procedure” indicated above does not yet exist, it does so in a slightly different format that is not science fiction. The process is available to all those in the workforce right now, is relatively simple, needs no additional financial expenditure, except for one strategic prerequisite, that being “time”.

CEO’s reading this blog post take note. Why not give your young and older employees more time and opportunities to learn off each other by establishing work groups that encourage and facilitate greater communication? In these days of corporate diversity, consider age as one of your untapped resources for innovation and creativity!

PS: Yes, this photo is from the film “The Devil Wears Prada”.