HumanIT – Important balancing act for Leaders

Leaders must balance two of the most important elements of today business that are Humanity and Technology or as Jacob Morgan (author of The Future Leader) names it HumanIT.

Leaders need to work with both of them. You cannot have any of them to overrides the other.

The humanity or the human side of work is primarily about things like purpose, passion, people, carrying for your employees, creating psychological safety for them, building relationship both internally and externally and creating customer and employee experience that induces loyalty. Plus, we shouldn’t forget about the social impact of your organisation. The human side of the work is ultimately why we work for the organisations we are part of it.

The IT side of the work is about technology such as tools, software, hardware, apps, devices, digitalization, AI, and automation we can use to actually get the jobs done. The IT side of the business is more about efficiency, productivity, speed, and it is often about cost saving, and increase in profitability.

Today and future leaders must balance these two. Decide on what types of tasks to automate so that people can spend more time on high-value activities. If you neglect any of these two you will either lose market share for long run or lose respect in business and society as a whole. You cannot afford a purely financial and efficiency short-term focus in your digital transformation as it may backfires for the long run. This balance you should pursue is much of an art than science sometimes.

„Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” Steve Jobs

Leaders must remember technology is simply a tool and how the tool applied is what matters. It’s important to view technology as partner for humans, not replacement for them. This is a choice. A leadership decision. Where technology eliminates any human components will create an organisation where employees don’t want to work where customer likely won’t want to transact. On the other hand, without technology organisations become slow to move, make bad decisions and they are not as efficient and productive they could be.

So, the future is not about technology vs humans; it’s about technology working with humans against a problem – says Jacob Morgan. It is not only a balancing act for leaders but it’s a mind-set and attitude to adapt a more integrated or rather holistic approach.

For example, humans will excel things like creativity, innovation, making human connections, and leadership and so on. While technology dominates areas like data analysis, speed, and decision making etc.

It is important to embrace technology but never put it ahead of the hearts, minds and souls of the people who work with you or for your organisation.

 Consider the following questions:

  • Where technology can bring the highest value to your organisation?
  • Where people can excel?
  • If implementation of technology eliminates human work how you can best utilize those freed resources in other areas with the support of reskilling and upskilling?
  • What reputation do you wish to build as a leader in the market for short-, medium-, and long-term?
  • What is the social impact of your strategic decisions related to technology for short, medium-, and long-term?
  • How can you turn it around and instead of eliminating you create new opportunities for your people while driving efficiency and productivity?
  • What are the toughest questions you need to answer in order to get the above-mentioned integrated approach and balancing act right?


Source: The Future Leader by Jacob Morgan

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