Rich Lesser says on Big Think that “There is a knowledge revolution [going] on.” The question is what will we do with what we know? How do make meaning out of the knowledge at hand? How do we cultivate the insight that will drive our use of the incredible volume of information available to us?
This not just a question for business, it is a question for faith communities adapting to a changing world.
Peter Drucker (“the man who invented management“) coined the phrase knowledge worker back in 1959 to describe the kind of work that would replace manual labor once machines made physical labor obsolete. That change is clearly still underway, but Lesser believes that we are on the precipice of a second, equally important, transformation.
As technology is increasingly able to not just compute data but synthesize and analyze it, automation will become all-encompassing. Knowledge workers, who manipulate information, will be replaced by “insight workers,” who bring a new set of skills to the table: judgment, critical thinking, empathy.
Where the knowledge worker knows how to manage an office, an insight worker understands how and why the business works. While a knowledge worker networks, an insight worker builds authentic relationships with his or her coworkers and clients….
…By hiring aggressively during an abysmal recession (proving that where there’s a will, there’s a way) and by ensuring that every one of those employees is adequately mentored throughout the course of his or her career. As a society, “We need to provide apprenticeship models to the people that we [hire],” says Lesser.
“We asked Fortune after the survey came out why we had done as well as we had done,” he adds. It turned out that it was the company’s focus on helping people achieve their own goals pushed them to the top of the list: “Our training programs and the communities that we build either for people that don’t have a business background or women or ethnic minorities or LGBT enable us to invest in the individual.”
The training programs expose people to new things, broadening their perspective and makes them better at what they do — perhaps more than anything, insight workers are people who have the opportunity to be lifelong learners, even at work.