Monday, July 24, 2017

Three “P” Factors for Assessing Digital Fitness

The digital fitness is based on both how people think and what they are doing, their thinking capacity and learning agility.

Digital fit starts with people fit. People are always the weakest link in organizations. So, part of the digital transformation journey is to prepare people for the new paradigm shift and to recognize this is a crucial step. The point is that how you know for sure that people being called “talent,” are really fit, how do you know you are putting the right people in the right position to solve the right problems? Here are three “P” factors for evaluating digital fitness.


Perception: Perception is one’s interpretation of the reality. It is the way one’s eyes see the surrounding and one’s mind interprets it. People’s perception reflects who they are and which lens they apply to make the judgment of others.  No two person’s realities will be totally identical at the giving time. Your perception is an interpretation based on your own conditioning, insight, surroundings, experiences, leading you to make judgement. It reflects their thinking capacity (the breadth and depth of their thinking, etc) and mentality traits (positive vs. negative; egoless vs. egotism, etc). Hence, it is the responsibility of each individual to examine themselves and make sure they are open to true understanding: When they make a poor judgment or ineffective decisions - is it because of the mind too narrow or shallow due to too much stereotypical thinking, unconscious bias, conventional wisdom or stale knowledge?  When they lack the creativity to solve problems in better ways - is it because of the mind too closed or outdated and lack of learning agility and growth mindset? When they seem to get manipulated by negative emotions - is it caused by lack of emotional intelligence, etc. The cognitive understanding gap is even enlarged because each individual evolves into the “VUCA” digital normal at the different pace. Thus, it is important to understand people deep in the mindset level, to get to know “Who they are,” via their perception of surroundings. Because often it is the conventional wisdom or stereotyping leading to outdated perceptions which cause common problems and stifle human progress. To close the perception gap, the mind needs to be open enough to embrace other minds’ perception as well. To deepen thinking and make profound perception with objectivity, learn to not label others only based on what they look, but what and how they think; try to solve problems not based on symptoms or assumptions, but digging into root causes; try to make a judgement not just concluding “right or wrong,” but gaining deep understanding from multidimensional lens comprehensively.


Performance: Performance assessment is a common practice to evaluate the talent fitness in the organizational setting. Performance is well done of current assignments and demonstrated the capacity of doing great work. However, traditional performance management needs to be updated to adapt to the digital dynamic - always on with the increasing speed of change, to encourage talent growth, self-management, focus on future performance, not just pass performance. Traditional Performance management does not work well, because, for most employees, their results or outcomes are dependent on other people and other soft business factors. There are two aspects of strengthening the links between individual performance and business performance: first what the individual adds to the department, and second what the department adds to the business. Performance is not just about quantified work people have done. High performers keep engaging in current position with a perfecting mind. The true value of an employee is demonstrated when the employee acts as an ambassador, innovator or customer champion of the organization; brings the advanced mindset, knowledge, skills, abilities, and creativity that translates into expected performance outcomes. Creativity is one of the most wanted skill in the digital era, creativity in the workplace is fundamentally about the mental production of new ideas - not just any new ideas, but the creation of ideas that are both original and valuable. Creativity assessment can be the new angle for evaluating talent performance and identifying digital fitness. What is important in performance management is setting agreed upon goals and objectives, establishing key indicators, and then working with the employee so there is a common understanding of goals and agreement on how to measure them effectively.


Potential: Potential is about future performance, not past performance. Many traditional organizations lack vision and strategy, principles and practices to understand their collective potential. Performance keeps your lights on, but potential drives your organization up to the next level of the growth cycle. In high-innovative organizations, those people who are performing as less than their capabilities become the key element to success, but how can you identify and unleash the potential just like the gardeners nurture their plants? The potential is the ability and interest to take on more responsibilities in the future which is displayed by their innate aptitude, driven attitude, and continuous exploration. Individuals showing potential are distinguished usually by their mastery of new roles quickly and effectively, learning more rapidly than their peers, more innovate. A set of questionnaires to evaluate potential include:  How well does the individual continue to perform and grow in their current roles? How likely are they to take on new challenges at work, rapidly learn and grow into next-level roles, or roles that are expanded and redefined as business changes? How profound can they think? What are their innate strengths? How responsive can they act? How driven can they build the new skills and capabilities? Are they order takers or innovators? Which level are they in the Maslow’s pyramid? Are they on the path to self-discovery, autonomy, and mastery? Etc. The collective human potential decides your organization’s potential which can transform to the future performance of the business with the leapfrogging impact.

The digital fitness is based on both how people think and what they are doing, their thinking capacity and learning agility. The right people are the ones who possess the right mind with multidimensional thinking capabilities, the right attitude,  differentiated capabilities to move your business in the direction it needs to go. Therefore, pay more attention to these three “P” factors: Perception, Performance, and Potential.  The workplace needs to be designed to help employees at all levels within an organization develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in new and innovative ways. Under such working environment, quality and creativity are rewarded, and human potential is unleashed.

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