Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 5 Introduction: Digital Professional Gaps

Being a digital professional inherently and inextricably links with high levels of professionalism.

Generally speaking, a professional is an individual with the expertise of some specific area, who earns his/her livings from that expertise. Being professional also means that the individual not only has the skill but also presents the high-quality professionalism such as positive mentality, fair judgment, and good behaviors. So, how to identify digital professional gaps, and improve the workforce quality, creativity, collaboration, productivity, and engagement?

Communication gaps: Communication is the key to improving business effectiveness, modern management efficiency, and workforce harmonization. Communication gaps are often caused by cognitive difference, ambiguous process, or management bottleneck. Miscommunication is also caused by perception gaps because people have the different knowledge base and cognitive understanding to articulate things. Even two people observe the exactly same thing or participate the same conversation, they could perceive the situation and convey the message differently. Communication gaps decrease productivity, stifle innovation, cause mistrust, and decelerate the business speed. “The lost in translation” could happen at any level of the organization; for example, if people at the bottom and middle level don’t get the opportunity to understand the business's strategic goals via effective communication, they would be easy to get lost and inundated with daily tasks which perhaps do not add enough value to benefit both the business and the employees’ well-beings, they feel exhausted, bored, and lack of achievement. It perhaps needs to first categorize what kind of communication bottlenecks existing and which communication gaps should be closed. There are hard communication barriers such as, out of date processes, procedures, practices, or soft ones such as culture, politics, or leadership style, etc. Communication effectiveness can be improved when the hard barriers are broken down and soft obstacles are overcome.

Accountability gaps: Digital organizations advocate autonomy, mastering, and innovation. Lack of accountability is often one of the biggest obstacles to getting things done, or cause change inertia in the organization. Because people don’t feel “safe,” or run away from accountability because they had a personal experience or they have observed others being treated poorly or unfairly when being held accountable for results. It is not uncommon to confuse accountability with blame. They are actually opposites. Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication, the true measure of accountability is determined not by whether someone or a team makes a mistake or not, but on how quickly they can recover so that customers, teammates, and others aren’t negatively affected by the breakdown. Accountability can be harnessed via motivating your employees to achieve higher than expected result and build the culture of learning, trust, and professionalism. It is also important to design a high-effective performance management system that enforces accountability. If you ensure the individuals have the autonomy within their tasks or projects, you will be able to address performance on an equal partnership basis.

Professional maturity gap: Maturity is about being fully developed and fully grown, it is just the opposite of being immature. Professional maturity means that you are fully developed in some way to fulfilling a role or function. Often, people are the weakest link in running high-performance businesses. Maturity is the combination of capability and potentiality. It is the ability of an individual to gauge or measure the capability or potentiality of a candidate for responding to a particular query-action-behavior-delivery of any thought processes, based on the level of response received at to the receiver’s end. Maturity is also a phrase we are using today to describe a decent level of emotional intelligence at work,  lack of emotional intelligence will make a person look immature. Maturity refers to having a sound understanding of basics and making a fair judgment. Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration. Lack of understanding and adaptation can enlarge maturity gap. Maturity is simply having the ability to live comfortably with contradictory thoughts, and expressing things sometimes courageously by taking care of the feelings of the other people as well. It is related to handling a situation wisely, taking responsibility, being accountable for both what you say and what do. So, professional maturity is about ripeness, thoughtfulness, quality, balance, and wisdom.

A professional is an individual who strives to represent skills and delivers quality. A digital professional presents high mature professionalism which means - the mastery of digital capabilities, the sound judgment via independent thinking and multidimensional thought processes, the positive attitude, the humility to the things they don’t know, and the good behaviors to act cohesively.


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