Wisdom 2.0: Mindfulness and business

Wisdom 2.0 Conference, San Francisco, February 27 – March 1.w21

Billed as “the intersection of wisdom and technology,” the Wisdom 2.0 conference drew 2,500 people who spent $625 for two and a half days of secular Buddhism.

I am interested in the interaction of mindfulness and business. Mindfulness – the opposite of mindlessness – is a natural component of Working Smarterw2-2

I generally sit in the front row at conferences. You can see better and often get to schmooze with speakers. But this time I opted for…w2-11

…the bean bag chairs in front of the front row. I spent most of the main stage sessions on my back, Mac balanced on my knees.

w2-5When I got tired of the main sessions, I’d head to Inspiration Village.

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Part of the Village was set up as summer camp. Let’s play.

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In the hallway outside, four Tibetan monks made an elaborate sand mandala. w2-10

Jack Kornfeld seemed so authentic and emotion-laden, not what I expected from a meditation leader. “Quiet your mind.”

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Richard Davidson spoke on Well-being as a Skill. He reported on progress in neuroscience, a field that has come a long way in 20 years. What’s important?

  • neuroplasticity. need to intentionally cultivate it. take advantage to if.
  • genomics. epigenetics: how genes are expressed. can change this through experience. eights hours of practice is enough to change the brain. had thought brain was fixed.
  • bidirectional highway between mind and body. how alterations in the body will feedback back to the brain. data are clear. cultivating well being will change the brain in ways that change the body.
  • we come into the world with innate basic goodness. Animals demonstrate basic goodness as well.

Well being is a skill. You can get better at it.

47% go through life without thinking about what they’re doing.They report as unhappy.

Which kinds of people need which type of practice?

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Sherry Turkle, advocate of face-to-face communications, ironically the only person to use PowerPoint, had this unscientific view of artificial reality. The slide drew applause.

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Eileen Fisher advised us all to shut our eyes and take a deep breath. She rang finger cymbals to bring us back.16065114033_26cc9aa59b_z

Eileen has a daily practice. At age 64, she feels more energetic than twenty years ago. Her aim: to feel totally in my body.

Her employees take two days a year for spiritual retreats.

Blackrock, at $4.7 trillion and 12,000 employees, is the world’s largest asset manager. They’ve popularized meditation sessions 30 minutes, taking place in conference rooms around the world. Employees receive weekly emails with tips. Mindfulness is a topic at leadership off sites.

How do we bridge the gap between mindfulness and business?

Starbucks is the “perfect environment for exploring mindfulness.”

Their mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

(see mission statement)

100% said the campaign was very effective. Partners are hungry for mindfulness. Able to make it real, mesh authentically with others.

Barristas love it. It’s taking a life of its own. Bubbles up, organic.

16477779127_836797b6dc_zNeed a break? Visit the Meditation Studio.

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Flashing lights and booming noises didn’t help me meditate. For $249, you can try it for yourself.16498921319_1ce0164f4d_z

BuHaGirl, which appears to make yoga bangles, was a major sponsor and had an exotic tent set up in the Inspiration Village.16065117023_24fd67b993_z

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The Mandala nears completion.

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Googler Chang-Meng Tan

Born at Google and based on brain science, SIY uses the practices of mindfulness to train Emotional Intelligence skills, leading to resilience, positive mindset, and centered leadership. In the midst of complexity, it’s about finding the inner capacity to create, to thrive, to lead. And it’s surprisingly fun. Backed by some of the world’s leading experts in neuroscience and mindfulness, SIY is changing thousands of lives in over a dozen countries.

With that vision in mind, Meng connected with Daniel Goleman and Jon Kabat Zinn to develop a unique program for Google. He then assembled a team that included mindfulness teachers, business executives and scientists. The Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program was born and launched, refined and tested over four years at Google, where it is currently one of the most popular, impactful and highly rated programs focused on wellbeing and sustainable high-performance.
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Mindfulness in Business

“Once upon a time I was young….  I joined a startup called Google.”

Mindfulness day. Search Inside Yourself.

All leaders in the world are wise and compassionate, thus creating the conditions for world peace

Need to define wisdom + compassion.

Wisdom.

  • Clarity and insight to know what to do.
  • Calm mind. Leadership: the ability to think under fire.
  • Self-awareness. Seeing beyond self

Compassion.

  • Beautiful intentions (do no harm, ahimsa). Generosity.
  • Loving kindness. (The wish for others to be happy). Create inner joy. It’s born of kindness. 
  • Compassionate action.

All of these are born of mindfulness. Self as process.

Business at its best is about helping people.

The best leader makes the team shine. They practice wisdom, impersonate

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Video of the event is here.

Does mindfulness have a place in business? Not yet but it’s inevitable.

pendulumThe focus of business is shifting from Institutions to Individuals. Mindfulness helps individuals perform better — and be happier and more fulfilled.

Mindfulness shares many values with Working Smarter, digital transformation, social business, and Product Knowledge Mastery, for example openness, transparency, and self-determination.

Years ago, a professor named Herbert Benson wrote a book and a compelling article in Harvard Business Review on The Relaxation Response. He met with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Here’s the message: repeat a mantra; assume a passive attitude. A best seller in 1975, this Buddhism-without-the-Buddha book has faded from the scene but it leaves us a valuable lesson: putting the mantra in English makes the practice of meditation more acceptable to business people. (Benson’s medical school colleague had refused t meet with the maharishi.)

Mindfulness will go mainstream; it’s that essential a practice. I don’t think it’s going to win executive hearts and minds until we separate it from the Tibetan monks, BuDaGirl bracelets, and Patchouli oil.

Future of Conferences: Why People Attend

I’m investigating the future of f2f conferences. Will conferences be disrupted à la newspaper business? Will successful events become communities instead of one-shot deals? What’s the future for L&D conferences, say five years out? How can we make conferences more effective?

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First of all, Why do people attend conferences?

Participants attend conferences to network and to learn. Specifically, they attend to:

  • Meet face-to-face with peers
  • Gather information about products, techniques, trends
  • Develop in their careers, see and be seen
  • Get the latest news, find out what’s hot and what’s not
  • Learn techniques and practices to apply back home
  • Socialize with members of their profession
  • Find out about new products, kick the tires, hear from vendors
  • Learn the basics of L&D from experts
  • Attend workshops and be certified
  • Get out of the office day-to-day scramble, retreat, break routine
  • Expose mind to new ideas from other fields
  • Add people to personal and problem-solving networks
  • Build reputation in the industry (speaking, presenting papers)
  • Represent one’s company as a leader
  • Pick up an award for performance for your company or product
  • Hunt for a job, add potential hirers and hiring companies to personal network
  • Renew acquaintances with old friends, refresh the Rolodex
  • Learn a particular skill to apply back home
  • Corporate has already picked up the bill; it’s a free-ride, time off
  • Form opinions on Big Data, informal learning, LMS, Open API, MOOCs, and other buzz-topics
  • Basic foundation skills for those new to the field: ROI, design, media
  • Earn a Certificate to put on the wall
  • Peruse recent books, meet authors, buy trade books
  • Prestige of being the employer’s representative
  • Another “Badge” 
  • Drink with pals
  • Be treated by exhibitors
  • Gossip about vendors and peers
  • Free drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres
  • Chance to brag about accomplishments
  • Find solutions to problems
  • Set benchmarks, compare employer to others
  • Introduce new products and concepts, e.g. The Experience API
  • Allay fears of missing out
  • Visit exciting cities like New Orleans, San Francisco, and (for some) DisneyWorld
  • Meet with vendors, see demos, compare products
  • Have fun!

What have I missed? Why do you attend conferences?

As with learning, conference-going is a much different experience for an experienced participant than for a newbie. The newbie will be enthralled to hear to likes of Ken Blanchard and Bob Pike. They’re inspiring speakers with great foundational messages. The veteran has heard it all before, perhaps from those same guys, and hangs out in the hallways, not the breakout rooms.

My gut tells me people attend conferences for Learning, Networking, Career Development, and Socializing. These activities blur into one another. The unifying theme is learning, the participant learning how to improve performance and fulfillment on the job.

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Related: my Scoop on the future of conferences.

Timing is Everything

Your perspective on time is vital to the way you make decisions and lead your life. Right now your mind is looking to the past for viable solutions or monitoring present resources or scanning the future for new opportunities. You’re shaped by your focus on what’s gone by, what’s here now, or what’s coming next.

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The MindTime Project has devoted two decades to studying these three time perspectives. They’ve derived a simple diagnostic tool that can pinpoint your time perspective in less than a minute.

Try it. Are you a past thinker, a present thinker, or a future thinker?

Past thinkers gather as much data as possible and are concerned with accuracy and truth. They refuse to take anything at face value. Refusing to trust that “everything will work out,” they attempt to reduce the risk of negative outcomes. They are reflective.

Present thinkers take action and seek control over unfolding events. They abhor chaos and confusion and are driven to establish balance and order, create structure, and get things done. They are practical.

Future thinkers are open to possibilities. They seek out new opportunities and intuit what the future will bring. They are visionaries who promote their visions with enthusiasm and energy. They push the limits of what is known and understood. They are imaginative.

Understanding where you stand on the time horizon is enlightening, but the big payoff comes when you interact with others. For example, I’m a future thinker. That explains why I get upset with Past thinkers who slam me for not providing footnotes and with Present thinkers who want to hold up the show for something I consider inconsequential. The MindTime Framework helps me understand where the others are coming from and appreciate how to work with them.

mindtime(image Copyright 2009 MIndTime)

MindTime can create maps of your organization that reveal the invisible thinking forces that are moving you forward or holding you back. You saw such a map of Chief Learning Officer readers who took the time Profile earlier. How well do you get along with this group? Think about it at the next CLO Symposium.

A landmark study by ASTD and IBM interviewed CLOs and CxOs at 26 leading companies across 11 industries (see The C-level and the Value of Learning, T+D magazine, October 2005). Reading between the lines, the CXOs appear to be Future thinkers; the CLOs are Past and Present thinkers.

C-level officers want their CLO to build the foundation for transforming the company not just to get people up to speed on today’s needs.

The researchers asked how the learning function contributed value to three strategically important business needs: accelerating growth, enabling transformation, and increasing productivity.

The CLOs reported that most learning was technical and focused on skills; training enables the organization to operate. The CxOs said they expected CLOs to lead, not respond. CxOs saw learning as the major investment in driving their businesses forward. Quotations from the study highlight the gap between the two groups’ expectations.

CxOs said,

“The learning function has to become more strategic, otherwise it is an unaffordable luxury.”

“Learning has to bring customers and along the change journey. It has to build the platform to enable us to change the business.”

“CLOs need to build capabilities to address future challenges of the enterprise.”

CLOs said,

“The strategic value of learning is to reduce the cost of turnover and increased employee engagement.”

“The business plan for learning ties directly to business unit goals. Also incorporate our roll-up of individuals’ development plans.”

“CLOs are focused on performance and talent issues related to the current needs of business units.”

Now that you know your time perspective, MindTime suggests you think about your role in your organization. How can you make your particular way of thinking an asset to the group and a contribution to the greater purpose? By being aware of your creative role.

Your thinking style tells you where to look for your most important gift — and what you have to offer others. Vision truth, and productivity: these are the universal values that make a company effective.

For a management team to be successful, each value must be present and respected:

If you are a Future thinker, your role is to carry the vision and ensure that your group embraces innovation, creativity, and receptivity to change.

If you are a Past thinker, your role is to gather true and accurate information and make sure the group considers it carefully.

If your a Present thinker, your role is to help things get moving, and your focus is on planning, low, and harmony.

 

cloAn edited version of this article appears in the December 2013 issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine.

Doug Engelbart, we salute you!

Doug Engelbart
This evening in Palo Alto a group of us in mourning for Doug Engelbart took part in an X-game to celebrate his values and, we hope, carry them far, far, far into the future. A tiny fraction of the time capsule:

When Doug was a young man, he staked out his mission and despite all odds, he never wavered. His vision was audaciously grand, so the cards aren’t played out yet, but his unwavering dedication is beyond awesome.

Moore’s Law should really be known as Engelbart’s Law. (Moore once said so himself.) Doug made us appreciate scaling.

For Doug, connecting hearts and minds was the obvious way to augment human intellect. Bill Gates (“A pc on every desk”) and Steve Jobs (closed Mac) didn’t get it. Neither did most of us until the internet spewed it in our faces. Doug’s office was one of the original two nodes.

Doug, we’re working to keep your flame alive.

Doug Engelbart
Photo by Bill Daul

Future of Talent

A few notes from the Future of Talent Institute‘s 2013 retreat at Marconi Center.

Serendipity powers pull.

The culture question: recruit people to preserve it or to change it?

Bring coyotes (disrupters) to meetings.

“Just let me do good work,” says the new generation.

Meet without a goal. Just listen.

Robotics is not about replacing humans; it’s about picking the right apps to augment humans.

Innovation is the Holy Grail.

Google criteria for hiring: 1. passion for the work, 2. demonstrated ability to do things, 3. eager to learn and able to unlearn

Big data: where the Google criteria came from.

Crumbling hierarchies.

Concept of employee is in question.

New org structures: pods, holocracy, agile, teams à la Hollywood.

The net is your resume. Your network is your references.

Read: Race Against the Machine (McAfee)

Demographics don’t matter at the edges of the extended enterprise. Why should they matter in the core?

Future of Talent is one of my top professional development activities year after year. If you’re into big picture HR, consider joining us next year.

Time and MindTime (2)

My previous post addressed time in general. Now I am am going to write about time and you: how you deal with time, how it helps you make progress and where it holds you back, and how it help or hurts your relationship with other people.

I’ll be drawing on nearly two decades of investigation by John Furey and his company, MindTime, that is summarized on the web and in this book:

itsabouttime

Your time perspective influences your every thought. How important is the past, which you can be certain of but may not be replicated going forward? How important is the now, which is the only point in time where you are going to actually take action? And how important are the uncertain opportunities of the future? The different weights we assign to past, present and future define who we are.

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This morning I answered a few questions online to determine my TimeStyle Profile, a “GPS for the Mind™, that measures the degree to which I utilize future, past, and present thinking perspectives. I tend to be a future thinker:

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MindTime can tell a lot about my thinking from my Profile. If you know me, you’ll probably agree that this description fits:

THINKING TEMPO

Quick and energetic.

THINKING GENERATES

Innovative ideas in high quantities, ingenuity, intuition, spontaneity and impulsiveness, an embrace of opportunities, exploration, and a drive toward change.
Dominant Future thinking manifests as – Vision, innovation, ingenuity, idea generation, spontaneity and impulsivity, an embrace of opportunities, exploration, and a drive toward change.

Method:

You are a visionary and are always on the lookout for new opportunities. Your fast-paced thinking tempo allows you to generate ideas easily, although your thoughts may be all over the place. You are known for innovation and ingenuity and you love to brainstorm. Your dynamic thinking tempo also makes you someone who is driven to explore: you are spontaneous and impulsive, a person who makes decisions quickly and who likes to keep your options open. You are generally outgoing and persuasive, cheerful and high spirited, energetic and active. You tend to start more than you can finish and are good at multi-tasking; however, you tend to wait until the last minute to meet a deadline. You are a natural and dynamic leader who manages others through inspiration.

Possible Challenges:

  • Completing what you’ve started is difficult, since you tend to start so much.
  • Living with the status quo is sometimes uncomfortable, as you are stimulated by change and inspired to participate in it.
  • Taking time to reflect on what you’ve heard and gathering your thoughts before speaking and taking action.
  • Sticking with a plan, since doing so means ignoring opportunities along the way.

Your Values
As someone who relies primarily on your Future thinking perspective, you tend to value change, innovation, opportunity, flexibility, spontaneity, and ideas. All of these are values that by their very nature embrace that which is to come and the possibilities that will unfold in the future. These values are idealistic and do not have the more concrete specific qualities of Past and Present. They are values that lift us individually, communally, and socially towards what we perceive to be a more hopeful and better tomorrow. They are the values that energize us to change the status quo.

Your View of the World

As someone who relies primarily on the Future perspective, your view of the world is an optimistic one. That’s because Future thinking is visionary thinking. It is about change, exploration, creativity, and the ability to see how the future can be (its potential), not how it should be (grounded in truth), or ought to be (its framework and structure). Future thinking means that you look at the world with eyes that are constantly seeking new opportunities, possibilities, and ideas.

Useful feedback

My Profile contains more information and advice than I am reporting here. In the past, I have taken the Myers-Briggs half a dozen times, the Birkman Instrument (twice), the Campbell Interest Survey (three times), the Strong, the Rorschach, Zimbardo’s instrument, and others. None of them gave me as useful information as the MindTime Profile.

One big problem with other personality tests and assessment frameworks is that they tell you about you as if you were in isolation. In organizations, it’s how you get along with other people that matters. Here’s how I compare to the 1,345 other people who have recently completed a profile:

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Next Steps

John Furey is going to present MindTime concepts to thirty of us at NextNow’s August 29th evening meeting in Berkeley. We plan to assess our time Profiles — and then identify our Profiles on our name badges. We’ll look at a composite for the group and talk about how that impacts our roles.

If you are interested in joining us, please email me to be put on the waiting list.

 

 

The Tale of Two Cultures

clo_articleThis column appears in the current issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine.

In 1959, British scientist/novelist C.P. Snow wrote an essay describing the “two cultures,  whose thesis was that ‘the intellectual life of the whole of western society’ was split into two cultures — namely the sciences and the humanities — and that this was a major hindrance to solving the world’s problems. Snow contended that scientists did not understand the humanities and humanists did not understand science. As the world grew more complex, the two groups grew further apart.” (Wikipedia)

Half a century later, the world grows more complex everyday and the two cultures have grow further apart. It’s worth a revisit because the growing divide will shake the training industry to its roots. I am going to use the concept to describe two different sorts of knowledge and the different way we learn them. #1 is intuitive knowledge and #2 is logical knowledge. They are different as night and day.

Intuitive knowledge 

Intuitive knowledge is what Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman describes in Thinking Fast and Slow as System 1. It’s the province of the emotional brain. Intuitive knowledge works with patterns; it knows no words. In other words, it is tacit. Since the emotional brain is much older and works faster than the logical brain, intuitive knowledge is the first to come to mind; the rational brain uses logic to weigh whether or not an intuitive response is valid or must be tempered. Intuitive knowledge is also known as muscle memory.

Intuitive knowledge is complex and hence unpredictable, inductive, volatile, and emergent. It’s the realm of imagination. It deals with people’s interpretations. It lives in the minds of the people who pull it together.

Examples of intuitive knowledge: how to dance and to sell. Training departments can’t do much with the increasingly important Intuitive skills. Intuitive things are learned by doing: experientially. People “get” the skills of dealing with complexity: critical thinking, prioritizing, working with people, design thinking, and so forth — by doing them.

“I do things I do not know how to do in order to learn how to do them.” Picasso

Experience can be supplemented with stories (someone else’s experience), simulations (fake experience), trial and error (the school of hard knocks), and mimicry (copied experience).

Rational knowledge

Rational knowledge is the opposite of Intuitive knowledge. It’s the province of the rational brain. It works with logic. It is explicit and can be explained with words.

Rational knowledge is straightforward (or complicated, which is several simples mushed together.) It’s Newtonian clockwork, an equal and opposite reaction for every action. It is formulaic, yes or no, and reductionist. It deals with facts. It’s true no matter who is looking. Training departments help people learn the Rational. Workshops, programmed instruction, and Kahn Academy can teach Rational Knowledge. Example of rational knowledge: programming PERL, the states and their capitals, multiplication.

The Explicit and the Tacit

As the world becomes more complex, people need to rely more on the interpretive power of Intuitive knowledge. So what does this have to do with a CLO? (The editor here gets on my case if I don’t relate topics to the needs of chief learning officers.) Well, here’s the punch line: people learn Rational knowledge and absorb Intuitive knowledge by different means.

The basic difference is that you get to know Rational Knowledge. Intuitive Knowledge, on the other hand, transforms your identity. For example, I can know a lot about plumbing but until I have Intuitive Knowledge, I can’t call myself a plumber. It’s learning to know vs. learning to be.

While different parts of the brain deal with Intuitive and Rational knowledge, these are not the old (and discredited) left/right brain theories. This is more about the conscious and subconscious minds.

Dave Snowden, a oracular figure in interpreting complexity for business ends, says the greatest danger is confusing a complex situation for a merely complicated one.

If you are concerned only with helping people learn rational knowledge, you’re abandoning a vital facet of learning. Facts are impotent until coupled with feelings. Feelings without facts are mute. A successful learning organization is bi-cultural; it melds the intuitive with the rational

Bi-culturalism melds two originally distinct cultures into a holistic co-existence.

Ask yourself: is your learning  bi-cultural?

Mobile is inevitable

You don’t have to be a futurist to see the way some things are headed. Take the Volkswagen as an example. As anyone who has driven an early Volkswagen can attest, the rear windows were very difficult to see out of.

 

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Volkswagen printed one of their wonderful, sarcastic ads when they bowed to the inevitable and enlarged the back window in 1958: “The famous Italian designer suggested one change.”

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We Volkswagen drivers saw the change coming before the Italian designer. We also foresaw a functional defroster and headlights that lit the road.

Now turn to mobile. mLearncom is just around the corner, so mobile learning is on the mind, but this applies to smartphones replacing laptops in all forms.

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Some people believe laptops will live forever. With mobile, they say, the screen is too small to read, the keys too tiny to type on, and photos too small to see. That may be true of today’s smartphones, but it won’t be the case tomorrow.

Just as Volkswagons were destined to have rear windows a driver could see through, smartphones will soon incorporate:

  • direct-to-retina, immersive displays a la Google Glass
  • projection capabilities for displaying images
  • reliable voice input (or virtual air keyboards for vestigial typists)

Add in the benefits of geo-location and miniaturization.

Mobile is inevitable. Make your plans accordingly.

 

 

 

IT Doesn’t Matter. Business processes do

itdoesntmatterTen years ago this May a journalist named Nick Carr stirred up a ruckus with an article in Harvard Business Review claiming that IT Doesn’t Matter. Using the telephone and shipping by rail were great sources of competitive advantage – until every business could afford them. Then they no longer differentiated those who used them. Carr argued that IT is a mature industry, its presence is assumed, and such things as standards will make it even more of a commodity in the future.

Consultants Howard Smith and Peter Fingar shot back a month later with a paperback retort entitled IT Doesn’t Matter – Business Processes Do. I ordered a copy the day I met Peter last week, and I read the booklet yesterday evening. In 120 pages, Smith and Fingar skewer Carr, show why IT will matter more than ever, and explain how business process management creates riches.

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Peter Fingar

The big argument is that “Business process management (BPM) systems can, for the first time in the history of business automation, let companies deal directly with business processes: their discovery, design, deployment, change, and optimization.” As long as there’s innovation, there’s room for making processes better. BPM promises to obliterate the “Business-IT Divide.

To optimize a process, the right hand must know what the left is doing. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), the melding of ERP, SCM, CRM, PLM, and what-not into one all-encompassing application, is a major step forward, but it doesn’t link the organization with those outside the firewall such as partners and suppliers. Web Services integrate the enterprise with the outside world, connecting business to business, just as the Web connected consumers to businesses in the last decade.

Does this mean all business is going to be carried out using common processes that embed best practices? Not on your life. “BPM will be used both to differentiate (best-in-class) and to standardize (best-practice).” Count on Amazon, for example, to use best-practice standards for email and credit-checking, and FedEx will deliver your order. Don’t expect Amazon to let you peak into proprietary systems such as One-Click Ordering, for that’s where their competitive advantage lies.

Nick Carr’s screed in HBR attacked data processing as we’ve known it. Indeed, that’s not where to look for big value in the future. Business organizations are moving up the ladder a notch to MetaIT. Instead of one-time automation to save labor, they are establishing structures to continuously improve the way they do things.

Authors Smith and Fingar tell us it’s time for the IT tail to stop wagging the Business dog. In their vision of the future, business people will define and own business processes. Instead of doing what-if analyses with numbers on spreadsheets, decision-makers will do what-if analyses of how their business operates or might operate.

As I recently wrote here, it’s as if builders could move walls by shifting them on blueprints displayed on their laptops. With a comprehensive business blueprint, an executive can hand off an entire bundle of processes, say payroll, with minimal fuss (and with knowledge of precisely what savings will result.) A manager can experiment with different ways of getting a job done and chose the one with the most profit potential. A worker can fix a glitch in the system that has been irritating customers for once and for all. In the BPM world, business runs the show.

The authors propose a daunting laundry list of other functions the new paradigm can help accomplish, among them “accountability, activity-based costing, business process outsourcing, competitive intelligence, concurrent engineering, crisis management, inter-organizational systems, just-in-time (JIT), key performance indicators, lifetime customer value, pay-for-performance, resource-based strategy, security audit, scenario planning, and supply chain optimization.” (Whew.)

My interest in all this is how it improves learning and human performance. Process-oriented environments will impact traditional training just as word processing and social change eliminated most of the nation’s secretaries. Process innovation empowers us to create jobs that provide more throughput and greater worker satisfaction, although not through traditional training departments. Imagine the potential of:

  • Workflow learning
  • Transparent human development
  • Grid learning
  • Accountable training
  • Activity-based certification
  • Training value analysis
  • Learning performance management
  • Concurrent knowledge capture
  • Customer learning alignment
  • Personal flow monitoring
  • Psychological stress alerts
  • Individual performance indicators
  • Team competency management
  • Lifetime worker contribution
  • Individualized learning paths
  • Tailored management development
  • On the fly simulations

For training directors and CLOs, the future holds good news or bad news. It depends on where you’re coming from. Training administrators who fail to understand the new dynamics of business as likely to find themselves stripped bare, evaluated by metrics they do not understand, and looking for another line of work. Those who adopt the process mindset take on significant new responsibilities, for everyone knows that the people in the organization are more important than the technology.

After fifty years of waiting for instructions in its corporate cocoon, training is ready to unfold its wings and be recognized as a full-fledged business process.

I wrote this post nearly ten years ago. The wheels of innovation turn slowly.