Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Help! - the professional2.0 is coming...

 professional20That professionals can be wilful and opiniated we already knew (only look at house!): several authors have written extensively about this phenomenon (such as the Caluw√©, Vermaak and Weggeman). With the recent technological developments such as social media and social intranets, professionals have even more spaces to profile themselves. Who are these new professionals living in our era of social media and what does this process of empowerment of professionals mean for organizations? During the learning trajectory 'learning and change with social media' we made a drawing of the new professional (see picture). She (in this case it was a woman) has at least one smartphone in her hand and apparently on the move (running). She is an independent thinker in her field, she takes initiative and is capable of finding the balance between different polarities, such as online and offline, private and professional, inside and outside the organization. In addition, the basis of her works and passion is from a connection with her own personal experiences, which gives her the drive to excel.

Serial mastery

Lynda Gratton, the well-known professor of management practice at the London Business School, has written a book with the title 'The Shift' about the global changes that are influence the workplace. She marks important changes for professionals: professionals will become what she calls a 'serial master' rather than a generalist. A master is a professional who possesses deep knowledge and skills in a variety of domains. The serial aspect of serial mastery consists in that the relevance of these domains will change and the professional during his / her career will have to venture into new domains, building on old topics, she calls this 'sliding and morphing'. It is therefore important that the professional can quickly learn and is a good networker.

Self-organised learning

Hans de Zwart (Senior Innovation Adviser for Global HR Technologies at Shell) is posing the following question online: can you design a curriculum for the professionals when their work is so dynamic and is changing all the time? Or should there be more focus on self-directed learning (do-it-yourself-learning, self-regulated learning)? There are currently more and more complex problems to be solved by professionals - and complex problems can not be solved with routine answers and best practices. In a complex situation you have an emergent practice, and you should work with trial and error, try things, reflect and adjust. So apart from the fact that professionals need to move into a new domain they must learn to solve complex problems. They do this in daily practice.

Online branding

Online communication is becoming increasingly important in finding the right professional for the job or project. If you a professional and you are not on Twitter and LinkedIn, you have been fairly invisible. Internally channels like Yammer or other social networks are becoming increasingly important to be visible within the organisation, especially in larger companies. Professionals should therefore clearly know what makes them distinctive and unique from other professionals. A professional2.0 will build an online reputation and that reputation is more durable than the job he / she has. The organisation only 'borrow' the reputation of the professional.

Organisations and the professional 2.0

What does this imply for organizations, strong, initiative-taking autonomous professionals? I have spoken several youngsters who are surprised about the slowness of communication in organizations and the lack of adequate resources and support. Professionals are 'serial masters', who design their own online brand, and be young and old. For me, these technological and social developments have the following implications for organizations: 
  • Look for new models of working in collaboration with professionals, not only in fixed employment, but also in networks
  • Develop new '21st century' skills such as dealing with social media, online networks etc.
  • Encourage and social learning within (online) communities instead of organizing training and education 
  • Provide a technological infrastructure within the organisation which works just as easy as social media
  • Support professionals by new and lighter forms of leadership: avoid too much hierarchy, give space and ensure that leaders themselves are professionals too, so avoid 100% managers
Interested in gift, skills and attitudes of the new professional? Read the blogpost on the portrait of a modern knowledge worker by Ewen Le Borgne. 
What impact of the various developments do you see for organizations? And to what extent is your organization already doing what I suggest above?

4 comments:

km4meu said...

Hello Joitske,

Coming late to comment on this as I was away but thanks for the nice post. I liked the dichotomies you put forward for that professional 2.0 to deal with i.e. balancing work/life, inside/outside orgs, online/offline etc.

I also couldn't agree more on the fact that organisations "only 'borrow' the reputation of the professional", though most orgs don't understand this (yet).

Along similar, or rather complementary lines, I also had a go at the knowledge worker of the future (well, of the present but that's the future for most companies)...
http://km4meu.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/portrait-of-the-modern-knowledge-worker/

Thank you and keep up the good work!

km4meu said...

Hello Joitske,

Coming late to comment on this as I was away but thanks for the nice post. I liked the dichotomies you put forward for that professional 2.0 to deal with i.e. balancing work/life, inside/outside orgs, online/offline etc.

I also couldn't agree more on the fact that organisations "only 'borrow' the reputation of the professional", though most orgs don't understand this (yet).

Along similar, or rather complementary lines, I also had a go at the knowledge worker of the future (well, of the present but that's the future for most companies)...
http://km4meu.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/portrait-of-the-modern-knowledge-worker/

Thank you and keep up the good work!

km4meu said...

Hello Joitske,

Coming late to comment on this as I was away but thanks for the nice post. I liked the dichotomies you put forward for that professional 2.0 to deal with i.e. balancing work/life, inside/outside orgs, online/offline etc.

I also couldn't agree more on the fact that organisations "only 'borrow' the reputation of the professional", though most orgs don't understand this (yet).

Along similar, or rather complementary lines, I also had a go at the knowledge worker of the future (well, of the present but that's the future for most companies)...
http://km4meu.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/portrait-of-the-modern-knowledge-worker/

Thank you and keep up the good work!

Joitske Hulsebosch said...

Hi Ewen, thanks interesting attitudes you mention like documenting on the spot. I will link to your post!