Serial masteryLynda 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 learningHans 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 brandingOnline 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 2.0What 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