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Human to Human

Cognizant say “In short, we are looking at a future where systems and applications will accelerate our intelligence, innovation and creativity by freeing up a large amount of our cognitive load. Enterprise adoption of cognitive technologies can accelerate the growth of your organization’s business value and also its business benefit for the future”. It’s augmentation as opposed to replacement.

How often do we hear that ‘human elements have been forgotten, in the pressure to get the technical bits right, and in that regard we have been pushed by the client’, leading to a lack of community, common shared vision and purpose? Some designs and executions lack leadership, communication and motivation contributing to project failure, by not starting with the person at the center of the process.

It is about recognizing the human dimension and knowing how to create a personal effect that directly deals with that which makes people feel ‘special’ in work and projects. It is about being treated on a personal level because that facilitates the seeking of meaning in life and work. And, being treated so and finding meaning in life is apparently no less important than fair pay as revealed in a report by Gefen, Shah, and Ragowsky /It Is All Personal (2014, p. 9) [i].

imageAnother reason to consider the significance of human to human development, is that without it, people feel they don’t have a voice and as a result may stay silent, as the attached report highlights in “more than half of workers staying silent about mental health issues“. Projects may also fall in to the natural tendency towards “disorder”, particularly in projects that lack proper project management (Graham, 1989, p. 25)[ii]. Six elements attempt to explain these natural tendencies of project failure and have been identified as:

  1. Sufficient assets are not allocated and there is not enough time.
  2. The schedule, if there is one, starts to slip one day at a time.
  3. The project manager suddenly realizes the slip and seeks a culprit.
  4. People from various departments start to accuse people from other departments of delaying the project. More time is wasted in finger pointing.
  5. To make up time the project manager decides to crash the project by applying more assets to all activities that are currently being performed.
  6. Everyone scrambles to crash his job and people are infuriated to find that they are either, further behind or finished and their part is not yet needed. Interest wanes as people chafe under the new delays. The project is over budget due to all the crashing and the whole thing is either on time but shoddy, well done but late, both shoddy and late or abandoned.

Program and project execution is about human-to-human interaction where people, not processes, create emotional experiences. Experiences are different from interactions, in that they contain values to be discovered. Experiences are the vehicle in which values are perceived and created. These values when added to beliefs form ones assumptions. Not only do assumptions dictate how we attend to the environment we work in, therefore determining what we find, but they can result in leaving a lasting emotional impression that can be the difference between choosing a positive or negative attitude towards a task, person or circumstance.

We know that a common shared vision and a shared sense of purpose is important for teams to achieve successful outcomes, but is the process built around ones primary, intrinsic motivation or re herring motivations?

Let’s take nursing as an example. How does a nurse assist a person to find meaning in suffering, meaning in the experiences of illness and pain – meanings that can be used as life-enhancing? Firstly she must believe illness and suffering can be life enhancing by providing opportunities for growth and deeper maturity. To assist persons to perceive meaning in illness presupposes that the nurse is able to establish a human-to-human, not a nurse-patient relationship. The nurse deliberately acts in such a way as to be perceived as a human being who happens to be a nurse while perceiving the ill person as a human being who happens to be a patient, however, the word ‘patient’ and its connotations are stereotypes that interfere with human-to-human relationships.

If we transfer this thinking to commercial projects today, we are also challenged with directing peoples attention to their resources of the human dimension, those innate resources within, that unblock ones personal power for commitment, as opposed to ones positional power for compliance.

We all have a choice in how to behave, but when we react we can feel like a prisoner to our heredity. That is understandable as there is no freedom at the level of the instincts. We have to learn to respond, buy a bit of time and create some space between our instincts and our responding. This space, time or gap is hard to find when working in projects that are immersed within the pressures of the fourth industrial revolution. We expect and are expected to react to all social stimulation immediately. However, there is a serious trade off to this demand quality.

For human to human development, the purpose of training is to make learning possible. Human beings do not go to music or language ‘training’, they go to learn how to play the piano, guitar, Spanish or German . The same can be said for sports, where we don’t ‘go to learning’ on a weekday night, we go to training to learn how to build on our existing knowledge and skills. That is why we offer learning and development as opposed to training and development, where self discovery processes take place as opposed to being taught. We do not teach, rather facilitate our clients to learn by building on their existing knowledge to discover new ways of being, thinking and doing.

[i] David Gefen, Samir Shah, and Arik Ragowsky, 2014, “IT IS ALL PERSONAL: DEALING WITH THE REVOLVING DOOR IN THE INDIAN HIGH TECH INDUSTRY”, Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel, June 9-11, 2014, ISBN 978-0-9915567-0-0.

[ii] Graham, Robert. Project Management as if People Mattered, USA, Primavera Press, 1989.


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