Welcome to another edition of #3NoMoreThan5 in 5! And todays theme: Workplace surveillance. I was listening to the August 24th edition of the New York Times The Daily podcast. I don’t know how many of you listen to podcasts or that one in particular, but it definitely got my attention! 

I guess I’ve always know that there was some sort of surveillance that goes on out there. We always talk about how Siri and Alexa listen to us; we need to be careful about what we say before they record it and it comes back to haunt us. I’ve also been aware of how Amazon for example can measure how many boxes the warehouse employees touch, how long they were at their workstation, how much time they spend away from their workstation. All of those things I get! The tactical components of what you do, sure! There are ways to gather that data, measure that data, and perhaps show a level of productivity. 

But what about my managers? My supervisors? My executives? My leaders? Who I would hope, with my HR hat on, are spending a significant amount of time doing thought work. Talking to their people about what they need, developing and educating folks, so they can move forward. Understanding client concerns and account preferences— can those things be measured in the same way as tactical components? Like the number of emails you delete or respond to? The number of documents you upload into a server? Can thoughtful work be measured in the same way as tactical work? So what does it mean to those of us in business who are in those managerial or supervisor roles? What does it mean to those who do the tactical work because we do have that and that is important in contributing the wheels of the bus moving. What do we need to think about? 

So in the spirit of #3NoMoreThan5 in 5, for those individual contributors out there, I would recommend:

  1. How much of your work is tactical? Can it be automated? And if there’s a good amount of it that can be done by a machine, what are you doing to elevate yourself into doing more thought work that perhaps won’t be automated in the near future? 
  2. If you’re a manager or a leader, how are you showing results for the conversations and the work that you are doing that doesn’t necessarily fall into that tactical / click-of-a-button type of work that can show up on your computer screen. 
  3. What can we all do to be better at looking at the big picture, brining together the pieces of the puzzle, so we can offer holistic, thought through solutions for the business. Because I wonder, if you can measure tactical things, and if at the moment you’re not able to measure through software these thought work type things, then maybe we continue to bring value as humans into the workplace. 

We talk about how machines are taking over the world, and we’ve probably all seen Terminator, so we know SkyNet is evil. But for today, for now, how much of your work is tactical? Can you evolve beyond it? What can you do to show value in the work that is about thought, relationship and conversations. How can you continue to elevate big picture thinking and bringing thoughtful solutions to your leaders and your enterprise. I ask you to think on that because surveillance is probably here to stay, but the things we can offer as humans, priceless! 

Until next time! Cheers!

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