Since the middle of the 20th century, the world has been developing at a rapid pace. Factors such as various free trade agreements or the invention of the internet have significantly torpedoed the development of globalization. It has however also caused an unfair distribution of wealth, an increase in child labour and contributed significantly to climate change. However one may feel personally about globalization, one thing no one can deny is that at least our technology, and with it the technology enabled tools, have made a giant leap forward within its framework.
Or have they?
“Most people believe that globalization will determine our future. But the truth is that technology is much more important in this respect.”-Peter Thiel
In his book “Zero to One” Peter Thiel describes that the progress of technology is mainly limited to the IT area, while everything else around us has remained relatively the same. As coincidence would have it, I read this passage of the book on my smartphone, a device with which I would have been able to call my abroad living parents for free and in real time via video call, while sitting in the same bus that I also took to school 20 years ago. However, I still don’t think it’s accurate to say that technological progress is “limited” to the IT industry. After all, this IT industry is the reason for the technology enabled tools on which I will elaborate today. It is also the same IT industry that landed the Mars Rover on another planet, or enabled people like Greta Thunberg to initiate a global movement like “Fridays for Future”. In other words, I don’t believe technology is limited to IT, it is rather IT that makes technological progress possible.
In many ways, today’s technology has become an integral part of our lives from which we benefit on a daily basis. Companies, much like private individuals, also benefit from technology, and in some cases, may even depend on it. Being on top of new technology in your private life may be practical, but isn’t really necessary. As a company however, having an overview on what new technology enabled tools are available is more important. And this is due to the following reason:
Over the past two decades we have witnessed a shift from the model of “competitive evaluation” to the “coaching and development” model. This is how Josh Bersin explains it in this article.
The model of competitive evaluation involves ranking employees based on their performance, assigning them to a corresponding list and regularly dismissing and replacing those at the bottom of this ranking list. Competitive assessment fits well with an industrial work model, a model where management plays an important role and where the labor force, similar to a cog in the general machinery, is easy to replace.
The second model dissociates itself from the idea of “survival of the fittest”, promotes the support of all employees in the improved execution of their profession and the striving for a growth mentality of the company. In a world where more than 85% of market capitalization is made up of intellectual property, brands, services and software, the second model seems more fitting, also taking into account that employees are more relevant. Bersin even goes one step further in his train of thought and writes that managers today are mainly there to support their employees and not the other way around.