Working Smarter

On May 10, 2010, in Editorial Advisory Board, HRExaminer, Jay Cross, by Jay Cross

Jay Cross | Founding Member, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board

Jay Cross | Founding Member, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board

Jay Cross is a champion of informal learning, web 2.0, and systems thinking. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix. Full Bio

Do you remember the first time a boss implored you to work smarter and not harder? Unfortunately, the next thing you heard was probably something akin to “know what I mean?”.

No, as a matter of fact we don’t always know what working smarter means.

Jay’s new un-book Working Smarter (available in on-demand paperback or PDF download) examines how to boost an organization’s collective brainpower. You’ll find an excerpt of his book below that might strike a chord with you in the ongoing conversation that we’re having here at on the effective and perceived value of HR.

Cross mashes up his considerable experience in training, business consulting and web 2.0 thinking to put forth a straight forward book designed for managers who want a natural way to improve performance – without the typical management consulting crapola. When Cross does delve into charts, models and mind maps you can rest assured he does so with an aim to clarify, not to earn his business book writing chops. While I’m not done with the book yet I will say what stands out to me so far; Cross does a nice job of balancing the theoretical with the practical – and that’s really useful to us as people who want fresh ideas we can use to improve our team’s results.

I hope you try the book – I’m finding it a worthwhile investment of time. Don’t forget that you can buy the online copy, save some money, kill one less tree and convert the PDF into an online book reader for your iPhone, Android phone and many others.

Julian Seery Gude, HRExaminer Collaborator and Editorial Advisory Board Member.

Book Excerpt…

Picture this Meeting between VP of HR and the CEO:

“Next week, we will close the training department. We are shifting our focus from training to performance. Any remaining training staff will become mentors, coaches and facilitators who work on improving core business processes, strengthening relationships with customers and cutting costs.

“I’m changing my title from VP of training to VP of core capabilities. My assistants will become the director of sales readiness and the director of competitive advantage, respectively. The measure of our contributions will be results, not training measures. We’re scrapping the LMS posthaste. Wherever possible, we’re replacing proprietary software with open source.

Working Smarter, Jay Cross. Click on image to buy

Working Smarter, Jay Cross. Click on image to buy

“All of our energies will go into peer-to-peer, self-service learning. If something doesn’t dramatically improve the capabilities of our people, we won’t do it. We are scrapping lengthy program development projects in favor of quick-and-dirty rapid development. We are abandoning classrooms.

“We are eliminating all travel and helping others do the same by introducing Skype and free real-time conferencing. We’re setting up a corporate FAQ on a wiki to capture and distribute the information we once received from people who are no longer with us. In this and all of our efforts, we intend to work smarter, not lower our standards or quality of service.

“Recognizing that informed customers make better customers, we are opening up most of our platforms for learning to them, as well as our employees and former employees. To the extent that we help them cut costs, improve performance and implement better methods, we both win.

“Everything has a price tag. When we wring out costs, I want commitment from senior management to allocate time for people to help one another, exploit the benefits of social networks and converse with one another freely. This is a multiyear program. It will not work if we try to implement it while still doing business as usual. Burning people out is not a survival strategy.

“That is my plan for this week. If I have your support, I’ll be happy to come back with a few more things next week.”

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