When we decide to digitalise our processes, we tend to forget to ask how ‘human’ we need the result to be. Often digitalising processes involves standardisation. Standard words, standard definitions, standard process. This makes the ‘system’ work. We tell ourselves it drives efficiency.
And it does. If the desired end result is the same widget every time. But we do this with people too. HR systems in organisations, admissions systems in schools. And people know this. So it becomes a game – who can figure out the right words and phrases to use so the digital system accepts them. So the people that get through are all very similar, almost robot like.
When we apply thinking that looks at organisations as assembly lines, everyone becomes a cog in the process. And cogs are quite replaceable. By other people, but also by robots.
Here’s the thing. Most organisations have parts of it that are like assembly lines, but also parts that aren’t and never should be. Knowing the difference and treating them differently is critical for success.