Your opinion counts no matter your age or background because you are unique. It’s something we will always have over the AI. No one on the planet has exactly the same knowledge, experience, education, background and personality as you. Isn’t that amazing! So it’s on each individual to find and translate their uniqueness and on each business to actively enrich their teams by encouraging individual expression. If we can all do that then we are truly valuing what it means to be human and we all win.
I’m the first to admit that the Alexa device has come a long way. She’s great. Very helpful, organised, precise and occasionally even funny. What she isn’t though, is opinionated. Try asking Alexa what she thinks of loyalty schemes to drive sales or how to improve efficiency in a sales order process and you’ll generally get back an answer similar to “I don’t have any information on that”.
It is true that AI is driving huge improvements to the way we work, the quality of the goods we buy and services we receive. It is also true that in some areas, technology has replaced jobs. Rather than get annoyed about the march, or sprint, of progress, let’s focus on the bits that humans are better at: emotional intelligence, creating ideas, innovative thinking, creative problem solving, connecting with other people and empathising and generally having an opinion. At the moment at least, this is an area where we excel as humans and the businesses which have realised this are doing things differently and reaping the rewards – they are recognising the value of human uniqueness.
As an individual, your precise contribution to a business cannot be recreated by anyone else. Your uniqueness is your main selling point. No one on the planet has exactly the same knowledge, experience, education, background and personality as you. No one. Just you. Isn’t that amazing! This means that no one will have the same ideas as you. No one will process information in the same way as you. No one will see the same opportunities or gaps as you. The challenge is to find organisations which need your specific style of uniqueness and which will value you, just because you’re you and having you in the team gives that business an advantage over its competitors. When you feel valued, your productivity and creativity increase and you feel happier – that’s a clear win!
So how do you access and use this intangible thing to the benefit of you and the company? This is something that we focus on in our mentoring programmes because it is so critical to having a successful and happy career. In essence, you make it tangible.
By having a deep understanding of yourself, you can cherry-pick the parts of your uniqueness are the most useful for a business. It also means being able to access this well of information and skill at work and produce the goods when needed. Being able to articulate why you are unique, how you can contribute to a business and why your opinions matter will make you driven, confident, engaged and resilient.
I’m not just talking about your unique strengths, but the unique weaknesses too. It is just as powerful to be aware of your weaknesses as your strengths and this brings with it an empathy and natural willingness to work within a team, as everyone can cover each other’s gaps. We can never know everything, but as a team, we’ll know more! Businesses don’t need another Alexa who is full of facts and can create a shopping list at the drop of a hat, in this hyper-competitive world of constant change they need resilient, imaginative, confident employees who can drive forward a company that they believe in.
As a business, it’s survival of the fittest. Adapt or die. It’s not enough to be good at what you do, you need to be either the best or different. For this you need to appreciate how each unique individual in your workforce can play their part. Within smaller businesses it is often easier to hear the voice of the individual than in large, siloed organisations, but it’s the large businesses which need this input more than ever. We’ve seen over the last few years the industry giants who have fallen because they weren’t listening hard enough or reacting quick enough, to their employees or customers.
The aim is to have a culture which encourages and values the uniqueness in everyone and doesn’t let hierarchy dictate contribution. This means encouraging diversity of thought and opinions, allowing people to run with ideas, letting all the voices in the room speak and demanding tolerance, respect and emotional intelligence at all levels. As the Harvard Business Review puts it “non homogenous teams are smarter!”
There also should be an intention when it comes to recruitment to understand how the uniqueness of a person could add a different dimension to the business. Instead of just looking for someone who is a qualified accountant, have a purpose to enrich and challenge existing teams.
So your opinion counts no matter your age or background because Alexa can’t replace that side of you. It’s on each individual to find and translate their uniqueness and on each business to actively enrich their teams by encouraging individual expression. If we can all do that then we are truly valuing what it means to be human and we all win.
If you’re interested in how we work with people to help them understand how to use their uniqueness to benefit themselves and the businesses they work in, then drop us a line.