Often words or events I am part of set the theme for my next chapter.
Our last chapter was Connecting Creative Communities. My thesis, that the people and their communities have staying power, while technology does not, was the focus of my Keynote, "My next 50 years" at an extremely successful event, Controls-Con.
An incredible tour before the event provided by the "Detroit Ambassador Bruce" highlighted the amazing work Bedrock Detroit has done to date and their plans for the future. Bruce's excellent job of explaining how they are rebuilding the city got me thinking about the need for industry ambassadors.
What does it mean to be an ambassador? Brand ambassadors are simply people who represent and talk about your company in a positive way, preferably in front of lots of potential customers (i.e. their friends and family). A brand ambassador is someone who embodies the brand he or she is endorsing.
During the tour which demonstrated how the community of more than 100 companies (http://www.rockventures.com/) had generated feeling of fun and renewal, while painting a positive future for a city that had fallen on hard times. From their site:
The Rock Family of Companies’ mission is to increase growth, innovation and prosperity in the cities in which its more than 30,000 team members live, work and play. Key initiatives include real estate development, community investments and economic development.
Whether it is investing capital to create more jobs, bringing new life to a building, or activating a public space, our philosophy is simple, if we can do something that will affect positive change in these communities that matter so much to us, then we will do it.
Ambassador Bruce "a charismatic leader" provided entertainment and a demonstration of what it takes to Connect Creative Communities.
The thought that flashed in my head was that we need to create industry, company, and creative community ambassadors to explain how we are changing from drab and boring to new and exciting. Our future depends on it! The only way we can grow younger and more relevant is to attract new blood while building an amazing community.
Propagating our people power is our ongoing challenge. To grow our industry younger we need to get the message out that we are an exciting industry in which young folks can make a difference and offer them Job Crafting—the chance to write their own job description—and promote job flexibility to attract them. As first adopters, we tend to bear the brunt of the cost/education curve, but we are the ones that will eventually make the new technology affordable and accessible to all. We need to tell the world why they want to be part of our passion.
That term "Job Crafting" came from this interview with Stephanie Morrison, an Energy Efficiency Engineer with SES Consulting in the May issue of AutomatedBuildings.com: Job Crafting Unleashes New Engineering Talent
Eventually, a job came around that combined all of my passions and allowed me to work in an industry where I felt like I was truly making a difference.
As you can see above Stephanie is a talented engineer who draws on a range of skills in an interdisciplinary position that helps her to be very effective in her role. We feel that her skills of blending the soft, hard stuff, and people as a process in our industry are skills that resonate for some female engineers. Our industry needs this combination but mostly the people skills. This interview is a call to all young women and men to join our Global Automated Building industry and combine all of their passions to work in an industry where you will truly make a difference…
There are two ideas you are touching on that are pretty popular in organizational design / HR circles: job crafting and job flexibility. You're talking my language! These both help to drive more diverse, engaged workforces - which includes more women, but also more opportunities for men to balance personal, family and work obligations. I love that you're bringing this to your audience.
And more from the Engagement and Training section of the SES Consulting web site:
We love technology, but in the end it’s the people that work in and operate the building that determine how effective energy management strategies are over time.
SES works with our clients to bridge the gap between technological solutions and the people in your buildings.
From working with focus groups to design the best energy conservation measures, training operations staff to maintain savings, or designing a social marketing campaign to reduce plug load. SES’ occupant engagement and training services ensure that people are part of the solution; because sometimes the most cost-effective option is to turn off the light.
Here are a few more helpful links, the first from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business:
What is Job crafting? It captures the active changes employees make to their own job designs in ways that can bring about numerous positive outcomes, including engagement, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving. This briefing introduces the core ideas of job crafting theory for management students by defining it, describing why it is important, summarizing key research findings, and exploring what it means for employees, managers, and organizations.
And this from HeadsUp.org, the voice of the Australian Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, Job Flexibility is a Game Changer:
The increasing trend towards more flexible employment options has proven to be a great way to support staff and create mentally healthy working environments.
Flexible work arrangements are all about finding new ways of working that better fit into employees’ day-to-day life. More and more we are seeing that flexibility can increase productivity, motivate staff, reduce levels of sick leave and increase staff retention. Businesses not only enjoy an increase in staff morale, but the cost benefits of a more efficient workforce and less office space required.
It can also help attract potential employees to the business with 80 and 88 percent of workers in a 2017 survey choosing working from home and flexible working hours respectively, as their most wanted perks when searching for a new job.
Types of flexible working can include:
- working from home or somewhere more convenient instead of the office or work site
- changing start or finish times to accommodate personal commitments
- working longer days to provide for a shorter working week
- job sharing
- working part-time after returning to work from an extended leave (e.g. maternity leave)
- taking leave without pay.
This article from Brookings by Mark Muro, Robert Maxim and Jacob Whiton provides some big-picture insight:
'At first, technologists issued dystopian alarms about the power of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to destroy jobs. Then came a correction, with a wave of reassurances. Now, the discourse appears to be arriving at a more complicated understanding, suggesting that automation will bring neither apocalypse nor utopia, but instead both benefits and stress alike. Such is the ambiguous and sometimes disembodied nature of the “future of work” discussion.
Promote your companies and our industry by creating your own ambassadors. Send these digitally native, digitally augmented, dynamic folks out into the world. Better yet, invite the world into your community to explain your exciting opportunities and have them join your communities of practice.
Just back from Connecting Creative Communities @ Cochrane's Control-Con Now I am off to Haystack Connect, my favorite example of a connected community in so many ways.
And for those of you who can’t get enough of Control-Con, here’s a quick summary of the event: