#NewWayToWork Master Class: Euan Semple on the Value of People

On Euan Semple’s website, he states that his mission is to “help organizations, and more importantly the people in them…” and that clause—to emphasize that organizations are made up of people—is crucial to his ethos.Euan Semple New Way To Work

This dedication to teaching brands that people respond to people, not to organizations, is exactly why we invited him to take part in the influencer event we held in London in November in partnership with the IBM #NewWayToWork initiative. #NewWayToWork explores how the workplace is evolving in the face of collaborative technologies, and this event specifically highlighted influencers in the UK and Ireland. We hosted an exclusive handful of digital thought leaders to discuss innovations, challenges, and next steps.

And while Semple couldn’t be with us in person at the event, he kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions about how the way we work is changing, and fast.

Better Tools, Better Conversations

Unsurprisingly, when asked what the single biggest change technology has had on the modern workplace, Semple pointed to the way social tools have enhanced face-to-face networks.

“The power and easy of use of our mobile tools, combined with our increasing confidence at using online networks, have shifted the balance of power in terms of work technologies,” Semple says.

He believes that if these mobile and social tools are used appropriately in the workplace, it can both make the way we communicate richer as well as easily allow us to have the conversations organizations should be having. The influx of technology in the workplace will, “increase our ability to spend more of the time having productive conversations with interesting people.”

Semple’s book, Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do: A Manager’s Guide to the Social Web, is focused on helping businesses understand how to approach and adopt social tools, because, in the words of his TEDx talk, the “power of the Internet” is that it has given us the ability to “take back our storytelling.” And good storytelling that faces the customer comes from authentic conversation in the workplace. According to Semple, owning these “ubiquitous tools” will only empower that marketing necessity.

Changes in the Workplace? Don’t Worry: Have a Conversation

For Semple, the question isn’t when the social business transition is coming, but why the C-Suite might choose to ignore it.

“It is happening anyway,” he says. “It is happening around them, it is happening to them. Increasingly, the challenge is to come up with good reasons why not to become involved.”

And if our workplace is transitioning fast, what will employees need to know and have in order to succeed?

“Being more willing to share what you think will be key skills,” Semple says, once again pointing out that internal communication and collaboration is essential for the success of a social business.

“As more of the workplace becomes automated, the way to add value will be to contribute insight and experience,” he continues.

As with any transition, there is likely to be a hiccup or two along the way. As organizations see obstacles, Semple says the only way to deal with it is to change the story.

“We are stuck in an old mentality that is ill-suited to our current challenges. Rigid hierarchies, slow-moving communications methods, and a general fear of taking responsibility…mean that we are going numb in the face of change,” says Semple.

If changing the attitude completely makes you nervous, think about it the way Semple approaches his consulting: start with a conversation, and consider the humanity behind any action. In the workplace, it’s not any different. Employees are now more able to communicate in a huge variety of ways than ever before, so any transition should start with authentic communication.

Are you ready to embrace the future of work? Tools like IBM Verse can help. Guided by powerful analytics to help you prioritize the people and projects you need to focus on, this new enterprise email and collaboration solution from IBM will help free your employees up to focus on what they do best. Learn more at www.ibm.com/Verse

And to read more influencer insights about the future of work, visit IBM.com/FutureofWork or follow #NewWayToWork on Twitter. We’d love to know how you think work is changing in the UK and Ireland as well as the rest of the world.

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