Monthly Archives: September 2015

Ideal employee

graduationSome years ago during a visit to South Korea, I listened to a speech by an Executive Vice-President of KEPCO, the Korea Electric Power Corporation.  He talked about the need to blend the desire of consumers who want to buy cheaper goods in a clean environment with the will of a company to make more money and to do this in the context of the world running in a ‘green race’ for survival.  He identified their employees as his company’s most valuable asset and went on to describe the ideal employee as having three key attributes:

A team player – cooperative and capable of growing together with their colleagues

A creativity-driven professional – flexible and globally competitive

A passionate executor – innovative and able to make things happen

He did not list these attributes in any order of importance but gave them equal weighting as nodes on a circle around which the ideal employee could move effortlessly.  Of course I am biased but this description sounds like an engineer!

If you are just starting a new course of education then perhaps these are the qualities that you should aim to acquire or cultivate.

If you are an employer and are lucky enough to hire one or even a group of these ‘ideal employees’ then your problems as a manager may only just be beginning.  They are likely to be what is known as ‘knowledge workers’ who will share certain characteristics, including being highly educated or experienced, hate being told what to do and reluctant to share knowledge with their managers.  So many employers resort to HSPALTA: Hire Smart People And Leave Them Alone.

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Hype cycle

gartner_hype_cycle_2005It is easy to become cynical about the latest innovation and the claims for its future success.  The tendency becomes worse with age and the feeling that you’ve seen it all before.  The IT consultancy firm, Gartner Inc. have invented a graph to describe the cycle of enthusiam, despondency and maybe ultimate productivity of new inventions.  They call it the hype curve.  For most new ideas the plateau of productivity is 5 to 10 years after the peak of inflated expectations and separated from it by a deep trough of disillusionment.

Gartner Inc publish an annual analysis of the status of new technology in the form of a single hype curve.  It’s interesting to see what’s in the trough [cloud computing, mobile health monitoring] and what’s on or near the peak of inflated expectations [consumable 3D printing and autonomous vehicles] today.  You might have noticed from your smart phone that speech recognition has just reached the plateau of productivity.  The thumb-nail shows a historic hype curve for ten years ago.