Why is the biggest opponents of automation and process optimization those who think they know the most, even though they in fact know the least? I have worked with process optimization for more than 30 years and I’ve often encountered statements like: “we don’t do that around here”, “it takes no time” and “doing it manually is just as easy”. Progress and development links to changes – and it’s not as dangerous as many believe.
Too many negative preconceptions
There are many negative preconceptions, misunderstandings and unnecessary fears about what optimization of processes entails for the individual employee. Take a look at finance departments, a field I work a lot with. It’s actually very rare that I’ve experienced layoffs in connection with optimizing processes. On the contrary, the resources can be redistributed to more value-creating tasks which can lead to a more progressive finance department.
The new opportunities
Through new opportunities like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, we will focus even more on process optimization in the future. We will also experience more people who “fear” new initiatives and the entry of new technologies. Fact is, that companies are forced to embrace these opportunities and the changes that come along to remain market-driven, competitive and more important, to be able to survive. As I put it; “change is the only thing that’s certain”.
The human nature
Many other people speak about new technologies together with change. However, it is too often that the positive angles are omitted when it comes to demount the fear of change. Some say that humans are creatures of habits and thus are difficult to move. But reality is that the human species is extremely adaptable – for some people, this is just hard to realize and understand. Think about the human history and evolution and all the big changes our environment has undergone – we are still here, and we carry a truly special ability to adapt.
The good news
To all of you, who doesn’t feel comfortable with changes, you can expect that your job is going to change in the future. But the good news is that you will be fine, so don’t worry. That said, it’s of course important that we inform, anchor and create an understanding about the optimizations we create with technology. This is done through dialogue and training. To change perceptions, you must learn to appreciate what you don’t understand. Then it becomes easier to let the fear of the future go.