From repetitive tasks to discreet projects

Work is forever changing.

The essence of the change is that a person’s work is irreversibly transitioning from repetitive tasks to discreet projects.

Many jobs now and in years past required the worker to show up and repeat one task or a set of tasks throughout the day. Think about motor vehicle factory line workers. Think about bank tellers. Think about call centers attendants. Task-based work won’t ever completely disappear, but technology is “helping” us out. And, it turns out that technology can do repetitive tasks way better than we can. Fewer mistakes, less cost, doesn’t get carpal tunnel.

The arc is that better technology will continue to nibble away at repetitive tasks until they are mostly ancillary to what people do for money.

Technological change doesn’t mean we hit the couch and call it a day, though. Instead, how we add value will change. 

Repetitive tasks will be handled by the bots, and our job will be something else. A step above. Connecting the dots. Maintaining relationships. Implementing new ideas.

Leaders need to smell the coffee on this one. Smelling the coffee means reevaluating the work of our teams. Yes, near term stuff still needs to get done, biz as usual. But how can we start setting them up for success in the new world of work?

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on December 12, 2019

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