Simultaneous socio-economic, technological, and cultural shifts are the current work context. Leaders of change have been looking for hands-on solutions to master these challenges. The diversity of customers, markets, solutions, and talent – all around us – requires an appropriate approach towards people and organisation development to reflect the fast dynamics of these simultaneous shifts.
Shaping the 'future of work'
Personality-based approaches, commonly accepted in people and organisation development over the last few decades, need updating. To master the challenges of the future of work, for example, shifting from the traditional functional hierarchy to a “network of teams”, leaders are required to consider innovative approaches that allow talent to recognise their full potential to build an engaged, motivated and accountable workforce.
In brief, we need to change the paradigm in people and organisation development – We need to move from personality to identity. The key differences between identity and personality are:
Personality does not indicate the interaction between individuals, teams, and organisations. Despite the focus on interaction in the diversity age, personality-based tools such as MBTI™ are still widely in use. Equally, most analytics tools are based on personality concepts.
Personality describes our enduring personal characteristics as individuals, assuming that our personalities do not change over time. Personality concepts, e.g. the big five, openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism still have and might have a place in people development as indicator of talents’ expected performance.
Nonetheless, we do not act in isolation. Personality concepts developed in the pre-digital, pre-GFC days, characterised by stability and clearly defined boundaries no longer satisfy today’s talent needs.
Clearly, in the digital era interaction is key and as such the identity approach helps.
Today’s connected workforce works in fast-shifting contexts. Talent needs recognition beyond the official business face – namely, recognition of their whole selves.
For example, when going to dinner, one’s identity as a vegetarian may be more crucial than one’s identity as a quantum physicist.
Cyber identity versus Physical Identity
The cyberspace is a culture of its own: people behave differently. In the cyberspace both the tangible and the intangible identities become cyberIdentities. Clearly, on social media profiles the tangible elements such as Gender or Ethnicity can be camouflaged by the use of an avatar. Nonetheless, in virtual meetings (conference calls) people hear your voice which might convey your age and gender. Your accent may give clues as to your origins.
The importance and visibility in the physical space of some of the elements converse in the cyberspace. For example, the ways you express professionalism differs strongly in virtual work: reliability, responsiveness, keeping promises outweighs appearance as in dress code and style.
Exploring Identity through a Tool
Identity is covered through the cyberIdentity Development Tool (cyberIDT™), an online instrument that helps individuals and teams understand their own identity map and its implications for relationship building efforts in cross-boundary work.
For success in business, leaders learn the difference between personality and identity in three key areas:
For more information on identity and its tool, the cyberIDT Contact Us
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Digital transformation strategist | Privacy advisor | Cyber anthropologist | Author