In the push for AI, machine learning, and all that progressive jazz, business still needs and will continue to need, people.  Flesh + bone, thinking + feeling.  People.  For the stuff that AI wont be doing – the collaboration, connection, relationship, energy, creativity that comes from engaged human hearts and minds.  After all, organisations are typically serving other humans.

Over time, organisations have essentially asked their people to leave their trickier-to-manage human qualities at home, with the rest of their baggage.  It’s a quiet, unspoken request – a request nonetheless.  We just want their experience and their skill, to do the job that needs doing.


“There is no place for love and compassion here, my friend.  We are a serious business.”


People are being reduced to the ‘capital’ their cv indicates they’re worth.

Problem is, humanity comes as an interconnected, inseparable bundle of ‘stuff’…


Humanity: the qualities that make us human, such as the ability to love and have compassion, be creative, and not be a robot or alien.


… and nobody actually leaves their humanness behind.

It comes with.  It messes with.  If supressed and ignored, it damages performance – dulls it down.

It undermines best work efforts, experience and application of skill.  It noodles with collaboration efforts, it creates more blocks than you had, it stuffs your strategy (“what strategy?!”).

It seeks purpose… yet it’s not allowed to seek purpose, because that just slows things down.

It seeks connection… but that’s the ‘soft stuff’ – just do your job!

It yearns for creative outlet… but no-one’s allowed to stop and say so. We’re way too busy for that.

So, the thing we need most, the differentiating ‘humanness’ of people, gets squeezed out, warped, misdirected, conflicted, diminished, dampened, ignored.  Walk into any business for the first time and you’ll know exactly how much humanity is encouraged to thrive, from your interaction at reception.


But dealing with the whole human is messy, and hard

That, it is.

Even harder if we pretend humans haven’t walked in the door with their whole humanity kit.

But what if we acknowledge the whole human, and encouraged the messy application of humanness?

Great humanness might look like energy, imagination, courage, collaboration, purpose, experimentation, integrity, clarity, alignment, passion, resilience, wit, emotional balance … backed up by skill.

Harnessed, it can lead to joy, innovation, high quality relationships, productivity, cross-team collaboration, high performance, simplifying of systems and process, reduced turnover, reduced absenteeism, and the regular appearance of magic.  Not to mention, actual achievement of strategy (that thing that every organisation is frustrated by).

Not the domain of your typical robot.

So, we get our humanity thriving, with skill and courage, and we streamline the process parts that AI can churn through more efficiently – then hand them over to those increasingly intelligent machines.

Since the way that humans work – with, around or even without AI – is the strongest determinant of your business success, wouldn’t it make sense to ensure you’re getting everything humanity can bring?

Author: Nicola Deakin