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#31 Hyper learning in the digital age with Edward Hess
Episode 3128th June 2021 • Let's talk Transformation... • Suzie Lewis
00:00:00 00:45:40

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“We all need to manage our emotions and climb over the 2 biggest inhibitors of learning : ego and fear”

A rich, fun and inspiring conversation with Ed where we discuss hyper-learning and how humans can stay relevant in today’s interconnected workplaces.  

The digital age will not tolerate a lack of emotion, and as technology and AI will be ubiquitous, so the performance of humans (and their emotions) will be the differentiator. We must develop skills to add this value that technology cannot: thinking differently, creatively, imaginatively and critically, exploring, discovering and making moral judgements. Ed and I explore the need to replace the existing compare and compete with one of care & collaboration. All leaders need to have self-mastery of their inner peace to enable meaningful conversations and allow collective intelligence & flow to impact both the business and the people results. 

Ed shares his wealth of knowledge, experience, research and insights with us, particularly on hyper learning and how leaders all over the globe can master inner peace and collectively humanise the workplace.

The main insights you'll get from this episode are:

  • Hyper learning is about adapting to the speed of change with high-quality and consistent learning, unlearning and relearning. Technology is creating new knowledge increasingly quickly and humans must (try to!) keep up. It will change how we live and work and will require us to constantly update, presenting a major learning challenge.
  • We must keep pace with digital change by embracing a new and different type of workplace to encourage learning by adding an emotional layer to organisational culture. We must develop skills to add the value that technology cannot: thinking differently, creatively, imaginatively and critically, exploring, discovering and making moral judgements.
  • In the near future, our USP will be the ability to emotionally connect with other human beings and channel positive emotions to enable learning. Some jobs will remain human, such as those that involve problem-solving and hands-on dexterity, but automation will ultimately affect every profession.
  • Leaders must believe and commit to cultural, behavioural and process change by giving a compelling answer to the question of ‘why?’. Digital transformation requires people transformation and leaders must role model new behaviours accordingly, such as mastery of self. 
  • To excel in the digital age means improving our ability to learn and collaborate. Teamwork is essential and a competitive workplace must become a trusting and caring workplace. The top strategic differentiator in the digital age will be the quality of conversations in the digital workplace to optimise the collective intelligence of the group. 
  • We are suboptimal learners and efficient thinkers who seek confirmation of what we believe. Instead, we should be open to the world, look for disconfirming information, defer judgement, ask questions, seek to understand each other and step away from our conscious minds to spark emergent thinking that can have transformative results. 
  • The move from ego to eco, from individual to collective is a lifelong learning journey. The notion of compare and compete must be replaced with one of collaboration, whereby we work towards an idea meritocracy that showcases human dignity and respect with no intentional harm or humiliation. 
  • Humanising the workplace involves collective flow and opens a gateway to the highest levels of creative and critical thinking. People must invest at an individual level: listen effectively, manage their emotions and remain openminded. Flow by definition is full immersion, and so collective flow is even more powerful. 
  • Scientific research on collective intelligence shows that the most effective collaborative teams are all-female, hopefully motivating men to change their behaviour. The digital age will not tolerate a lack of emotion, and as technology and AI will be ubiquitous, so the performance of humans (and their emotions) will be the differentiator.  
  • COVID brought emotions into the workplace but this is sadly counteracted by ‘shecession’. So how can emotional literacy be maintained in the workplace? A diverse workforce and leadership and HR functions that deal proactively with human emotions will see the development of humans alongside that of the core business.
  • There should be agreement on collective behaviour and treatment, metrics for behaviour, rigorous rules of engagement on behaviour, and a shift in mentality and culture. Female CEOs are predicted to dominate in future so humanising the workplace is essential for survival.
  • A learning culture is based on humility, awareness, otherness, communication, and engagement with others – which all require psychological safety. Tangible results take time and the process is ongoing, but it benefits business and improves interpersonal relationships across the board.
  • Leaders must consider expert predictions and ask themselves: what is my duty to this organisation? To the world? To society? To our customers? Am I creating the right story? Am I looking after the health of the business and our employees? In short: we must ‘be’ human, not ‘do’ human.