The Human Factor:
A New Era of Relationships

Human Factor

Human interactions rule our lives. Our social skills may be even more valuable than we realize. In a world where technological advances increasingly provide solutions and perform jobs, our social skills can increase or diminish our value at work.

But most of us—professionals, employees and managers alike—undervalue our social skills. This is not an option in an era of dwindling job opportunities.

“When people in an organization develop a shared and intuitive vibe for what’s going on in the world, they’re able to see new opportunities faster than their competitors, long before that information becomes explicit enough to read about in the Wall Street Journal. They have the courage of their convictions to take a risk on something new.” –Dev Patnaik, Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy (FT Press, 2009)

The term “Information Age” insufficiently captures our future professional landscape. We face unprecedented data streams, vast knowledge networks and unknown problems.

Success hinges on how well we can work in groups. CEOs recognize that teams are more productive, creative and valuable than individual workers—as long as team members work cohesively, using their finely honed social intelligence.

There’s a growing demand for relationship workers: people who are socially astute, no matter the field.

Most of us assume our jobs cannot be taken over by a computer, but history and technological advances prove us wrong. There are few skills computers cannot eventually acquire. Computing power doubles every two years, so more tasks can—and will—be handled by sophisticated algorithms, notes Fortune Magazine Senior Editor Geoff Colvin in Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will (Portfolio, 2015).

This article explores the human factor in this new era of relationships, where social skills and face-to-face interaction increase our value at work.

This is a brief synopsis of a 1,700-word and a 900-word article and 5 Article Nuggets*, suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete article includes these important concepts:

  • The critical need for teams
  • What we don’t want computers to do
  • Priority skills for the future
  • The new relationship era
  • How technology is changing us
  • Nothing beats face-to-face contact
  • Our most crucial human skill
  • Measuring sociability in teams
  • Social signals


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