In his latest article, Sam Lessin lays out the key themes that matter for the future of work and his prediction is a work paradigm vastly different from the one which birthed managers in today’s corporate world. After reading his forecast, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Am I prepared for this next wave?” In this article, we will distill Sam’s argument into three main areas and then explore how Manager RemoteU equips students to excel as managers in this new world.
Sam aptly points out that while AI has garnered most of the Silicon Valley chatter, it’s really “near in technology”, technologies that have already arrived or will be available soon, that are proving to disrupt the nature of our work the most. These changes are categorized at the highest level by Sam as classically manufacturing frameworks that now apply to knowledge work. He puts it this way: “A handful of fundamental technological shifts will disrupt the nature of work. Interestingly, most can be understood as extending frameworks and ideas that were historically applied to manufacturing, but now can be applied to knowledge work.”
Drilling down, Sam walks his audience through the next major shift: things that used to be hard to measure are now measurable. “...It has historically been extremely hard to measure complicated knowledge work. That is shifting rapidly.” Gong and Chorus are two specific sales apps he mentions that collect and intelligently process large amounts of data to extract insights. Sales calls, which are complex and nuanced in their nature, used to be mysterious, artisanal, and opaque. With Gong and Chorus, sales calls are now specific units with measurable qualities like customer vs. rep talk time, number of questions asked, and longest customer dialogue, etc.
With this measurement power, Sam argues that managers can improve knowledge work with coaching. “Once work goes from a series of abstract boxes to a measured process that can be optimized…. you can measure everyone’s process, it becomes possible to figure out the best process and then coach and standardize team practice around that.” A forward-thinking manager can now close more deals because they can show their reps how to optimize the way they connect with customers on the phone.
Our school agrees strongly with Sam and we have intentionally built RemoteU to equip managers to excel in this new work paradigm. Firstly, we teach managers how to apply manufacturing frameworks to management. The best factory systems in the world - the Toyota Production System as the shining example - run on standard inputs, documented processes, and quality checks. RemoteU teaches managers, regardless of function, to design and run their teams with the same qualities. Since we teach managers by having them manage a real team, you will have spent four weeks running a real team as a factory by the time you graduate.
As a student in RemoteU, you will learn how to measure the (previously) unmeasurable. If you are a support manager, you will be given the opportunity to carefully observe agents providing solutions to the customers as you record and document the sequence and length of each step. Then, you will solve customer issues yourself to contrast the solution, sequence of steps, and length to generate improvement insights. You’ll find yourself saying things like: “What!? Why is my team letting customers become stressed and asking for extensions to their software when there is a 60 day grace period already built-in?” Our graduates are measurement-obsessed and don’t believe any team or process cannot improve with measurement by the time they graduate.
Lastly, RemoteU teaches students how to improve knowledge work with coaching. Since they’ve done the hard work of measuring granular work units, managers become chock-full of improvement ideas. RemoteU connects managers with a real team of people who they individually coach every day. You will have had 100 coaching calls with your team by the time you graduate! High-level and gut-driven coaching will be a thing of the past. You will transform the careers of your team by showing them how to do their job twice as good as they are doing it today.
If you have your doubts about this vision, or want to remain planted in your existing management paradigm, RemoteU will not be your cup of tea. We built RemoteU to prepare managers for what’s coming. If you agree with Sam Lessin and want to arm yourself for the future, you will love RemoteU.