When “testing” in business involves the human element…

June 01, 2020

“Chaos is defined as: …”the property of a complex system whose behaviour is unpredictable”, the point we miss is that it is a system – complex but still a system. As Claire Haidar says, think of a playground.  The tools we use and the process we implement drive behaviour, not our traditional beliefs founded in sticks and carrots.”

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that some of us have been handed problems and other opportunities when we scratch the surface. If however, we choose to reflect critically; the opportunity is bound to be interwoven with change and adaptation.

From an innovator’s perspective, I can tell you that any new opportunity you wish to leverage or change you want to make needs to be tested.

By testing, I mean:

-Identification of the specific requirement to be tested

-Test case success/failure criteria

-Data

Now, that is easy if you are testing software or a product. How about testing something that involves more human input? Let’s speak frankly – the workplace that has transformed almost overnight to be very health and hygiene conscious. I am sure many employers feel like they are herding cats in this process when the stakes could never be higher.

The fact is that there are so many regulations that are so far removed from anything familiar, and the only way to transition safely is to control, measure and test. Now, I am not suggesting that transgressions should not be dealt with under employment and labour laws; what I am saying is debrief the incident. It is in this context of asking critical incisive questions with the view to understand and not just to reply.

Identifying the perspectives will allow you to see variables that could lead to non-compliance and will enable you to introduce systems, processes and controls. These would channel the behaviour of the people involved – better than any other mechanism ever could.

All of this  makes me think of a recent TED Talk I watched about chaos and the future of work (“The future of work is chaos | Claire Haidar”). We generally hold a very misguided view of the term.

Chaos is defined as: “the property of a complex system whose behaviour is unpredictable”, the point we miss is that it is a system – complex but still a system. As Claire Haidar says, think of a playground. How the position of each piece of equipment dictates the behaviour of the children on the playground and how merely watching it – it works. So, the point is that the tools we use and the process we implement drive behaviour, not our traditional beliefs founded in sticks and carrots.

So, debriefing and continuously adjusting the system and processes to enforce workplace behavioural standards are powerful tools.

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