Part 1: Our subconscious gravity for finding symmetry

By Roger Gorman, CEO and Founder of ProFinda

Physicists and artists boldly state how everything in the universe has stunning symmetry.

And the more I study the universe of people, knowledge and the sum of the potential of our shared desires — I see surprising similarity. Mathematics and physics gives us the invisible blueprint needed to help us architect a new working collaboration model, and provide us with the foundations for the evolution of the enterprise ecosystem — for our work and shared success.

Spoiler alert: In summary we need to strive towards environments that give us perfect symmetry around knowledge, people, networks, attitude, systems, processes, compensations and values. Data asymmetry leads to massive failures in recruitment, onboarding, projects, and workforce planning. The workplace is lacking anything close to symmetry.

The Cosmos

The cosmos is the universe — regarded as a complex but orderly system, and the opposite of chaos. The philosopher Pythagoras used the term cosmos (Ancient Greek: κόσμος) for the order of the universe. We have a holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity.

Gravity forces both tiny and large objects to become ‘round’ or at least find a sense of symmetry — we only need to look at the way atoms and planets are formed for an example of this.

Universal laws make each snowflake unique but also perfect. Although tiny, over 1,000s of years 100 trillion snowflakes make up the average iceberg which weighs 200,000 tons, can sink ships and carve up areas of land.

Snowflakes and planets have no DNA but their symmetry is created using the rules of natural mathematics. Symmetry is found everywhere — it’s smart shapes, intelligent flows and processes that lead to optimal efficiencies.

And finally looping back to the foundations that make up our world — atoms and photons have shared proximity and incredible symmetry too. From the smallest to the largest things; the laws of symmetry remain unchallenged. If we truly want to harness the value of people, work, ideas, life, and knowledge to shape our working future — then we need to use the same rule book.

Let’s cheat

Let’s take the laws of the universe and apply them to become the architects of the new modern dynamic workforce.

Where’s the workforce heading? What is ‘the workforce of the future’? Why does it matter to pursue optimal work efficiency?

What is important to align people, data and knowledge together? I assert that there is a catalogue of reasons: most people are unhappy at work. Most people have not reach their full potential. People and work opportunities are not harmonised. Innovation suffers.

“We spend our time focusing solving the wrong problems, badly, rather than realising the right opportunities, well”.

By following this universal logic as a blue print for designing the perfect future for working and living ecosystems, we need to hunt for symmetry around how we share and arrange people, knowledge and networks.

Easy examples of where we can craft this new symmetrical architecture is through corporate values linked to real work flows, rewards and the right corporate culture. Aligning staff aspirations with work opportunities results in happier staff and optimal project outputs. Leveraging clean data and running work on ontologies, not broken disparate databases and taxonomy systems, gives the chance for true data insight. By having one internal profile not lots of half ones generates engagement and more accurate insights. Fixing disproportionate reward models for different people leading to staff disenfranchisement will improve churn and engagement rates.

And we can look at the siloed departments model verses a single liquid talent pool and flat hierarchy argument. Bob Diamond resigned in 2012 a week after the bank was fined a record amount for trying to manipulate inter-bank lending rates. The market felt this was because he had created siloes and poor reporting for creating siloes in their compliance function leading to the disasters of 2011.

Put simply the symmetrical laws of the universe, which work, seem at odds with the asymmetrical complexities of life and work that we (as people) have created which don’t work.

So perhaps the solution is in the pursuit of a simple elegant symmetry across work and people, helping us find optimal symmetrical ecosystems which we all need so badly need.

In part 2 I’m going to delve into the workforce of the future, the physics of the workplace — and explore how we determine the best value from our talent.