According to The Atlantic 2019-07, the US Navy has been piloting a brand new method of manning its Littoral Combat class ships, that are modular by design. The crew are all multi-purpose, with a number of roles onboard and all the time studying new duties. They function with one-fifth the crew dimension of an everyday ship. Specialization is a factor of the previous for these crews. One motive for that is that specialised information has an more and more shorter lifespan, so generalists who’re good learners could make for a extra versatile, or agile, crew. This strategy additionally has its downsides, akin to fewer redundant positions onboard to mitigate fight losses, and lack of deep information for some complicated issues.
The key query from the article is whether or not that is the way in which of the longer term. Is a neo-generalist a greater match for contemporary office circumstances? It’s an excellent query that may solely be answered with time.
“Minimal manning—and the evolution of the economy more generally—requires a different kind of worker, with not only different acquired skills but different inherent abilities. It has implications for the nature and utility of a college education, for the path of careers, for inequality and employability—even for the generational divide. And that’s to say nothing of its potential impact on product quality and worker safety, or on the nature of the satisfactions one might derive from work.”—The Atlantic
Finding the suitable stability will take a variety of experimentation. Organizations ought to begin testing out new fashions now. Learn from the Navy and others who’re making an attempt new methods of organizing work. For people, the flexibility to ‘flexibly shift’ might develop into a vital work talent. It’s what I name ‘perpetual beta‘.
“Everybody I met on the USS Gabrielle Giffords seemed to share that mentality [constant learning of new skills]. They regarded every minute on board — even during a routine transit back to port in San Diego Harbor — as a chance to learn something new.” —The Atlantic
The article offers much more element on the ship’s routine and the way totally different sailors are employed. It’s properly value studying. Consider what Nancy Dixon needed to say about changing organizational structures.
“For the first time since the industrial revolution, organizations are changing at a fundamental level. The change is very much a work in progress in most organizations. But we now have many examples of organizations that are fully functioning in an entirely new way — that is, new ideas about how the organization is designed, about how work gets done, how people relate to each other.” —Nancy Dixon