The McKinsey article identifies three forms of work:
- Transformational – “extracting raw materials or converting them into finished goods” – examples cited include “mining coal, running heavy machinery, or operating production lines”
- Transactional – “interactions that unfold in a generally rule-based manner and can thus be scripted or automated” – examples of transactional jobs include cashiers, office clerks, truck drivers and accountants
- Tacit – “more complex interactions requiring a higher level of judgment, involving ambiguity, and drawing on tacit, or experiential, knowledge” – examples of tacit-intensive jobs include retail sales people, customer service representatives, registered nurses and general managers
And, as we all have seen, the shift in corporations is towards more tacit work and that tacit work represents where the real value is (we optimize and automate away differences in transformational or transactional work). The McKinsey article points out:
This shift toward tacit interactions upends everything we know about
organizations . . . . the rise of the tacit workforce and the decline of the
transformational and transactional ones demand new thinking about the
organizations structures that could help companies make the best use of this
shifting blend of talent.
If this is where the real value can be built in organizations, then clearly training organizations should ensure that we are focusing our efforts on tacit work. But, I would claim that much of training aims at transactional work and some level of skill building towards tacit work. But relatively little of our dollars are spent on truly support and enabling tacit work.
Combine this with the fact that less training is going to be needed as we become better at Business Process Management Instead of Learning, and we see the fact that:
Training will be marginalized unless we become more focused on supporting and enabling tacit work.