Treat people as individuals rather than as categories, Says Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas

Personalized technology can transform performance, creativity and customer experience and the support of those in need., Says Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. His most recent research reports point the way to a change in the relationship between people and organizations and the provision of personalized help and support.

Dubai GC 2016 CCT speaking at podium 2 060A3922
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas speaking in Dubai at the World Congress for Business Excellence and Innovation

Evidence shows that people can be helped to address their individual needs as and when required and suggests that many corporate activities should be removed rather than reformed. Also public services can treat those who are disadvantaged, disabled or excluded as individual citizens rather than as categories and they can be helped to help themselves.

Increasingly, we can reach people directly in personalized ways and enable them to address their individual requirements as and when required, according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas speaking in Dubai at the World Congress for Business Excellence and Innovation.

His most recent research reports point the way to a change in the relationship between people and organizations and the provision of personalized help and support.

The author of Winning Companies; Winning People suggests, “Organisations often treat individuals as statistics. People become data, categories or trends in corporate reports. Yet more and more digital technologies and applications enable us to treat people as individuals. We can provide them with the personalised help and support they require as and when they need it 24/7. This can include when they are on the move via mobile devices.”

The Professor finds, “People vary greatly in terms of both their needs and their preferences for working and learning. Applications of digital technologies such as performance support can enable people to be helped and also work and learn and produce, co-create and buy at times and places that best enable them to be receptive, harness their talents or maximize their contributions.”

Applications of performance support can make it very easy for people to do what is desirable, healthy and appropriate and very difficult for them to do things that might be undesirable or harmful and which would breach a law, regulation, policy, guidelinne or code. They can be allowed to try things themselves that have previously been done by others.

The professor’s research reports Transforming Public Services, Transforming Knowledge Management and Talent Management 2 set out quicker, more affordable and less disruptive ways of simultaneously achieving multiple objectives. In particular, they show how personalized performance support can help ordinary people to seek and obtain relevant help and in work applications can enable them to emulate the approaches of superstars and excel at activities that are crucial for corporate success such as winning bids, building customer relationships, pricing, purchasing, and creating and exploiting know-how. Building enablers and checks into the performance support that people are provided with allows them to be set them free to network, collaborate, explore, create and responsibly innovate.

Coulson-Thomas’ findings suggest the emphasis needs to shift from top-down directing, motivating and control to what he terms ‘New Leadership’ which is more of a bottom-up approach that involves supporting people and helping them to excel at the things that matter most. He finds “very often one can directly support citizens, customers and users. Rather than struggle to improve parts of organisations and elements of the supply chain we can take them out.

Developments in areas ranging from artificial intelligence to 3D printing as well as performance support are increasingly helping people to help themselves. They can also help to democratize individual and group creativity and innovation.”

The professor believes, “Many discussions of digital technologies have become overly negative. Risk managers and others worry about cyber security and other issues. While being alert to risks, many problems also represent opportunities to differentiate and secure competitive advantage. In themselves, information and communications technologies are neutral, electronic signals flowing across and through physical devices. How we use them and for what purpose determines whether they help us or harm us. We need to be more thoughtful, creative and imaginative in how we use them, for example moving on from transactional advantages such as saving costs to transformational applications such as enabling the introduction of a better business or social care model.”

These comments were delivered by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas in the Ball Room of The Meydan, Dubai, UAE during the second day of the Dubai Global Convention 2016 and 26th World Congress on Leadership for Business Excellence and Innovation organized by India’s Institute of Directors. The author of Winning Companies; Winning People and Developing Directors joined a plenary session panel to answer questions on pursuing excellence and innovation in a digital economy.

He also delivered an address on the first day during a plenary session on driving excellence and innovation through the boardroom and led a delegation on the convention’s study visit to the Jebel Ali port and free zone on the third day.

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas holds a portfolio of national and international leadership roles and has spoken at national and international events in over 40 countries. He is the author of over 70 books and reports, including Transforming Public Services, Transforming Knowledge Management and Talent Management 2 which set out a quicker, more affordable and less disruptive route to high performance organisations using performance support from a change, knowledge and talent management perspective respectively.

They can be obtained from:

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR.



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