Less Is More

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Less is More,” in the life-changing book, Tomorrow’s Jobs Today, Wisdom and Career Advice from Thought Leaders in AI, Big Data, Blockchain, The Internet of Things, Privacy, and More available from John Hunt Publishing.

As brands and consumers develop a deeper awareness of the importance of protecting their data, the idea of sharing less is becoming a more prudent, preferential, and effective approach to governance. In fact, in domains like privacy, content management, and application development, data minimization has become a dominant design strategy. An emphasis on discretion and privacy is nothing new, but it has gained relevancy following the dawn of social media, a cultural and technological revolution that encourages individuals and businesses alike to share everything about themselves.

To be strategically selective with our words, our actions and our expectations runs contrary to the human nature of a large segment of the workforce and consumers. It’s also what makes you stand out.

From Tomorrow’s Jobs Today

Deluge of Data

The affordability of digital storage and ease of data transferability has enabled technology to transform social interactions fundamentally, but the consequences of ineffective data stewardship are quickly catching up with the conveniences at our fingertips. Identity theft, ransomware, and other malicious hacking events are taking a toll on our businesses and our personal lives. The proposed remedy for these problems has come in the form of new laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Requirement (GDPR) and its derivatives throughout Asia and the Americas. We see the pendulum starting to swing back toward privacy as a result of related penalties, reputational damage, and growing security threats. In software development, data minimization has become a preeminent design methodology.

Yet despite new rules directing how businesses should document, disclose, audit, and defend the use of our information, in the end, it is the individual’s responsibility to filter out the deluge of data. To guard against data that attempts to inundate, persuade, and obligate our time regularly. Its frequency and intensity are unparallel in human history and eat away at our natural inclination to pause, contemplate, and deduce. There’s nowhere to run or hide from the status quo.

This new paradigm we find ourselves in necessarily requires us to selectively amplify when our voices need to be heard and be mindfully methodical about identifying and seizing opportunities amidst the inbound cacophony. To truly capitalize on the first lesson given in this book, Gaps are Opportunities, we must regularly exercise our will to avoid impulsive and lesser offers while navigating toward greater lasting rewards. And we must remain disciplined in this cadence at work and in the home. Clarity, brevity, and directness will increasingly be the in-demand soft skills that advance our agenda and our careers.

Finding the bottom line

Less is More isn’t just about privacy, though, or how we conduct ourselves, it’s a better way of doing business now that a majority of brands are dependent on the currency of information. From a corporate governance and project management perspective, reactive management techniques, resource expansion, or throwing money at a problem isn’t a safe or cost-effective bet anymore. Have they ever been?

Indeed, anybody who has worked in a regulated industry has witnessed how easily large organizations repeatedly squander budgets to check a box symbolically. Most sourcing professionals, when they’re honest, can tell you horror stories about statements of work that ended up resulting in nothing more than an imaginary bill of goods and even vulnerabilities. That’s because (especially in the era of big data) without clear and concise goals, roadmaps, and communication strategies, the more bureaucratic a solution gets, the less likely the results will be favorable. That common disorder also affects an entity, whether it is public or private, regardless of the complexity of the underlying problem.

Lesson 2: Less is More

To help find and maintain the right balance and avoid this deluge of garbage data, our best teams and leaders insist that guiding principles, policies, and directives governing data are clear and concise. That may seem obvious, but it isn’t always evident in practice, especially in an era of oversharing or within a work culture that worships the Almighty CYA (cover your ass). Straightforwardness is not an easy sell today to a population with a 144-character attention span and one that’s less inclined to comply with communication in traditional ways. To complicate matters, we commonly see legal departments and advisors addressing the governance aspects of policy, who know a lot about the law, yet very little about how to write an operational rule. This is a familiar theme and common challenge we all face both in our personal and professional lives.

To be strategically selective with our words, our actions and our expectations runs contrary to the human nature of a large segment of the workforce and consumers. It’s also what makes you stand out.

MOVE ON TO LESSON 3 – RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

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