What is your background briefly?
My first jobs were in tech support, sales and marketing in the technology sector (when it was called “computing”!). I worked for Comshare Inc (a timesharing company that moved into fourth generation languages), Logica (with an ahead-of-its-time relational database and the Xenix operating system) and Honeywell (a selection of mini-computers used in automation). I enjoyed my time there and may be one of the few remaining people that can still code in Fortran.
Then I moved to the professional services sector – marketing roles at leading firms of solicitors, accountants and surveyors. I set up my own business in 1994 – partly to accommodate raising my two children on my own. I split my time between consulting, training/coaching and writing. My first degree is in psychology – and I have other qualifications in that area on topics such as NLP, psychometrics, coaching and mentoring and counselling. I have a post-graduate diploma in marketing and an MBA – part of which I studied at Trinity College.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
While technical and functional knowledge and market experience are vital, I’ve relied a lot on my psychology training. Psychology is vital when forming business relationships, promoting products and services and achieving organisational change. So it makes sense that I combine my “rational” management expertise with my “emotional” people skills. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons that my fifth book (Better Business Relationships) focuses on people skills rather than marketing, strategy or selling skills which were the focus of earlier books.
In the sectors where I work – lawyers, patent attorneys, accountants, surveyors, forensic scientists, designers – the business model is skilled people selling their expertise. So it makes perfect sense to me that my work involves helping those technical people “bridge the gap” and interact effectively with their clients. Some technology folk experience the same challenges when it comes to explaining the value of their deep technology knowledge and solutions to commercial folk.
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
I split my time across three activities:
1. Management consultancy helping growing knowledge-based businesses change
2. Training and coaching people in a variety of modern business and interpersonal skills
3. Writing books, articles and blogs
Why did you decide to write this book?
Throughout my life I’ve had two passions – the management of businesses and psychology. I guess I wanted to be a company doctor. Sir John Harvey-Jones was an early hero of mine. Whilst there are many books on topics such as influence, persuasion, communication, team working, conflict management, assertiveness and so on – I had this desire to try and bring everything together in one book. It was ambitious but hopefully I’ve achieved it.
I was also struck that whilst people felt older generation weren’t quite “getting it” with regards to digital relationships, I also wanted to do something for those entering the workforce. It can takes years to learn how to present yourself well and get on with a variety of people in the workplace and I wanted to give the younger generation a bit of help on how to accelerate that process.
What does the future of work look like?
That’s a great question! Obviously technology will play a bigger role. But I don’t entirely support some of the futurists’ predictions that most jobs will be automated. Nor that everyone will work remotely. Human beings rely on social contact – so workplaces need to support that. I like co-working environments and have encouraged my son to join one as he branches out with his drone business.
The evidence is clear that the best decisions emerge from diversity so I hope that the future of work embraces this. And with many things, people still like to interact with other people. While bots are fantastic at some jobs, the rich experience from an exchange with a real person still adds value to many products and services. Even the most rational decisions are made with emotions to the fore.
How fast/if at all, will large corporations allow their staff to work remotely?
The technology has been in place for a long time and we still don’t see it widely adopted.
Of course, employers need to trust their staff and too many rely on inputs (being present at the office) rather than outputs (delivering the expected results).
And whilst workers can see the value of remote working, it can be isolating and hard to connect with the values and vibe of your employer. True remote collaboration – engendering real team spirit – is still hard to achieve. I’m not sure organisations have worked out yet how to get the benefits of remote working while maintaining high productivity and mental well being of their people.
Is your guide/insights, going to change even more, when more people work remotely, and in a more gig-like way?
Yes it is. And I’m quite passionate about both the opportunities this presents to people to create their own work life while worried about the enormous challenges that it presents.
I’ve worked for myself for over 25 years and it’s tough. You have to do a lot more for yourself – generating work, completing work, ensuring that you continue to learn new skills, managing your finances and tax, infrastructure and admin. And maintaining the motivation to keep working while remote, whilst protecting boundaries so that you keep some family and personal time.
I hope that new forms of working will emerge. Perhaps more community based co-working scenarios might be the answer.
How can people find out more about you & your work?
I have a web site at www.kimtasso.com – and I regularly post blogs on various topics, my latest thinking and trends I’m picking up on LinkedIn and Twitter (@RedStarKim)
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
Well I have a question for your tech readers. What do they think will take over from social media (LinkedIn and Twitter) – I’m really keen to know!