Evolve Process Series #1: 

Help Your People Evolve

What is the Evolve Process

Since this is the first post about the Evolve Process (a combined Human Resources, software development, and marketing process practice) I thought I should start with an explanation about what it is and why it exists.

As a company deeply involved in artificial intelligence and machine learning we learned very quickly that more often than not, people turn to AI and ML to REPLACE humans. Many of our first projects were process automation, or applications designed to replace analysts or manual managers with artificial processes.

It occurred to us also very early on that people were being underutilized in this scenario, but often for good reason. People can be unpredictable, people are fallible, and people often are totally honest with their skills or issues they may be having. 

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    We began to experiment, first as growth hackers, using data science to help companies achieve better sales and marketing results, but then simply as curious data scientists. Our experimentations led us to try to see where AI performed better, and where humans performed better, and as a result we discovered that they often functioned the best together.

    This led us to developing some processes to to help people. We discovered that many people can undergo training that help them understand REALITY better. That’s the interesting thing. AI and ML deals with facts that they are presented with, where as people have a bad tendency to try to explain data that they see with the experiences they have had.

    That’s where the Evolve Process begins.

    The Evolve Process and People

    So the first lesson in the Evolve Process and Human Resources is understanding skills, and how to abstract them. In the Evolve Process we build what we call a “character sheet” on all of our staff. This Character Sheet is the record for where a person is in their journey to improve, and our best understanding of what they are great at, and where they need improvement. 

    The important part of the character sheet that we will cover today is the skills tracker. The skills tracker is a three part numerical system that measure confidence level, assessed level, and evidenced level. These numbers are averaged to create a score that helps us understand a persons actual skill level. We use a simplified system with a -5 to 5 score. Let me give you an example, to help better explain the use. 

    Let’s say for instance we want to measure a skill called “stacking apples.” When we first meet you we ask you the simple question, “rate yourself a score of -5 to 5 in the skill of stacking apples, where -5 is absolutely terrible and potentially destructive, and 5 is absolutely amazing, like you basically invented stacking apples.” 

    For this example, we’ll say that you said you were a 2, you’d stacked apples a few times, but not always the best or the prettiest, but you knew how to make a stack. Next, we’d give you a quick test on how to stack apples. As it turned out, you knew how to do it pretty well as far as a test is concerned, and you scored a 4. Not the inventor, but definitely having more expertise than you thought about yourself. 

    Finally, we let you stack some apples, in real life, then we look at the result. As it turned out, most of your apple stacks fell down, bruised quite a few apples. Even though you knew how to do it, you didn’t follow through, so your result there was a -1. So we take your average (2+4+(-1)), 5. You divide that by three to get the average, and round, and your score is actually a 2. In this case, you were pretty accurate on your guess of your skill. 

    This particular case also demonstrates why we use a system that blends these three numbers, sometimes someone understands the concept well, but has a difficult time executing, or just the opposite, can execute very well, but doesn’t always understand the concept.

    So, to take this lesson further, see what skills you can identify that are critical parts of running your business. Then make a simple spreadsheet to measure those three metrics, and figure out how your own staff scores!

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