Do you upgrade your ‘humanware’?

I work in the engineering and technology field for my bread and butter and have done so for nearly two decades. I do know that one of the important strategies in our field, to ensure that systems are reliable and operate at optimal levels, is to have a regime for system upgrade.

There are two types of technology systems—the hardware and software. Hardware refers to the physical systems that you can touch like the computer, servers and network equipment while software are the intangible systems like applications, computer programs and so on.

Therefore, when we do upgrades, we upgrade both the hardware and the software systems. Both regimes of upgrades provide a range of benefits including: enhanced performance of the systems, increased security, reduction in system downtime, enhanced communications between the systems and an overall better experience by the users.

For long, I have thought of upgrade in terms of the hardware and software until early this week when I was attending an Africa Open Science workshop. One presenter said that we should not only upgrade our hardware and software systems, but we also the ‘humanware’.

When I posted this on Facebook, a lot of my friends endorsed this idea and so I thought of sharing this with you all and expanding on the idea and how we can apply it in our personal lives so that we can rise and shine!

Clearly, there is a big correlation between the benefits for upgrading systems and upgrading ourselves through regular training, new exposure to new ideas, cultures and experiences and so on. To illustrate, let us list down and apply the benefits of system upgrade in the context of humanware upgrade:

1. Enhanced performance: When you upgrade yourself, you greatly boost your performance. Training forces you to become a hard worker which later translates into your enhanced performance. With more advanced skills, you become better and faster at dealing with more complex tasks.

2. Increased security: As you continuously upgrade your skills, you continuously remain relevant in business or in career. By doing so, you enhance your job security and you secure the sustainability of your business against emerging changes be it technological or the competitive market changes.

3. Reduction in system downtime: Take it that the humanware upgrade is holistic – not limited to training. This should include your health aspects. Before anything else, health is the important aspect of our life. Regularly upgrading your health, especially as you age means that you will rarely fall sick or become absent from your work and business. Do you regularly go for clinical check-ups even when you are not sick? Do you eat healthy food? Do you sleep adequately? Most importantly, do you exercise for at least 40 mns and more than three times a week?

4.Enhanced communications: No matter how great you may be, if you cannot master the art of communicating with others, engaging with stakeholders, you will not go far in business or career. Are you investing in continuously improving your communication and stakeholder engagement skills?

5.Overall better experience by the users: When you continuously upgrade your humanware, the people that work with you will feel the difference. They will find it easier to work with you. They will draw inspiration and motivation from you and you will be able to touch them with the influence of mentorship and coaching. The benefits go beyond your personal gratification. You begin to touch the community around you.

With all these and more great benefits arising from humanware upgrade, the case for regularly upgrading our humanware is compellingly persuasive. I urge you to regularly upgrade yourself. Do not wait for the HR team or others to plan and organise your training. Take it as your personal responsibility.

In some cases use your personal resources if necessary. But you can also upgrade yourself significantly using very little or no direct costs by taking advantage of alternative training methods like studying online, joining interesting project teams, mentorship, coaching and secondments.

Good luck as you adopt a regime of ‘humanware upgrade’. This way, you will rise and shine!

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