Ingolf is an Ikea chair. Ingolf is very much a resource. As a chair the amount of functions he can take is rather limited. Sure, you can use Ingolf as a stand to display items on, but let’s safely assume that Ingolf’s function is for people to sit on him. So, Ingolf can do one thing, and nothing else. We can put Ingolf anywhere in our organisation, and it won’t matter to him. His function is to accommodate people to sit on him, and it doesn’t really matter where that happens. We can not change Ingolf’s function. Ingolf can’t learn or improve. He won’t be able to become an oven or television, no matter how hard he tries.
Now meet Alice:
Alice has ideas, creativity, skills, emotions, can learn, can improve, can adapt, can grow. People build relationships with other people which over time can even become a force multiplier. People can resent work, love work or anything in between. Because of this all, their function or role, can change. Their skills can grow. Their impact can grow. Simply moving a person from one project or team to another, or only giving them menial chores and expecting their “output and productivity” to remain equal means you’re seeing people as similar to chairs.
Don’t treat or speak of people and their time as resources. Speak of them as people. Treat them as people.