The phone rings. Inca answers it. It is her boss. This time of morning it always her boss.
Inca works for BankChina. She is the human resources manager, reporting to the Vice President of Operations. Inca and her boss take their jobs very seriously. She wants to work at the bank for a long time. She’s not ambitious, she just wants the security of knowing a good day’s work pays with reciprocal loyalty. If she does her job so she won’t have to worry about her job.
Today’s job is new employee orientation. A local leader’s daughter is among the new employees. Inca knows that Meili may well be her boss one day, or at least higher ranking, so she needs to provide extra attention to detail.
Meili knows her place this day, and greets Inca with the utmost respect. She is properly honored by Inca’s very attentive tutelage. Inca hopes that Meili will share the day’s experience with her father.
A week later
It is time for the reception. The Qingdao business association hosts regular meetings for local business leaders to meet with local officials. Inca will be seeing Meili’s father tonight.
Her phone buzzes.
A text from her boss says simply:
As she rides on the light rail she thinks about the evening that is about to be. Although she is happy in her job, people who do well progress. It is inevitable that someday she will be promoted again. Perhaps Meili’s father will sense something in her that will prompt him to introduce her to a mentor. These kinds of thoughts aren’t good, Inca thinks.
She pulls a small tablet computer out of her purse. It awakens as soon as it senses the light around it. After the system scans multiple bio-signs and accepts Inca’s identification code an intuitive, but information-rich view of Inca’s staff appears. She figures she might as well make use of the time.
For each person, she can see what they have accomplished against their goals over any timeframe Inca chooses to select. Inca isn’t interested in the long term tonight, she is interested in efficiency. The system also displays analytics related to communications and collaboration. She sees that some of her staff members don’t seem business enough — not enough mail, not enough meetings, not enough postings. Not enough. She taps on each of them and writes herself a note to have a conversation on Monday. The note is entered on Inca’s calendar as the system finds converged times for both parties. There is no subject line except “Meeting.”
Along one edge of the display a list of social headers builds and rebuilds. The top items don’t move. These are the messages that the system believes are most important for Inca to address. You want to keep the list short or empty because your manager can see if you get behind. Inca never gets behind.
A note from her boss says it looks like some of her people could be more efficient. She doesn’t need to answer it because he will see she has already scheduled meetings with the people on his list, and a couple not on his list. That is the best kind of message: one you have already acted on and can just delete. The last thing Inca wants to do is send her boss a message to tell him something he already knows.
As her stop approaches Inca places her tablet in a sleeve of her purse and it quietly buzzes to let her know it has turned itself off. If someone needs her, she will be notified through her ear dot. Thank goodness technology has progress past those unfashionable ear pieces that used to be so distracting at events like this. All those blue LEDs flashing from people’s heads made it hard to look people in the eyes, let along talk without distraction.
Inca walks up the five steps toward to door, pulling her sweater tighter around her shoulders as a cool breeze threatens to steal her invitation. She grasps it tighter until she surrenders it to the beautiful woman receiving guests. There are no name tags. Everyone knows everyone, and if they don’t, the people they do know will introduce them around.
Inca acknowledges her boss with a polite bow and obligatory conversation. He is standing with Meili’s father. Of course he is. The elder local leader says he is pleased to meet his daughter’s supervisor and mentor. He has heard very good things about her. There are a couple of people at this reception he thinks she should meet. Inca’s boss smiles as he bathes in reflected honor.
“People,” Meili’s father states, “are our biggest asset, and our biggest threat. People who know how to work with people are very valuable to us. Here let me introduce you too…”
The elder leader takes Inca politely by the elbow and walks her over to a small group of people across the room.
As the elder leader approaches, they all turn to him.
“Good evening my friends,” he says, “I would like you to meet Inca…”