A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work

Your organization has made the decision to adopt automation and artificial intelligence technologies. Now, you face difficult and stubborn questions about how to implement that decision: How, when, and where should we apply automation in our organization? Is it a stark choice between humans versus machines? How do we stay on top of these technological trends as work and automation continue to evolve?

Reinventing Jobs presents leaders with a new set of tools to answer these daunting questions. Based on groundbreaking primary research, this book provides an original, structured approach of four distinct steps–deconstruct, optimize, automate, and reconfigure–to help leaders reinvent how work gets bundled into jobs and create optimal human-machine combinations. Jesuthasan and Boudreau show leaders how to continuously reexamine what a job really is, and they provide the tools for identifying the pivotal performance value of tasks within jobs and how these tasks should be reconstructed into new, more optimal combinations.

With numerous examples and practical advice for applying the four-step process, Reinventing Jobs gives leaders a more precise, planful, and actionable way to decide how, when, and where to apply and optimize work automation.

Book Praises

“Amid all the apocalyptic visions about tomorrow’s workplace—from widespread unemployment to pitched battles between man and machine—comes a bracing dose of common sense. Reinventing Jobs cuts through the hype and hysteria and shows leaders how to apply automation and artificial intelligence in their organizations. Jesuthasan and Boudreau are the clear-eyed guides every organization needs to track their way through the future of work.”

DANIEL H. PINK, Author, Drive and When

“In the age of the internet of things (IoT) and AI, the traditional notions of ‘Economic Man’ and ‘Social Man’ need to be superseded by the concept of ‘Self-motivated’ Man. Reinventing Jobs is a book ahead of its time and points the way to the ‘humanization’ of the enterprise.”

ZHANG RUIMIN, Chairman & CEO, Haier Group

“Reinventing Jobs provides a step-by-step guide to rethinking how organizations deal with automation. Jesuthasan and Boudreau provide leaders with a thoughtful framework that helps us ask the right questions when we’re considering where and when to automate. They recognize that automation is not a simple ‘rip and replace’ of certain jobs and tasks, but rather something that requires a layered approach.”

JIM WHITEHURST, President & CEO, Red Hat

“This book provides an excellent, much-needed framework to guide the collaboration necessary among CIOs, CHROs, and other functional leaders to optimize work and the application of automation in today’s rapidly changing environment.”

RALPH W. BROWN, Chief Technology Officer & Senior Vice President, Research and Development, CableLabs

“A must-read for every CEO. A most thoughtful approach with examples from numerous industries that illustrate that automation and workflow optimization are critical to competing effectively.”

ANTHONY G. PETRELLO, Chairman, President, and CEO, Nabors Industries

“Reinventing Jobs is a book that CIOs, CHROs, and all C-suite leaders should read together. This four-step framework takes the guesswork out of building your digital strategy and a future-ready, engaged, and agile workforce.”

DIANA MCKENZIE, Senior Vice President & CIO, Workday

“This book provides a thoughtful, step-by-step guide to responsible automation that is relevant to all leaders in government, academia, and the private sector. Jesuthasan and Boudreau bring an insightful and practical approach to dealing with one of the most significant challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

SAADIA ZAHIDI, Head of Education, Gender and Work and member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum

“We live in a world where advanced technologies are disrupting entire industries, yet few have advanced the discussion beyond a surface consideration of technology either eliminating or creating jobs. Now, Jesuthasan and Boudreau offer a comprehensive approach to transforming work while enabling organizations—and individuals—to adapt and thrive.”

ALAN MAY, Chief People Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

2019 Best Business Books
Axiom Gold Award

Author’s videos about the book

Why Reinventing Jobs was written
Reinventing Jobs – Where to Start

The Four Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work

Step 1: Deconstruct the job
Step 3: Identifying work automation options
Step 2: Assessing the return on improved performance
Step 4: Optimizing work automation


WILEY, 2015

Navigating a World Beyond Employment

Lead the Work takes an incisive look at the evolving nature of work, and how it’s affecting management and productivity at the organizational level. Where getting things done once meant assigning it to an employee, today’s leaders are increasingly at risk if they fail to recognize that talent can float into and out of an organization. Long-term employment has given way to medium- or short-term employment, marking the first step in severing the bond that once fixed an individual inside an organization. Getting work done by means other than an employee was once considered a fringe event, but now leading organizations are accepting and taking advantage of the notion that talent has shown itself to be mutable. This book explores this phenomenon in detail and provides a new roadmap to help managers navigate this new environment.

The workplace has undergone many changes over the years, but the emerging trend away from traditional employment represents a massive shift that has profound implications for the business model of every organization, large or small. This book describes how management is changing, and how managers must adapt to survive.

Book Praises

“The new world of work has new ways of working. Boudreau, Jesuthasan, and Creelman brilliantly capture the increasingly granular and customized work world where more employees will be free agents. This forward-thinking book offers creative and relevant insights for managing employees as agents. It has implications for leaders, human resources, rewards, and employees.”

DAVE ULRICH, Rensis Likert Professor of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner, The RBL Group

“Anyone leading an organization through the rapidly changing and challenging landscape of today’s workplace will find Lead the Work tremendously valuable. Boudreau, Jesuthasan, and Creelman expertly chronicle how work has evolved into multiple methods of employment, focused less on managing employees and more on providing work-based leadership. They give concrete advice on how organizations can thrive in this environment. The concept of ‘beyond employment’ will soon be commonplace to business leaders.”

HENRY G. JACKSON, President & CEO, Society for Human Resource Management

“Lead the Work invites business leaders to free their minds from the shackles of traditional regular full-time employment. The book pushes the boundaries of flexibility in work arrangements to a future where we not only just build or buy talent but also borrow and share talent.”

JOHAN MAHMOOD, Merican, CEO, TalentCorp
“How leaders and organizations assemble the right teams of talent today is rapidly evolving to utilize teams of much more than just permanent employees, temporary help, and outsourcers. Reinventing Jobs does an excellent job of describing what the trends are, brings them to life by showcasing real examples that expand your thinking, and helps to alleviate any fears about this new talent marketplace.”
JILL SMART, President, National Academy of Human Resources, retired Chief Human Resources Officer, Accenture

“Lead the Work explores a seismic shift in the very concept of work. For anyone looking for a fresh way to think about competing, innovating and leading, this book will stimulate your creativity and give you new ideas on how to tap into an emerging ‘free agent world.’”

EVA SAGE-GAVIN, Vice Chair, Aspen Institute's Skills for America's Future Advisory Board, formerly Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Gap, Inc.

“Knowing how to manage the multitude of contractors, vendors, and temps who now work side by side with our regular employees is a crucial skill, and Lead the Work shows us how to do it right.”

PETER CAPPELLI, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania

“Finally a book that takes us into the rapidly evolving nature of work and how workers and organizations will respond! The authors have provided the first book to enable HR leaders and organizations to better understand where work is going and to create tools and methods to respond to these changes.”

LIBBY SARTAIN, Former CHRO, Yahoo! and Southwest Airlines, and Director, Manpower Group and AARP

“John, Ravin, and David’s look at the evolution of work has arrived not a moment too soon. It is time that every person who occupies a position of leadership or aspires to be a leader fully appreciates this new world of work, and this well-grounded research is an important step in that direction.”

DEBRA ENGEL, Board Member, Institute for the Future, former Senior Vice President of Corporate Services, 3Com



How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage

This book demonstrates how some of the world’s most admired and prominent organizations are redefining HR leadership by using evidence-based change to inform human capital decisions that optimize efficiency, effectiveness and strategic impact. The authors present the five foundational principles to the new HR decision science: Logic-driven analytics, segmentation, risk leverage, synergy and integration and optimization.

This groundbreaking book reveals a new approach to deliver sustainable change and business results. It is enhanced with success stories from leading companies that engage leadership and involve employees in ways that make a lasting impact on their companies.

Book Praises

“With its focus on the power of evidence-based change, Transformative HR takes the practice of effective talent management to a new arena. The principles it presents incorporate the best of HR fundamentals and offer a new level of sophistication for today’s human capital leaders. Backed by real-world examples and written by two of the most respected thinkers in HR today, Transformative HR is a must-read for HR leaders.”

EDWARD E. LAWLER III, Director, Center for Effective Organizations and Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California; Author, Management Reset: Organizing for Sustainable Effectiveness

“This book highlights a critical area for successful HR professionals and business leaders, bringing science and rigor to the decisions that organizations make about talent. At the end of the day we all have to make choices, and Boudreau and Jesuthasan provide us with the road map for ensuring that those choices deliver the greatest value to our organizations.”

STEPHEN J. CERRONE, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Sara Lee Corp.

2012 Best Business Books
Axiom Silver Award