Why People are not Assets

Dr Monique Beedles ran a fascinating webinar for the Institute of Asset Management on September 6 on why we should not talk about people as things you can put on a balance sheet.

As she put it, we of all people should recognise that people and assets are not interchangeable. People are ends, not means, with value independent of our economic utility.

Her intention is to rehumanise the discussion about people and work. A ‘people first’ strategy.

But this fits with her view on what’s really needed for good Asset Management, too: her hierarchy of what’s required starts at the bottom with Tech Smarts, through Biz Smarts, to what she calls Street Smarts at the top*. Or the qualities we need to bring to the table of humility, empathy and integrity.

I was particularly taken with her terms we should cut from our vocabulary: productivity, human resources, human capital. 

I love the idea that those of us who manage things are in a particularly good position to spell out that people are not things. That people first is, of course, the right approach to physical infrastructure.

And though she didn’t capitalise it as a slogan:

Build Community, not Capital!

www.moniquebeedles.com for her AMP Peak paper, ‘Leadership in Asset Management: Why Your People are Not Your Greatest Assets’

*See her book Leadership Assets, A Whole-of-Life Plan for your Asset Management Career (2021)