Reflection and introspection is at the core of any true learning, and it is only fitting to chart on a journey of learning by asking one of the most fascinating question in business strategy: Why do successful oorganizations with talented leaders fail?
There are innumerable examples of organizations which have defined industries, reigned as pioneers and yet with time, collapsed or fizzled out. What is the one thing that reduced mighty companies like Kodak or Nokia to what they are today?
If you notice carefully, a similar, if not the same pattern is visible in all the cases: an astronomical shift in the environment that the companies existed in, and more essentially, the inability of the organisation to respond to such changes. Most times, the very fundamentals of success blindsides leaders to make them oblivious, and thus, acting as an impediment in the ability to identify the change that they need to survive and grow.
Today, this ability is even more valued and relevant, for consumers, brands, strategies and data are changing faster than anticipated – thus having the power to render someone at the top of their game irrelevant, if the guard is ever down. More importantly, leaders today are struggling to answer whether the problems they are solving today will remain relevant in the future at all. The ability to create nimbleness is not as much as a technological or business challenge, as it is a cultural challenge.
Going forward, leaders and HR practitioners need to be extremely vigilant about the following:
Being Customer-centric: We need to allow customers to determine how we run the business, by changing our preferences of what to focus on. Do not just focus on numbers that are important to you – but also to that of your customers. Currently, setting up enterprise like start-ups who are solving this challenge is the most common way to work around this problem, but if this endeavour isn’t supported culturally – the results won’t be beneficial.
Allow people closer to Customers make rapid decisions: Consciously creating a decentralised decision making process, and building greater trust with the capability to take decisions isn’t an easy task – for it is at odds with how we work today. Today rewards are based on minimising error and mistakes, thereby not valuing the speed of making a decision. The unspoken but well-established hierarchies that exist in every organisation are restricting them being truly agile.
Data-driven decisions: All the tools and analytics organisation use today to make sense of the large quantities of data generated in their ecosystems will amount to nothing if we do not establish how our decision-making is impacted by data. Currently, expertise and experience is valued higher than the ability to learn. Right now, we reward how much one knows, not how quickly you can learn.
We have the liberty to rewrite and reimage everything we know about the domain of HR! From understanding how to organise the workforce, and designing the organisational culture to actually inspiring employees to learn – we are the cusp of a major transformation and the only way forward is to understand what we value, and how can we best leverage it for a better future. At the end of the day, we have got to be willing to learn new things.
(This article is curated from the session Building a digital-ready organization: A CEO’s view – Mega Keynote by Rajdeep Endow, Managing Director Asia Pacific, SapientRazorfish at the People Matters L&D League Annual Conference 2017)