Revolutions for the next quintet
Going by technology’s linear direction, by 2020, HR would end up divided into two fundamental aspects: Strategy and Operations
As 2015 heralds the second quintet of this decade, saying that this is a good time to introspect is an understatement. Gifts — and the grief — the previous five years presented us with do need thinking about. How innovations that were once a figment of science fiction became disruptions, then necessities. The consequent changes in mindsets and behavior that opened up new directions: some good, others where the jury is still out.
Making resolutions would be an overstatement. Given the pace of change in personal and corporate lifestyles, needs and expectations, we don’t want to make promises we aren’t sure about keeping, right?
However, fundamental questions would stay. When will the new political management start walking its talk? Will new opportunities start to knock on our door? Are our people happy, engaged or resigned (pun unintended)? The answers won’t come from resolutions but from the revolutions that will happen in the next quintet!
Celebrating diversity. The continuing digital spread will encourage voices from some unexpected quarters. Ladakh. Sub-Saharan Africa? It would no longer matter that the voice is from someone differently abled, male or female. Physical presence and old barriers like language, culture or time of day will become redundant. The celebration of diversity will be the next big disruption.
Humans plus technology. The Internet of Things will keep perfecting the conjoindre of digital intelligence with human genius. Grunt work – earlier outsourced to sweat-shops in third-world countries – will be insourced to an app. Sorry, Gurgaon, it’s time to start working on your next innovation! The fight to rise – and stay – above the machines will be the next big people revolution.
Teaching HR to technology. To manage people, using tools that are relevant to them will be vital. HR leaders will have to enhance their understanding of technology to teach it deeper human elements of HR! Going by technology’s linear direction, by 2020, HR will be divided into Strategy and Operations. Actually, HR is neither linear nor so simplistically straight-lined. Technology will learn more about HR!
Customer-influenced leadership. Successful businesses will be about customer engagement. Leadership and strategy will flow from this. How to think like the customer and for, about, with or event ahead of them. Customers will seek value and be smarter than ever. So beware: the cost of poor service will be the next big killer.
Elephants can’t dance. It’s already acknowledged that it’s not the biggies but the smaller players who will drive change with single product or limited portfolio offerings run by small groups of radical thinkers who won’t hesitate to change their minds in a blink. Quick, agile, close to the ground (read customer). Now is the age of small ideas.
Elephants can dance. They’ll just have to learn the new steps. Pressured for profits and lower costs, large corporations will look at smaller players to do things faster and cheaper, while keeping tabs on quality, compliance and the customer’s changing needs. They won’t have other options — apart from dying, of course! Redoing megalithic structures into smaller, more autonomous units would encourage innovation and agility. Some of these units would only need funding and get moved off the books to keep costs down. Larger organizations will evolve into aggregators of entrepreneurships.
Revolution in the next quintet of years will bring about revolutionary friendships seemingly impossible today. Alliances, technology and solutions. Quick, specific and agile. One egg, in one basket, at one time. And leaders will no longer juggle 10 colored balls between two hands. Leaders will develop ten hands that hold one ball each — and not very firmly either.