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The future of work

D. Shivakumar The future leader will have to tread through many challenges — make diversity work, look at teams not individuals and being transparent. But, also, she/he will have to be a democratic and warm boss

For the past 50 years, organisations have essentially been variations of a hierarchical model. This will change fundamentally this decade. The future organisation will be all about people, in the context of factors like globalisation, the economy, technology and a growing individualistic society. Four factors will impact future organisations. They are globalisation, the economy, technology and growing individualism. Globalisation and economy Globalisation is about the lowest cost structure, the cheapest money, the best talent and the best returns. Talent is getting scarce and going global at the same time.

Technology breaks hierarchy and promotes openness by getting every employee’s view on the internal blogs. not a noun. It is the year when we will see nearly a billion smartphones sold. about results. and also the way work will be done in organisations. Management style and corporate culture will have to keep pace with technology advances this decade. And. so. The Concorde generation change jobs to keep life interesting.Globalisation is also about the spread of consumer trends from one block to another. They seek harmony in values and what’s right and wrong. in some measure. since their parents have provided for the basic needs. With technology. they are adept at multitasking. Their learning style is by doing — by trial and error. since firms have the opportunity to source from countries that have favourable business terms and conditions. Both will have a significant impact on people. Every country wants to create more jobs and. It is also the death of unions. and to close operations that are not productive. The Internet is about ‘public-ness’. This year. Technology will aid. yet challenge the way meetings are conducted. there is no dividing line between work time and personal time. We will see consumption coupled with an experience economy this decade.” since that was possible with the Concorde between London and New York. When leaders disappoint them. about strategy. This will be led by company laws and also the growth of non-Governmental organisations (NGOs). Previous generations worked in companies for security and institution building. The Concorde generation is also idealistic. about culture. Every firm must do more than law mandates in order to show its commitment to the country. One group we will see a lot at the workplace is the millennials. 2013. The Concorde generation is excellent with technology. it will also be the year when mobile Internet will overtake fixed line Internet. And they thrive on praise and are sensitive to criticism. A country will want the firm to be a good citizen and contribute significantly to the challenges and issues it faces. this will lead to protectionism and also development of local based industry. “Arrive before you leave. will be special for two reasons. Technology allows people flexibility in managing work and life. The ad from British Airways for the Concorde said. The second impact factor is the economy. It is a privileged generation. The Indian economy has moved from being a penetration economy to a consumption economy sometime in the last ten years. I fondly call them “The Concorde generation’. . The big impact for organisations will be the ‘soft skills’ of internal and outsourced employees in providing great experience. For this generation work is a verb. people born between 1977 and 1997. they are disillusioned. The tech impact Technology is the next impact factor. They are loyal to their careers and not institutions.

we will need different career paths for women. We will need to monitor the capability balance in the team. Diversity should also try and mirror the consumers and customers one serves in this decade. it must have people from the sciences. That is a start. Organisations are unable to meet the aspirations and needs of significant top talent. During this decade we will see more than three different generations of employees at work. rigid and vertical. Career paths must provide space for women and excitement/interest for the Concorde generation. how does one manage and what should a firm look for? Keeping it together There are six things an organisation should manage. in a global world. That’s a far step from where we are today. The future organisation will see a strong alignment between the core technical aspects of what the company is supposed to be good at and a strong culture. collaboration and compromise. The first is diversity. One of the challenges for organisations is to be innovative this decade. Teams will have to be autonomous and self-directed.So. An organisation must staff people from different backgrounds to be innovative. the liberal arts. What kind of culture it will be is something the leaders and followers need to decide. At a basic level people look at diversity as the ratio of men and women. who will provide the glue. earn respect with the rank and file. impacted by globalisation. and other fields. the interaction of different functions and different backgrounds. to be truly innovative. technology and growing individualism. thus. Earning respect The next challenge is the behaviour of leaders. Every firm will need to manage the generational harmony through communication. the training around values? How will folklore and storytelling happen? This job will have to be done by senior management. Attrition in India is running between 15 and 20 per cent. . Hence. As I scan the future firm. So. self-deciding. One of the biggest challenges of this decade will be attrition. but diversity is not just about gender balance. design. We will need to see talent in a team as opposed to talent in an individual. Every leader will be challenged to improve his leadership score and. the economy. 66 per cent of a firm will be new employees as opposed to today. We have managed career paths in a linear way since our definition of success has been narrow. that means by 2020. The future organisation will be built around teams. Innovation happens at the intersection. the responsibility of managing a career has shifted from the organisation to the individual.

Middle East and Africa. humble and rich in social skills. Truth telling will ensure that you will have more control and be more compliant. (The writer is President.Every organisation says it is open and transparent. We will need to set a new benchmark in openness in this decade. How do leaders encourage truth telling at all times? The task for leaders is challenging. harmonised workplace   . I call this truth telling as opposed to whistle blowing. This article has been adapted from a speech delivered at the NHRD CEO Conclave). Vice President. Effectiveness and Exits — to a more democratic. Effectiveness and Exits — to a more democratic. Such a leader will move from the current three Es — Efficiency. AIMA. The future leader will be one who is disciplined. in being who you are — the warm leader. The future leader will have to move from the three Es — Efficiency. and Sr. Nokia for India. The future of leadership is in rich social skills. harmonised workplace where the value will be unlocked through highly engaged colleagues who are more productive than competition.