The last 2 decades in India have been about the war for talent. Many companies today are still living in the past and trying to win the battle on how fast can we hire and staff people to grow revenues? All I can say with due respect is that you have been fighting the wrong battle for far too long.
The current & future success of companies, both in terms of Revenues and CAGR would be dependent on the following 2 factors:
1. Measuring and increasing learnability of your current workforce.
2. Hiring for high learnability quotient.
Gone are the days of linear revenue growth connected to headcount. The future is going to be non-linear revenue & profit growth driven by fewer but highly talented people, supported by technology. No matter which industry you belong to, disruption by technology is given. The smartest thing to do is to prepare now vs. wait for the tsunami to hit you.
The future will belong to an attitude that I call “learnability”. Why is it an attitude and not a competency? Unlike a competency, an attitude is continual and all pervasive. It applies in all facets of life and is not contextual to any organization or defined eco-system. When someone displays the “attitude of learnability”, their relevance is boundaryless and hence incredibly valuable. With an attitude of learnability, individuals are ever curious; flexible; adaptable; willing to learn / unlearn; willing to experiment, test, fail & retry; think current & future simultaneously; aware of their surroundings; self-motivated, self-reliant & self-directed; reinventing themselves continually and therefore are always contemporary.
It is predicted that around 50% of the Fortune 500 companies are unlikely to survive the next decade. The most valuable companies in the future would not be those employing in ‘000s. They could be a mere 100 to 500 people but each one of them would be worth a few billions. The key differentiator would be an attitude of learnability in their people & company culture.
I believe, it is imperative for all companies to start focusing on measuring the attitude of learnability of their workforce. For today’s businesses to be successful over the next 10 years, measuring and enabling an attitude of learnability will be the key. Some of the large services companies in India may have to shed 60–80% of their current workforce if their employees are unable to imbibe the attitude of learnability. The bloodbath in the Indian services sector over the next 10 years is likely to be much bigger & larger than the loss of jobs post the Mumbai Mill closures during the era of Datta Samant in 1970s.
I am sure a few of you reading this blog may think, this may never happen to your company or probably it may never happen during your career or life span. I am sorry to say that you may be sadly mistaken. The problem is much closer than you think it is. It will be a tsunami that will hit companies like a large wave and wash companies away. I am acutely aware that I may be sounding alarming. The intent is not to create fear, but to create a sense of urgency to look into the matter. Most companies are sitting in a cocoon like the Americans did during World War II at the Pearl Harbor. No one thought Japan would strike but it did. That changed the war and the world for ever. The digital tsunami will hit very soon and companies that are caught napping will be history.
A question however still remains — how does one measure attitude of learnability? I will address this question in my next blog.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Founder & CEO, Planet Ganges