The greatest threat that technology faces today is ‘obsolescence’. Interestingly enough, it is the same threat that confronts managers across industries and functions today. The word has Latin origins and means something that is performed or carried out. The word is built around the aspect of performance and functionality – be it a Chief Executive Officer or a Sales executive. It is the performance that counts and the delivery that matters.
Can it be only about pedigree and talent or brains? – of course not. The rate of this realisation catching on is directly proportional to the rate of technological advancement that part of the society is witness to. India and her managers are no exception.
We are unique in that we have generally had to work with people from diverse backgrounds, our societies a veritable potpourri of cultures even though we may cling to our microcultures. An expression of this is to be found in the multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual character of our polity and, this must be said, our education as well. Huge concentrations of this ‘pot pourri’ can be found especially in the multinationals that have spread out in the country and yet, there in lies also a problem – that of extreme competition.
Until a certain time in our not-so-ancient history,
executives had to measure up against one another, but within the safe bounds of
inter-cultural exchange. Now, though, this inter-cultural space has ceded to
international space in terms of achievement. While jobs fly from one country to the other chasing
low-cost labour, capital seems to chart its own unique route, often unexplained
by the neat models of management. The issue gets exacerbated when one also has
to cope with anti-capitalism backlash from countries which gave birth and shape
to capitalism in the first place.
The rules across
industries are also changing in so much as there seems to be no rule.
Organizations merge, get acquired, invest, divest, expand, focus, and at times
disappear, following little of the theories we learnt in our classrooms just a
few years ago.
So what has
changed? And how much? Everything; and a lot, no prizes for guessing. The top
management institutes across the globe had surmised in the years gone by that
the management curriculum needed a thorough relook every 10 years with a
sprinkling of change every year. Not anymore.
We have realized
as well as others that management education needs to be updated at least every
5 years to keep pace with the changing character of this thing we call
business. Across sectors, private, public or not-for-profit, the increased
complexity of doing business, the heightened aspirations of people working
therein, and the rapid changes in technology necessitate updating our
curriculum sooner than we thought. And that has implications for the modern
manager, nay leader, whether present or aspiring, as well.
As an aspiring
leader, you need to contend with the changing Indian demographics and
aspirations of people at all levels. The new age mantra for businesses seems to
be innovate or die, especially in markets such as India where limited resource
pose a great set of constraints on the scale and scope of a business. Thus, an
executive needs to find a place in an organization where both dependencies and
competition are high. It must be said that this contributes in part to the
work/life conundrum that few master but as far as organizations are concerned,
it certainly presents as challenges on how to keep employees motivated. Little
wonder then that organizations put this as up as one of their organizational
you are an executive looking to improve your prospects of performing better and
climbing that ladder, this is what you should probably be looking for: updating
of your management education, which gives you a global perspective on business,
exposes you to the best practices from around the world, facilitates
interaction with best minds they can get, and provides you with the opportunity
to share your views with peers from across industries.
Gone are the
days when you studied the first 25 years of your life and spent the rest
holding down a job well until retirement at a senior position. Today, a
well-rounded executive education means learning through life and throughout it