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Building a Future Fit Organisation

By | Ramesh Ranjan | Editor www.humanengineers.com

“The Future belongs to those who know where they belong.” Divergent

The best way for organisations to compete in the Future is to understand it and prepare for it adequately.

In 2013 during the press conference to announce the mobile phone branch of NOKIA to be sold to Microsoft, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop ended his speech saying “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”

However, in today’s fast moving world it is now longer about “knowing”. Market dynamics, technology, regulations & competition change so quickly that knowledge about how things used to work in the past is increasingly marginalized in importance. It can lead to complacency and a sense of arrogance. At times it can even be counterproductive. In fact, in fast-changing times “learning” is not an option but a given. It does no longer just separate the great from the good companies; it has become a question of survival.  If you are not leaving your comfort zone to try out something new, to feel clumsy or even fail then you are most certainly setting yourself up for failure in the long run. This is true for companies as well as it is for their leaders.

You can continue doing what made you successful in the first place. You can even become really good at it, just like Nokia. However, while you are still optimizing yourself the competition is changing the rules of the game and then it becomes increasing difficult for you to catch up with Competition.

How many Organisations are aware of who they are, what is their Purpose of existence, what makes them succeed & believe in themselves. Are they able to foresee the Future and how are they preparing for it. How many of them who are aware of the turbulent Future, see it as an Opportunity or as a Threat.

A Chinese proverb says that in times of Great Winds, many build bunkers and some build Wind Mills. We are living in times of Great Winds and organisations, Entrepreneurs will have to decide whether they want to build bunkers or capitalise on the opportunity and build wind mills.

The disruption to the world of work that digital technologies are bringing to the work place, pose significant challenges to employers, policy makers, government, employees & the society at large.

As we enter the Digital Age, rapidly emerging technologies—such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Internet of Things, Automation, Block chain, Big Data, wearables, robotics and Industry 4.0—are spurring the development of new production techniques, business models, and value chains that will fundamentally transform business environment. The speed and scope of change add complexity to Leaders & Entrepreneurs in guiding the ship of the Future.

As technology continues to revolutionise the way we live, work and lead, are companies fully equipped for what lies ahead? Are our Leaders capable and equipped to face the Future?

Leaders will have a challenging time facing and adapting to the changing demands of the Future. They will have to ensure that their organisations stay above water during these turbulent times but also be able to sail to the shore.

Building an Organisation that is Future Fit will be a herculean challenge for most leaders. No one has a clear picture of the Future nor is it easy to predict what the Future will unfold. A cultural balance must be struck between short term capabilities and Future strategic intent.. In effect, the present is a critical resource to fund the Future. Before attempting to frame long term strategies for the Future, it is essential to make sure that they work towards building an organizational culture that enables organisations to adapt, crystallize and execute on strategy as the Future becomes progressively clearer.

Organisations will have to continuously adapt itself and build an Organisation Culture that promotes continuous learning & development. Innovation will be the key to success. The Ivey Business Journal article visualized the Innovation Culture as follows:

Source : 2 Robert Angel, “Putting an Innovation Culture into Practice”, Ivey Business Journal Volume 70, Number 3, January/February 2006.

However Leaders / Entrepreneurs shouldn’t get overawed by the Future or the disruption that is unfolding before them largely caused by the Technology. They must work towards co-creating the Future.

The Future is not going to be decided by Technology. The Future should not be decided by geographies. We are here to build our Future. The Future that we want is there for us to create. – ILO


How do we build organizations that are fundamentally fit for the Future.  It’s time to radically rethink how we mobilize people and organize resources to productive ends. Here are some Articles, Tips, Tools, Research Papers, Books, Videos to help organisations in Building a Future Fit Organisation

Author Bio

Ramesh Ranjan Founder Editor humanengineersRamesh Ranjan is A Business Consultant, Executive Coach, Visiting Professor, Content Manager & Editor He is a visiting Professor at WE School & Narsee Monjee Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Till recently he was the Content Management Partner for NASSCOM – IIM Bangalore Leadership Resource Centre and the Vice President HR at Schneider Electric India. He is a certified CEO / Leadership Coach, Mentor for Startups, Blogger & a Speaker.

In a career spanning nearly 3 decades, he has been Head of HR and held leadership positions in India & globally in organisations like Schneider Electric India, American Power Conversion (APC), Chevron Texaco/Caltex India, Praxair India, Co Systems India, Indian Herbs & ITI.

He was the Vice President & Honorary Secretary of the National HRD Network, Bangalore Chapter. He was a member of the India HR Council of the AMCHAM, New Delhi, Panelist on the Roundtable of HR Directors of Petroleum Companies, ISP Mumbai and Member of the India HR Council of Conference Board. He strongly believes that HR is not for faint hearted professionals. He believes that “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going” and can be reached at rameshranjan@humanengineers.com

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