Humanity at the Center of Everything, with Real Changes Ahead of Us

Humanity at the Center of Everything, with Real Changes Ahead of Us

Humanity is encountering a wave of change this century. It is multifaceted in terms of sustainability, circular economy, disruption in necessities, and technology transitions to renewables, among other things. Without a doubt, we are witnessing significant changes in all aspects of life and business. The change will be a constant topic, more than we’d like to admit.

The term “return to normal” requires a redefinition considering multiple waves of COVID. There will be different effects in different industries depending on how we interpret and respond to these shifts. On the surface, they may be prominent or quite subtle, yet they impact the business structure—organization, technology, and processes—in a profound way. Aligning our mindset toward change, as well as embracing and initiating changes, will be critical.

1. The supply chain disruption that began with COVID and the resulting pent-up demand led to increasing costs for goods and services, including the most basic necessities. Stabilizing such a massive shift will necessitate the combined efforts of governments, corporations, and citizens. The transition will be less painful if all parties adhere to the principles of what is right and what is beneficial to humanity in the long term. A lot of hard work lies ahead. For example, only by eliminating systematic bottlenecks, which we all know is difficult, can shortages of highly skilled workers (in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, and retail) be alleviated.

2. Technology and data adoption will play a significant role in enabling and enhancing people’s roles and in improving the working environment to be safe, sound, vibrant, and promotes culture and way of work. Keeping people at the center: Organizations must go above and beyond to integrate data into their culture and use it in a positive and resourceful manner, resulting in increased productivity, growth, empowerment, and the separation of employees’ personal and professional lives.

3. Collaboration across teams, disciplines, functions, regions, and business units will continue to be the rule of the game; finding the right balance will be key. Corporations and leadership will need to provide guidance and principles to live by rather than getting into specific details. At the simplest level, companies will need to refresh their capacity planning into three buckets: Time for Strategy and Planning; Time for Action; and Time for Learning, Reflection, and Correction.

4. Utilize the pandemic’s “unfinished learning” from 2020 to 21. Because of the infrastructure and our mindset, it is possible that the knowledge and experience gained will be underutilized, with people relying on intuition and experience to make decisions and not being able to distinguish between emergent/exceptional/one-off situations and recurring/generic or perhaps normal circumstances.

5. The ability to take a smart approach to ambiguity with data and human judgment will become a criterion for management. We must be tolerant of ambiguity in the face of uncertainty, putting our faith in the team and system to make sound decisions while also being willing to make the appropriate mistakes. Organizations will need to invest in developing their employees’ resilience and be diligent in their usage of data so that they can weather the storm.

6. We will see efforts to reduce travel while remaining present at the production site. Experts will increasingly have to solve problems they haven’t even seen. There will be opportunities for AR, but it is still in its infancy. It will be up to the team managers/leaders to create the right opportunities for employees to gain real-life experience, understand the context, and care for them appropriately. A data analyst or performance engineer can learn ten things from one experience.

7. The operating model will transform, involving the roles of headquarters, local operations, and suppliers in order to make better decisions and improve agility, resilience, reliability, and efficiency. The idea of control towers in supply chains, remote operation centers, or diagnostic centers will become more popular, but there will be changes to the roles and processes that we are used to seeing. As a result, there will be less oversight and control, but a better foundation to deliver the benefits of centralization, optimization, and standardization in a way that can be scaled up in a predictable and consistent way.

8. A shortage of skills and expertise will be felt everywhere, while employees’ needs and purpose will also change. As a result, we will continue to see organizations busy with the movement of people inside (vertically and laterally) and outside of the organization. Organizations and leadership will need to be better at defining the roles and attracting and retaining the talents necessary to create the right atmosphere for a successful transition between the roles, showing the path forward, and investing in the gaps.

As a result of all of these factors, senior executives and middle managers will be under unprecedented strain. Leaders at the helm will be under pressure to set direction and bring clarity to policies and culture. Middle management will have more onus than ever before. True learning organizations will make the “unknowns” their favorite topicAuthenticity will be tested. Collaboration across industries and value changes will be requested and prioritized for long-term performance over short-term goals. Organizations and industries will demand stronger board leadership that will play a significant role in ensuring the right trajectory of governance and safeguarding the interests of employees, stakeholders, and society.

I am thrilled about the once-in-a-lifetime possibilities of the opportunities that lie ahead of us. In particular, I’m looking forward to discussing ideas with colleagues and developing the most effective agenda for the team and the organization.

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Change Management
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