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HRHeadStart #21: Better Managers; Tech Trends; Fiction vs. Non-Fiction
The Talent Agenda
For over a century, the approach to people management has been hierarchical and it continues to be so in many places. It made sense as long as the organization worked in a linear fashion and through functional specialization. Today, the internal and external boundaries of the organization are getting blurred. The expectations of customers, employees and other stakeholders are shifting. This warrants a shift in the organization’s structure, skills and managerial power dynamics too.
Consider managers. They have been through overwhelming change in the wake of digitalization, demands for organizational agility and now, hybrid work. But the question remains if we have invested adequately in upgrading the managerial infrastructure of the organization.
Managers can’t do it all without the right support. In this piece, you can learn about how companies like Standard Chartered, IBM and Telstra are innovating in this area. I particularly liked the experiment at Telstra, where they split the role of the manager into two i.e. every employee now has dual managers: a Leader of Work and a Leader of People.
What’s super interesting is that the company drastically reduced the number of organizational layers to three and that these two groups of managers are on an equal footing - they have the same pay ranges and they participate as equals in the senior leadership team.
If we all work in organizations where technology is fueling rapid changes, it would be myopic to focus only on core HR functional skills and not stay abreast of tech trends which are shaping the organization’s future. After all, technologies developed for other purposes can quickly find their way into HR applications (e.g. analytics, cognitive automation, robotic process automation, blockchain etc.). Check out the presentation "Three Steps to the Future" by Benedict Evans. It talks about the future, present and the past of tech (in that order), presents key insights and poses powerful questions. And hopefully this fuels your curiosity.
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, listen to this interesting podcast from The Economist which talks about Web 3.0 or the third iteration of the internet which will be built on blockchain technology and be more decentralized. Some pundits laud the idea, whereas others are skeptical. Grab the links - Spotify, Apple Podcasts.
We gain new ideas and knowledge from reading non-fiction. On the other hand, fiction teaches us empathy and emotions - which is equally, if not more, important to success and happiness in life. Bottom line: read widely.
I wanted to share additional resources for HRHeadStart subscribers. My friend, Foo Chek Wee (Human Capital Head at The Straits Trading Company), has launched a great initiative to interview HR/business leaders every week to enable us to learn what others have already mastered. Check out Thrive in Asia to watch video interviews on a wide range of topics including organizational transformation, design thinking, working in startups etc. This is a passion-powered and free project for the development of the HR community, so make the most of it.