Organizational Human Resource Dynamics In The New World Order of Post-COVID19 Normal

The COVID19 Pandemic has profoundly impacted humans’ collective minds and will leave a lasting imprint on personal and professional lifestyles. A lot has changed, and a lot will keep changing at an accelerated pace. 
The viruses and their mutated strains are here to stay. While there will always be medicinal remedies, economies and business value chains would also have changed forever. Social and organizational behaviors would even now have to adapt to this ever-evolving new world order. Welcome to the challenging VUCA-World dynamics of the 21st Century.  People have always been a critical resource and shall remain to be. Some will be obsolete while others will suit the Post-COVID19 normal and the resulting new world order. It is now all about the demonstrated wisdom of adapting through new behaviors. Pre-pandemic behaviors and habits may show the survival of individuals and organizations at deficient probability levels. 
So what has the COVID19 pandemic resulted? For sure, it has reinvented business models and accelerated innovations to support emerging business models and value chains. The technology was being used to suit the human resource dynamics, but now human resources will be selected to serve the new business models and technological innovations. Perpetual Innovations will continuously disrupt the organization’s behavior. Neo-Classical Organizations and work from home systems will usher the era of a unique working style, which will be consistently reinvented as organizations pursue their newfound quest to redefine productivity levels. Organizations in the new world order increasingly realize the amount of flab they have accumulated over the years. The pandemic put pressure on every enterprise’s economic resources and led the Leaders to rethink ways to cut costs with prudence. Leaders have suddenly realized work from home and technology is boosting productivity, which is the leading indicator for good times to come. Administration, establishment costs, and operations expenses are suddenly down. Real estate is suddenly being seen as an unproductive investment eroding profitability and restricting cash flows. 
The environment and economies change their behaviors while some pockets flourish; others are sinking or have already lost in the game of new world order. Though the world will remain a technological & business global village, nationalistic sentiments will rule the roost. Simultaneously, viruses mutate, and the global economies and world order will face the pressure of accelerated change, and thus human behavioral competencies will see a sea change. Organization work designs, competency frameworks, and skill matrices demand a serious relook now. The recruitment process must now be more sensitive to the human behavioral dimension than ever before. 
The use of technology shrinks teams and thus always results in surplus human resources. Gone are the days when organizations will be charitable to accommodate the bench alternatively. Residential apartments will have a room that shall operate as personal home offices permanently. Pressure on human resources to remain relevant shall be a continual challenge.  Businesses have genuinely tasted the blood of peaking productivity and rapid innovations, and I doubt if they will let go of this momentum. Increasingly contract jobs will become relevant to individuals’ time-sharing with different organizations under Non-Disclosure Agreements and Confidentiality arrangements. Collaborative partnerships shall be the new norm as demand for specialized competencies grows. Let us assess the premises in which people will operate.
1. Viruses are here to stay; thus, fitness is the key because immunity is natural; medicines and remedies follow time.

2. The global dynamics will shift in terms of the Triad of USA-Europe-Japan as international markets. The emergence of the Quad of India, the USA, Japan & Australia will create unprecedented cooperation with Japan and the USA as the shared economies between the Triad and the Quad. Supply chains will reconfigure themselves and not remain one-country-centric.

3. Economies and businesses will mitigate the risk of pandemics as COVID19 has undoubtedly jolted the global economies. Mitigation of Business risk of epidemic shall be a fundamental premise in all decision making.

4. Work from home will result in stresses in societal, family, and professional life.

5. Technology will reconfigure the way we live and work.

6. Global political leadership will formulate plans which will be Nationalistic and protectionist to ensure survival with the ambition to rule global markets.

7. The state of chaos will be the new normal if, at all, Biological, Economic, and Cyberwarfare become the new norm of global conflicts. Having said this, what should organizations do to remain relevant? Let us first look at the recruitment process, which will be contactless and on technology. For sure, when people operate from homes, the dynamics of overseeing work and reviews will be an extra overhead. Control processes cannot be made complicated or stringent as they will affect human relations. Virtual teams which are ubiquitous and remote with technology taking the front seat will demand new competencies, as suggested earlier, which are as under:
1. A strong sense of purpose at work and thought leadership

2. Integrity and conscientiousness

3. Critical thinking for managing ambiguity

4. Agile Innovation

5. Solutions approach

6. Technological savviness

7. Focus on Personal Mastery and Self-development

8. Emotional intelligence

9. Perpetual optimism and high resilience

10. High result orientation

11. An extreme degree of adaptability to manage change

12. A High Sense of Ownership & Accountability

The recruitment process will need to investigate candidates’ behaviors through psychometric assessments & interpretations concerning detailed work designs. Hunches and personal experience will be relevant only to do contra-assessments through valid and reliable assessment tools. Referencing and Industry network-based hiring will see increasing trends. Informed hiring decisions will now be the essential factor as people work from home; otherwise, monitoring performance will be very high. This cost is always an undesirable overhead. We cannot discount the psychological stresses arising in teams due to the lack of accountability demonstrated in individual pockets of interdependent remote virtual work from home teams.  Toxic behaviors will severely constrain individual and collective performance. Behavioral Event Interviews based on Psychometric Assessments is the new way of hiring. Since people will have to deliver through demonstrated high result orientation, ownership & accountability shall be critical as one cannot just “float” in the Universe of business anymore and be a compliant contributor. So what is needed to build this ownership and accountability at work? 
1. Defining clear expectations

2. Defining clear measurement factors of performance

3. Developing precise capabilities to deliver the goals and expectations

4. Leadership Conversations and Feedback

5. Defining precise outcomes of success and failures at the individual, team, and organization level

Learning and development shall see a renewed focus, and investments as capabilities will be critical to business sustenance more than ever. MOOCs, PodCasts, Virtual Training, Virtual Instructor Lead Training, Knowledge Portals, and Virtual Coaching will be essential development tools. Knowledge will be eternal power in the 21st Century. Learning retention and engagements will rise as technologies evolve in this space. Tech-Education is the next frontier of human resource development, with critical success behavioral drivers in developmental processes.
Performance Management will be real-time driven through analytics and peer reviews. Engagement level measures will be available on team collaboration technologies and learning portals. Interestingly, this will eliminate human biases and relationship noises that frequently occur in performance appraisals. Instead, people analytics will determine human resource decisions. The sustenance of organizations will now depend upon Authentic Leaders, capable human resources, and technological prowess. These shall prove to be a competitive advantage to drive brands and enterprises. Have you thought about your Post-Pandemic people’s strategies and determinants of human resource success? You must; there is no choice but to reinvent your people strategies to remain in the game. As regards professionals; as the job market shrinks owing to technologies, thought leadership is the only way to go.

Manoeuvring The Turbulent V Shaped Economic Recovery




To think that any V-shaped recovery of the economy will be spontaneous and smooth is incorrect. As a student of International Business and an Anthropologist, I have been studying consumer & business behaviors and Socio-Political behaviors, and the findings are fascinating.   The economy has its characteristics of cycles, the bust, and the boom in continuation. As is the rule of nature, after every high, there shall be a low. However, significant turbulences like wars, pandemics, and natural disasters can create unusual, unpredictable behaviors in the economy. In addition, emergency measures of lockdowns and structural changes in the economy can create tectonic shifts in business dynamics. COVID-19 shall go down in history as one such shift.

Member Nations, while at the level of the World Trade Organization, seek consensus on collaborative growth. However, National interest runs supreme, thus the slow and tedious process of consensus-based world order. Moreover, while WTO’s interest lies only in trade, services, and intellectual property United Nations carries the mandate of a much larger dimension along with the World Bank. Thus aptly called the Brettenwood Twins created post World War II.  The dynamics today are intricate. The world dynamics are now strongly oriented towards hybrid warfare, where the economy is the target. The military is hard power, but soft powers are information, intelligence, content, market, and currency.

The 21st century is emerging as the era of soft power.  So what happens when the economy takes the path of recovery? All Nations want their share of the market and accelerate their economies. Liberalization, privatization, and globalization shall remain the basic rules. Free trade and regional agreements shall continue; however, economic alliances become a priority after every significant shift. In most situations, shared boundaries remain conflict areas because land and food are priorities for all Nations. However, that can be a smokescreen in the hybrid war. Hybrid warfare is essentially about paralyzing the Nation and its economy through multiple fronts where its culture and ethos must also be dented. Even if the intellectual assets of a country can be made vulnerable, it suits hybrid warfare. Ultimately each Nation has created its assets and capacities in terms of infrastructure, which need to be utilized; else, the economy will capitulate, taking the Nation along with it. Thus turbulences both internal and external to every country become part and parcel of global dynamics.  Thus the economy is the most valuable determinant today; it also becomes a vulnerable facet of hybrid warfare. Organizations of the 21st Century must therefore brace up to the new reality of constant turbulence. These turbulences will be inherent to all economies. If that is true, then the hypothesis that the 21st Century is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous becomes a reality.  So what should the Organizations do? As a Business Coach, I see specific dimensions that need immediate focus in every organization.

1. The Senior Leadership of the organization must co-create. Each human asset within the organization must be oriented towards co-creation. It is a higher attribute than collaboration; it is about sourcing ideas across departments of interdependence and making them successful. If you can’t co-create, you are sunk.

2. Turbulence triggers blue ocean innovation. Creativity and Innovation based on technology must become a priority. It is interesting that business boundaries are blurring, and technology and businesses intertwine to create radically different models. The domains are amalgamating. Thus don’t get fixated on domain convergence; go for domain diversity. 

3. Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) are making global boundaries blurred and empowering the consumer. It is imperative now to crowdsource ideas and listen to the chatter in the digital world. In the digital world, your presence there is a critical element. Invest in digital assets extensively. ICT is the core focus area of the World Economic Forum and Nations. How can businesses operate as islands? Adapt or perish. 

4. Consumer behavior shifts after every significant occurrence. Some habits will remain, and many will change. Organizations thus must be ready to reinvent their products, services, and business models. To believe that the migration of consumers will not happen is a myth. 

5. Lean and mean is the way. Cut the flab, let the inefficiencies surface, and fix them through technology. Flab creates cash burns. Turbulent economies need deep pockets. 

6. In the business value chain, only productive assets must be maintained. To create a web of outsourced specialists in the non-core areas and bring in extensive technology enablers and drivers in the core business areas. Make your value chain agile and technology-driven. Remove redundancies immediately and ruthlessly. 

7. Work designs and critical success factors must be determined and controlled. The skills and Competency matrix must be redesigned for this new reality. Monitor your productivity levels. Working from anywhere and cutting dead time is the key to success in the new economy. 

8. Knowledge management and augmentation shall be the force multiplier as new knowledge gets created every moment in time. Knowledge shall be the critical definer of every firm and Nation. Tech-enabled knowledge systems shall create sustainable organizations and Nations. 

9. Supply chains shall be the new space of power. Nations and organizations that create highly responsive and cost-effective supply chains shall be the winners. Countries that invest in supply chain infrastructure shall become the significant destinations of world trade. Supply chain control through information automation and analytics is a must now. 

10. Web of outsourced tech-savvy domain experts shall emerge as the critical knowledge assets. In addition, organizations must become open to the idea of contracted time-based knowledge engagements.   

The world will see the emergence of Digital Nomads who will operate from anywhere, anytime in a ubiquitous mode. They will be Multi-tasking Tech-Savvy domain specialists who will work on a contract basis. These new breed intellectual assets are the future business builders. Technology and knowledge shall integrate to create sustainable Nations and Organizations. Agile Tech-Savvy Learning Organizations shall be the ones that will sustain this turbulence. Organizations that will create sustainable businesses in this new turbulent V-shaped economy will yield tremendous soft power in their consumer connect through sophisticated knowledge, technology, analytics, and a competent workforce. Critical success factors would be agility and disruptive innovations.  Competition with global brands is inevitable. Foreign investments will shift into Nations where consumers exist. Population and Leadership, both business and political, will determine this inflow of FDI. Turbulence and unrest will be the new norm, providing the impetus for growth and Innovation.  Are you ready for this turbulent V-shaped economy? For all you know, this is the new economy’s character, and the wise senior Leadership that steers the organization must now carry the baton. They must nurture the middle and the bottom of the pyramid to operate as intrapreneurs. Welcome to the turbulent V-shaped economy recovery. 

Why the Old School Thinking Will Ensure the Downfall of Businesses In Post-Covid19 World

It is interesting how a micro-organism can drive so much turbulence and desperation in the Globalized Scientific World that we live in. While the old school will live with the hope that this too shall pass and the old-world order shall prevail again, they are sadly mistaken. The National lockdowns, the transformation of consumption behaviors, turbulences in economies, and failing business models have redefined the success determinants of the new World order. Traditional conditioned thoughts are on the way out, and Inventive minds are the latest in things. So beware of the old school thought leaders who cling to a false hope of the future. They will undoubtedly lead you to the path of destined failure with the impressive logic of the past.

Let us understand the unconscious impact of the Covid19. The turbulence in economies, isolation at home, fear of infection, and renewed self-reliant behavior have changed the mindset of consumers and consumption behaviors. Extroversion has been, to an extent, restricted, and introversion is the adjusted behavior. However, the human personality will need to express itself in its grandness. This lockdown will throw up new opportunities that will seep into the vacuum of isolation and economic uncertainty. Fear is an overwhelming emotion; it makes you redundant or inspires a fightback through creative thought processes and inventions. The new school of thought leadership is all about perpetual Invention and Innovation.

Hope and search for meaning are eternal to humankind. The challenges of the Post-COVID Era are threatening and yet “Actualizing” in nature. The Globalized World is set to enter into new blocs of trade collaboration. Advanced Western economies have shown their economic vulnerability in sound healthcare systems, and developing nations have shown their resilience in the scenario of absolute turbulence and chaos. While the World looks at Leadership for a bailout, all they can do is provide a platform to succeed. Individual successes will still be the battle of singular organizations and professionals. New business models and success behaviors shall hold the key to the next growth orbit. Economies shall remain global, but products will be curated locally and consumed globally, an opportunity area of exemplified personal passions. The call of Nationalism will become the social order, and consumption will depend on the country of origin now as the World will stand polarized.

Supply chains will need to be reinvented. The pandemic has shown how vulnerable the supply chain is when the dependence of sourcing and manufacturing is on solitary emerging economies like China. The ambition for low-cost production and concentration of supply chain hubs has made the pandemic escalate its impact.  While the efficiency of the supply chain is a reality, the supply chain’s responsiveness has failed. Organizations will have to mitigate risks as the Japanese did for distributing and balancing the sourcing and manufacturing facilities. Redesigning supply chains to de-risk overdependence has emerged as a critical determinant. There is much to do here. Fortunately, the logistics systems through 3PL, 4PL, and 7PL service providers are absolutely up to speed. Select your sourcing & logistics partners well and distribute your risks. Global supply chains will still matter to even out the sales curve. Protection of Intellectual property shall build more faith in democracies with the emergence of predator strategy of buying stressed assets in times of economic turbulence through controlled legal systems that target economic supremacy.

Organizations need to reinvent the way they do business. Business models have to change while critically looking at the value chain layers. Business processes will have to be re-engineered, and automation is the key to success. Human intervention shall be required only for its wisdom. Personal effectiveness is the new barometer. COVID19 has thrown up inefficiencies of the system and its people. Organizations and professionals will have to develop new competencies to deal with the Post-Covid19 World. All competency frameworks are redundant now. Work on calibrating new behaviors. As I always say, we live in a world of cause and effect, and our behaviors will create further success. Modification of Organization behaviors is highly critical at this juncture. Old school mindsets and behaviors will not work. It is a sure-shot recipe for disaster. The key determinants are behaviors of Thought Leadership, Adaptivity, Innovation, Design Thinking, Tech Savviness, Compliant Result Orientation, and Dynamic Customer Focus. Teams will be micro collaborative structures of holons with Leaders to emerge as Mentors. The Senior Leadership will marshal the Corporate battle of Post COVID World. Neo-Classical organizations will need to take shape with the requisite adaptive behaviors. Behavioral modification thus will be the most critical area of focus to stay relevant. Operations will get robotized and automated with increasing speed making hands redundant.

A sensitive radar system of leading indicators will determine the actions and innovations in the new world order. Analytics will play a crucial role in ensuring predictive & prescriptive analytics that will identify empathetic innovation systems. Design Thinking is, thus, the new world order in the realm of innovation. Products and services that will empower humans to be self-reliant will be the key business prospects. All systems and products will now see a technological collaboration. Beyond human cooperation, a technological partnership of devices will be the key. Cloud will rule supreme. So, get the hang of what your customers will do now in the post-pandemic scenario. Tech-Education shall be the new frontier of learning as organizations realize its improved effectiveness and cost efficiencies.

Travel will see a massive change. Humans will travel, but technology will now have to make it safe. So will it be for the hospitality business too? The fear of infection & quarantine will run in the blood of people for a long time to come. Till then, the preference shall remain on virtual meetings and collaborative platforms. Redesigning vessels and rooms for pandemic safety will be the area of innovation. Meeting strangers and outsiders in office shall have their safety restrictions. Digital marketing will make traditional marketing redundant.

Augmented reality will redefine work and education systems. We see how vulnerable our education systems are. Traditional mechanisms have failed to live up to the cause. Virtual learning is a new reality. But it will need a different competence in corporate trainers, coaches, and college & university teachers. Universities cannot remain to examine bodies anymore; they will have to prepare a new breed of thought leaders. The World will also see an accelerated effort on invention in the area of Quantum Computing.

Economic warfare is a reality. The precedence is now set, and we have to see if the following order of economic war is a human creation of pandemics, and I sincerely hope I am wrong. But in behavioral sciences, we say past behaviors are accurate predictors of future actions.  The dark secrets which were in the closets are out. The business will have to deal with this new reality to stay afloat. You will have to redefine your infrastructure, supply chain, work methods, learning strategies, product strategies, and technology savviness.

Cash reserves will be required in abundance for the sustenance of cash flows for such turbulences, and to innovate and invent knowledge will be power. Learn or perish is the new norm. The World will see the emergence of tech-enabled Coaches.

The new Mantra thus is Invent, Innovate or Perish. We will have to be future-ready organizations and old school will certainly not like it!

Arresting the Progressive Behavioural Decay at the Top of the Pyramid

When only numeric performance is rewarded after the discounting of correlated behaviors of roles, rot sets in within the top echelons of the organizations, we nurture ruthless non-collaborative derailing behaviors unknowingly, which ultimately deteriorate the quality of leadership at the top of the pyramid.  It is thus a no-brainer that many companies miss the bus of remaining at the top of the best list over a sustained period due to fault lines in leadership corridors that develop over time. It is thus interesting to study the rise of the individualistic performers within the organizations who ultimately trigger the process of decay and hence the downfall of the glorious business empire. The approach of overemphasizing and rewarding performance without recognizing leadership behaviors is the starting point of cultural decline. A mercenary-oriented outlook sets in when the entire idea of assessment right from the bottom of the pyramid is based on numbers. Overemphasis on numbers creates non-collaborative, intensely competitive workplace behavior. To top it all, education systems are based on competitive reward systems, and the organization’s culture feeds to it. People wire themselves with derailing behaviors and deliver performance despite conducive behaviors they know they need to demonstrate. They thus become the undesired role models for others to mirror and emulate. Over some time, these number-driven professionals make it to the top. They start rewarding the same number-driven behaviors, and thus the decay now sets in across the organization. We now have a culture of singular performers who play to win alone. This has a disastrous impact on the layers of the organization. The core definition of leadership now takes the form of status and territorial power. The approach to reward control and micro-management takes precedence over authentic competence, influence, and warmth. This leads to a norm of produce or perish and hire & fire. Performance, however, depends upon numerous business contingencies, and when they play up, these leaders cannot bail the ship out as “shared leadership” was never practiced.  During times of crisis, individualistic behaviors & skill-sets accentuate, and the boat starts to sink. Since the learned behaviors are the derailing ones, they emphasize during turbulent times, and the catastrophic outcomes become inevitable. Have we not witnessed the best of the brands vanish from the business canvas of markets owing to ethical and leadership inefficacies. Organizations will continually encounter the noise of these derailing behaviors. However, since the decision-makers are responsible for the same, not much is done for its correction. The organizations that managed a turnaround were the ones with a strong-willed board or CEO who recognized this reality and then started the transformation of behaviors at the top. I have mostly seen two approaches, i.e., begin futile change investment at the bottom and middle of the pyramid or reform behaviors at the top. The latter is always a successful strategy. This transformation process at the top must comprise of the following steps: 1. Administer a validated and reliable psychometric tool that measures leadership facets of individual leaders and compares them on a relative scale of the cohort group. This helps to see personal anomalies and noise.

2. The result of the psychometric assessment must be backed up with behavioral data from stakeholders. This increases the acceptability of the results and creates a wake-up call.

3. A list of new behaviors for transformation must then be ascertained for each leader with a conducive environment for their consolidation.

4. People analytics dashboards must be put into action for recording, sustaining, and rewarding positive behavioral changes.

5. Leaders must be then made responsible to cascade the process of behavioral change across the pyramid.

6. A professional coach is a must proposition to assist and stabilize behavioral change.

7. Reward & recognition must then provide due weight to desired Leadership behaviors to sustain the culture and eliminate potential risks of entropy.

It thus becomes the responsibility of the person at the top to arrest the decay of behaviors that may set it. Leadership behaviors must be documented in the form of a framework, and senior leadership must be continually groomed to sustain them. A regular Leadership culture audit helps timely identification of noise that may set in. If you wish to build organizations that are focused on sustainable growth, it is imperative to arrest the decay at the top in time and correct them as soon as possible. We live in a world of cause and effect, and our behaviors ultimately shape our world. It is time now that organizations move from transactional leadership to transformational leadership behaviors. The million-dollar question therefore is, are you auditing and shaping success behaviors at the top of the pyramid? After all the price to pay is too high.

The VUCA Era of Design Thinking Tech Enabled Blended Learning​

Learning & Development will emerge as a critical differentiator with increasing intensity in the times to come. The produce or perish phenomenon of the past is soon evolving to the paradigm of learning fast, learning easy, learning cheap, or capitulating in the world of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous).

This holds for the organization as well as individuals. Only the students of a domain will prosper; masters of the field will experience obsolescence as learning experiences fast-paced changes in all its dimensions.

Learning processes face multiple exigencies. For one, the right fit of facilitation, secondly optimization of learning and development budgets, and thirdly, the most crucial element of all; the transfer of learning and its reinforcement. Thankfully, the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Private Learning Cloud-based systems (PLC) is now gaining their maturity. Though it will still take time for MOOCs and PLCs to stand on their own feet, blended learning is undoubtedly the emerging norm of the day and here to stay.

However, before we dwell in the world of technology, it is also essential to understand the application of Design Thinking in learning processes. Design Thinking is primarily based on the concept of failing early; fail cheaply. Build learning prototypes, test hypotheses, and scale rapidly. Thus, design thinking in the learning space approaches behavioral changes or skill-sets that would make a sizable difference to the KPIs established through validated and reliable psychometric and analytical tools.

Once the vital process drivers of change are identified, the intervention is prototyped and initiated. The hypothesis is then scaled across the organization’s essential elemental layers to enable the shift of business orbits. The process is then backed by the MOOC & PLC to consolidate the transfer of learning. The reinforcement of knowledge is then established through online surveys that bring in accountability to change.

Application of Design Thinking-based learning identifies critical learners who then create a mirroring effect across their circle of influence. Thus, the resistance to change gets managed effectively, and the transfer of learning cascades across the organization in the form of a Domino effect. MOOCs and PLCs offer the choice of self-paced learning and structured application of facilitated face-to-face learning as a method of revision.

Also, it becomes a ready reference learning platform for revisiting the critical elements of education. More in-depth knowledge may also be made available through the MOOC. A process of certification on the MOOC and quizzes enables serious learning, far more enriching than just physical participation. Design Thinking based Blended learning thus brings in the differentiation by integrating.

1. Psychometric tools & Analytical Tools: Identification of critical process drivers

2. Face to Face Facilitation: Real-time learning experience

3. Online learning through MOOC’s and PLC’s: Self-paced learning and reinforcement

4. Design Thinking Projects: A controlled environment for learning reinforcement

5. Measurement of transfer of learning through online analytical tools: Accountability towards learning and development Technology has created ample opportunities for active learning.

However, it does come with inherent resistance through cliched conservative thinking of only face-to-face training with no scientific study of behavioral drivers that drive the business orbit shift. In the world of VUCA, one of the key differentiators will be the emergence of “Tech Savvy Knowledge Enabled Digital Organizations.”

Organizations that are “Wise” shall flourish. This would need fast-paced fundamental learning processes, enabled only through Design Thinking based Blended Learning Processes. With the immense need to speedily reinvent continuously in VUCA, knowledge shall be the critical process driver of businesses. Technology will play a vital role in the fast-paced facilitation of learning.

The point is, how soon will organizations awaken to this need? VUCA, Design Thinking, Tech-Enabled Blended Learning will be a new reality. So are you good to go and enabled for this new Era of Digital Organizations? 

E-Learning the New Way

We now enter the era of content. Knowledge will be the power, and digital cash will be the king. The new era is all about monetizing content through technology. All unicorn start-ups will use this combination very efficiently. Technology platforms will collaborate with the internet and machine learning, and web-based cloud-enabled education will be the magic solution. The generation is now fast-paced and looks at self-paced technology-enabled high-quality learning. Only very niche learning will be face to face. The eLearning opportunity will be a billion-dollar economy for each country.

The remote geographies where the quality of education is limited and collective experience is meager will fast adapt to e-learning practices. The cost of delivery for routine learning will be minimized with the use of technology. A rapid expansion of mobile devices, the internet, and the technology-savvy population will limit face-to-face human interaction. Business pressures will also not allow extended classroom sessions. Thus, as a result, the cost of learning will decline over the period.

Research shows that learners prefer self-paced learning through videos, digital content, video blogs, and gamification. Digital simulation will be the preferred learning for concepts, and gamification will increase in that area. E-learning will now fast expand in university programmes, vocational skills, managerial and leadership competencies, technical knowledge, and other routine learning areas. No wonder so many international universities are now launching e-programmes.

However, the creation of learning content will not be an easy task. The person-hours required are humongous concerning building a technology platform & content. The entry barriers will, therefore, be high. Teaching face to face and teaching through a camera is a different ball game. The content will also require a great reading experience. So tech-enabled prolific writing skills will be the need of the hour. You will need teams that will have to collaborate for stupendous hours, depending upon the quantum of researched content.

The experience on the digital platform will be the key. Retention of learners’ attention will be the key driver. The passion of the speaker and writer will have to move over the internet. Creativity will be the demonstrated facet. Also, the technology experience will create collaborative learning and evaluation. Tests will now be quizzes, and peer assessment will be the learning evaluation. Only global thought leaders will succeed as Coaches, Trainers, and Teachers.

The question is, are you ready for this new revolution that is at your doorstep. Traditional learning will get outdated very soon. I already see a shift from traditional training to coaching based on technology evolving fast. To sustain the learning experience in coaching, technology platforms will complement the Coach. Coaches will have to build this ecosystem. Training and coaching will soon evolve into a high-quality technology model. Leadership development and managerial development will go the e-learning way. Internal learning management systems will have to collaborate with outsourced technology-enabled learning engines. Teachers, Trainers, and Coaches will have to get tech-enabled. The Coursera’s, Teachable & the Udemi’s will set a new education paradigm.

The advantage of e-learning will be there for even the small and medium enterprises. Learning was severely capped owing to costs. Now the low-cost e-learning proposition will scale through all sizes and domains in the industry. Digital payments will be the norm. The planet is seeing a fascinating change in the world of learning. Learning is no longer for the privileged alone it is for the masses.

Getting digital learning in or getting obsolete is the new norm now.

Design Thinking Re-engineering Innovation

Innovation is all about doing more with less. Innovation was thought to be an inborn talent that a few had till the design thinking approach came through. Design thinking converted the creative process into logical steps for all to use. I take this opportunity to discuss the essence of design thinking in this article through those logical steps.

  1. Empathize: This is a “what is” stage of the situation at hand. However, the interpretation of the situation is not from the Innovator’s standpoint but the stakeholder’s view. Ethnographic tools can help us discover the underlying emotive issues that the customer could be facing.
  2. Define: Once you know the exact situation from the stakeholder’s standpoint, then possible to develop a business case where we reframe the “opportunity statement” on hand.
  3. Ideate: Here, we start creating ideas from diverse groups of participants. Visual tools and stories are the best-used tools to trigger the creative mind.
  4. Prototype: This is a “what works” scenario. Once the ideation is over, you choose the quick wins and build a limited working model of the innovation. The idea here is to test it and fail early; fail cheap.
  5. Test: This is a learning launch stage where a hypothesis of the innovation is tested against business value creation, agreeability, scalability, and execution. There can be numerous other parameters also of relevance to this hypothesis.

Once the last step is cleared, then we can invest in a full-blown commercial proposition. What I like about design thinking is, it is quick, fast, easy, and fun.

Design thinking should not be mixed with problem-solving as it is a solution that tames all “wicked problems”, which are to do with human dynamics. The feedback I have about design thinking is that stakeholders enjoy this process and experience synergies required for innovation quickly.

So go ahead, learn this fascinating process and monetize the collective creativity.

The Post-COVID Resilient Business World

This planet has seen it all, the great wars, the great depression, civil wars, epidemics, and pandemics. This planet has also seen Nostradamus of the abstract world Newton as a physicist and Einstein of the scientific reality. We have seen great economists like Adam Smith, Musician Mozart & Fredrick Taylor, the father of Scientific Management.

The 20th Century saw the likes of Michael Porter and Peter Drucker. However, there is a common thread in the history of the planet, which is “Man’s Search for Meaning,” as Victor Frankel, a Jew Psychiatrist, a prisoner at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp during the era of the Holocaust, wrote in his book.

The uniqueness of human beings lies in the fact that they can endure all turbulences by identifying a purpose in life and immersively imagining that outcome. This vision creates a drive to sustain and face the enormous hardships of life.

The 21st Century has begun. A century carries forward the legacy of 20th Century rivalry, the internet, and globalization with starkly different dynamics. It is a century of cyber-invasions, economic competitiveness, and the threat of created and natural viruses that intensify turbulence at a higher frequency.

Also, the technological advances and the expansiveness of the Borderless World make this planet collectively powerful and individually fragile.

The rules of the games have changed. It is a VUCA-World, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. So how should the Corporates and Leaders of the 21st Century Organizations be? For one, organizations now need to be Cryptobiotic. These “Tungsten” organizations can hibernate or instantly bring down the activity levels during turbulences and spring back with agility when the turbulences recede. Cryptobiosis is a state in which metabolic activities come to a reversible standstill; Tardigrades are the water bears with this innate capability. Unfortunately, most organizations collapse in this stage. Tungston Organizations are frugal organizations powered by Technology and artificial Intelligence with a built-in radar system to predict and prescribe choices for the nearly predictable business turbulences.

Leaders who steer these organizations know how to deal with wicked problems through Critical Thinking and Design Thinking. This new era would need tremendous creativity and perseverance. Knowledge is power, and perpetual innovation is its application. Cash will always be the king, and the world shall, as Kenichi Ohmae describes Borderless-World. Neo-Classical Organizations based on the core of Technology and born global or globalized are the ones that will sustain the endurances of the 21st Century. 

Wise Leaders are the essentials of human capital. Number-driven short-run leaders won’t just make it through. The teams will have to be Holonic, ameboid in nature, frugal, flexible, and willing to stretch and collaborate. Rigid frameworks will not sustain at all. Work from home is an option that will work the best. People will operate globally as nuclear groups of experts where time is not the determinant of success but projects controlled through milestones of time and objective outcomes.

The stress of working from home will be enormous as global teams operate across time zones. Planned breaks and auditing unproductive time shall be the essence. Companies will see an increase in productivity while cutting the cost down. Personal stresses will be on the rise. Emotional Intelligence will be supreme. After every turbulence, the Resilient Organizations need to take a check of the following:

1. Connect with the market and test if you are relevant to existing practices

2. Reinvent the business model, see what is still relevant do away with the obsolete

3. Test new processes immediately

4. Adopt new technologies first; maybe it’s an instant solution

5. Test the responsiveness of the supply chain to the new reality

6. Prototype the journey of change through low hanging fruits

7. Test prototypes of solutions and scale rapidly

The Post COVID World is thus for Tech-Driven Design Thinking Agile Organizations driven by a strong sense of purpose and wisdom-based Leadership involved in a perpetual process of disruptive innovation.

It is now imperative that the echelons of the organizations rethink their 20th Century frameworks and Leadership overcome the habits that worked in the past. 21st Century is unique customization of each organization. Stereotyped classical models won’t work.

If you think the Post-COVID World is confusing, you need to do design thinking for sure. But one thing is for sure; the human race will find meaning in this world too and develop habits to sustain and grow as they did during all the turbulent pasts.  The challenge will always remain how many will have the power of knowledge to spot opportunities because the Post COVID world will throw up a lot of new opportunities as it redefines the way this planet will operate.

Neuro-Science of Change Management the Appreciative Inquiry Way

If change is the only constant thing, then why do we resist it? The answer is simple it is all about our past habits and thus the programmed behavioral responses to change. We are all prisoners of our past practices, and change demands new behaviors. So let us explore the exciting world of change.

Change needs to be distinguished from Innovation. While Innovation caters to a need explicit or implicit in improving the quality of life, change is a corrective response to a noise created by internal or external forces. Our internal and external environment is interdependent and volatile to variables that change consistently. Success is all about instant adaptability to change and awaiting a further change which is around the corner.

Change must be seen as an agent of growth within the organization. So many have wound up owing to the inability to adapt to change. Thus, let us first deep dive into the Principles of Change:

Change is an expansive aspect of the evolution of this Universe

Change is a perpetual process and is eternal

Change is an outcome of interrelated and unrelated exogenous factors at play

Study of change drivers results in growth while resistance results in decay

The change ensures a diversity of experience with the use of new behaviors

Change catalyzes intellectual abilities

Change demands collaboration

Change must be managed through proven methods. The essential component of change is knowledge. Whatever we study will grow. Thus, there are steps associated with managing change that Appreciative Inquiry defines lucidly. Appreciative Inquiry comprises a 4D model which allows you to control any complex change.

Define: A problem needs to be reduced in its intensity while managing change. It is impossible to free a system of a problem as it would be against the Principles of change. However, the Design stage requires reframing the negative problem statement to a positive Objective Statement which tends to be challenging at times because we are wired to describe the problem negatively. Reframing to positive makes our brain operate in Default Mode Network where all lobes fire neurons effectively and start playing with the situation. A negative statement takes the brain into Task Promotion Network, which restricts the firing of Neurons through survival task mode.

Dream: The Element of Dream activates a whole-brain activity. Dreaming is essential to life as it triggers a positive image of the future. At the dream stage, one can tap into past successes and transpose them to future use. All successful change agents have done this very effectively unconsciously. They are wired to remember only achievements. The memory of failure does not occur to them instantly. Key behavior drivers of the past that helped us manage a similar situation help us build a changing environment of the future. The dream stage allows us to activate Positive Emotional Attractors and thus makes change an exciting process.

Design: Here, we take the success behaviors of the past and design a controlled environment for effectively managing the change. One can build a story of how the new change could be accomplished and explore new stories to amalgamate ideas. It reinforces confidence through a controlled visualization.

Destiny: The Project is thus finalized with detailing of how the change will be managed, controlled, and measured. A collaborative team can be formed through a Project Management tool like RACIT and then enjoyably the process.

As we said, change demands new behaviors. Behaviors are easy to manage than mindsets. Our brain comprises trillions of neurons. When new neurons fire, they start creating new pathways. New pathways get reinforced through repeated use. That is why a controlled environment is the key to success in change management. Over some time, these new behaviors become new habits. However, while the motivation for practicing new behaviors can be intrinsic and extrinsic, a new motivation technique needs to be deployed. This is an Autonomous Motivator. Our brain takes it to build the new pathway through a conscious purpose-driven discomforting behavioral change. Once we practice the new behavioral path, it becomes unconscious competence. The creation of new neural pathways is classically termed as “stepping out of the comfort zone.”

A change process, however, needs to be backed by the following for its success:

The purpose of the change must be clearly defined and must be ecologically sound for all stakeholders, even if discomforting.

Participation of all stakeholders is critical to change

Hope is an essential factor in evolution, and successes must be consistently communicated.

Success must be celebrated.

The team must be told to be ready to manage the next change project to become the organization’s DNA.

The success of change is a result of communication, communication, communication. Change can never be an isolated process handled by a select few. It builds excellent teams ultimately. There is a win for everyone when the change is ably managed. It is vital to understand that though intellectually, people accept change emotionally; it can be challenging.

Since change is an eternal process, it is essential for an organization to become adept at the process of change. Look within and see if your organization can manage change effectively. After all, what we study grows, so equip your team with the Principles and methodologies of change. We live in a Global Village where changes will be more pertinent and rapid.

Enjoy the change process and its journey!

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