UNIQUE TIMES|September - October 2020
As the old order changes, what should the upcoming generation of managers and business leaders do to remain in the game?
Shri V.P.Nandakumar

Very often, the first step in learning some-thing new is to unlearn something we learned before. The raging COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink the routine of our daily lives from work to school to leisure time activities. The trends seen today make it clear that the world, which has always changed with time, will now change at an accelerated pace. The days ahead will be starkly different from the days gone by. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and, in keeping with that assertion, virtualisation has become the new mantra. Be it the digitalisation of entertainment services (OTT services like Netflix, Prime Video etc.), e-commerce, virtual training, online education, digital banking, or digital healthcare, you can prefix the ‘digital’ or ‘virtual’ tag to almost all services today and it would not be out of place. Virtualisation is the equivalent of Industrialisation for the 21st century and it’s suddenly come to the fore thanks to the pandemic.

In response to travel bans, school closures, and social distancing norms, the world is turning to digital tools to help people carry on with their lives as far normally as possible. It has now become necessary to digitally transform our places of work and education to be able to operate effectively. The companies able to use technology and who can rethink and reshape their business models for the needs of the future by fast-tracking digital transformation will emerge ahead of their competitors.

Specialisation is inevitable

As the world becomes virtual, we are moving away from an age when we relied upon managers who were considered to be generalists. These are people who combined different skillsets such as being good in sales, relationship, operations, technology and some essential soft and hard skills. This came about because it was costly to hire all these talents separately and so generalisation became the key.

In the future that we are coming to, the whole world is our playground. You could be sitting at home or in your office and digitally collaborating with a team spread across the world. Physical distance (or proximity) is not the differentiator but the skill is. There is an emerging need for the specialist, not a generalist, as it is now easier and more cost effective to hire the skillset required, for the duration needed, and without any long-term commitments. Welcome to the world of the “gig economy”!


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September - October 2020