Why this Article?
Through this article, I have tried to analyze and bring forward few important aspects of human lives around us and how it affects the business and what we can do about it. How change in culture of the organization makes a real difference in business growth. The topic is vast but I thought of at least giving it a headstart to discuss the basics and their impact on business and industries.
The ‘Technolization’ of normal human life has brought about a sea change in patterns of thinking, living, time allotment, sleeping, family management and many more aspects of human life.
We are in an era where business is affected by the day-to-day psychology of human beings. Current business environment is becoming more and more prone to changes in thinking pattern of society and people at large. The thinking and interaction patterns of human beings are influenced by the changing technology and the internet world (digital world). Let’s analyze some aspects of business and how they are impacted and what we can do here.
Customer Satisfaction and Expectations: The change in customer perception and requirements for goods and services plays a big role in success or failure of an organization. Changing role of technology in the lives of customers, society and market at large plays key role nowadays in their demand about a particular kind of product or service. I mean, goods or services of old times become irrelevant and obsolete, while at the same time people start realizing that some new kind of product(s) or service(s) are needed.
For example, Newspaper Distribution (Physical) is witnessing a steep decline year on year. Refer to the article at this link: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/jun/17/newspaper-circulation-oecd-report.
The sole reason behind this is that more and more people prefer to rely on their smart phones and laptops for their news needs. They can select the type of news they want to see in their RSS feeds.
Role of Entrepreneurs in Fulfilling Customer Expectations: Perception of the sellers of goods and services should also change accordingly. This is where entrepreneurs come into picture. They observe the society with a ‘need’, they keep contacts alive, they see the behavioral changes of people around them. They are people who are pioneers of change. They think about what can be done to fulfill these needs or requirements (in fact, the need that arose because of advancements in technology and internet usage or changing environment of existing business).
Role of your employees in changing world: Not necessarily entrepreneurs, but anyone from your workforce can come up with these kinds of thoughts about your existing line of services or products. How you can bring about change and what your organization can do in order to grow. Which product is facing decline in turnover and what may be the reasons behind such fall? Whether the product is outdated for the current generation? Whether they are not needed anymore? And so on…
A small case study: Consider an example, few years back when internet boom started and an employee in some newspaper or magazine printing company would have told their managers/directors about rising use of internet and consequent impact on their existing business. What would have happened? Either the leader will ignore the voice or will accept and dig further into the issue and ask the employee to make a report on the same. A visionary leader hears out their people and takes action, while an egoistic or self-centred leader will ignore and will make himself busy in everyday tasks. What leader does at such point of time makes a lot of difference for the future of the organization.
Managers and Leaders are becoming busier: Day by day, managers and leaders of the business are becoming busier; hence the role of your employees in generating ideas and innovations cannot be undermined. In fact, it is becoming more important to rely on them for innovative ideas for your business. And a good leader learns from everyone (given that his/her ego does not become a hurdle in his/her learning process). Please note that ignoring ideas means ignoring opportunities and ignoring growth of the business you lead. Some years from now, it should not happen that you regret not accepting ideas that you could have adopted way back but now you can’t because it’s too late. If you are unfortunate enough, you will go out of business. I wish it doesn’t happen.
Another small case study about Car Manufacturers: Let’s take example of Car Manufacturing Corporations like Maruti, Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, Tata, Mahindra etc. They need to analyze as to what would be the impact of introduction of electric cars? What if Japan comes up with such technological breakthrough and will start making electric cars from 2015 onwards? The world is a global village and the demand of their cars will definitely catch pace all over the world as far as they are cost effective. Now, some smart brains from your workforce comes up with an idea that we should explore making electric cars with the help of Germany Car manufacturers or technology providers. Now, unless you have created an environment where your employees can speak freely to the leaders, this idea would not be passed on to top management and ultimately all will suffer.
I see these kinds of problems more as cultural and behavioral problems. Unless our organizations get over these petty issues and our personal egos, Indian corporates are not going to see a strong growth phase. (Am talking about passive, non-dynamic, old thinking organizations where dictatorial leaders are leading the business)
There is fundamental need to change culture of Indian organizations so that -
a. It becomes more employee friendly
b. It becomes more serious towards innovation culture and ready to accept new and creative ideas and more importantly think of ways and means of implementing those ideas
c. Managers and leaders (young and seniors, both) to become more receptive to new ideas and voice of young population (because ultimately young population is going to use those products and services, so it is more likely that they youngster are more aware about taste of the market)
d. Paradigm shift in thinking (It’s not necessary that what we have been doing for very long period of time is all true and acceptable, it may lead you to bankruptcy if you don’t listen to the new market needs, changing culture and changing society)
How much you capitalize out of these ideas is upto you (as a leader). You need to evaluate the following while introducing open culture of interaction, respect and togetherness -
1. Whether you have made your employees and workforce as profit partners? (Do they share any % in profits of the organization?)
2. If they don’t know whether their efforts are going to be rewarded, then likeliness is that they will keep the ideas to themselves and won’t even bother about your organization’s progress by conveying such ideas. Even if they convey the idea and the manager rejects the idea once, they may not even bother to come again and convince you or any senior. (The employee will think rather than wasting my time on convincing about my ideas, let me finish my work early and go home and watch TV, it’s that simple!!!)
3. The employee won’t even bother about convincing the pros and cons about the ideas. If his manager says “I don’t think this idea can work.” The employee will say “Ok!!” (He says to himself– “I swear I won’t bother to convey my idea next time. Why will one bother about company’s progress when he knows he is not going to participate in the profits of the business). Even if the idea is not workable, reason out properly why it will not work. As a manager or leader if you are not sure about the pros and cons, then ask your team members or consultant about how that idea can work or can be implemented. [Again the question comes is of Ego, especially male leaders are prone to this mistake. I should appreciate women leaders and assure them of their likeliness of progress in future because whenever they are in doubt, they immediately ask others to clarify their doubts without bothering about their ego (in most of the cases)]
4. Why this mentality? Because they (employees) are not owners, shareholders are owners of the organization. When there is this disconnect of ownership, everyone will suffer.
5. Whether you have made communication channel open? (Whether you have made it possible for workforce to communicate their ideas and views to the top?) The more filtering channels and layers are there, the more you loose on cashing on those ideas. I am sure that ideas will be looked with completely different perspectives by top level leaders and middle level managers.
6. Whether you have given comfort level to your workforce to open up easily and suggest what they think. Whether they fear about expressing themselves? Whether the immediate managers are responsive and open to this type of culture?
7. Are they fearless while communicating their thoughts and ideas or they fear criticism or skeptical approach from managers and leaders of the organization (Always remember one powerful Quote ‘If you keep doing what you were doing, you will keep getting what you were getting. So Always foster an environment of creativity and idea sharing)
8. Is your organization afraid to take even calculated risks? Then it’s an organization that is leading a dead life. It will progress from 100 crore to 200 crore in ten years but it can’t reach 100 crore to 1000-5000 crore in ten years. Life is full of risks, so is business. Take calculated risks and go ahead.
9. Last but not the least ‘Is your organization a Family? Or it’s a political workplace?’ Answer to this question plays a big role in success or failure or progress or stagnation of your business. In my mind, human beings run the organization and neither money nor technology can run your organization. The days are very far when only machine can run your organization. So, till that time, value people.
What I understand is that there is a ‘HUMAN’ side to everything in business and profession also. If we start to observe the things in humanistic attitude and humanistic view, you will be able to see everything from that angle and bring change in your organization. Ultimately what we are concerned about is growth of the business and profession. If analysis of human side of business makes you grow, do that.
In current times, human beings are becoming lesser and lesser connected to their inner self and hence their personal happiness is also undergoing a decline phase. That’s the reason they are not satisfied with their life and seek happiness from here and there. If you compare past and present, what do you observe? In past, there were lesser theatres, pubs, recreation centers, number of health clubs, number of picnic spots and tours and travel agencies. Increase in these type of activities itself indicates that people are seeking happiness from outside and not within.
To conclude there are few takeaways lessons from the above article
1. Technology changes affects every aspect of life and every existing business on the planet
2. Your Employees have the innovation power and can contribute to a great extent in facing the situation
3. Culture of organization plays a big role in idea and creativity exchange
4. Leaders can learn from anyone in the organization (no matter what their pay and position is) provided the ego does not come in between
5. Women leaders are going to rock the future. (Purely based on my understanding of male vs. female leaders). So, all women aspiring leaders, I wish you best luck!!
6. Always remember, “There is a difference between a Human Being and ‘BEING HUMAN’”. The more the people understand this fact, the higher are the prospects of a wholesome progress!