How Adaptive Is Your Strategy?

You can’t get away from it. It’s everywhere and it’s all consuming if you read business journals. It’s front and center on the recent HBR issue. It’s all about strategy in the new age of business. It’s no longer enough to have a five year plan that looks at what your competitive set is doing. It’s no longer enough for human resources to recruit industry players.

It’s no longer enough to pigeon hole yourself into one industry. Things are morphing too quickly. We faced this challenge in my last company. Comcast is no longer about only dropping cable. They’ve moved into a whole new realm of competition. And they’ve seen new entrants flood into their space. From different industries, with different expectations and with entirely new strategies.

Having a five year plan that isn’t flexible is bound to make your organization irrelevant. Agile, nimble, and pivot are the new mantra of our time. Big organizations need to adapt, adapt quickly and look for opportunities to learn, quickly.

This has serious implications for human capital management. It too, has to be nimble, agile and able to pivot quickly. It can’t get bogged down in administrative policies. The policies that keep employees and the corporation safe are important, but have become table stakes.

They can’t prevent the business from adopting and they shouldn’t eat up the majority of our time. We need to be strategic assets. We need to build learning organizations, develop cultures that engage and challenge employees and create systems to do the menial lift for us.

I haven’t heard a lot of talk from HR leaders about what the future holds. I’d be interested to hear how they anticipate automation and artificial intelligence will impact the workforce. And from what I’m hearing, it’s not just menial tasks that AI will be able to accomplish, and its not that far off.

Not within five years certainly, but it’s around the corner. As businesses continue to move into new industries and as they are forced to take more risks, we’re going to see leaders everywhere looking for and prioritizing cost advantage and efficiencies wherever they can. This has real implications or how we mange our people and should be part of the current dialogue.

We need to be just as nimble as the business because we are the business. It’s ironic to me that we ask workers all the time to find new kills or face displacement. But when was the last time we looked for HR to keep pace with the times, gain new kills beyond typical HR?

It’s about time we make that call. It should be part of your strategy. If you want to be nimble, you’re going to need nimble employees.

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