Hi-Tech: When Beanbag Chairs and Foosball Tables Aren’t Enough
I read a great post a week or so ago titled “Adaptability: The Key Leadership Trait in the Digital Transformation” by Daniel Newman. Reading it took me back to two blogs I wrote a couple of years ago in my series on Soft Skills development, specifically the ones on adaptability and flexibility. In them I stated that one of the most common situations in which we will need to change and adapt is when processes (technology) change in the workplace. Newman’s article focuses on the required leadership change that comes with rapid changes in technology. His premise is that adaptability isn’t enough anymore. “Leaders don’t just have to change — they must change quickly, or best case proactively”.
This resonated with me in particular because of a series of interviews I am currently undertaking with leaders in the hi-tech sector focusing on the human resource challenges they face after hiring employees. Things are moving so rapidly in their organizations that there is a tendency to just forge ahead and ignore concerns about social or personality issues. One leader said to me that they don’t have time to deal with staff personality challenges. On one hand, finding good people with the right technical skills in a booming sector is a challenge, but on the other the rule seems to be that if a person doesn’t fit, then just let them leave. My reply to that philosophy is to say that it is very short-term thinking. Just a small series of events and a change in attitude (adaptability) can make a huge difference in retaining talent and creating a better workplace environment.
For smaller firms that don’t have, or can’t yet afford a dedicated HR staff person, the leader is the HR department, this on top of everything else they are doing, so I can see how personality and behaviour issues can drive them crazy. On the other hand if they could slow down and take s