Jimmy Ho is office managing director of Korn Ferry Hong Kong.
The human factor will still remain despite technological advances
Today, all companies can be considered technology companies. Businesses are increasingly adopting technology or else they risk getting left behind.
Watching a Hollywood movie recently, my thoughts wandered off to how I might possibly be replaced by robots in the future. My 10-year-old son sagely pointed out that those high-tech, fancy gadgets were in fact created by the main characters, i.e., humans. And he was right; technology didn’t dream up the concept or produce the mobile phone I had. A team of brilliant innovators and developers did.
I am not going to start singing the same tune about how technology is disrupting our daily lives and making numerous companies or industries redundant. I do however want to highlight that though we have sent spacecraft to Mars and beyond, technology is simply an enabler and humanity is still key in the equation.
To thrive in today’s constantly changing environment, CEOs should in fact ask if they have enough agile, talented managers to lead and champion the changes the disruptions would bring. They should also ascertain if their organisation structure is flexible enough to facilitate effective coordination, communication and decision-making processes (e.g. speed to market); and if their HR system remains competitive to attract, hire, groom and retain the talented tech-savvy staff.
This is where the latest “agility leadership” concept would apply. Forward-looking employers are vying for agile leaders/managers who can draw on past experience to perform successfully under new or unknown conditions. In general, they are more astute in a fast-changing environment, inquisitive to learn, with a higher appetite for risk in new skills or novel approaches. They are also socially and mentally effective in emotionally charged situations, and can build a culture in which totally unfamiliar groups of people with diverse cultures and backgrounds can work together, and eventually produce results within tight deadlines and budgets.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as In these tech times.