We’ve talked a lot about the fear of change when companies explore radical steps to overhaul their global operations, and outsourcing undoubtedly represents a major change for most organizations used to running things a certain way for a very long time.
People are scared right now – they feel threatened and are struggling to visualize where their careers are heading, where their organizations are heading, where the economy is heading. But why be scared? Shouldn’t we be filled with hope with this revitalized quest for improvement?
Having just spent two rather pleasant days with the excellent Sourcing Interests Group, enjoying (too much of) the carbohydrate-infused southern hospitality of Georgia’s Savannah, the common theme of discussions was centered on this relentless pace of change, and the in-exhaustive corporate pursuit of cost elimination that is gripping the post-recession economy. And executives are worried. But why should they be?
Why we need to stop worrying
We’ve entered into an era which we have been demanding for a long, long time: companies finally waking up, prepared to take definitive action to improve their global operations. That means getting better at how efficiently they can close their books, pay their staff, hire new staff, manage their suppliers, collect their debts, support their customers and access accurate, timely data to make decisions. Essentially, this entails ironing-out broken or inefficient process flows, sourcing better applications to enable them, and engaging talent to support them that doesn’t cost the earth.
The fear comes from the fact that better automation and better process flows ultimately means organizations need less people to manage them. But won’t that mean these organizations will be able to re-invest some of these newly-acquired efficiencies into areas that can help them develop new products or services, increase their sales staff, enter new markets, better manage their supply chains, investigate the potential of Cloud computing or video conferencing technology, or even, heaven forbid, develop their staff?
What we are witnessing is a re-distribution of human capital in today’s economy – not necessarily a reduction of human capital. Many of us will need to explore role transformations where we take on jobs or responsibilities that we never imagined a few short years’ ago. This change is one of new learning, new experiences, new challenges. It’s about improving our own talents. One thing is clear: we won’t have a choice not to…