The only thing in this world that does not change is change itself a wise man once told me. Change of any kind is potentially transformative. But the challenge lies in championing this change – identifying the factors that indicate impending shifts and being prepared proactively.
This ethic can be applied globally, nationally, organizationally, and even individually. Good leaders know that a company is not just a company, a company is its people. Hence, championing change becomes not only crucial but also challenging, because any transformation has the consequence of affecting the lives of many.
Why is it a challenge?
Reports of employers struggling to find suitable workers amid an economic recovery plagued by uncertainty and inflation, have become globally ubiquitous. A report published by Korn Ferry has said that by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them. This is alarming because in the past few years workforce shortages have coincided with elevated employment rates.
What does this signify?
A need for change. Ask any executive about their company and you can expect a response complete with a presentation showing the organizational chart. This response seems standard in leaders today, who grew up with management concepts like coordination, hierarchy, and a matrixed organization. But the passion to build, cultivate, to retain a beginner’s mindset, values from the previous generation of leaders, were left out of the current equation. These are all values necessary for growth and transformation. And that’s the challenge.
There are many big companies that are set up as traditional hierarchies, templates for organizations conceptualized during industrial revolutions. These concepts are theoretical, look good on paper, but problematic when it comes to managing disruption and change.
So how do we champion change?
Disruptions are important for business growth. They improve flexibility and bring new opportunities. They are the catalysts for the discovery of new markets. But that is just an overview. At present, businessmen within the post-pandemic supply chain disruption, know that they require some astute business handling to ensure continuous growth despite the inflation.
So, what can these businesses do to balance their interests?
They can identify the approaching shifts in trends and act accordingly. The best example would be TSMC that fundamentally shaped the semiconductor industry. Though there are many leading companies like Huawei and Apple who design but they don’t manufacture their chips. TSMC identified the supply chain gap between designing and finally producing the device, and the gap was that of the chip which in itself was more than a trivial process. In the last few decades, we saw a lot of attention being paid to software. Most people appeared to forget that running software requires devices like iPhone to run the apps, or laptops or tablets or larger servers. And these devices need processors, memory, I/O devices, etc. And to connect the device and the software, they would need an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) or in simple words, a CHIP!
Leaders like Steve Jobs took pride in holding that first device, with its chips hanging out, while giving the demo on how to run the browser. But running that browser was only made possible by some unique features in the chipset. There has been need for chips ever since computer technologies exploded into the marketplace. But only a few companies like TSMC identified and anticipated that impending shift and developed an advanced business model. When the world was focused heavily on investing in software, they invested in building foundries to developing cutting edge semiconductor devices
Today, TSMC produces approximately 80-90% of the world’s semiconductor devices. Although there are others, not many can match the level of technology offered by TSMC.
At present, the most advanced processors like Apple’s M1, M2, M3, those used in MacBook, and A14 the processor that powers iPhone 13 are all manufactured by TSMC. Therefore, unlike companies like Intel and Samsung that design and then make the chips, TSMC’s business model designed exclusively to fill the gap. TSMC’s foundry styled model only operates on a contract basis and doesn’t sell devices of its own. Giving it time not only to enhance its expertise in chip building but also be exclusive and quick in bulk delivery.
Companies like TSMC have thus championed the various phases of change.
How do we follow suit?
Whether it is a country, a company, or an individual, to stay balanced in the face of disruption, you have to pay attention to the external and the internal aspects. For example, before designing any digital transformation model, a company reads the market and identifies the need. That is fine. But that is just the external aspect of business development. What happens if the company is unable to integrate the digital transformation model internally? Sooner or later the model would fall apart, costing the company its reputation and eventually its future. The same applies to countries. What happens if a country like India with the largest youth population is unable to integrate the young into the system? The country will lag.
Recent schemes launched in countries like India called, Agniveer (Meaning - A Valorous Person Honed with Fire) should be welcomed as an effort to maintain the health of the nation. It will not only allow the youth to be integrated into the mature corporate world but also stand out. Anyone who has undergone an aggressive and disciplined training for four years is bound to be skilled and a fearless leader. This person will not shy away from taking any kind of assessment or adapting to the dynamics of the corporate and technology world.
An inherent trait found in successful people and leaders. Probably a reason why I believe in hiring people who can lead, irrespective of whether they will be filling a leadership position or not. Leadership as a skill that exhibits how well you adapt to any situation or conduct yourself in everyday life. Perfect way to bring about changes at the country level.
Championing the change is the need of the hour. Companies cannot afford to stay stagnant in today’s dynamic markets. To survive they must identify, anticipate, and adapt to the changing needs of their consumers. And, work on building a skilled workforce that will not shy away from aligning themselves to the changing needs of the company and market. That is my definition of an ‘E(in)TERNALLY’ strong company or country!!