Global people trends in tech

Article 06 June 2023

For large enterprises in the Telco and Tech sectors, there are a range of very real challenges right now.  Away from the market volatility and economic instability, which is affecting practically every organisation, there's the challenge of innovation, the need for customer-centricity and of course, the twin challenges of attracting talent and building belonging, as well as embracing a new model of leadership. 

Innovation is the ability to change and sustain at the same time

How does an organisation move to a more continuous state of innovation, to become that next-generation organisation that is more agile, able to dissolve current ways of working and recreate itself, its capability and its products – all within a fast-moving, complex and volatile world?

It’s a delicate balance.  Because on the one hand organisations have shareholders and they need to maintain their operational performance and leverage their assets.  At the other end of this spectrum is the need to innovate and transform in order to maintain relevance.

The new frontier of leadership is the ability to lead in this complexity and be able to hold these two tensions concurrently, without the tendency to lurch from one thing to the another.

Customer Centricity is a mindset shift as much as an operational change

Organisations grow. They scale. They digitise. They operationalise. All in the pursuit of achieving the margins, revenues and efficiencies that are demanded of a large enterprise. 

Of course, the customer is still front and centre – and how many organisations have completely automated to be where their customers are? But being where customers are is not the same thing as truly delivering a great customer experience.

Creating a truly customer-centric organisation is as much about mindset shift as it is about operational vision. We equate this to building an amazing racing car (operational vision) but not having the road or track (mindset) to show what it can do. 

From a leadership perspective, this is not simply about having a laser focus on the customer experience; but creating a platform for innovation and change created from the ground up. One of our prevailing principles has always been to tailor our work to key business outcomes – and to build programmes aligned to a business imperative – and this is more important than ever.

Talent, transformation and belonging

The sheer scale of the competition for talent is phenomenal.  For example, the US Labor department did an estimate that suggested that by 2030, there'll be a global shortage of software engineers in the order of 85 million.  

But it's not just about supply, it's also about perception and positioning.  If you're a large, mature multinational competing against more fleet-of-foot, high-growth organisations, it's important to understand how you can best serve talent and grow a culture that appeals to different generations.  

Great projects and opportunities are one thing; but people will always look for some level of belonging - and this is what sustains the relationship with the wider organisation, rather than one project or another.  So it's important for Leaders to understand this, and not simply to focus on projects and new tech; but to pay attention to the values and culture, and importantly how they enable teams to interact, collaborate and together create value in a meaningful way. 

This way, organisations can build their WHY - for new talent entering the business as well as existing leaders and colleagues.

A brave, new world of leadership

Innovation, customer-centricity, transformation, retention, belonging - so much of this ultimately comes down to a new world of leadership.  Not a model or a theory.  Or a fad.  It's important to move away from the traditional, linear view of leadership - which has tended to focus on planning, acting, mobilising, driving forward changes.  

There's something more fundamental that leaders should embrace - the ability to deal in complexity and look at systemic issues in interdependent ways.  This is a whole new way of thinking and acting for many organisations and leaders.

It's not about creating more capability at where leaders are right now, but creating more capacity in terms of where leaders can be - looking at leadership as at the centre of a human eco-system rather than simply at the top of an organisational structure.

For more insights into Leading in Telco and Tech, please reach out to Andrea Cusack, Roby Blass or Alex Marples. Still curious? Check out how to lead for innovation and paving the way for true customer centricity for more.

Sheppard_Moscow_Headshots_056.jpg Andrea Cusack
Sheppard_Moscow_Headshots_142.jpg Roby Blass
Sheppard_Moscow_Headshots_067.jpg Alex Marples