Friday, 15 June 2012


GM Chief Dan Akerson mentions in a fortune interview, that in managing complex global business environments, his company is required to dance as fast as it can. Choreography experts will tell you that every dance, no matter what style, has something in common. It not only involves flexibility and body movement, but also physics. If the proper physics are not taken into consideration, injuries may occur. Same with Ninjutsu - The skills required of the Ninja.  Ninjutsu is an art that requires movement and precision. Skills, acquired by total training of the warrior in various fighting techniques. This  Ninjutsu type survival environment is what modern managers are faced with today. So, just as the Ninja is expected to possess in addition to knowledge of the martial arts, an understanding of common professions in-case they were expected to take a form of disguise, workers in a more productive economy need to have a mastery of skills and depth of expertise in whatever job they do and at what ever level, says Singapore Finance Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. As a result, there is a growing need for T-shaped competences, possessing deep skills in an area of expertise as well as broad knowledge of horizontal skills such as management, finance and business operations. Managers with these competences will determine the ability of the organisations that they support, and their success in the marketplace.

Institutions are also trying to position themselves to win the war on talent. UK policy makers begun the Modern Workplace consultation that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published in 2011. As part of this is the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which managers and business leaders hope will provide them with the framework to create the modern workplace that the economic environment requires. Will employees  become more engaged as a result, and will this help drive UK economic growth? It does not create the right legislative environment, as there have been little support for employees establishing a mutual to ensure they have the management skills to develop successfully says Chartered Management Institute policy and research director Petra Wilson. But there is a mention that if implemented effectively, the modern workplace consultation could transform management attitudes and achieve lasting change to the benefit of employers and employees alike.

There is a contrasting feel in corporate environments where its not a matter of if a strategy will work but when. With decades of experience of the foods business, and an MBA, Indra Nooyi Pepsico CEO could be seen as a T-shaped personality. Since she took the helm of Pepsico six years ago, the company has done pretty well, says Geoff Colvin. But today, she is taking a lot of heat from investors because the environment is rapidly changing, and so has return on capital which has plunged from 22% to 11%. Although, the company is undergoing transformation, there is indication that Nooyi has enabled the company respond to changing trends by investing in emerging markets, and a new R&D lab which is already yielding results. But analysts comment that Nooyi’s strategy lacks precision. Whether this is the case or not, until Pepsico’s transformation shows signs of payoff, Colvin says, Nooyi will endure more doubts from wall street and the press.   

In spite of their best efforts, Havard Business School professor Morten Hansen and colleague Bolko Von Oetinger say that most companies continue to squander their greatest assets – knowledge scattered and embedded within and outside organisations. It seems that as companies continue to take a hit in the current economic climate,  they are becoming aware of this disconnect. Which points to the obvious, there is demand for business leadership with movement and precision of the Ninja. But will this ideal become reality? Only time will tell.  

1 comment:

  1. I agree the point that 'most companies continue to squander their greatest assets – knowledge scattered and embedded within and outside organisations. ' Even though 100%Open is an open innovation agency we are increasingly being asked to help with internal ideation platforms at companies like Lego, Interface and Fujitsu. These have the effect of releasing all sorts of pent-up value as well as getting the company 'fit for open'.