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Driving success through change

May 22, 2019

Vinod Kumar   

Blog contributor

Tata Communications’ CEO Vinod Kumar gives his view on the role of leadership in business to adopt change and harbour success.

Taking a step back and having a look at all the technology we use daily really gives a sense of perspective. It seems it was only a short time ago that dial-up internet connectivity was the big new technology breakthrough, especially in the business world.

Technology is developing at a startling pace – so fast in fact that governments can’t set new legislation fast enough to keep up, while major businesses are struggling to implement changes fast enough to remain competitive. But this changing business landscape also brings opportunities – for those who are willing to change with it.

“It is my experience that technology is the great enabler of our time. It is a force for progress and opportunity that works best in conjunction with people and when people truly embrace it.”

Technology can improve our lives and businesses and even whole societies, but this is very much dependent on how we react to technology change as humans and business leaders.

Addressing the talent gap

Global competitive inequality is on the rise – with a talent gap between rich and poor nations increasing year on year. The only way for an issue this large to be addressed is through the close work of government, business and civil society. Within the last year, we’ve seen the government trying to establish some control of advancing technology. The implementation of the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe was designed to allow citizens to regain control of their data.

In a world that is becoming more globalised, it is down to businesses to realise that they can no longer operate in a silo. Globalisation has in many ways been influenced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution – technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) mean we are now sharing more data around the world than ever before.  Businesses are also sharing products and sourcing materials from further afield. There is now, however, a responsibility for business leaders and employees to embrace technology in a way that creates a sustainable future, where technology generates opportunities for everyone.

The entrepreneurial mindset

“Successful businesses are built on the people, and more specifically on the entrepreneurial minds, that allow for progress and development.”

It is therefore key for any business to create a culture where entrepreneurship thrives. No one can predict where the next big business idea is going to come from, so learning must always be high on our agendas, with “failure” being viewed as a lesson learned rather than time wasted.

Technology should be seen as a tool to amplify entrepreneurship within a business. New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and automation allow for small ideas to grow fast. A small creative idea from a single person can become a fully-fledged product overnight in the digital age; something that was not possible in the past. This presents exciting opportunities for technology to enhance and support creativity in business, with real results.

Lifelong learning in business

As I’ve mentioned, businesses are all about the people. Technology can only go so far if it does not have the full support and an open-minded approach from the people who create and enable it. In this sense, we must implement a collective mindset that is open to change – to relearning and looking to the future, a spirit of continuous learning.

As long as we are open to becoming more versatile from a skills standpoint, who knows where technology will be able to take us. The limits to this are really self-imposed.

“The question is: when we look at how far we’ve come in just the last ten years, how far do we want to travel in the next decade?”

It is our belief at Tata Communications that AI diversifies human thinking, rather than replaces it.  AI is not a threat to jobs, but rather a tool for growth, allowing us to be more human in business by freeing us up to bring human traits such as creativity, empathy and communication to our work.

The Beta mindset

Through our interactions with C-suite leaders, we’ve identified that employees will often only embrace change when they can understand the meaning behind it and if they have faith in their leaders.

As such, we believe that business leaders must act as the drivers of the move towards embracing technology in their businesses. They must identify, with the help of their employees, what the company’s goals are and how a digital transformation mindset can be used to meet them. Giving staff the right technology tools, training, and a collective mindset that learns from mistakes, will allow for staff to upskill and for business to thrive.

Collaboration is key

It’s a fast-changing world and there is no sign of it slowing down. Society and businesses must, therefore, focus on the elements that allow us to take control. We must take steps towards creating a resilient workforce that learns from its mistakes and is willing to work collaboratively.

“It is our experience that businesses are most successful at the point that they are most open to new opportunities and ideas. We shouldn’t be afraid of change, because we have the technology to make the most of any opportunity.”

 

Read Vinod’s previous blog on how openness can help close the talent gap