Natives

The natives are coming…

Published on 6th July 2014

I am perhaps the classic 50-something executive. I’ve worked to get myself reasonably technology literate, certainly in the digital space. And I have a sense of wonderment at the current applications and future possibilities that new technologies offer. 

 

But I am an immigrant. The (internet) natives are coming. 

And the natives have no wonderment – they just have expectations that pretty much everything is available online and certainly that it is available fast. 

This is all well and good but what’s it got to do with a blog from a recruitment and executive search specialist? 

Well, we are constantly being asked to help clients seeking to adapt effectively to the new digital era and develop a new breed of management and leadership talent. And this is a tough ask as, in every geographic market, demand for this type of executive far exceeds supply. 

So, what are the key themes we’re hearing about from clients and observing from the organisations that have successfully embraced this transformative era? 

What is clear is that solely having the technical skills is nowhere near enough. Leadership in its broadest sense is required. So, we have distilled our findings to three fundamental traits executives (mid-level and senior) need to embody for success in the hyper-connected business environment, and these apply to supposed old style bricks and mortar companies as much as web pure plays: 

  1. A true understanding of the behaviours of the natives – and indeed of the immigrants. 
     
  2. The toughness and communication skills to lead transformational business change. These programmes are rarely easy and blockers are always encountered along the way – so we the ability to adapt and implement change and new technologies. “It’s not possible” is not in these executives’ parlance. 
     
  3. The skills to make decisions based on data and not on old-fashioned gut feel. 
     

Many organisations are embracing the fact that they will look and be organised in very different ways tomorrow than they are today. 

Financial institutions are great examples. And indeed examples where even the immigrants are playing a key role – they’re adapting to, and indeed demanding, much higher degrees of mobility. 

Three final observations specifically in regards to recruitment: 

  1. I recently came across a hugely successful new age company that refuses to do induction. They have innovation at their core and believe that as soon as you say “this is the way we do things round here”, you’re limiting innovation. Fascinating. 
     
  2. More and more organisations are realising that they need XYZ change skills today but they won’t need those skills tomorrow. And so they are turning to the flexible staffing model and ‘renting’ the skills – even in the C-suite. 
     
  3. Some particular digital skills simply can’t be resourced in the same geography and so there is more and more acceptance of cross-border hiring in this space.