No drama needed around all of this “change”

Looking back at the last ten years, the world has been changing drastically at an exponential rate. Artificial intelligence, robotics and automatization are becoming the next big thing. Words like “disruption” and “transformation” instill excitement, fear, or even disbelief in people and organizations around the world. But should organizations be concerned? And how do their people fit into this puzzle?

The Netflix story

In February 2007, Netflix delivered its billionth DVD and started pursuing a new core business model. The book “A Day After Tomorrow” illustrates how Netflix dramatically let go of employees who did not see the importance of making this change. These employees were proud to be the #1 seller in the United States for DVD’s, not taking into account that DVD’s would become close to irrelevant. It was a turning point for Netflix. From then on Netflix started to focus their attention on on-demand video streaming: A good strategy if you look at their business success today.

Lesson 1: Awareness of the organizational vision & alignment.

Netflix was aware that they needed to change their vision in order to remain competitive. They knew where they wanted to go and aligned their organization from bottom-up to achieve their long term goals.

The Netflix approach

Netflix encountered a challenging barrier when they were developing their new vision: Not all of their employees believed in it and getting everyone on board would take time and tedious effort. It would require a change in attitude and behavior and many people are resistant or even refuse to change.

The Netflix employees needed to learn to get out of their comfort zone and to think outside of the box. Instead of supporting and guiding their employees with this change in attitude, Netflix choose to get rid of this “barrier” by removing employees and by replacing them with new people who had to train from level 0.

Lesson 2: The easiest solution is not always the best solution.

From a financial perspective, firing half of the workforce was probably a very costly solution. This would have been especially true in Europe where companies are required to give high severance packages to employees based on their years of experience.

From a developmental perspective, it may seem easier to train a puppy than an old stubborn dog, but that old stubborn dog doesn’t pee on your carpet and is loyal till he dies. You just need to deal with some old habits. Organizations have the strategic choice to offer various career options and perspectives to their employees to let them flourish. The easiest solution is not always the best solution.

From a developmental perspective, it may seem easier to train a puppy than an old stubborn dog, but that old stubborn dog doesn’t pee on your carpet and is loyal till he dies. You just need to deal with some old habits. Organizations… Click To Tweet

Lesson 3: Attitude is a choice.

That these employees lacked the right attitude does not take away from the value they bring to the company as experienced, knowledgeable, and loyal employees. This is something to consider when changing course in an organization. Attitude can be molded. Behavior can be shaped. With the right expertise you can develop your people.

Attitude can be molded. Behavior can be shaped. With the right expertise you can develop your people. Click To Tweet

The reality of today’s workforce

Competent, well-trained individuals are becoming more and more difficult to find. Organizations are forced to hire new employees who do not fill position requirements. Many organizations even start to look within their organization to fill job openings by re-skilling their own employees. Rematching employees to the right tasks and jobs has become a huge challenge today and is crucial for organizations to reach new objectives. According to Acerta in 2018, 59% of employees realize that they will need new knowledge and skills to be able to do their jobs in the near future and more than half are ready to invest.

In today’s quickly evolving world, developing and implementing a successful business strategy is vital. Having the right skills on board and aligned to reach organizational objectives is an even bigger challenge, but is necessary for organizations to thrive. At Umital we connect your business strategy to your human capital strategy for better results.

It is Umital’s mission to empower people and organizations to thrive. We support your organization in creating an adaptive learning culture for tomorrow’s challenges.

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