Rapid urbanization. Emerging business models. Increased competition. A shift in economic power. Social media invasion. Rising customer expectations. All driven by one transforming trend: technology. Are you as amazed at the pace of change as me? We all know that change is inevitable. However, that doesn’t make keeping pace any simpler. This accelerated rate of change is causing organizations to struggle to survive and compete. The reason? I think it’s because traditional, top-down hierarchical organizational structures simply weren’t designed to cope with the tsunami of change. And hence, many organizations are looking to make conventional organizational frameworks a thing of the past.
The command and control model of leadership definitely made sense back in the day, but today, its endurance is weakening innovation, performance, and productivity and most importantly, impairing the technology-driven organization’s ability to respond to change. This, obviously, presents a challenge to those in the technology hierarchy who have risen to a mid or even a senior level by dint of their hard work, track record, and “stickability”. Their career plans now risk being disrupted by the new ways of working -unless they adapt to keep performing. Here’s my advice for these mid and senior software managers on how they can keep up with the pace of change:
Keep track of technology:
Apple’s iPod dethroned Sony’s Walkman. Nokia was outdone by Blackberry and Blackberry by Samsung. Amazon took over the corner grocery store. Expedia made travel agents obsolete. Netflix started eroding cable TV. Technology is transforming business models in a few months now. If you want to deliver true value to your organization or (in the case of services) to your customer organizations then you need to stay ahead of the latest technology. You must be more knowledgeable about tech trends than your customers, competitors, and the business in general. Your customers and your organization will benefit the most if you stay up-to-date with technology changes and build strategies to embed them everywhere in how you work.
In ever-changing scenarios, transparency is a critical attribute. By sharing information with all stakeholders about upcoming changes and building effective feedback loops, you can ensure that everyone is on board as the transformation starts taking shape. If you’re planning to embrace a new framework or revamp your development methodology, don’t talk about the changes only as an announcement; instead, partner with the stakeholders and share as much information as you can in advance. This will also ensure that the folks tasked with the nuts and bolts of the effort are adequately prepared when the time comes. It is only when you empower employees to embed change in their day-to-day activities that you will be able to assume the position of the driver of change in your organization.
Get agile (if you’re not already):
If you’ve not already implemented agile methodologies across your won part of the organization, its time you did. It’s time to recognize the value of agile to push the boundaries of traditional hierarchies and drive success. This is about more than software development -it’s about a way of functioning now. Agile organizations are quick to develop a culture that is open to questions; such a culture can have a profound impact on the relationships between people, the quality of ideas, and on the way things are done – they can easily adapt, transform, and respond to change. Getting to grips with this trend is a critical requirement for organizations that want to beat their competitors -and it’s the managers who can help the organization at this stage who will thrive.
A big part of supervising and managing employees is empowering them to get better at their jobs. As I have mentioned earlier, the traditional hierarchies may break down in the future. You may have fewer, but more critical people in your teams. You could face a future where you are tasked with managing people with some very specific, niche skillsets. Therefore, another area of focus should be on building relationships – both inside your software team and with those outside of the team. It is only when you build relationships, align every team member’s interests with that of the organization, and help drive self-confidence that teams can openly and happily embrace change and work towards meeting common goals.
Although you might think you know what’s best for your team, it’s ok to accept that some situations are new for you too. Crowdsource within your team for new solutions to new problems. Encouraging your teams to communicate their views about what will help them to perform, adapt, and become resilient in an uncertain world is an excellent way to find answers while looking to cope with change. Remember that today, it’s not enough for the young people in your team to know “what” is to be done. “Why” it is to be done matters even more to them. Stimulating high levels of curiosity across your organization can not only help you perform better in your roles but can also help your team contribute at an elevated level. Your team, and you will deliver more impact.
Ensure Continued Success
Although it is tempting to withdraw into your daily routine and pretend that the changes happening across the world will bypass you, it is not likely that will happen. Today, technology is completely transforming the software development landscape; from the demand for modern skill sets, to the evolution of new programming languages and frameworks. The typical managerial leadership styles, methods, and habits will no longer deliver impact. Sustaining success depends on your ability to adapt to a changing environment. Organizations and the individuals within (You!) must constantly re-invent to remain competitive. Agility is what differentiates successful companies from the also-rans. Today, a new breed of the manager must emerge – a breed that recognizes that staying ahead of change is vital for continued success -of a business, and a career!
This blog was originally published on Linkedin
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