By Sid Bhattacharya, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Xerox Enterprise Business Group
Just about a year ago India was crowned the world champions in cricket, playing at home, in front of a packed stadium in Mumbai. It was a miracle of sorts. After 28 long years, over a billion people rejoiced at this incredible feat! I was sitting at ‘home’ in Rochester, watching the game live with a few friends, at 3 a.m. Emotions swept through my mind as the team inched towards victory. What was special about this team? Why did it take so long? Who was responsible for the turnaround… the transformation?
Wright Thompson, senior writer for ESPN.com travelled for two weeks with the Indian cricket team “navigating the madness of a billion fans and chasing the soul of the game.” In his seminal essay on cricket, Wright draws out the passion of one man in building the team and describes Sachin Tendulkar as “a combination of Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan,” who has broken every possible record in the game and continues to play with a passive aggression, calmness and dignity.
The transformation that Sachin brought about with the team is akin to what businesses worldwide are encountering with the rapid pace of change in our economy and the global adoption of social, mobile and other new technologies. Old paradigms are giving way to new where the only thing constant is change and uncertainty. It took 18 months to sell the first million Palm Pilots and less than 24 hours to sell the first million iPhone 4S’s. The market value of Netflix was $16B in July 2011; five months down the line it hovered around $3.8B. The U.S workers median tenure in their current job is 4.4 years. These numbers are but a pointer to a world where the rules of business and the way we work are being redefined. This new world that we operate in requires a whole new approach in order to thrive. People will thrive, but only those with a mindset that embraces transformation, recalibrating their careers and constantly seeking to challenge existing business models and assumptions.
In a recent article in Fast Company, the people who thrive in this chaotic new world are referred to as the ‘Generation Flux.’ The defining characteristics of this GenFlux are speed (fast innovation), less hierarchy (increasing reliance on teams), ability to solve ambiguous problems (most big organizations are able to solve clear and complicated problems, but get stalled when faced with ambiguous problems), taking risks (learn new skills, adapt, treat your resume as a toolkit of new skills), and future focus (don’t try to replicate what worked in the past as it only leaves you vulnerable).
The inevitable question on the table is: are you ready to embrace the future, to transform, to adapt and to be part of the GenFlux? What are the pitfalls – there always are – but at the end of the day, are you the one that survives and what are you doing about it?