HCL’s vice president and CEO Vineet Nayar
Three mega trends are creating a ‘perfect storm’ in our world: economic crisis and lack of leadership, changing consumers, and changing employees.
Global IT services company HCL’s vice president and CEO, Vineet Nayar said this at a gathering of HCL employees, business partners, customers, media professionals and analysts in Singapore on 29th September (Thursday). He was sharing his views on the future of technology and trends that are shaping the world and how organisations can lead the change through disruptive management.
Nayar sees a vacuum in global leadership as a US-dominated world of the past is becoming history. “There is a need for an alternative point of view in the G-20 leadership,” he said. “The world needs a collaborative working style but I don’t see it happening. Countries are making politically correct decisions in their own context but those decisions are politically incorrect in the world’s context.”
Nayar sees a global slowdown for sometime because of indecisiveness in Europe, failure of collective decision-making in the US, China battling her own internal problems and struggling to assert herself globally, India being frozen because of internal politics, Japan struggling with her financial woes, and the Middle East facing revolutions. In this scenario, he said, “we will just drift along”.
At the same time, he said, the consumers are changing. According to Nayar, brand loyalty is dead and the Gen ‘Y’ in the emerging countries is responding to brands based on their perceptions, shaped and strengthened by their peers through social media. He said that this Gen ‘Y’ is more receptive to the emerging local brands.
Along with the consumers, the employees are also changing. “Employees don’t trust us and yet we ask for their passion and energy,” he said. “Employee expectation is different today. Bring employees at the centre of your solution.”
Under the circumstances, businesses have only two agenda: growth and structured cost reduction.
According to Nayar, owing to the new accounting standards, today there is a huge incentive for companies to innovate with their investible surplus. And globalisation is working both ways: the Western companies are finding new growth markets in the East and the Eastern companies are going West.
As companies find themselves at crossroads today, Nayar sees opportunity in crisis. Convert threat to opportunity—that’s his advice to businesses.
Avoid four traps
Companies negotiating the curves of the changing times must avoid four traps, said Nayar: technology obsession, the trap of history, cultural trap and cost trap.
Nayar said that sometimes companies invest in technology without understanding its relevance to their business. “Buy something that is going to help your business.”
On avoiding the history trap, he said: “What matters is what happens today. The rear view mirror has to go. Each passing day if you don’t work, you become irrelevant.”
He urged his customers to adopt basic business values that are global and go beyond parochial cultures. Respecting and trusting employees is very important in this regard, he said.
Critical success factors
In a changing world, Nayar said that businesses need to change their mindset to stay relevant and find success.
“Innovation will not happen in isolation,” he said. “Create an ecosystem of collaboration. Create valued experience for customers. Be solution-oriented and value-oriented.”
“To rejuvenate your team, you have to invert the pyramid. Instead of employees being accountable to you, you be accountable to your employees.”
“Don’t just see your employees as human capital,” he said. “Turn them into your P&L.” (P&L is profit and loss statement—a financial statement that summarises the revenues, costs and expenses incurred during a specific period of time, usually a fiscal quarter or year.)
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.