Of trends and theories
Each day, a new concept, trend, or must-adopt practice debuts in the management world. Soon after, case studies and articles abound, elaborating how a company achieved success by following one such practice. Once this becomes viral, the trend spins off an entire industry—a series of books (DIYs and testimonials), an army of consultants who claim they can hand-hold you through the newfound process, companies that can train your staff in this recently discovered practice, and so on.
Many a time, leaders and managers, despite knowing that a cookie-cutter approach may not work, fall prey and force-fit these trends in their company’s work culture. Needless to say, most such initiatives are quietly consigned. Given this context, Aker Solutions’ experience in implementing the lean methodology to achieve operational excellence has many valuable lessons, the primary one being how they customized it to suit their requirements, rather than choosing a readymade solution.
Another widely discussed trend is that of workplace design and its impact on productivity. In our lead feature, Aparna Piramal Raje writes about how the much-feted open-plan office design can also be unproductive due to noise and constant interruptions. Break those walls, yes, but ensure that privacy is not compromised. Sonal Rastogi talks about how new workplaces need to address a state of constant conversation and emphasizes that while one can admire different kinds of workspace design, companies need to adapt one that will help increase employee productivity.
But some trends never fade; they go on to become fundamentals of building a good business. In our cover story, Anant Gupta, President and CEO of HCL Technologies, talks about how their phenomenal growth is due to their obsessive customer focus. He also tells us there is a real possibility that a job we pursue today may cease to exist tomorrow. Yet another reason to not blindly follow popular trends while choosing our career paths.
Do write in with your views and suggestions.