When I was young(er), could never imagine a workplace where I could be hired as a consultant. Now I see so many top-management / CXO level professionals working as consultants and advisors to organisations where average manpower age has dipped and young founders seek some grey-hair wisdom to complement their skills in pushing forth their unique innovative ideas.
Priti Gulati, Founder, EXPERTIES
In today’s challenging and disruptive business environment, the constant need for re-inventing and re-engineering, transformations and transitions are well handled by highly experienced top-management professionals on interim basis. Besides, interim managers provide flexible, low-cost, high-quality expertise to companies for needs that may be just short-term as also they complement the young founders’ strengths with operational, technical, or strategic inputs.
And the need is coming not just from the young founders, in my recent dialogue with an ex-managing director of a large MNC who is now starting-up affordable healthcare solutions, he agreed that they could well manage certain roles on flexi-basis currently, economize on budget as also take the dual advantage of getting cross-company, cross-sector insights. Way to go!!
Priti Gulati, Founder, EXPERTIES
I have embarked on a journey to provide short-term assignments to top management & CXO level professionals who are not currently engaged in any full-time role, and who have a wealth of experience and wisdom that can be used to meet technical, functional or strategic short-term gaps experienced by companies’ world over. EXPERTIES was born from the realization that there is a huge need, both in supply and demand of expertise, to fill short-term gaps across industries. The gig economy for top management is here to stay. Why do I say that?
First, with the average age of people in organisations reducing, senior management is as likely to be in the thirties today and they bring a lot of fresh ideas and have unusual and innovative ways of doing business; in fact, they have brought in new dimensions into everyone’s life’s which were unthinkable in the past. This gust of fresh ideas is well-tempered by some grey-hair wisdom, some old tricks out of the box which seasoned professionals pull out and bring to the table such as for addressing scalability, market penetration, financial controls, or simply strategizing. The unicorns and innumerable start-ups founded by the under-30s are often supported by experienced mentors and advisors enabling them with more wind beneath their wings.
Second, there are many family owned and run businesses and the younger generation of these companies is now more open than before to roping-in professionals having wide industry exposure with perhaps even a global perspective, to manage the business or to head key functions. This divergence of views of different generations is well addressed by experts donning an advisory hat or periodically stepping in to provide strategic inputs, without upsetting the family hierarchical ‘apple-cart’. And the idea fits in well - family management continues to drive, with some professional support!
Third, any expertise gap in functional or technical roles in large established companies due to gap in required skill sets or know-how at the right time, is filled by bringing in an expert temporarily. This also provides an unintended but very beneficial consequence of up-skilling and on-the-job learning opportunity for the organization. Experts also sometime fill a critical gap left by the sudden exit of a senior executive and they take on an interim management role until a replacement is found.
Fourth, whatever the scenario, the value proposition for the hiring company is immense, as it pays only for the period of utilisation of the expert’s services, saves money and time on the variable and over-head cost of hiring full-time for a short-term need, and gets the added advantage of gaining from the best of experienced minds!
Some start-ups and SMEs may feel that experienced top management skills are not accessible, and EXPERTIES has shown that's not so. In fact, many experts enjoy the challenge of leveraging their considerable experience working with small companies. In two cases, where veterans were introduced to companies, one a second generation of a family business seeking expansion strategies, and the other a start-up at its second round of funding needing some technical support, the experts concurred with us that this is exactly where the need is, these are exactly the gaps that need filling-in, this is the new age!
There are, of course, roles and positions which absolutely need to be full-time. The model of hiring top management professionals on short-term basis as and when required, is an aid to management’s support and not a substitute. Here’s to more top-management expert hiring!
Priti Gulati, Founder of EXPERTIES, June 2018. www.experties.net
What’s all this crazy mad rush to meet sales target by banks. Fake accounts being opened to inflate sales. I have long believed that this aggressive push is bound to give some day. And it’s happening in the US with Wells Fargo buckling under the pressure of aggressive sales. The fallout - heavy penalties, flight of deposits, loss of jobs and reputation! Was it worth it?
What’s happening in our country? Are we safe? Sales targets are so stiff that a sales or relationship management job is dreaded. Scramble for deposits by banks, one pie being coveted by more than 50 banks; how many accounts can one open? Even the PSU banks, with a common owner, compete with each other. How wasteful an exercise can that be? Financial services have their own share of targets to meet; sales being made to meet targets and not the need of the customers.
And where are we on financial inclusion. Visited one of the private sector banks recently to open a bank account for a house helper who wished to make a decent monthly deposit, however the task was onerous despite the so-called easing of account openings. No easy way, nobody chasing this money, no sales calls to these people.
Is it not possible for banks to operate in a more amiable constructive way, seeking inclusive growth, seeking accounts and deposits from those who don’t already have accounts? Can the key metrics of valuing a bank change to more qualitative than quantitative parameters? There has to be a pre-emptive solution to avoid any debacle, and our wise bankers would do good to collectively work this out.
Priti Gulati, Founder, EXPERTIES
A recent LinkedIn research report on leadership challenges states that 78% of HR decision-makers in India say that it is difficult to fill leadership positions, with the prime reason for the same being attributed to unrealistic compensation expectations followed by soft skills deficiency including key leadership competencies.
From the leader’s perspective, the report also points out that besides high compensation, leaders look for companies with long term strategic vision, good work-life balance, strong career path and challenging work as their top 5 important needs, in that order.
“The Times they are a-changin”……. business demographics are changing, and that average age has come down is an established fact.
We cannot, however, overlook the fact that today we do have many of the crème de la crème of top management professionals who may have superannuated or have had their contracts completed or have branched out to pursue an interest, and who are available to the corporate world.
So my question is why is it difficult for companies to fill a leadership position with so many of these ladies and gentlemen with decades of enriched experience around? Could it be sheer age factor? Is it that the grey matter diminishes once they cross the age limit prescribed by companies? To my mind, these professionals would look more for the latter aspects mentioned above such as company’s strategic vision, work-life balance and challenging work in their assignments rather than high compensation (as long as it is reasonable), and companies would do well to take advantage of their experience.
In fact, these seasoned professionals are now even available to companies in a way that further lessens the impact of high compensation costs, simply by hiring them for just the period of time they need. EXPERTies recently placed on similar basis a highly experienced chief financial officer and business strategist with a mid-segment company at Gurgaon, resulting in way-below the expected cost for the company. The company even deferred the hire of a full-time resource, which they found hard to hire for exactly the reasons narrated above.
Are we open to experimenting? Like Max Planck, a German theoretical physicists and Nobel laureate said - “Experiment is the only means of knowledge at our disposal. Everything else is poetry, imagination”.
Priti Gulati, Founder of EXPERTies, October 2016. www.experties.net