Disruption Ahead!

“If your competition isn’t driving innovation at the level your company is, why would you recruit from them? Focus on finding the best-of-breed skill set from outside your industry and rely on others internally to drive the domain knowledge and experience.”

This quote was in a recent article I came across, “Five Tips for Recruiting Best In Class Talent. “

How many times have we seen a job description that says, “innovative leader,” “agile thinker,” etc. etc.? But then there’s a bullet point buried beneath that saying:

“MUST HAVE 5-7 YEARS INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE.”

Rethinking talent in the age of disruption

This whole talent game is going to have to be rethought. I read a recent article about the impending demise of the auto industry as we know it. The Car Industry Is Under Siegemethodically walked through every major disruptor in the auto industry:

  • Sharing economy
  • New business model
  • Decline in car sales
  • Autonomous cars.

As I read this intense dissection of a storied industry, I realized that the talent to drive the transformation would have to come from outside the industry. The industry’s disruption dictates a new approach. These almost insurmountable challenges will cause this entire industry to be rethought.

Transitioning to a new model

A few weeks back Marriott announced its foray into the sharing economy with its own version of the Airbnb model. If you would have asked the hotel business a few years back about their major competitor, it would have been another chain or brand. Today disruption has them venturing into a totally new segment that was not even on the radar in years past.

Every industry is under siege — from automotive, hotel, banking, retail and on and on.

Transforming recruiting

Back in our “people” space, the implications are that our traditional methods too, have to be rethought. The talent acquisition space, for just one example, is changing fast. It takes lots of research and analysis and a different approach to find the talent that can navigate the disruption.

In our own networks, who are we talking to who is in the new space, who can help our organizations transform?

Think back to the article I mentioned at the beginning, if you are being challenged by the changes in your industry, who do you know who is in a “future” space? If your answer is not many, then finding them and connecting is your new job.

Transformational talent is out there, but they may not be giving you so much as a glance. How do you entice the future talent you need? How do you even know where to look for the talent to drive you to the future? Yes, that is the uphill climb. Yes it will be challenging. But you know what? You have no choice.

All of our businesses will have to be rethought. And much of the new direction will have to come from people outside your space.

Who is in your network?

I challenge each search professional: Where is your network in the future space of talent? Who are the movers and shakers? Where is the emerging talent? How are you finding them? Are you even looking for this talent that is very likely to be outside your industry?

This “future space” approach to talent acquisition requires a different kind of effort; different from the usual pipeline building of the experienced in your industry.

The future is going to be driven by talent, but if you are looking for it in the same old places, you will lose. It is almost like a miner stubbornly trying to find a vein of gold in the same place they have always looked.

Welcome to the age of disruption in which the key is finding the disruptive talent. I will let you in on a secret, it will not come from your known competitors who are struggling themselves.

About the author: Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.  He is also an executive faculty member of Howard University School of Business, Washington DC

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.