I was attending a seminar on executive coaching and one of the sessions was on Artificial Intelligence, how BOTs are being developed and how can BOTs easily replace coaches in the future. I don’t know about your experience but I have wondered why technology disruptions are always presented as threats! As I was listening to the session and especially the participants’ questions, I was smiling to myself…
…My mind took me back to the conversation a few years back when I was just a year old into my entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely affair. I had told a few of my friends from the corporate world that all I needed from them as a support was some social time with them – of course with the promise that I would never use these meetings for soliciting any business !!! It was during one such meeting over a coffee, my friend suddenly asked me, “You were doing well in your career….why did you have to take this risk of being on your own?” I was little amused by the question as I had not taken any risk what so ever!! I said’ “Buddy it is you who continues to take the risk and not me!!” ….“And would you please care to enlighten me on this weird comment” asked my friend… I explained, “Listen, I know that I do not have a job and hence the salary… so I always think through about where is my next money going to come from…I also keep learning continuously, so I expand the scope of making money….. But think about it. If your boss tells you to leave your job tomorrow, I bet you have no clue what to do on day after tomorrow…. So tell me who has a bigger risk”….. Slightly squirming in his chair, he muttered, “You are a crazy fellow….” And we moved on to other conversations.
It is my long held view that position on risk or opportunity depends on the lenses you decide to use to look at any situation. Disruption is always an opportunity for everyone to reflect and re-invent. It is obviously an equaliser for the newcomers as the established rules may not give the same advantages to the existing players.However if the existing players are aware about what is happening around them, they have a better chance of re-inventing themselves…. For example you can rapidly expand in hospitality industry as a technology platform without owning a property yourself. Does it wipe out the traditional hospitality players totally? It would of course have a huge impact on players who neither have a cost differentiator nor have a ‘services’ differentiator. Perhaps the one with high quality services would have to be on their toes but they would still command a “premium market” and both the new and old can co-exist. In fact disruption / industrialization in any offering may make the traditional services more premium (hand-crafted goods of high quality have survived through all waves of industrializations is a case in point)…. Only caveat is you need to understand your place in the world and create a differentiation through continuous reflections and efforts in the right direction.
…May be gone are the days of steady jobs where you join as a fresher and retire peacefully one day…. But that does not destroy the pillars of what made careers ‘click’ traditionally even in the old economy….Careers have always had a better chance of being illustrious with self-reflections and continuous learning …..today also the same pillars work and with the advantage that you have more choices for yourself in this ‘Uber’ economy …… May be gone are the days of ‘life-long loyalty’ for organizations ….but organizations can have a better access to the talent if they shed their hard and fast rules of how they should be structured and run!! How you look at it purely depends on the lenses you use…. Sometimes all that is required to turn a risk into an opportunity is changing the lenses you use to look at the things!!