I was helping an APAC based technology product company to build scalability in organization. I had also agreed to interview candidates for key leadership positions for a final round of interviews. The founder of the company who started with the technical idea had now moved more into business role and frankly speaking as the time had passed, he was no longer the best person to lead technology. So, they were searching for a Chief technology Officer (CTO). I interviewed a candidate whom they had all liked. While I liked his candidature, I had some serious doubt whether he would leave his job with an MNC to join this mid-sized company. Unfortunately, he backed out and we were back to square one, Things were getting pretty tight for a growing product company to be without their CTO!
I had a chat with the CEO and said, “It would be difficult for you to get a CTO.” He was little annoyed with the statement and asked me why do I say so. I told him,” Listen, the person who is really passionate about technology would like to have a play on larger technology canvas and a much larger budget. You also need someone with business acumen along with a passion for technology. Such person would most probably start on his own rather than looking for an employment”. “Well thanks for the clarity Yogesh but what’s the solution?” the CEO asked. Ignoring the tone of sarcasm in his comment, I continued, “Listen, you have some great customers and a product that is already in a working mode. You now need to port your product to newer platforms. So, you need someone who would be able to build it for you and also convince your future clients about the robustness of your solution. How about finding a Tech-entrepreneur to do it for you?” He looked at me sceptically and said, “Are you out of your mind Yogesh. We are a tech product company and are you suggesting that we outsource the CTO? That sounds ridiculous! How would it work?” I persisted with my argument, “If we find out a tech savvy guys who have started on their own but may be having some challenges for Business Development, why can’t we try it? We may find bright technical minds who can be more accountable as service providers and we perhaps may find it easier to attract more technical talent through their network as influencers.” I knew I was dealing with a CEO who could think beyond his ego and was a reasonable person to deal with. He looked at me and said, “Let’s give it a try.” We soon found out a set of bright young professionals running a tech company. Founders had started entrepreneurship out of their love for technology and were too jaded to work in a larger organization. What helped us sealed the deal was they were also facing some challenges on business development. So, we created our contracts and the work started. Cutting the long story short, soon the company bagged five international deals which would not have been remotely possible without these tech wizkids!
For a long time, we have used this logic of ‘Core Vs Context’ to determine what can be outsourced and the general rule of thumb is only context can be outsourced. Well, the times have changed. As the telecom bandwidth is becoming more of a commonly and with emergence of technology that can allow people from different corners of the world to collaborate easily, organization structures would have a tectonic shift. Rather than worried about how to get talent into your own organization, organizations would take the work to where best talent is available. Organization would work more like a mother-ship or a command centre which would co-ordinate work done by various satellite teams. This would give better flexibility to both organizations and professionals. You need to then really work on the organizational processes that make this model work. It is win-win situation. And yes, for the records, the arrangement mentioned above has worked for more than two and half years with outstanding results. Future of work is already here. You just have to start working on building organization with the criteria of building it around best available talent smartly using outsourcing as an alternative to hiring. If you still insist on using the core Vs context as a parameter to outsource, core is the idea as the heart of organization and Value system being its nervous system. Everything else is pretty much context.