The Constant Transformation

Josh Hawkins
October 8, 20144 mins read

Working within the interim market it is hard to escape the fact that every business seems to be going through a change; which has now come to be known as business transformation – no matter the scale of the change. Whether it is a systems change or upgrade, process improvement, development of new teams / divisions or more standard restructure – or these days – the dreaded restructure!

One area of transformation that is often not analysed enough or talked about is the transformation of people – their points of view, the way they feel about work and the effects it has on a business. 

Gone are the days where the idea of getting into a good business and the expectation being that you will stay there for 40 years before retiring with a golden final salary pension. Progression and personal development is king these days and if that means an external move after 2 years then that is what happens. I guess the question is though- why is job hopping more frequent than we have seen in previous generations? 

I read an article recently in the UK Financial Times by Lucy Kellaway titled ‘Why Graduate Trainees are often a company’s biggest brains’ which immediately got me interested. It is fairly common for bright talented individuals to fight to get into the best and most prestigious organisations globally before moving on once they have what they need, for example a qualification such as the CA in accounting from one of the big 4 firms.  As stated in the article by Kellaway, it was often the other way round where the 2 people that didn’t survive beyond 2 years were almost the misfits and in fact thought of as bad hires. 

On the face of it there are obvious factors causing this ‘transformation’ like the sheer volume of graduate applicants in the market meaning that naturally the graduates that are successful are the brightest and best to get through the selection process ahead of the rest of the field. Other suggestions are that only the mediocre stay but similar it is suggesting that staying makes people mediocre. However in the article it is the final suggestion that in fact it is the inability of the senior long standing individuals to see the benefits and strengths of the graduates and vice-versa, that drives the disparity in views to an all time high. For all the possible explanations could this simply be a communication problem – a common factor within many business relationship breakdowns. 

When we analyse and look at this for a second we realise we as colleagues, bosses, underlings and people are being transformed, often through subconscious means. For example graduates have grown up surrounded by the technology and the internet and the infinite forms of communication that it provides – mobile phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat and so on and so on..... 

Where as a senior partner that has been part of the work force for the last 50 years has not grown up on these methods and may appreciate the use of a letter or heaven forbid a phone call where you actually talk to someone! 

Where one party sees slow, inefficient and unproductive methods the other sees a considered, detailed and personable approach – both valid but potentially not visible from the opposite view point based on the natural transformation that has taken place in our lives and our learning and working environments. 
No matter how large the gap becomes in the ‘natural transformation’ between people – strong communication, as is almost always true, can bridge that gap. It is the key to all successful businesses and teams – there is no room for youthful arrogance or jaded experience. 

Focusing on the benefits – using the experience to grow the knowledge base of the inexperienced and learn from mistakes whilst utilising fresh ideas, technologies and processes to keep the business agile, diverse and competitive in the market. 

I would challenge you all to make a point of touching base with someone at the opposite end of the spectrum to yourself, ideally someone you constantly struggle to get on board with your ideas and similarly you with theirs and truly listen and look for the positive in their approach - see how you can utilise what they say to benefit you, the team and the business.

Josh Hawkins's picture
Associate Manager