Henley Management College Essay Research Paper By

Henley Management College Essay, Research Paper

By Professor Ray Wilde in London = Ask anyone under 50 in any reasonably successful organisation and they will tell you that business life is dramatically different from two or three years ago. Work is longer, harder and unending. A Management Today Ceridian survey reports that more than 76 per cent of UK managers said they wanted to spend more time doing other things; 50 per cent of men and 65 per cent of women claim that work leaves them drained of energy. This situation is not likely to improve. The underlying reasons for the changes – the increasing speed of communication and internationalisation of business – are here to stay. Add to this the personal and financial aspirations of people in a globalised boom economy and we have the recipe for a potent acquisitive culture that sets the pace for everything else. Nor can we count on an influx of new interns. There is a critical and long-term talent deficit. Studies of the “war for talent” suggest that three-quarters of organisations now have “insufficient” or a “chronic” shortage of talent – and that the demand for talented executives will increase by a third in the years ahead, when the number of candidates in their mid 20s to mid 30s will actually decline. However, the future of business depends on these new people supported by the current generation of managers grappling with corporate change. But, what qualities will budding managers bring to the party? Many more people are now engaged in building innovative businesses. These are hungry and acquisitive people, keen to make their mark and their fortune. But unlike their forerunners they are secure enough to bear the risk of failure and confident enough to learn from their mistakes and move on. They are not necessarily wealthy, but they know that they are valuable. They thrive on uncertainty and value fun and excitement rather than social and domestic stability. They are often the “backpack” generation, who figure that gambling two or three years of their early career is like travelling the world in the pre-university “gap” year – unpredictable, risky, inspiring and character building. Business in the 21st century needs such people. Britain is not blessed with a glut of such risk-takers. Research for Eastern Energy suggests that we are still a country of “risk avoiders”, so we should perhaps cultivate those who show more entrepreneurial tendencies. Others, caught up in the new circumstances of doing business, will either have learned, or failed, to live with them. These are not new people but “converted” people. A Henley Management College report (Management in the New Economy) has shown that the competencies required of such people are IT skills, creativity, strategic thinking and e-commerce awareness. Staff will not accept management indecision, lack of focus and managers hiding behind closed doors. Managers are likely to experience changed roles as a result of the increasingly sophisticated application of technology in support areas. For example, human resources (HR) systems that have enabled staff empowerment have radically reduced the HR function itself. This has led to line managers becoming responsible for those people management aspects not readily automated. The death of the purchasing function is being predicted as systems make it feasible to return the task to the point at which purchases are to be used. This implies the need for managers to have a broader understanding and a more rounded business role. Organisations must discern not only what types of people they need, but also how to keep them. Loyalty and commitment cannot be assumed. Whatever the situation, whether in start-up or in an established business, work life balance will be a key management issue. Women have traditionally been more adept at facing the struggle to balance their careers and families. But as the new economy takes hold, men too, will have to deal with this. So, are women better prepared to cope in the new business world? Ask Marjorie Scardino at Pearson, Carly Fiorina at Hewlett Packard, Hilary Cropper and Jo Connell at FI Group and hundreds of other women who are now in charge of a quarter of the small and medium sized enterprises on which the future of business depend. Their time management skills, sharpened by years of juggling home and work priorities, and their superior emotional intelligence, are important components to the success of companies in the new business world. As long as the new economy continues to grow and create new types of jobs, the long-overdue ascent of women at the core and top of organisations is inevitable. [Professor Ray Wild is principal of Henley Management College in the UK]



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