How many of our young engineers are given opportunity and exposure that allows them to tap into their full potential? Today’s engineers work under tremendous pressure acting on them from multiple angles — work, peer, home, social to name a few.
Such external pressures drag an engineer into a zone, where he becomes the ‘victim of circumstances’. So instead of moving towards his ‘inner desire,’ the engineer starts accepting assignments and projects that he may not be comfortable with. Over a period of time, most of the engineers get quite comfortable to go along this path. Some, who are a bit more confident in themselves start looking around, analyze what is happening and will crave to do what they want to do. However this is a rare tribe.
Let’s say an engineer goes to the U.K. or the U.S. for onsite assignment for three to four years. While he is at site mostly, he is focused on technology and platforms that exists in the clients’ environment. When he returns, he learns that the industry has changed. He hasn’t been able to keep pace with his colleagues at work. He loses the competitive edge so he has to start all over again and play the catch-up game – net result, he loses confidence. Lack of confidence creates a stigma of fear and failure in him. He seldom wishes to invest in himself and gear up again. Without a definitive career vision he trudges along the direction in which the organization pushes him rather than pursuing his DREAM. He begins to accept things that conflict with his inner desire.
In my many years in the industry, I came across scores of employees that understood technology and were masters of it, but had little knowledge of how application of that technology add benefits to the customer business. What was even more worrying was that a majority of these employees did not relate to the importance of understanding the customer business in-depth before defining solutions.
At a broader level what does this mean for the industry? A large population of workforce, who are low on self-belief and confidence with little knowledge of the customer business, is being created. A workforce whose ability to think and analyze has long been frozen, who are comfortable being followers rather than leaders, who struggle to muster confidence and courage to challenge the status-quo and attempt breakthrough thinking.
Who is to be blamed? Should we blame the individual or the company? Or is there something wrong with the ecosystem? I feel that largely, we leaders are the big cause of creating confusion in the young minds. Through out my career, I made it a point that engineers in my team gather all the possible information related to their work. It is just not about knowing technology. It is about the impact technology will have on customer business, the benefits it brings to the customer business and its bottom line. When one starts questioning and starts developing knowledge on the customer business, analytical capability will be built into the young minds. When I did this exercise very consciously, I noticed that many of the engineers started becoming more confident.
The success of organizations of tomorrow will largely be driven by the knowledge capital that they can acquire and employ at the right time and right levels, to enable and accelerate their positioning in the market. Future will demand specialized and in depth knowledge to create unique, differentiated customer experience in what is becoming an increasingly competitive global market place. If India has to sustain its competitive advantage in the world of technology services, it is imperative to have a workforce that aspires and achieves knowledge leadership in their chosen area.
It is essential that our young talent understands and appreciates what is required to be successful in future and prepares themselves for the same. It is necessary for them to choose an area that is in harmony with their hearts and set out to be knowledge leaders in the same. Leaders at all levels have an important role to play in ensuring that our talent is guided and groomed to deliver what the marketplace will require. As leaders, we need to support our young talent by creating avenues for acquiring and applying knowledge and in wiring self-belief back in to their systems.
A confident and knowledgeable workforce that has the courage and ability to dream and create solutions that will positively transform the customer business, is what is needed for India to take the next leap and sustain its leadership in the technology services business. We need an inspired and collaborative effort at organizational as well as industry levels, aimed at creating a workforce that is in tune with the times. It is an effort that I believe is essential for the securing the future of our industry.
Satheesh Kumar is the co-founder & CEO, Enzen Global. Satheesh was earlier Vice President at Wipro Technologies where he held responsibilities for business development as well as delivery for their Global Utilities Business.