Micro Review of a research paper : Skill Portfolio management and future-proofing of competitive advantage

Wordsmith friend, confidante and colleauge for three decades Pradipta Chakraborty, a veteran in Global IT consulting practice with TCS has published a research paper in Cutter IT Journal entitled Skill Portfolio Management:: Future-Proofing Your Competitive Advantage and is available here http://www.cutter.com/itjournal/fulltext/2014/03/itj1403e.html

The paper’s titlle has all winged-words and each ‘keyword’ opens vistas which are fast changing. Skill, Skill-Mix or portolio (first came into wide circulation in 1970s in management pratice), Future-proofing, competitive advantage (first coined by Adam Smith some 200+ years ago). The paper first identifies the looming and invisible shadows of demographics, rise of emegering and emergent economies, technological changes and skills needed thereof. In individual level, for us freelancers and seasonal workers, the following paragrpah is very suggestive and somewhat makes the invisible shadows visible

Future of work. Work will continue to be one of the most consequential aspects of our life. However, influenced by the technology enablers and economic forces, it is likely to be perceived by individuals and organizations as something beyond conventional employment. For individuals, multiple careers and micro-work, rather than lifelong employment, will be the new normal. Organizations will tailor employment patterns to synchronize with business needs. More contract workers and freelancers are likely to be seasonally engaged. The way we work and the driving motivations that impact our working consciousness will be transformed. Whereas the industrial revolution fostered consumerism and desire to acquire wealth and property, the new generation of technology will shift the priority toward the quality of experience over the quantity of consumption  (italics mine) Collaborative participation of experts will be inevitable. Specialization will be expected in combination with broad generalist skills (i.e., the T-shaped worker). Work will be more modularly defined, with flexibility built around time, location, and remuneration patterns.

 

If we agree to this picture of future of work, then successful organizations of the future’s key ability will remain to switch-channel-deploy-withdraw the skills just like a top batsmen does his business (of hitting a ball) and timing is critical of applying skill. This means that this management cannot be delegated to our standard HR practices which in most large organizations cannot manage even large number of people properly, what to speak of managing port-folio of skills almost in real time. 

The conclusion follows quickly and what the paper concludes as well. This management has to be a hi-level task and officer of CIO or CEO level needs to be supervising this. In micro-level, this is happening where deployment is almost happening at real time. Have you observed how Amazon tells you, in real time who are reading the book you are viewing now. 

We freelancers find good and bad news both from this global practice paper from a professional who has written in a simple language ( very less consultant speak) and in a clear manner. The paper shifted, softly from an airbrush picture ( looming shadows of gigantic proportion on the globe) to close range picture (how to create a map of work-area, skill-area and roles within an organization). I learn the following 

1. If you anticpate and develop skills needed by those organizations, these organizations will value you more than their employees.

2. If you still nostalgic about the full-term anf life-long or at least two decades of loyalty in an organization, you better start a retro/vintage website. Nostalgia sells well, if packaged properly.

Thanks for Pradipta for sharing this with me and now by implications with Wordsmith’s patient readers.

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