The Financial Express

Managing the team

Touhid Kamal | Published: March 12, 2020 11:10:57 | Updated: March 19, 2020 00:14:49

Managing the team

The real world is full of uncertainties. As a team leader, the first objective is to create a plan for the team. A team leader is expected to sit with the team members, listen to what they have to say, how they view the quarterly progression, and what trainings they might need to accomplish the task. Or, if else, the leader can just dump a pre-made plan onto them.

Nonetheless, a team also has to be connected with lots of others teams within the organisation, and they also have own versions of their plans. Every team is about to go, or is just coming from, meetings after meetings on whether they are on track or whether they are about to adjust their plans with new objectives. The complexity rises further.

Plans are important. Plans are exciting and they give us an overview on how to attempt to shape the future based on values. Plans are created because people want certainty.

However, uncertainty is a key element of lives; an absolute truth. Uncertainty needs to be embraced, and plans should be adjusted accordingly, rather than pushing forward unjustifiably to meet static goals written in static plans.

As businesses grow from a small shop to a global empire, they are quick to realise the fault in planning. Communication is much more faster now, but businesses are scaled and profited on its ephemerality-the speed of change. In business, speed matters. The plan that the C-level executives put together in September, some major business manoeuvre will make it obsolete in November. In this information economy, events are occurring faster than they ever have been before, and so if one has just finished dissecting a situation and made a meticulous plan out of it-with board approvals and meetings in place-only to find that the plan resulted not for the future, rather a look through the past.

Then, what can a team leader do to create a reliable and valid impact?

It is far better to coordinate team's efforts in real time, relying heavily on the informed, detailed intelligence of each unique team member. How does that happen? It's not possible with a planning system, rather it requires the help of an intelligent system.

As distinct from a planning system, an intelligent system is an accurate, real-time data system, that is distributed broadly and quickly, and presented in detail that the team members can see and react to the patterns to decide what manoeuvre to take. Just like an airplane has a planning system in place while trying to reach Washington DC, it also continuously corrects its course along the way in real time, with the intelligent dashboard that feeds information every second.

Intelligent systems move information across an organisation as fast as possible, and by doing so they empower immediate action. The underlying assumption is that people are wise, as they are working for an organisation, if they can be presented with real time, accurate and reliable data, they can make smart decisions themselves without the leaders to micromanage.

Therefore, as a founder or a CEO, it should be a responsibility to liberate as much information as one possibly can. For organisations, this process initiates a gigantic move from the hierarchical to a more egalitarian one. Nonetheless, that is the underlying philosophy under the rug of information and digital economy in present. The companies which are at the top do not just have had a great idea, they also have embraced this philosophy. Google and Facebook don’t have real time data feed only, their employees can ask any top executive any questions any day to get a better understanding on how to modify their course of action.

Rather than worrying about making data simple or easy to consume, trust should navigate that people are able to make sense of the data. The biggest challenge of data is not making sense of it, but to sort the signal from the noise. This is much harder. But once an organisation has an intelligent system in place, they are already gravitating towards the core of digital economy, the intelligence of data.

Touhid Kamal is a business anthropologist, researching in the domain of HR/ Business Digital Transformation. He can be reached at kamaltouhid@gmail.com

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