Keep The Wolves At Bay

There are more than 30 million white tailed deer in the world; it is the most common of their species. Imagine relocating a herd of white-tailed deer from one location to another overnight. What will happen? Studies have shown the relocation of wild animals is usually followed by a struggle to adapt to their new environment. Firstly, they have to adapt to the new flora and fauna especially against predators like wolves that are on their home turf. Secondly as a herd, their collective aim veers towards survival and not progress. This is true for many species, and even for us. The current pandemic has relocated the entire world from a hybrid digital-physical life we were leading, to a fully digital and remote one almost over night.

The biggest challenge of the herd in the new environment is the lack of sure-footedness. The survival and adaptability of the herd is deeply tied to its leadership. The heads of the herd need to establish new process and structures. Similarly, establishing a clear remote work policy is the job of good leadership. This will ensure adherence to protocol and bring clarity to remove decision making bottlenecks. There’s nothing like the assurance of sound leadership and protocol to bring a sense of calm over the herd.

A change in environment requires new skills. What worked for us earlier may not necessarily be our best weapon now. Successful herds find a way to up-skill teams quickly and at scale. In our world, access to these skills needs to open and real-time to bring change across the board. The job of leadership is to reduce fear by not only setting policy, but ensuring the team is equipped with the right tools to design, build, collaborate, learn and deliver in this new setting. Sometimes the change in ecosystems is the right catalyst to bring about massive change in learning mechanisms.

All of these will help keep the herd steps ahead of future challenges. In our world of delivering technology solutions at break neck speed, productivity slumps, business and customer continuity hiccups and an inability to predict and resolve current & future failures can hurt organizations in more ways than one. These are our ‘predators’. Only when employees feel keyed into the collective goal despite geography and communication challenges, will they continue to innovate and deliver. Frameworks to monitor and streamline daily work tasks, gamified performance leader-boards are essential tools to keep motivation and focus levels up. It also allows managers to predict speed breakers and be able to provide timely resolution to problems to keep the wheels churning smoothly.

Survival is also an outcome of preparedness, or as the saying goes – if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. We started our journey of building a cloud-native, end-end digital delivery engine, #NewAgeDELIVERY, two years ago, and this new environment of distributed teams has provided a timely and renewed testament to the engine’s ability keep firing on all cylinders and zero drops in delivery. The use of data in the engine has further helped our teams to navigate dynamic change, failures of tomorrow and causes of technical debt whilst solving them with nimbleness.

This is a great opportunity for our species to showcase our ability to adapt, re-imagine processes and create tools & engines to help us deliver in this new environment we have been thrown in. In the herd just like the best-equipped, competent and adaptable deer will be safe from danger, analogously; only teams equipped with a continuous and on demand skill mechanism, predictive systems and processes, and adaptive customer centricity will win against predators. Unlike the deer whose main goal is to survive, we can create environments to thrive. And, in the process keeping our own wolves at bay.

Abhijit Lahiri

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