Prediction: Change. Suggestion: Use Your Intuition
As 2016 ramps up, there’s one more prediction I’m going to cast on the world of HR Technology. Apologies in advance for the first person in all of this…these are my own views and not to be confused with the views of my co-workers and industry peers. I predict a year of great change. Here are some of industry stakeholders to be impacted, and general changes I anticipate:
- The technology vendors – mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, closings, movement of individuals and of specific products within portfolios
- The analyst firms – movement of individuals, consolidation of firms, major changes to a firm’s practices, acquisition of practices
- The Conference throwers – new market entries, dissolution, merger, aggressive market transitions
- The industry associations – all of the above
- Professional services firms – all of the above
I could sit here and give you my specific take on all of these areas – which vendors might consolidate, which analyst firms I expect to go through the greatest transitions, where conference organizers might land by December 31st, which industry associations will likely end up on top, and what might happen in the world of professional services (the closest in scope to my Hive Tech HR). Yup, I could do all of that, and I probably will if you call me and I can swear you to secrecy. But if I were to write it all down here, this is what I’d anticipate as fallout:
- Specific players in each of these areas would be put off as they might not want me saying what will happen to them, especially if it has negative implications
- People that have entrusted me with their information will stop talking to me
- I might actually influence change in an unnatural way…kind of like the Back to the Future effect
So, what’s my recourse? Well, similar to the approach I took in my previous article about actual 2016 predictions, I’d rather put the topic out there and focus more on what to do about it. In this case one expression comes to mind, one which I’ve already included in the title: use your intuition.
We all have different predictive capabilities. Some of us need to have the consequences screamed in our faces before we acknowledge them, and even then we might use our doubt sensors to ignore them. At the other end of the bell curve, there are those among us that can process all of our external cues and get to some point 6 months or more into the future. You might be reading one of those acute intuition people right after you finish with this article. Then there’s the rest who pick up only the somewhat obvious cues. So this year, all I’m saying in the face of the level of change I predict, is that perhaps you should do one of the following based on which of the 3 groups you’re in:
Enough vaguery (yes, an invented word). Here are 3 specific examples from my career where intuition came in handy, which I’ll provide at various levels of how they smacked me in the face.
- OBVIOUS. Who Moved My Cheese? This is a nice little business book that attempts to teach a lesson about change in the workplace, told by chronicling the different reactions by two mice and two “little people,” during their hunt for cheese. Now, this is a pretty cool book to learn from, but when your manager hands it to a dozen or more of your peers in a time when rumors of layoffs are abound, then maybe that specific book being in your specific hand isn’t necessarily a coincidence. Now, granted, I made the determination that I’d be safe and luckily(?) survived the subsequent rounds of layoffs, but others were forced to pack Who Moved Their Cheese with them when they boxed up their desks.
- SOMEWHAT OBVIOUS. What Happens Now that the High Performer Has Moved? Imagine being in a room full of a large percentage of your coworkers, and finding out from your CEO that the top salesperson in the company is leaving a territory where he has thrived – and as a consequence helped the company thrive – to enter a new, unproven market. The initial gut reaction could be “great, maybe this salesperson can repeat that performance elsewhere.” Or, if you really apply logical thinking and potential consequences, you might realize that this move would create a gaping hole in a thriving market. Maybe, right? You might even have the gumption to ask the CEO that in that precise meeting, in front of everyone. Your intuition might also be proven out in the years that follow.
- NOT SO OBVIOUS. What Happens When M&A Smells Slightly Off? Outsiders in a merger or acquisition process don’t see all the details that go into it. Specifically, the decision making that ends at a final transaction may only be known to those in the company that were included, or physically in the Board Room. Those on the outside are left to speculate about both the rationale and the potential outcome. In these cases, everyone is better served by intuition. So when, for example, an acquiring company doesn’t have a footprint in the area of the business they’re acquiring, it puts an even greater emphasis on how that company integrates the acquired company into its operations. It also means that hand-holding the existing client base that endured the acquisition becomes exponentially more important. Use your intuition to evaluate how well those things, and other key factors in the success of a merger or acquisition, are going, and you might be able to use that intuition to derive potential outcomes.
Yup, more vaguery in some of those examples, but I was forced into it. Another caveat to my examples is that they all point towards avoiding potentially negative results. Intuition can also take you to higher places, thriving technologies, inspiring leaders, financial success and better yet, the ever-elusive love of your work. In either the positive or negative case, in times of change, intuition gives you a better chance making the right decision to get there…or avoid going “there.”
ABOUT JEREMY AND HIVE TECH HR
Jeremy enjoys using his modicum of intuition to impact the HR Tech market, domestically and internationally. He is CEO of Hive Tech HR, which helps its clients 1) determine how technology can be infused in their HCM strategy, 2) find new systems and 3) implement their HR technology. He was CFO and Board Member of IHRIM and sits on SHRM’s HR Management and Technology Expertise Panel.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org