She's working for you – kind of. Image: Shutterstock

Thursday 3rd March 2016

The girl in the attic

Soon, the best people in your organisation won’t actually be in your organisation, warns Steve Rockey

As all good ‘People’ professionals do, I’ve recently joined an external development programme. And what an eye opener it’s been so far.

The thing that struck me most was a discussion around the make-up of business in the future. The traditional model of corporate management is, it seems, just not going to be around.

The brightest minds aren’t our minds. (Sorry.) No, the brightest ones are the minds yet to come. And in a world that’s more reliant on technology by the day, businesses are going to struggle unless they adjust to how those minds like to do business.

I’ve got a two-year old. When I look at how au fait he is with technology – finding nursery rhymes on YouTube, or stories on the CBeebies app – it freaks me out. I remember buying my first mobile phone, which was massive and had an aerial. By the time my son gets his first workplace communication device, who knows what form it’ll take?

Increasingly, the best and brightest minds won’t sit comfortably in corporate management structures. More and more statistics show that entrepreneurialism comes from millennials or people sat at home. People who have finished university/college/school; people who have an idea and aren’t afraid to run with it to see where it goes. Or some pre-pubescent teen sitting in his bedroom coding applications we haven’t even thought about yet, let alone know we need.

And so the large business talent vacuum has begun and small companies are gaining the ascendency.

When big business people have an idea, but don’t have the people to deliver it, they’ll have to go to a girl in an attic somewhere and ask for her help. Let’s call that girl Bex. The conversation will go something like this:

You: Hey, Bex. We’ve had a great, cutting-edge idea but we’ve got no clue how to deliver it. Fancy helping us out?

Bex: Totes. But let’s chat online, as phones are so old school.

Time passes and the project comes to an impressive close.

You: Hey, Bex, you were awesome. Amazing results. Want to join my team?

Bex: Hell, no. I’ve got my own thing going on. Have five people working with me around the world. Why would I want to work for a big bank anyway?

A fundamental shift is upon us. Big business needs to think about how it’s going to create structures to allow these interlopers in and out without upsetting the apple cart.

But how great must it be to be a newcomer to the working world right now. Knowing your skills – natural to you, because you’ve learnt them from birth – are needed so much that you can do what you want, when you want and, most importantly, how you want.

About the author

Steve Rockey

Steve Rockey is Head of People for Big Easy, the definitive Bar.B.Q and Lobstershack. You can follow Steve via @stephenrockey1 or connect with him on LinkedIn