Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Corporate Life Won't Be Funny

"Corporate life won't be funny", so states The Economist in The World in 2009 in the article "The year of the CFO" here.

"No one will talk of EQ ("emotional intelligence quotient") any more. It will be EVA ("economic value added") instead. Thinking outside the box (at the best of times) will not be celebrated. Ticking boxes will be."

Brilliant - Yes? No? Yet, the Economist is taking a strong stand here on what it believes stating "We will hear less of "vision" and much more of "value"."

The article continues to obliterate the corporate function of Human Resources under the heading "Goodbye "talent", hello "staff"" where it states:

"The biggest loser in the struggle for power will be the human resources director. In the past five years HR has been enjoying the greatest power it has ever had. The “war for talent”, which companies have fought tooth and nail, will be over in 2008, neither lost nor won: there will be a ceasefire brought on by lack of funds and exhaustion of the troops. An old truth will be whispered by the brave: most workers are not terribly talented and most of them don’t need to be, as most jobs don’t require it. In 2009 a more elitist shift will occur: companies will worry about the performance of those at the top of the pyramid, while everyone else will be managed like a commodity. “Talent” will be a word we wave goodbye to. In 2009 the word “staff” will make a comeback, as will “headcount”."

This is how companies will behave because they have to yet such realities are not officially recognized. Some of the above has come to pass in the curtailing of what is now being seen as extravagance of the C-Suite such as company jet purchase, etc.

As for the marketing, the article states:

"The marketing director will also lose out. He has already been kicked once by the decline of advertising and kicked again as the power of the internet has made his traditional tools useless. In 2009 his budgets will fall further, as will his status."

I believe the consumer will reach for value in both old and new fashions, for example, coupon clipping is going to become an art, we will see coupon trading among neighbors, and of course hitting the same grocery chain's multiple stores on the mornings of triple coupons till the data syncs from the various stores back to the data warehouse. An example of new methods utilized by consumers will be online - observing and waiting for the right price, bargaining (EBay) and near-geo selling for both buyer and seller (Craig's List) will take off.

I recently discovered that my predictions may already be running behind the curve as a CEO of a Software as a Service company informed me that he hired a sales person from the Craig's List who is producing great results for him. Fascinating!

Yet, the most entertaining quote of the whole article is:

"As for the corporate-social-responsibility supremo, he will be told to take a gap year indefinitely."

No comments: