A Millennial Map to the Future
In his latest HBR blog post, Letting Gen Y Lead a Management Makeover, MIX Maverick (and CEO of HCL) Vineet Nayar celebrates the bold creativity displayed by the entrants in the HCL MBA M-Prize challenge. As Vineet says, ideas like these can be unsettling to senior executives, and he knows why:
“... keep in mind how alien most organizational environments must seem to [Gen Y workers]. Used to the web's meritocracy, they face rigid hierarchies. Comfortable with the transparency of social networking sites, they bump up against information silos and knowledge hoarding.”
The entries so far submitted to the M-Prize challenge certainly display that desire to substitute openness and transparency for hierarchy and boundaries. Vineet calls out some of the themes he has found most interesting so far:
- Increasing democratic influence on the appointment of leaders. ("The Organization Structure as Free Market").
- Giving people the chance to shape their work and organizations ("Ideas.com"; "The Management Tree"; "Internal bidding for task assignment").
- Creating ways to bypass the filters that impede direct communications ("Can your organization handle the truth?" ; "Live Stream Coffee Chat"; "Who's the Boss?").
- Correcting the in-built bias towards incrementalism ("Stop incremental change and foster 'Bold Moves'"; "What if customer delight was our only measurement?").
Vineet himself faces this "tendency to question how things are done, rather than following instructions” at HCL. As one of the largest global IT services companies, the average age of HCL’s workforce skews young, and rather than fight gravity, the company has built structures and processes to capture the ideas and energies of its Millennials.
You could say that Vineet has put HCL’s money where his mouth is, and he’s taking that same spirit to HCL’s partnership with the MIX. As sponsor of the MBA M-Prize, HCL has staked $50,000 to fund the winning student or team’s experiment within the company.
As Vineet puts it, “[these ideas] describe the business world as the Millennials think it should be”, and he has faith that many more such ideas are out there.
Do you have a great idea for a way to redistribute power, unleash human capability, or foster renewal within our organizations? The HCL MBA M-Prize is open until March 20, 2011 to new entries from students currently enrolled in MBA programs.