A blend of three kinds of competencies is required to ensure long term survival and growth. They can be grouped under: Insight, Foresight and Hindsight.
Insight represents the set of competencies that are required to survive and succeed in today's business environment, ie, "present".
Foresight calls for competencies that are required to look ahead and prepare the organisation to meet the challenges on tomorrow-in "future".
Hindsight is the bundle of competencies the organisation possesses, based on its past experience and track record-"past".
These could well represent three baskets of knowledge and skills- insight, foresight and hindsight available in the organisation, resting with the employees. When the organisation has the right mix of people with insight, foresight and hindsight, having survived in the past, it will be able to face the chalenges of present and future.
My other premise is that it is indeed rare, if not impossible, that one individual will possess all these competencies in right measure – insight, foresight and hindsight. It is only a group of people working together that could possess all these competencies at any given time. Metaphorically, we can say that insight resides in today’s senior managers, foresight to be brought in by the restless, starry-eyed, new young recruits and hindsight resting with those who are nearing the end of their career, having seen it all and learning from it all.
As stated earlier, at different stages in its life cycle, an organization needs different dominant set of competencies. Right at its inception, an organization is set up and formed by persons with ‘insight’ – who have an in-depth understanding of the customer, competition, industry and the external environment prevailing at that time. Over a period of time, while they refine their insight further, their ability to look into the future becomes limited, primarily because of growing years and rapidly changing external environment. Hence their ‘insight’ quotient starts coming down, but gets stored as ‘hindsight’. It is time for the organization to have on hand, people who are acquiring ‘insight’ who can gradually take over from these pioneers, who move away from insight to hindsight and beyond, to ‘retirement’. To have this steady stream of “insightful” persons, the organization should keep recruiting young persons with “foresight” and nourish them to become insightful people.
By constant monitoring of the external environment, the organization should continue to strike the required balance between hindsight, insight and foresight. This involves the entire range of HR processes from manpower planning to selection, training and development, coaching and mentoring.
Further this calls for an organizational culture and a supporting structure to ensure that required competencies are available in right measure at all times. Such an organization is bound to survive and succeed much better than an average organization which lives for today, just to fulfill the ambitions of present top/senior management.