To Telecommute or Not?


The fundamental construct about Enterprise Strategy and Organization design is its “relevance” and therefore the “context” addressed at any given point in time in an enterprise life cycle. When such introspection occurs, the Human Capital Management Process and Systems are the most impacted and need to be addressed through Talent Management as an on-going continuous process as illustrated in the following illustration.



Where, Talent may be defined as the ability of the enterprise to surface the latent ability of the individuals and the organization collectively to contribute to a common cause. This can only be achieved when Human Capital Management not only addresses the Talent relating to the Skills that deliver the job but also the conditions relating to the emotional and personal well-being of the individual and the enterprise as a whole; to continuously deliver to newer challenges. Hence, Human Capital Management as a process demands focus on the Professional, Personal and Emotional dimensions and their attributes of individuals and enterprise as a whole; relating to the relevance of the business enterprise.


Anybody and everybody in the last week have raised the most absurd storm about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to ask Yahoos to come into the offices to work from June to allow better collaboration and a higher level of contribution. Rather than show appreciation for her leadership maturity she has demonstrated and leading by example, most have taken the attack to personal levels. This is neither a retrograde step nor a threat to the autonomy of Yahoos. To the contrary, she has provided three months of advance notice and ample opportunity for dialog to understand the Frame Of Reference (F.O.R.) to arrive at a common vision and understanding of the decision and thereafter focus on organizational goals.


Organizational strategy is not about following others and winning a popularity contest. When an organization such as Yahoo engages in transformation, its business renewal must focus on all the five layers of an enterprise architecture; where the people capabilities (Capacity to Transform + Ability / Skills to Perform) is the most important one. Aligning people to a common vision and getting them to perform collaboratively demands personal interaction. Ms. Mayer and Yahoo H.R. chief Jackie Reses need to be congratulated for taking a bold business decision that is right by their business. And Richard Branson must first tend to renewing his business enterprise and keeping it relevant to his Customer Universe before condemning others.


It is a sad commentary of our times that the media is not only sensational to stay competitive but its correspondents are ill-conceived in their roles. The op-ed column by Maureen Dowd titled “Get off your cloud” published on February 26, 2013, is a poor testimony to the glorious journalistic standards of New York Times reputed for well researched publications.( It is no rocket science to read the decision as having very little to do with the premise and / or policy of teleworking or telecommuting. The idea is to renew the workforce to the new innovative and competitive challenges of the enterprise and its CEO has called for catalyzing this institutionalization of the new culture through personal interactions. In such a situation, the cloud does not disappear nor does the remote log-in infrastructure!!!    


The basis of an enterprise transforming into an institution is that it sets its rules and lives by them. It does not thrive on the exceptions or acceptance of others. Similarly, every leader in a family, society, organization and nation has the right to lead their respective enterprise in what they perceive as the best interest common to everyone they touch. Nobody, even those who appointed them in the first place, have a right to alter this style and substance of the leadership, unless they can prove that they have a better concept or solution that can be adapted.

Once again, congratulations Ms. Mayer for showing the world the most important leadership trait of acting out of one’s convictions. Whatever the outcome of your efforts to transform Yahoo, it is clear that you have demonstrated the will as well as the wisdom to set it in the right direction. With the support of the organization and its ecosystem, you can certainly create the new envisioned enterprise of a globally leading technology company. 


About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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One Response to To Telecommute or Not?

  1. Well said as always Mr Iyer!

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