Summary:

Technology has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, but human beings and the way they work and manage each other has not evolved and adapted nearly as quickly. That is one of the major challenges for businesses today, according to Allen Delattre of Korn/Ferry International.

Allen Delattre

Technology has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, but human beings — and the way they work with and manage each other — has not evolved and adapted nearly as quickly. That is one of the major challenges for businesses today, Allen Delattre of Korn/Ferry International told attendees at GigaOM’s Net:Work conference in San Francisco. “Technology has progressed more in our lifetimes than it has in the last 3,000 years,” Delattre said Thursday. “But the human being, the people we are — we haven’t really evolved that much [and] that’s testing our limitations as human beings.”

The big question for businesses today is how they adapt to that, he said — and particularly how the leaders of companies handle the implementation of technology inside their organizations, and try to help their employees evolve and succeed. And the leaders of the future will likely be those who are flexible enough to move with those changes, rather than the people who moved up through the ranks in the traditional ways, Delattre said.

“The past is no longer an indicator of the future,” the Korn/Ferry global managing director said. Companies have traditionally promoted employees who have put in their time in the finance division, or risen up through the sales operation, or got high marks in business school, said Delattre, but “the leaders of the future will be the ones who can adapt to and manage these technologies,” and those may not be people who have moved up by delivering successful product launches and that sort of thing. “Those rules are out the window,” he said.

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