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Press Releases

Hybrid work culture becoming dysfunctional: Management pundit Shivakumar

10 May 2022

Press release - Shivakumar’s book

Mr Shiv Shivakumar, best-selling management author and Group Executive President, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group, sees the hybrid work culture turning dysfunctional because of an emerging segregation of workforce into an ‘inner circle’ of those working in office and an ‘outer circle’ of those working remotely. “If the leader does not measure employees by impact, the organization will have a dysfunctional hybrid culture,” he says.

Mr Shivakumar was speaking at a function to release his new book ‘Art of Management’, organized by All India Management Association (AIMA).

Sachin Tendulkar has written the foreword for the book, which offers practical advice on managing one’s self, one’s team and one’s business.

The book was unveiled by distinguished journalist and media entrepreneur, Mr Shekhar Gupta, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, ThePrint.

The book release ceremony was attended by more than 150 AIMA members and the current and former colleagues of Mr Shivakumar from AV Birla Group, Hindustan Lever, Nokia, PepsiCo and Philips. The session was anchored by Ms Rekha Sethi, Director General, AIMA.

Releasing the book, Mr Shekhar Gupta said that ‘Art of Management’ was the kind of book one could read from anywhere without the need for a bookmark. “I love the books that I can finish reading. This is one of those books,” he said.

During the discussion on changing management issues, Mr Shivakumar pointed out that the longevity of companies had shrunk to less than 20 years, which made it impossible to continue with the old ‘hire to retire’ approach. ‘The management degrees obtained 20 years ago are now not worth the paper they are on because the concepts of management taught then are not applicable anymore,” he said. Accordingly, he said, employee loyalty did not exist anymore. “There are no contracts. Every employee is a volunteer,” he said.

On the subject of career choices for the young over the next decade, he argued that skills would be more important in the future than degrees. He pointed to the 3 core skills listed by the World Economic Forum as the key determinants of success in the coming years, which are complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. “Learn, contribute, and create maximum impact despite knowing that you would not be there after 3-4 years,” he advised.

Talking about the growing pull of the startup system, Mr Shivakumar said that it was propelled by PE and VCs and was considerably reliant on hope. He said out that though India had just reached the milestone of having 100 unicorns, he was worried about the business model of many of the digital companies. He said that he had met about 150 digital companies to understand their business model and found that for most of them the cost of customer acquisition was multiple times higher than the gross margin, if there was any gross margin.

On building startups to sell strategy, Mr Shivakumar said that the buck will stop somewhere. He reminded that during the subprime boom everybody was selling forward until everything eventually collapsed. “If you pass the liability on and then the buyer realizes that it is a shell company, the music will stop,” he said.

Management leadership now has to be distributed, as the world is moving very fast and it is impossible for any individual to lead alone, Mr Shivakumar said. He gave the example of IPL teams having multiple captains on the field to deal with too many variables in a game.

The book release function was livestreamed on AIMA’s social media channels and more than 900 management professionals and students logged into the session.

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