Ade McCormack
Ade McCormack
Digital Readiness Institute

Ade McCormack is a former technologist who today advises leaders on transformational matters. Most recently, he has established the Centre for Leadership and Disruption Readiness to help organisations and societies adapt to an unknowable future.( .

He has written for both CIO magazine and the Financial Times as a columnist focusing on digital age leadership. His experience extends to around four decades and forty countries, across many sectors. 

Ade has written a number of books, including Biz 4.0: An anthropological blueprint for business in the digital age. He has also lectured at MIT Sloan School of Management on digital leadership and is an associate at the Møller Institute, University of Cambridge.

By Ade McCormack, Digital Strategist

This article is by Featured Blogger Ade McCormack from his Linkedin page.

When McKinsey wrote about the war for talent, many organisations interpreted this as something akin to the war for stationery supplies, given that humans were merely technology placeholders / cogs in the factory machine.

In my experience, many organisations are maintaining this industrial era mind-set in what is now the digital age. And they are starting to struggle to acquire and retain the talent needed to remain in the global value chain.

Talent in the digital age is more than a process-monkey. Post-cog talent does things that the market values AND cannot be done by a computer, robot, or ‘algo’.

So, here are 7 steps you can take to ensure your organisation attracts and retains a ‘digital age strength’ talent pool.

  • Recognise that you can no longer control the talent. And you can no longer control the corporate message. The power axis has shifted away from the talent-acquirer to the talent.
  • Provide an environment that enables great people to do great work with other great people. Think collaboration, and anthropological hygiene.
  • Eliminate cognitive leakage. There is a strong correlation between cognitive capacity and innovation. An environment of fear, or a lack of leadership conspire to drain our creative capacity. As does poorly designed environments, unnecessary rules and systems that thwart productivity.
  • Treat people like people, and not cogs in the machine. Forget job specifications. Tailor the role based on the capabilities of the individual.
  • Ensure your leadership knows that their primary role is to remove the obstacles that obstruct great people from doing great work.
  • Ensure your organisation has a sense of purpose beyond, for example, helping tomorrow’s work force develop Type 2 diabetes (ie selling sugary food / drinks to children). Today’s talent needs to turn up for a reason beyond paying the bills / funding a lavish lifestyle.
  • Support work-life integration. If you hate your work, you will naturally prefer work-life balance. If you love your work, then work-life integration is required. Digital age talent is passionate about what it does. Good progress has been made on home working. But what about work-homing?

For some organisations, this will require a seismic change. Many organisations have paid lip service to the importance of their people. The irony of the digital age is that it is not about technology, but about people.

And in keeping with the digital age, the talent shortage is following an exponential trajectory.

Originally published on LinkedIn