‘The DNA of The Future Manager and The Future of HR’​ Panel Discussion at the Annual Leadership Excellence Awards hosted by Colombo Leadership

Industry experts and thought leaders discussed some of the most compelling topics on the above alongside the annual leadership excellence awards organized by the Colombo Leadership Academy. The panel discussion was moderated by Chiranthi Cooray – Chief Human Resources Officer – Hatton National Bank PLC, Leading the Human resource strategic deliverables of the Bank, as the HR Business Partner she manages the sustainability function of HNB and serves as a Trustee of the HNB Sustainability Foundation. She is the immediate past President of the Association of Human Resource Professionals, Sri Lanka. Others included Nandana Ekanayake – Chief Executive Officer of Siam City Cement Lanka Ltd, Surani Amarasinghe – Head of Human Resources of Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC, Harsha Wanigatunga Chief Information Officer of Seylan Bank PLC and Riaz Hassen Chief Executive Officer of CLA.

Here are some takeaways that emerged from the panel discussion. All panelists alluded as to how important it is for a manager and leader to have sound value based styles and core values, such as integrity, honest intentions, consistency to emerge successful in the future business landscape.

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The context to the discussion was set, by citing the emerging skill sets and competencies required to succeed in 2020 and beyond advocated by the World Economic Forum. By 2020 Word Economic Forum has identified the most valuable competencies and skill sets managers must possess to conquer the ever changing VUCA factors, They include 10 spectrums and taken as a group are a fine balance between the quadrants for high performance, yet with a subtle emphasis on right brain dominance. Here are the skill sets Emotional Intelligence, Instigating creativity, Critical thinking, People management, Collaborating with others, Service orientation, Complex problem solving, Judgement & Decision Making, Cognitive flexibility and Negotiation without which the future manager might not find place to secure his position. Click here to view the The Skill Sets Required to Succeed in 2020

Surani added that apart from the functional competencies required to perform a job role leadership agility and collaboration have become so paramount in order to excel in a highly competitive business environment and people in leadership roles must be mindful that this goes beyond the technical skills of an individual and required to embedded in the DNA of the future manager. Organizations must be geared to adopt these competencies faster or will stand to fail due to lack of capability in this domain. She further added saying that HR needs to change at a pace even speedier than the rest of units inside the organization to support change management and needs to play a strategic role rather than a functional role.

Nandana said it’s an important item in the CEO agenda to ensure that sufficient budgets are retained even during troubled times, to invest in training and development to build capacity and skills required in order to capitalize on the ever increasing opportunities in the industry. He further stated that it is equally important to place the right people on the right jobs and empower their roles to achieve sustainable organizational growth.

Harsha, was quick to observe that conservative organization cultures suffocate creativity. He strongly advocated the need for open and inclusive work place cultures to bring out the best in multi gen employees. He sighted that AI and machine learning would become a key competency of the future manager and well wired manager with great agility to learn and unlearn the trends in the industry would be become a competency that all would look for. Click here to see Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Banking and Finance

Riaz articulated, much to the dismay of the audience how Sri Lanka’s power distance is significantly high and at 80th percentile according to Hofstede Insights and how this could affect organizational agility and growth due to protocols and taller structures undermining the strategy execution speeds in the organizations. He further stated there is a strong evidence of the widening leadership gaps between the line managers and people in leadership roles at the top. These developments could adversely affect the business sustainability if not mitigated with well articulated leadership pipeline development plans within the organization.

The thought leaders stressed the requirement where HR moves from its conventional role of a support function to a strategic business partner engaging in transformational activities rather than transactional activities. Emphasized how HR could transform into an important contributor to the company’s future by engaging in activities that will help move the organisation forward collaborating with all strategic partners so that these initiatives could be measured in terms of business value and ROI.

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