With Tony Williams, Board Advisory, Executive Coach & Transformation Consultant, Will Exell
00:00:00 - The journey from HR to Business transformation to Exec Coaching
00:07:30 - The hurdles of achieving real strategic workforce planning
00:10:45 - Who should be responsible for the resource centre?
00:18:00 - Aligning HR, procurement and operations for forward-looking SWP
00:28:00 - Is there a future for a specific resource planning function?
00:39:00 - People vs Task
00:50:00 - Emotional intelligence in managing workforce and supply chains
00:55:00 - HR's response to regulatory changes like IR35
01:14:00 - Things to look out for over the next year
Jonny Dunning: 00:00: Great, so we're off and running. Tony Williams, thank you very much for joining me, from Hong Kong where I believe it's a slightly warmer situation than we have in the UK at the moment, 28 degrees by the sounds of it.
Tony Williams: 00:16: Yes, very warm today and been one for a few weeks, actually. It's very, unseasonal even for Hong Kong.
Jonny Dunning: 00:22: Yeah. I'm a little bit jealous, not quite that sort of temperature in the UK at the moment, but yeah, I really appreciate you joining me.
Tony Williams: 00:28: A pleasure.
Jonny Dunning: 00:28: And we've got some really interesting topics to talk about around the evolving workforce and resourcing landscape how companies can drive towards true strategic workforce planning at the center of that. Loads of important stuff to cover, I'm sure we're probably going to go for a few tangents as well, which I'm looking forward to.
Tony Williams: 00:46: Sure.
Jonny Dunning: 00:46: Before we get into that, you've obviously got a wealth of experience across HR and business transformation, and you're doing some really interesting stuff now. Would you be able to just give a little bit of background on what you're doing now, but also your journey and how you've kind of got there and what you've experienced along the way in terms of that path.
Tony Williams: 01:07: Yeah, sure, thanks, Johnny. So I guess the simple headline is 30 years in banking of which 20 were in senior HR positions mostly RBS group. But as RBS expanded and then contracted, that was quite a journey, a hell of a lot of business transformation starting clearly with the acquisition of NatWest in 2000. And then the old faded acquisition of ABN AMRO and then what followed with the exiting of many markets and obviously now since then, it's been very rounded into NatWest group. Again once I left that world, I set up my own consultancy six years ago with a business partner with Xcel and spent most of the first four years doing business transformation projects. Culminating, I guess, with the acquisition of Neutronics and V-Tech services company, ostensibly headquartered in Holland, but actually, most of this business was done out of Spain and Apps development business. And then a workspace engineering business throughout Northern and Western Europe and within little pockets of cloud and other activities that they did elsewhere; did that for 18 months, including being chief people officer, and then slept straight from that into being the COO for the global HR function in HSBC and did about 19 months there before moving to Hong Kong full time and starting my coaching business. So I split my time now between consulting, all sorts of transformation-based consulting and coaching, and increasingly doing executive coaching, particularly in a virtual world.
Jonny Dunning: 02:52: And with the executive coaching side of things, what are the kinds of key areas that just keep popping up; they're kind of the main themes that you're seeing at the moment?
Tony Williams: 03:02: That's a great question, John, I think so leading through these very interesting times, I think is probably number one How to engage people remotely or virtually and some tricks of the trade around how to be a leader in those circumstances. Some of my coach clients are fairly new into roles, so helping them be successful as soon as they can be in their new roles and again, most of that's been done in a pandemic world. So you know, having to vary some of the things that you would normally do, like spending the first 30 days going around and meeting all your staff is slightly easier. But also possibly slightly less effective without that kind of humankind of connection that you can get in, in real life that is harder to do in virtual circumstances. And then I guess a couple of people who are leading functional change and some of the normal challenges that you see in functional change. Some resistance, somehow do I convince the key stakeholders that we're doing a good job and how you present your story in terms of the transformation, both upwards and downwards within the organization. So it's a nice mix of different circumstances, to be honest, John.
Jonny Dunning: 04:22: Yeah and it's really interesting you bring up the point about virtual versus in-person, like obviously in the UK with the kids went back to school, we could better go. And it's interesting to see people almost there's a transition to going back to seeing lots of people in person and I can see the same happening from a business point of view. Like when the first pandemic first hit and the lockdown kicked in the UK, you know, I was used to doing lots of zoom calls and stuff anyway. But a lot of people weren't and a lot of people were really fatigued by it found it really, really difficult, there's part of me that sort of thinks that when things ease off again, the opposite will happen. People are so used to; they got conditioned to doing stuff by video conferencing and then when they got to start meeting people in person, they're just going to feel completely exhausted from all the social interactions. And it's going to be quite an interesting transition.
Tony Williams: 05:09: Yeah, I think as always Johnny, there is not one answer, I think, you know, different types of people in terms of how they interact with people. I mean, to use that, I guess the simplest thing that people know a lot about is obviously Myers Briggs and introversion versus extroversion introversion. Being able to kind of be self-starter extroversion, needing other people to generate some energy and then to perform. And there's a quite strong extrovert being, you know, working from home 12, 13, 14 months now with a subdued level of interaction with clients other than on zoom or teams is really challenging, right, whereas if you're naturally somebody who's good at working on your own, self-starting, it tends to be slightly easy for you. However, that said, I think your question's a good one because when we are all able to go back to the office properly, I do see a real need for everybody to try and connect back. So they will see an almost complete swing of the pendulum back and then I think over time it will come back to something between the two. I think people have enjoyed working from home, but not 10 months solid. And I think, I think the new normal to use that horrible phrase, the new normal will be, you know, two days a week from home three days a week in the office. For those that can, and those that have the choice, I think a lot of people I talk to see that as their kind of long-term balance.
Jonny Dunning: 06:44: Yeah. It makes sense to me that it will normalize with some sort of blend. And I just think that in general humans are very adaptable and hopefully this just kind of adds to our skill set rather than kind of polarizing one way or the other. Okay, so some of the topics we're going to talk about today, kind of center on this idea of true strategic workforce planning. Understanding what the business priorities are, linking that clearly and pragmatically to what needs to be done, working out the best way to do it and getting it done effectively, and realizing great results from that. And I think there are various factors that play into why companies find that very difficult. But, if you were to kind of summarize what you see in terms of when you've looked at that type of activity and you'd be involved in that type of activity a lot yourself, what do you see as the kind of the main hurdles that historically have stopped people really progressing with that?
Tony Williams: 07:43: Yeah, I think it's a real, I mean, it's a really tricky question because, you know, the challenge of strategic workforce planning has been one that's been dogging organizations, I guess for a better phrase for at least 20 years and probably a hell of a lot more. Certainly, my experience goes back to, you know, I guess the early two thousand, we were talking about strategic workforce planning and the need to do better as an HR function in the early days of, of RBS just after it acquired NatWest group. And so I think that one of the challenges, historically poor technology I think historically HR function that oscillated between not really being interested and only being interested in the part of the agenda than the resourcing. I think not really having a clear idea on how strategy links to operating plans. So really being on the back foot in terms of calling out key skills is something that I've experienced again through 20 years plus of organizational life looking at this topic. And then I guess the final thing would be to hold the business a wee bit to account to say how good is, the business, even forecasting resource requirements in its broadest definition from the business plans that it has.
And, you know, part of that's HR capability, not asking the right questions and probably not having the right tools. And then the other half of that question really is, has the business really thought about what it wants to achieve or is it, you know emergent? And, you know, no better example than when I was in the investment bank. And, you know, inevitably you would look quarter to quarter at the resources, the markets, the revenues, and the profits. And, you know, it was a standing joke in investment banking that you would hire all the way through from February to July and then you'd start reducing your staff from August; late August through the end of the year and it was every year. And you could set almost; you could set your calendar by, in terms of, you know, is this the week we start to reduce that camp again. So, and that was typical in the investment banking industry, not just in the particular organizations I was party to. So I think, you know, the business has to be held to account as well in terms of that, in some business lines sectors, not real, short-term focus, again doesn't help anybody with strategic workforce planning.
Jonny Dunning: 10:23: Yeah. And I think when you look at the different engagement models or modes of getting work done you know whether it's hiring a permanent employee, engaging with contractors or temps, or getting work; outsourcing work, to be delivered under a statement of work. And, these things; to understand how most effectively to use all available resource models, the business really needs to nail what actually needs to get done. I feel that's something that, things like the pandemic are probably going to be a positive driver towards that because it creates this urgency of what are we doing? Where are we going? How much are we spending? What are we getting for that money? And You know, and there's no coasting; no coasting can really be justified, but it does also raise the question of where the resource center is controlled or who controls that and which function because obviously, you're going across HR operations, procurement. Where do you see that kind of balance of not really power, but the balance of responsibility, you know? Does it ultimately sit with the CFO, you know, how do you see that being distributed within organizations?
Tony Williams: 11:37: Yeah, again, a great question, John, I think I am probably still fairly ambivalent about where it physically sits in terms of, does it report up into which stove pipe? I guess there are a few things that we should probably chat about in terms of the things that are important for whatever this resource center is as you call it. Whatever the resource center has the same attributes that it should have. I think through my experience and the latter days of my RBS experience the equivalent of a resource center would have been the way that we had an overview of headcount, top-down. And that was really a co-production between the COO of the investment bank and me as the Chief People Officer. And that was, you know, it was once a week for three, four hours, literally looking at all of the INS, all of the OUTS all of the requirements, and clearly post-global financial crisis. A lot of the banks had to do a hell of a lot of remediation work much of which was technology-driven as well. And that really created a drain on resource requirements and resource needs. And, you know, it was very hard to balance that with kind of keeping the show on the road, as well as we were at the time, contracting the organization and exit some product lines. So having a single view of that was really important and that's probably the closest in my RBS life I got to a single view of strategic resources or be it wasn't an operational context at that point. And I think when we'd acquired Det-Tronics we had some very hard financial targets to achieve very clear sponsorship from the CEO, how we put in place a resource model, which is like a resource center.
Chad, the COO was there, the CFO was there, the CEO occasionally participated and presenting different business divisions and heads would come along with those business requirements. And this was a business that was in about 16, 17 countries, so it was also relatively global. And we used to do it again three hours a week, every Wednesday and we literally went through line by line every resource request and that was either permanent resource. And in that business at that time, permanent resources would also include quite a lot of project work, so we have quite a good project perspective. And then obviously some of that project work had to be outsourced to consultants, contractors. And I remember at one stage we had something like 18 definitions of resource that were all factored into that model. I chatted; we also looked at the gross margin of every project that the organization did to prioritize where we would put results. And we did that really painful for some people around that process, but we hit the financial targets that we needed to hit. And actually, it was a good model in the context of what it was; it was a good model of trying to get the resource center into concept into place. And then I guess in my HSPC experience, you know, it was much more of a business-led, HR support, COO support, the group COO was very kind of strong in challenging. But it was more of a traditional model with the CFO, just looking the head cow, the COO looking at the kind of the total picture, but not really in that kind of proactive strategic resource management. And as I left HSBC, it was still an exam question; they were still trying to solve the truth.
Jonny Dunning: 15:31: Yeah. I mean, when you talk about the model that you had at Det-Tronics, that sounds pretty sophisticated, it's possibly fairly manual compared to what you might be able to do.
Tony Williams: 15:41: What you can do with an Excel spreadsheet, Johnny.
Jonny Dunning: 15:44: Exactly, but the clear direction from the C-Suite and the way that that was driven just makes a lot of sense, but, you know, the business had a clear objective. And I just think of that when you look at strategic workforce planning and when you look at different resource models and there's a lot of effort involved in working out, what do we really need to do? So over here, we're having financial targets and hitting budgets and just; but for a business to actually kind of put the brakes on and say, what is it we're actually looking to achieve? What's our objective? How are we going to get there? What are the component parts we need to get there? How do we break that down into pieces of work and how best we get that done? That's a lot of effort, but it's hugely valuable. And I think obviously the driver for that within Det-Tronics was the fact that you had these crazy financial targets. I've been in that situation before, and it focuses the business and it focuses the mind very clearly. And I think the pandemic is offering that opportunity and those drivers for a lot of businesses at the moment, it does make sense. And it ties into all of the kind of leadership concepts about having a clear vision of where you want to go and getting everybody on board with what you're doing to try and achieve that. It's like when you hear you know top sports professionals talk about their clear focus and that every day; everything they do has to contribute towards their goal. And I think a lot of this sort of stuff is driven by a clear sense of urgency, so I think now is a great time for companies to be able to address that.
But it's a big lumpy piece of work because even, you know generally when people are in a role and they're trying to get stuff done, they don't want to sit there and write a job spec, for example. And so when you start getting into other modes of delivery, you know, working out what actually needs to get done and how best to do that, I think people see it as an initial hurdle to get over. It feels like a lot of work just defining the aspects that need to be delivered and what success looks like. But ultimately if companies can achieve that, it's so pragmatic in terms of delivery and how it affects the business performance. It's got to be a good thing in my mind, but again, it's got to be driven by the right stakeholders. I think if we look at HR and procurement teams within most organizations, they're generally pretty lean, they're generally pretty stretched. They've got a lot of different responsibilities, there's often some kind of crossover. Obviously, tech can be very useful in helping make that more efficient and scalable. But I think when you look at the lines of responsibility of resourcing versus recruiting versus talent acquisition, they're not the same, are they In terms of how those things are split up and how they can be kind of brought together, what do you see as potential ways for organizations to kind of map that out successfully? So these things are being dealt with in their individual nature, but also being centrally used to drive the business forward.
Tony Williams: 18:43: Yeah, I mean, you made some great points there. I think just kind of inline, one of them, I think in reflecting before speaking today about my own experience. I think having a very clear purpose that the organization is trying to hit is probably the thing that gave more impetus than you know, just a general as you pointed out. Here's a bunch of normal targets that every business has to achieve. Whereas if you've got a very focused CEO on a very single focus target that drives into how you spend your money, 85% of costs was to boost people in that business. So inevitably get into a hold of that was, was really important. So I think, you know, just to underpin that point because I think you make a very good point; I think, generally speaking, the way that the functions come together is really important. I think one of the characters needs to be strong and then pull in everybody else. So, you know, if you've got a particularly strong commercial HR lead, then they can pull in your procurement, your finance, your operational resource, et cetera, to kind of bring that single version of what you're trying to achieve. I think in terms of the broader point that you raise I do oscillate on this one, a wee bit. I think you make a very good point about whether HR people, well you went further, you didn't make the point. Do HR people really want to be running around writing job descriptions for the business because the business can't really be bothered to do so; no. And there's a job description or a job requisition fundamental to part of the strategic resource in the journey. Absolutely, and you know, I've seen too many in too many organizations, not just the ones I've kind of occupied myself, but the ones that consulted with. Many organizations just struggle with, well, whose accountability is it in the first place to even name the resource requirement, never mind about them. Who's leading on filling it, I do believe that your HR function, even by becoming talent acquisition, not resourcing or in the US staff thing, that is one aspect of resourcing. And I think the HR function has really focused in on by specializing evermore and evermore, talent acquisition is really about hiring talent from the market, the clues in the word acquisition. Talent management is having a better feel for the skills you've got today and growing those skills usually by learning and development interventions. But nobody in the HR function really has got the holistic view other than the chief people officer and the chief people officers they're looking within that function to say, who can I ask to lead out on this?
Because it's talent acquisition and its talent management, it's some business partner activity in terms of defining the need in the first place. It's your operational activity that supports the fulfillment of particularly talent acquisition, so it's just a bit messy. And I think to date the technology that's been deployed to try and help solve this problem has been fairly limited. And even your cloud-based kind of the fourth generation, actually a lot better HR technology products like Workday, like success factors, even Oracle fusion, and others. They're all trying to effectively get the engine room of HR data a lot cleaner and then you can plug and play or build on the modules that you need. That all sets strategic workforce planning is still not solved for; with the kind of those technology suites, you then need to look into the market or look to other solutions to bolt-on. To pull the resource from your HR data, pull the resource probably from a procurement system or two in terms of consultants and contractors, and third parties. And of course, try and work with the finance function to try and look at how budget then relates to if we spend this dollar on permanent resource or this dollar on the contractor. Or this dollar on consulting how does that look in the round? And I haven't yet seen organizations get that right and that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. It's just; I think as we're coming out of the pandemic, to your point, the opportunity is now for organizations, particularly as many organizations will have very tight financial circumstances. Then, I think it's an absolute business necessity. And going back to the first point that we both said, if you've got a clear business necessity, then it should happen.
Jonny Dunning: 23:42: Yeah, and I totally agree with what you're saying about kind pulling all the different strands of information together. I mean, there's definitely much more of an acceptance of best-of-breed technology in specific areas. You know, a permanent hiring platform clearly is predicated towards different things to a contingent hiring platform or a procurement system. One thing that we see is a lot more people centralizing data through a central analytics tool. So you might have dashboards within a specific system that's dealing with services bend for example, but then information going all centralized within power BI or size sense or something like that. So that then allows the individual functions to do what they need to do on an operational level and have your best-of-breed workflows, managing different areas, but then centralize that data so you can make those strategic inferences. And I think within a lot of organizations, contingent workforce data is much better served than services, procurement data. A lot of complexity around that and it's an emerging area; obviously it's very much a focus for us. But I think you can only really properly assess all of your available resources when you can see everything that's happening and understand the ROI on it. And that's, you know; there are genuine ways to do that, but it requires that information, it requires process behind it. But then that can they loop up and it can support the strategic decision-making process. But it's just that, you know, a CFO or a CEO, they just need to really be able to understand what the most effective uses of my resources are? And if they have that information and they can tie that into a clear plan, then that's got to be a great group forward for success.
Tony Williams: 25:28: I think and I agree with that, Johnny, I think I probably just kind of interrupted a wee bit there because I think everything you've said up to that point is true. The exam question that that solves is what have we got today and how has it made up? And the gaps still that I've seen throughout my career and I'm sure it's still prevalent today is what do we need in two years time? What's the forward-looking story? And that simply because the business does not properly articulate in a clear way, the future skills it needs in a way in which HR and other functions can go out, working together and actually drive the proper strategic workforce plan. So all that analytical and there are some great organizations and some great tools now to bring all that data together in a much clearer way. Data warehouse techniques have come on leaps and bounds in the last five years, but it still tells you what has happened, not really what you need.
And it's the classic thing I used to say about CFOs, they're very good at telling you what happened last year and not necessarily what you need to be doing other than a very high-level picture going forward. And so you know, the business life needs to spend more time properly looking forward and saying, what do we think we need? And, you know, even today everybody's saying, oh, we would need more digital skills. Of course, you need more digital skills. Exactly how many, exactly on what particular aspect of digital? And what's your budget and how do you wish to kind of bring that capability into your organization? Because increasingly particularly with digital people with those skills, don't want to become an employee, they're coming up with a whole raft of different economic models to providing a resource to companies wanted to build digital capabilities. And the organization is still thinking we need to hire 50 digital programmers is in China because we've got a digital platform we want to launch. So there's a bit of old thinking in a new world and then you've got the kind of multiplier effect of it and the new world in the post-pandemic world, which will raise some of the questions that we talked about earlier on about, you know, how people want to work in the future.
Jonny Dunning: 27:52: So, clearly to; actually moved towards this objective, organizations need to be asking the right questions. They need to be facilitating the process with the right tools. They need to have clear business objectives. They need the C-suite support on those; they need the right mindset within the business. When we talk about this kind of future planning, do you see a clear place where that responsibility sets and a clear function when that responsibility sets, or do you think there is almost room for a new category here of specialist? I had an interesting conversation recently with Bruce from Allegis. And basically, he was talking about this idea of a work design architect, this conceptual role of, you know, he's very much a future thinker. He was basically sort of saying is there an opportunity for a role that's specifically designed to be sitting there looking at all the information that's going on in the business? Looking at the trends in the market and really driving towards saying this type of role is going to come up in five years. And is that going to be an important part of the infrastructure or, you know; so that's Bruce Morton's point of there's an opportunity there. And he wrote a book about this sort of stuff prior to the pandemic, which then the pandemic kind of accelerated some of his suggestions. But if you look at that and you look at the roles that exist, do you see that capabilities being something that is already there, or does it need separating out?
Tony Williams: 29:35: Yes, some of the skills you've described do exist. I think part of the challenge that brings is they exist in parts of roles in different parts of the function. So inevitably job design, in my opinion, is a core HR skill and has been for many, many years. The challenge has been job design has kind of sat in two camps. You've got the job design kind of org design bit, which a good HR function would probably have a capability in. And then you've got part of the kind of fulfillment of that sat between resourcing talent management and then even compensation and benefits getting involved in terms of job sites because that then determined, you know, quite a lot of things. So I think job design in its strategic census sat as a potential capability in HR but has been fragmented. Does it exist in its pure form? Probably I'm sure. I'm sure some tech firms probably have something that resonates along those lines. I've not seen it myself, but I would be surprised if particularly, you know, it's kind of biotech or technology more generally, particularly where they've got long life cycles for the product. I would imagine that it's a key part of the capabilities to plan forward all of the skills you need to bring that product to market and all the revenues that then brings. It's not my experience, but I would imagine that that's more prevalent in those kinds of sectors. Should it exist? Yeah, it should and I think personally, I think it is a core skill of HR. And I think there is a role in HR for somebody to be effective strategic workforce planning or head of strategic workforce planning. But there are all different podcasts we could do about the pros and cons of that, to be honest.
Jonny Dunning: 31:50: Yeah, I think the thing I find interesting about it is the concept of job design versus work design.
Tony Williams: 31:58: Yeah precisely.
Jonny Dunning: 32:01: And I think, you know, as you alluded to there, it's the forward planning within an organization is tied to the organization's clear direction clear sponsorship on that being important. And it's down to these just overall objectives; what does the business need to do? And then what does the business need to achieve to get there? And that could be that's just work that needs to be done, that's just effort and objectives and outcomes. And then I think that's where there's a real opportunity to unpick that information and work out what's the most effective way to do it. I mean, we definitely have seen recruitment MSPs within the market starting to offer really quite sophisticated services around kind of bringing all of this information together. But I think organizations are also looking at this as well. You know, because it ties into like generally the war for talent, the war for skills, whatever it is. Everybody wants the best stuff; everybody wants the new in-demand stuff. But to your point earlier, people want to work differently now. And I think it also ties into some of the softer stuff, more brand-related things around big organizations that are becoming more and more and more and more, the most important thing is their brand and what that represents. Because that really ties into the ability to get work done as well in the sense that does your culture and actually does your supply chain reflect the values that you are trying to put out to the market? And I think that's an area that for anyone looking in on a future basis, yes it's which skills. But it's also, how are we going to attract the right suppliers and workers and employees to deliver that in the way that the workforce has changed?
Tony Williams: 33:52: Totally, and you know, that's work in progress, I think for a lot of organizations. I think you still have some traditional mindsets probably because I've spent most of my time in some of the more traditional sectors. But I do believe that it's fairly inevitable that organizations will hone and develop their mindsets and their models in respect to, you know, how they resource. And as I've mentioned earlier on, you know, having to think a little bit more about, you know, do we engage that small niche consultancy firm? Even though with this megabank and we normally only do with mega third parties; mega third parties might not exist with specific skills. You need to get a product or get a product particularly to market, particularly new markets or emerging markets. So, you know, I am convinced that organizations are going to have to change some of their mindsets. Just going back to something else you said, you know so HR functions more recently have been spending a lot of time looking at things like target operating models, ways of working practices. So kind of going beyond that job, designed to the work design, a lot of the effort in those areas has been about getting an optimum work design template, but probably with a lot narrower parameters, than you're inferring. And I agree with that inference as well, but it's a good start that much more needs to be done.
I mean, the classic example I've seen is an HR function sometimes annoying the business leadership about spans and layers. As opposed to having a proper strategic conversation about how work gets around here and what are the options and how can we do this more effectively rather than go your span of control should be eight layers should be no more than six. So it's become a bit of a task the way a lot of HR functions have deployed it rather than get into a much more strategic conversation about proper work design. So I just wanted to kind of circle back on that point, because you've kind of prompted something that, you know, again, I've experienced in the past.
Jonny Dunning: 36:03: Yeah, that's a very interesting one. So do you think in some, when you're looking at, for example, spans and layers, is it just too formulaic for the operating environment we're in at the moment? And it's applying something that as you say, that could annoy the business because the CEO is looking at that and going well, you're addressing this at this level, but what we want to do is address everything at this level of this is our objective. How do we most effectively achieve that?
Tony Williams: 36:30: Yeah, I mean, without overly criticizing the profession I'm still a member of, you know when organizations start doing nine-box grids to talent, which is a good model to try and segment talent into different areas. So that you can then prioritize limited spans towards development, however, organizations do it that then became a tool by which HR just made operationally and we lost the strategic value out of it. Then you look at kind of performance management in HR there, again, going back to the business and saying, here's your performance shape, it should be a bell curve. You've not got enough lower performers in your bell curve and you need to go again and they're going. So you turn what could be a good management tool in terms of challenging decision-making into an operational pain in the backside, quite frankly. And so then, you know, here we are, here's another bowl spans and layers. You know, your spans are layers, the good practice suggests ancillary should be this, this, this, and this. It says in the textbook here, or X-consultancy has told us, this is what it should be. And it's deployed again and then it just becomes a task by which we forget to engage. So I think the HR capability is a passionate mind that is still lacking, is the ability to take and quite helpful too. Sit down with the right decision-makers and use that tool as facilitation support, not as a blunt instrument, you need to fill in this grid, et cetera, et cetera. And it is an HR capability gap that still exists today in many HR functions. That ability to take what could be a good strategic tool and use it and deploy it really successfully for the business, as opposed to operationalizing it, dumbing it down and then it just becomes a transaction.
Jonny Dunning: 38:24: Yeah, I guess it's not the end game, is it? It's all about what these tools deliver?
Tony Williams: 38:29: Exactly, yes.
Jonny Dunning: 38:29: And again, I think that comes back to the overall strategic responsibility for an organization to say, where are we going? What we doing? What do we need to achieve? Because otherwise, how can you possibly gauge results anyway to be fair to people in HR functions or other functions where the business is saying, but what does that mean? Is it good or bad? What are we trying to do? What's the objective? Where are we trying to get to? I think there are some real challenges for HR functions at the moment. I think there are also some massive opportunities. I mean, even if you just look at traditionally, I would say that HR would be more viewed as being orientated towards people rather than necessarily task. And the world has definitely moved, there's been a shift towards an increase in task-based orientation, whether that's the gig economy, whether it's the increasing use of outsourcing services. You know, how do you measure people when they're working remotely? You know, you don't want to put a; do you want to put a screen monitor on them to find out that they're not watching Netflix or actually you're going to judge them on what they actually deliver. So I think the people versus task element, I find that very interesting as a bit of a conundrum for businesses to address. And it may be that task sits in one area and people sits in another area and it needs to be looped up under a central function. Or it may be that HR has the opportunity to address task and how that applies to people. But what's your kind of gut reaction on that side of things?
Tony Williams: 40:09: That's a really good, really good question. Some that opened up too many answers. Yeah, I mean, it's a real challenge because, you know, from reaching into my own personal experience, I could make a case for both sides and something different as well; so that's trying to agree on some things. A virtual world has made task management harder to manage for a lot of managers or a lot harder to see for a lot of managers. And it really depends on the sector in the business that you do as to whether you feel you can measure outcomes easily or not. So if you're somebody who's managing a virtual call center, then you can very easily see the metrics of that particular operator's managed in any one period. You know when they were online, you know, when they're offline, just as in a real call center. So managing the task of, you know, how much have they done today and what’s the outcome to that is easy In the kind of more knowledge economy type work, where you should be measuring on outputs, but I fear too many managers were still managing on inputs.
And so, therefore, having their resources gaggled around them in a nice office was more comfortable to do that. That has been a real challenge for those types of managers that like to see the work effort, the input, and probably traditionally have been less comfortable with just measuring by outputs. You know, we didn't need a pandemic to open that up or not that was a trend that was happening anyway. Which was the world was moving more towards an output to desire, but still have some leaders. And I spend a lot of time with managers and leaders and we still have some managers and leaders who would be honest in a quiet coaching conversation say, yeah, you know, this working from that grade, but I can't wait to get everybody back in the office. And, you know, you have a sneaking feeling there that, you know, really why that is and that's because they want to see in person just try and measure outputs. I think part of it also is because many organizations just aren't very good at managing expectations about outputs. So what do I expect from a, you know, HR functions, for example over the next year? It's not something that we're very good at and there's a reason why a lot of larger organizations are pulling back on their performance management systems. Because they just work for the purpose, because it was neither measuring the inputs or the outputs very effectively, but it was a very cumbersome process for many involved.
And then I guess to my final point, to build on the kind of challenge the pandemic has made engaging with people more important. On whether you manage by a task or whether you managed by output, or whether you manage by engaging your people. The challenge for leadership in a virtual world has been very significantly enhanced. And I do have a lot of empathy with leaders who are trying to manage people in many different personal circumstances because you see it as a nice zoom screen. And some of us can even afford to put a back screen on it, but actually, behind that, you don't know what's going on behind the façade of a false screen. You know, if you take Hong Kong, for example, there are many people working from home in very small spaces, sometimes with three generations of the family behind the screen. So, yeah, I think leading in a, you know global pandemic lockdown working from home, ideally, the world has been really challenging. And, I think a lot of leaders are coming through that now, but a lot of people are also struggling to kind of, you know, work out you; started with this point, what's the new norm. And I think there are people versus tasks thing is just one of the many factors that are out there at the moment.
Jonny Dunning: 44:29: Yeah. I think you make a great point there, several great points in fact, but just to hone in on one of them. You know, in some ways the situation we're in at the moment has made the task more important because what's actually getting done, you know, we don't want any kind of fluffy blurry metrics around this. What's actually happening? What's actually getting done? What's it actually doing for the business? And how does that affect this overall objective that we're talking about, but as you rightly point out people have become more important than how you look after people have become even more critical. Because like you say, you know, it's brought; I think the pandemic in some ways has leveled the playing field. It's been, it's been a great leveler in some ways because I feel like you have much more person-to-person type interactions. You know, it's less about walking into a big shiny office and all the accouterments that are associated with a big powerful organization. You're dealing with an individual in their house on a video call where there might be something, you know, a baby crying in the background. You know, at the beginning of our call, I'm not sure if you've heard it there's some sort of mower going along the street, it wasn't too audible. But you know in an office situation, people generally don't bring their personal issues to work. But now people are managing teams and working on that people basis it's unavoidable, but you're going to have situations where people are like, oh, well, I've got to take the kids to school. Or, you know, I've got to do X and Y and or it's difficult to do a meeting at a particular time because of their personal circumstances at home, you know, who's going to get the quiet room today sort of thing. So I think you make a really, really good point and I think that's one of the questions I think is really interesting around this whole thing of the evolving role of HR and people versus task. And that's something that I'm very interested to see how it plays out within organizations that are really transforming at the moment. Because both are just so important and it's almost like both have gotten more important. But maybe it's the essence of addressing people and the essence of addressing task have elevated and become more important than this is what the rule book says in the sense that...
Tony Williams: 00:46:54: Yeah, I agree with that, I think to an extent, the rule books, you know, it's out of the window because basically, we have to start again. I think in many organizations we have to say, well, how do we want to operate, it's raising fundamental questions. I mean, we know from a business perspective for many businesses and I come from 30 years of banking. There's no doubt that banking and digitalization of banking and customer acceptance of the digital banking world have been accelerated. You know, it's probably gone through five years of maturity in 12 months in many, many markets, including Hong Kong, which traditionally is a very, paper-driven like to go into the branch world, very traditional banking model. And they've taken to digitalization here very, very rapidly so tasks will become more automated. They will become subject to better technology, they are therefore becoming more important in many ways, but over time that will just be something that happens. My belief, you know, this is clearly what I do, but my belief is the people are the bit that you need to focus your energy on going forward. How do you engage people in a digitized world? How do you engage people in, you know; I see 2020 is a bit of a practice run for what life beyond 2025 might be for us all. And if we look at mental wellbeing and we look at some of the other aspects that we're learning about now is data is starting to be analyzed. You know, there's a lot of hard work that needs to be done in the next three, four, five years to make sure that we've created the workplaces of the future. That engages people to look after their health and wellbeing and emotionally connect, and also connect with them emotionally. You know, the rise of emotional intelligence is something that I'm sure will be more and more prevalent over the next five years, one of the reasons why I've started to spend a bit of time on that subject, as well as my coaching.
Jonny Dunning: 00:49:03: Yeah, that must be a really interesting area of coaching. And, you know, I think that that emotional connection, it applies to any type of talent that an organization is bringing in really. Because as said before about this brand; what the brand represents, what the purpose of the organization is, that's become more important. Whether you're engaging with; and we've seen it in certain areas of the supply chain, even where social-cultural issues have come up and suppliers have even said, I don't want to work with that organization anymore because I don't agree with their stance on a particular issue. And so that emotional connection, you know, behind a perm employee, a contractor, or a supplier delivering outsource services, there are still people and that emotional connection, yeah, as you say, it's very, very important. And it ties into this whole brand and purpose type presentation. When you're coaching leaders on that side of things, I'm assuming you probably see quite a spread of some people is naturally good at that sort of stuff. Some people, it needs to be a bit more of a learned skill, do you see people automatically appreciating the value of it, or is there a bit of an education piece around that?
Tony Williams: 00:50:13: Yeah, more of the latter than the former, I think Johnny. I think the interesting observation just tying in with something that you said earlier in the world of zoom or teams, what happens, tends to happen. And we did this before we press record is you have a little connection, you know, how's your dog, how are the children, how's your mother-in-law whatever it might be, right. And that's what you do.
Jonny Dunning: 00:50:38: Yeah.
Tony Williams: 00:50:39: And to your earlier point, if that was in the office, you wouldn't have; unlikely you'll have that because you turn up often one or two minutes late. Because you've been waiting to get the coffee at the coffee machine, you sit down, agendas, readout and you start going. So what you don't get is that connection as much which just comes to what I said early on, of course. Which is actually when you've got physical proximity, it's easier to just kind of settle in and conversed and chat, but we don't do it because we're obsessed with, back to your point, the tasks. But when you have, you know, once you've got over it, every zoom call starts with the same thing. You're on mute, you know, you haven't turned on the video and then you go, you know out on something. So, it's only usually 30 seconds, but there's a weak connection and you tend to do it every time and if you're in the office, you don't tend to do that so much. It's almost the process of connecting, literally connecting online, forces you to do a little bit of chit-chat. And every time you do that, you're building a little bit more of an understanding. I am convinced that managers know a lot more about their people now in a virtual world because they're going through this process.
They know the name of the dog; they know the name of the children. They know where they live, et cetera, et cetera. They might not have bothered the time before to find that stuff out. So I do think, I am an optimist, and I do think that some of the experiences that we've all had online in the last 12 months have taught us some things. But as always with humans, I think we need to try and embed them and make them become rituals and common practice. And I think the challenge going back to your question, the challenge for me as a coach is to try and encourage leaders. What have you learned about leading in a lockdown virtual environment? What can you take from that into the workplace? And what didn't you get in that? And what will you bring back or accentuate in the workplace? And if you are staying in a virtual world, what will you do differently? So it's forcing that reflection, which is what a good coach should always do. Force the reflection for every leader to think about how I can be a better leader next year than I was this learning from what happened last year. And that for me is, you know, that's why I've kind of moved into coaching to kind of bring more of that perspective into what I do.
Jonny Dunning: 00:53:09: Yeah, and, you know, it's, as you say, it's that personal connection from just being, as I said it's kind of leveled the playing field a bit. You're talking to someone and they might be, that day they might be in the dining room because they can't go to a different room or whatever it might be. So you're just getting a window, people aren't necessarily wearing a business dress so much, the façade is kind of dropped a little bit. 00:53:31: But we've also all got like a common problem that everybody around the world is dealing with, which is just totally unique in our lifetimes. That there's this one thing that everybody knows about, and everybody's possibly got to have some issues because of whether it's affecting the logistics or their lifestyle, or family members or illness, et cetera. So, yeah, I do think that you've got this weird conundrum of people coming closer, together, more disconnected. In an ideal world, yeah, I'm an optimist as well, totally. I think in an ideal world if you blend the two, there are some real benefits that can be taken from both. And hopefully, that creates; and it's been a different way of working has been created and there's no going back from that and hopefully, we can take the best bits from all of that. Like you say, blended use of offices, you don't have to be in an office every day, have a bit more flexibility. Again, people task as well, because actually if that person had been treated in a manner that creates more flexibility for them. They might be better at getting the tasks completed. And it's not a question of how long are you sitting in front of that computer, are you there nine to five? Did you get the task done? What is the task? But also if you're looking after the person, they're in a better position to be able to deliver that to us. So, yeah, I think it's a really interesting area of discussion and, you know, think of all the studies and textbooks that will be written on this period in time.
But there's some really interesting kind of learning’s coming out a bit, which to say with the coaching side of it must be very interesting for you hearing the stories and seeing what I'm seeing, how it's affecting people. And, to move on to a slightly more kind of focused and specialist topic; the topic area that's possibly a little bit more boring in some ways, but it is having a big impact certainly in the UK. I want to just get your opinion on how organizations and HR, in particular, are addressing the problem of regulatory change. So in the UK, we obviously have the reforms to the R35 legislation, which deem whether somebody is employed or self-employed, and put that responsibility now in the hands of the end hiring organization or the paying organization effectively That's coming into play in the UK very shortly but we've seen, we've seen similar types of things happening in places like California. If you look at the US 10 99 versus W2 laws, there's a movement more towards this type of thing, seeing similar things in various European countries. I would expect governments around the world to take more of this sort of approach where they're sort of saying, hang on a minute, there's too many gray areas, taxes, income taxes, slipping through our fingers. And people aren't doing things the right way, we need to get on top of this. But in terms of how your, how are you seeing companies address this, what's your kind of take on that from what you're seeing in the market?
Tony Williams: 00:56:31: A great question, I mean, undoubtedly, if you go back to first principles, why are governments encouraging this, right? Basically, tax revenues are leaking and so there is a push in many jurisdictions to increase tax revenues. You throw a global pandemic and all the financial consequences there, then there's only one direction of travel from what I see. And that's yet more pushing into collecting every single tax dollar that you can legitimately for the right reasons. And there is a perception that the contract to market, I guess, to use the UK definition is an area where there has been significant tax leakage or missed tax opportunities as far as the HMRC are concerned. So obviously we have the changes to IR 35 as you referenced them. And, you know, the jurisdictions, the same theme, the same drivers are causing the same reaction, which will create their version of the same thing. The challenge with 35 or managing the mitigating I R 35, plays to the very thing that we talked quite a lot about earlier on which is how good are organizations at strategic workforce planning. And as we know, from spending time together on other events, we know that there are business leaders who liked the more flexible use of contractors.
Because whatever not irregulatory problem was thrown at them this week, they could phone, they could throw their contractor resource out that spend four or five weeks, noodling that outcomes or project. And then they throw that same contractor because they've got a set of generic skills onto the next problem. And you know, I spent a lot of time in banking and contractors were a significant part of the resource deployed to address post-global financial crisis remediation along with the big consultancies. A lot of resources and a lot of costs were spent on remediating data, files, processes, or technology to make banking more secure and stable for the future according to the changes in regulation. So then to go back a bit narrower to the question, I guess, that you're really asking, which is, you know, how good our functional responsibilities in readiness for some of these changes? I guess there are two perspectives, one is these changes aren't always terribly clear when they're first announced. So there's a lot of guesswork that goes on in IR35 it was weird because I was involved in a bit of IR35 planning in a previous life. And we had this weird situation where everybody in the market was saying, we're not quite sure what HMRC would do. Yet, they'd introduced exactly the same regulations to the public sector three years before.
So, you know, as I was saying to a lot of people, well maybe they're just going to do that because that's what they've already done in the public sector. So, you know, as always, what can we learn from the public sector? And to an extent we couldn't and to an extent we couldn't, because praise back onto this, how good is business in articulating the very clear demands and how good this HR and others functions in supporting that demand and then thinking about resource solutions to solve for it. And so that whole kind of IR35 contractor debate has become a bit of a catalyst for the broader conversation about strategic workforce planning and it is a driver for better conversations for that. How prepared are organizations? I think everybody will get through it they'll noodle their way through it, they won't be perfect. But, you know, the rule is coming in, it's three weeks away now or two and a half weeks away so organizations will have to finally get over the challenges that it had. And there's undoubted without naming, you know, corporate there are undoubtedly really good examples of just why HMRC are tightening the legislation here. Because, you know, there are many examples in firms I have seen where contracts have been around in organizations more than five years, more than six years, seven years, more than eight years, which by anybody's definition of contractor is not a contractor. So it's a healthy challenge to a business to sort out its practices in terms of resource management and resource planning about, you know, statements of works and articulating what's required at the onset. And you can see the purpose of it, hopefully, organizations will come to a settled point in managing over the next few weeks or months.
Jonny Dunning: 01:01:40: Yeah, as you say, it's very much a catalyst, it's a very strong catalyst in the market for people to address, and it’s forcing them to address this specific issue. You know the use of a contract isn't going to go away; it's just got to be done via a set of rules. I was almost going to say then a very specific set of rules, but actually, there are a lot of gray areas, which one of the things that people have found very tricky about it. But you know, the use of contractors is not going to go away, it just needs to be managed more closely. Pardon me? And it has made organizations address more widely, what other ways are there of getting work done and how are we getting work done at the moment? Which you know, raises the important point of addressing before you even think about how you're going to resource something, what is it you need to get done? And then what was the most effective way to resource that? Whereas I think, you know, in a lot of cases already, people will automatically just be thinking about headcount without even assessing what the outcome might need to be. And there can be maybe a slightly lax attitude to, as you say of contractors have sat there for a very, very long period of time. What are they actually doing? What are they actually delivering? And actually from an organization's point of view, is it really that effective to just have this resource model that is based on very wooly objectives, ties into this very center for all discussion around objectives and where you want to get to
Tony Williams: 01:03:10: And who manages as well I think generally, because I still think, you know, HR is very clearly seen as owning the employee value proposition, if you will, with lots of their inputs and support from business. But HR is really the function that's looking at employed people; consultants tend to be owned by the business with lots of good support from procurement. This contracts population who actually owns them [01:03:40 inaudible] you know, historically, one of the reasons why contracts stay for so long is because it was the easiest solution for everybody involved. And procurement, just another template a single person lost a private template, rolled it out 50 times that was done, HR didn't really get involved and didn't really want to get involved. Because, you know, if we start talking about contractors with the function that looks after employees, and we're starting to do the risks about the legislation, you know, even employer is trying to address an adverse because they should be employed. And then on the other side, you've got the operational world we're going well, you know, it's procurement since HR's runs everybody else, that's not me though, so many in this population. So I think contractors where we've been like left out there, and then, you know that you've got a technology culture that was using that resource predominantly more than anybody else in many organizations. And so they see it as that resource, but not really wanting to get balanced there, to meet the operational challenges of it. And I certainly saw that in the IR35 planning trying to bring together operations technology was a big demand. Use it there and HR procurement finance, just trying to get everybody into one shank was the biggest challenge I have for the first three or four months, trying to just noodle everybody together to make sure that, they cooperated and worked together well.
Jonny Dunning: 01:05:01: Yeah, I mean, it's a pretty complex and tricky strategic issue for a lot of companies I know that are kind of grappling with it at the moment. I have to hope that in the spirit of optimism, some positive changes come out of it in the sense of you know, maybe better permanent opportunities for people. That that may be if the permanent opportunities were better, they wouldn't want to be the contractor anyway. But also for the people that do that want to be a contractor and work through their own limited company, clearer objectives, maybe potentially even more fulfillment around what they're actually delivering. And maybe it will cause people to increase their portfolio and for companies to facilitate contractors to increase their portfolio. And just, you know, really, really clear working practices, maybe where in the past things have been put upon contractors that probably shouldn't be put to contractors because they're not rewarded in the same way as a permanent employee.
And they don't get the benefits that a permanent employee might have and therefore they; you know, they've been asked to do things that maybe aren't necessarily appropriate, which possibly could be caught by some of the rules around IR35. And then from a business point of view, you know, the business clearly assessing what are they doing and what are the objectives, what are the options of how they can get that work done and how they can most effectively go and do it? Where you mentioned the statement of work as a work delivery model, you know, people are addressing that more now, but they should have been addressing it anyway. Because it's not the be-all and end-all, but it's a way of getting work done that is going to be most suited to particular areas where the other areas are going to be most suited to hiring a contractor. Other areas are going to be best to live in under a permanent resource. So it's forcing companies to clear the other, I think the potential kind of downsides, which hopefully will only be in the short-term it's where people are making really blanket decisions. And which is effectively almost saying it's too much of a thorny issue to try and solve directly. But I think that ties into you know I can understand why some businesses might feel in that position, particularly if they're in an area where it forces you to be particularly risk-averse. But I think in having to solve these problems, hopefully, there are some potential positive outcomes that, that will arise from it.
Tony Williams: 01:07:22: I do agree with your optimism, one note of caution; and the note of caution is too often, particularly in the quotes of companies, permanent headcount is used as an indicator of both past and future costs. And many organizations when they present the market as you know, as well as I do, they'll talk about FTE and headcount as a lever in terms of an indicator of just how much and how serious an organization was about cost management. So when we were talking about, you know, [01:07:57 inaudible], launched in two and a half weeks time, this part of me that says the worst year you could ever bring that little in. Is the one that is marked the year after the major global pandemic and the one where all the financial chickens come home to roost from many organizations? At the time when I like your optimism; at the time when you would hope the legislation will drive in that's turning quite a lot of these contracts to the permanent employers, they always shouldn't be. The problem with that is it will take her back to even and no CFO or CEO wants to go into the market and say, by the way, you know, we borrowed all that money on that bond over the next five years and made some very strong promises financially to the market but we can afford it.
We're just going to increase that FTE by you know 8% in the next six months, no CFO, CEO is going to do that. So, because we've got this weird thing in quoted markets where it's actually seen as [01:08:59 inaudible]. Even though you, and I know actually quite often contracts in total cost management terms are much more expensive than a permanent employee to the organization, even allowing for the tax that you need to pay. So I liked the optimism, I agree with most of the optimism, my noted portion is the behavioral part of the way that we manage permanent FTE in the past also needs to change. We need to get a bit better at talking about the real cost, your total resource cost. Now, here's our FTE numbers and the fact that we spend, you know, 400 million on contractors or consultants every year, we sitting down on page 28, the FTE you'll read quite early on. And it's a behavioral thing that we've all got into and we need to kind of step back a wee bit because it's actually not telling the market, the debt, the right piece of information in the first place anyway. But the total picture is hard to tell, which is why we don't do it and it goes back to how we started this conversation, which is the total picture is really hard to get.
Jonny Dunning: 01:10:03: That is such an interesting point, I really hadn't considered it from that angle. And it just highlights the fact of how some companies probably feel quite snookered at the moment with all of these things going on and all of these different pressures to try and solve all these problems at once. I'd like to say, it's all of the chickens coming home to roost at the same time, that's a fascinating point. But again, with my kind of possible blatant over-optimism, maybe that could be a catalyst for positive change in the sense of organizations having to get more transparency on, you know, what are we doing at the moment? What are we spending on? You know, a lot of organizations are concerned about risk in their procurement tail spend, where they might have disguised contractors. Or even, you know, disguised employment stuff going on within their tail spend of the statement of work, for example, hidden kind of below-becoming thresholds that there's maybe not really managed effectively. We're seeing a lot of that type of conversation coming out at the moment. But if you gain visibility on all of these areas, you know, you're going to take a better approach at looking after your employees and valuing your employees for what the company is delivering.
And you're also going to have more recognition of the different options you have to get work done and how effective they are. You might have some ways in which an organization is getting work done, which are massively wasteful because they're not identified because again, people are working to the rule book. There's a headcount freeze therefore I'll do it this way you know, those, those sorts of things. The pandemic is going to force people to have to address that cultural setup. But clearly, as you say, there's going to be pushback from that because that's the way that people have operated for many years and that's their approach to it. Yeah, I think it's going to be a fascinating time and it's going to be very interesting to see how companies adapt. But, you know, there are, there are various things in play in the market that should allow companies to adapt faster. And as I say, you know, if they're able to offer better permanent employees if they can get permanent options and they can get over that hurdle. Then that's going to be really; people are going to feel valued, people are going to have better opportunities, maybe would trend towards actually wanting to go permanent if the opportunity were good enough.
And for the contractors who want to stay as contractors, you know, many of them are a hugely valuable; hugely valuable resource that that company is really going to struggle to do without. So they need to recognize them more, treat them in the right way and make the effort to maintain the service delivery that they want to be getting from these areas of expertise but doing it in a compliant manner, which maybe they been able to kind of just not really have to bother about before. But yeah, it's the fact that we've got this regulatory change happening in the UK plus the backdrop of the pandemic, and then you throw Brexit in there, it's a hugely challenging and interesting situation. And you know, different people are taking knee jerks in different directions. I definitely think overall it is driving the recognition of outsourcing because, you know, it's seen as an alternative to other work delivery models. And with things like Brexit, you know, the kind of access to talent aspect of it, I think is possibly going to drive that outsourcing model as well. But the bottom line is it's already massive and it's not really been effectively addressed. So the change you'll see in it is just the icing on the cake of this giant underlying problem. And as you say, it's unearthing problems around the way the contracts are engaged and it's I think problems around the way that permanent employees are considered and recognized within an organization. And very nicely ties back to our original point about the overall objectives and direction and the key of the strategic workforce plan. So I think that's a hugely interesting kind of challenges and times ahead of us any particular predictions from yourself over obviously the moment predictions are mostly kind of off the table because you know what's happening. But over the next kind of six to twelve months, is there any particular kind of key things that you're expecting to see, particularly at that leadership level?
Tony Williams: 01:14:20: Great question, I think we've covered most of what I believe will be occupying leader's minds, so getting back to the new normal, whatever that is for whatever company. So it's that iteration of somewhere between what we were unvalued, what we've just experienced, and what we now need for the probably more digitalized world that we're now performing in, that's I think exam question number one, and maybe this goes hand in hand. Exam question number two is how the hell do we solve the financial predicaments that many of us have? Because you know, for many industries, particularly travel entertainment is really, really struggling. And you know that the way they financed the securing their existence has been probably at a great future expense. So organizations are going to spend a lot of time and leaders in organizations are going to spend a lot of time in the next six months, they're going to properly have to plan their financial future to meet those obligations. This will probably mean more downsizing; more structural downsizing, as opposed to furloughing everybody or taking 10% out like many did last year just to survive, that cost comes back over time unless you properly structurally change it. So many organizations, many leagues in organizations are going to have to spend the next six months planning for what is their financial model three, four, or five years? And what does that mean both to their organizational model and their resource model, which is obviously a point of interest for us? So you see you've got the kind of the behavioral bet and how do we operate in the new world? You've got the financial bet, which is what does that mean for me to process the people, technology, and product? And then I guess the third aspect is some sectors are really damaged to sectors. And so, you know, again, the airline industry would probably be the best example, right?
And so how do you compete, but also collaborate with other players in your market to secure a longer-term future? So the best example of that is how organizations do and then governments coordinate, who can travel, where, you know, do you do have vaccine passports? Do you have, you know, if you've had a vaccine in a certain jurisdiction, does that give you, no quarantine, five, four days quarantine? You know, here in Hong Kong at the moment, if you come in from anywhere and a lot of places, by the way, you can't come in from you're subject to three weeks mandatory quarantine and no debate right, you're in a hotel room, and you're not allowed to open the windows, you're not allowed to go out, right? So there's some industry-wide sector-wide, give mental wide things that some leaders are going to have to play in as well. And that reminds me a wee bit like I was heavily involved with a post-global financial crisis and got involved in some quite knotty problems in terms of compensation and benefits and how you report conduct and so on and so forth. And what you saw was the whole industry had to change and change some behaviors that it held well. So obviously, as I said, number one is about your own organization, number two is about your financial promises. Number three is how you contribute to sectorial changes or themes within your sector that need a collaborative approach to solving problems. So I think that off the top of my head is kind of the three things that would certainly keep me awake at night, if I was a CEO of a company, particularly of the airline.
Jonny Dunning: 01:18:31: Yeah, I think the way you put that is really powerful. And I'm sure that with many people listening to that and absolutely identifying with those challenges and you know, hopefully, there will be clear routes for them to move forward. And we'll start seeing people emerging who were setting the trends and doing things differently. And you know, hopefully, many businesses as possible can come out of this and be stronger and better to work for...
Tony Williams: 01:19:00: And we know adversity is a great kind of crucible for innovation and, you know, you can't get any more adverse than a lot of organizations are finding themselves today. It's a time for innovation and creativity so many organizational leaders need to harness that as best they can.
Jonny Dunning: 01:19:14: Yeah, and I think that's a nice positive note to finish off our conversation. I really, really appreciate all of your insights and opinions, it's been fantastic chatting with you and I've really, really enjoyed it.
Tony Williams: 01:19:31: I've enjoyed it too, thank you.
Jonny Dunning: 01:19:31: Excellent stuff. Thank you very much all the best with everything. And hopefully, catch up with you again soon.
Tony Williams: 01:19:37: Yeah, catch up with you soon. Thanks, Johnny.