Big companies must look to Hollywood if they want a foolproof formula for harnessing top talent.
Pat Lynes, CEO and founder of London-based Sullivan & Stanley The Change Society, helps deliver strategic change teams into companies and works with the likes of Liverpool FC.
In his new book ‘The Interim Revolution’ he argues that leaving behind the idea of a traditional workforce benefits both the company and the workers.
“The ‘interim revolution’ is the senior end of knowledge workers, so it’d be the ‘knowledge gig’ or ‘executive gig’ economy, who have decided they want to leave the permanent world and start operating their skills on a gig-by-gig basis,” he told BusinessCloud.
“All the best people are leaving in droves to run their own businesses and use their IP and experience to do mini consulting gigs.
“I believed in it so much I left a board director position to build a company that could harness the power of that talent drain.”
Parachuting top talent into businesses helps them future-proof for a digital age, and Lynes believes that to survive in the new working era leaders need to ask themselves what they really need to run their business.
“Ask ‘how can I become more lean and agile?’ and then contract up and down in accordance to market trends,” he said.
“It happens in construction and oil and gas – it’s a good way of coping with fluctuating market conditions. Don’t ignore what’s happening now – the future of work will be gig-based.”
Working with these top five per cent leaders and associates, Lynes believes that businesses must look to Hollywood for advice on how to manage this shift.
“The best people in Hollywood come together to shoot a great movie,” he said.
“Companies will handpick the best director, producer, production staff and actresses etc. because it’s a big project and they want a great outcome but they don’t want to carry the costs of a huge bloated Hollywood studio system.
“From the 1940s to 1970s Hollywood was run by massive studios and now it’s an interwoven network of small companies, superstars, organisations and freelancers coming together to produce the best outcome then disperse.”
Although Lynes sees top talent ‘fleeing’ into the gig economy, he acknowledges that in the longer term this way of working won’t suit everyone.
“The permanent side of things is never going to change because running their own company and building their own network isn’t for everyone,” he said.
“That’s part of the reason I set S&S up, to help with that, but the newer companies coming through who are really successful treat staff like cross-functioning teams that are put together for an outcome then moved onto other projects.
“It’s more outcome-focused than time-focused and lots of companies are starting to do unlimited holiday and bringing in a learning and development culture for staff.”
This means that in the short-to-medium terms leaders mustn’t overlook the gig economy because it can help them stay nimble and act like a start-up but in the long term they need to ask what they are doing with their talent says Lynes.
“Are you set up to host top five per cent talent and what are you doing to make them want to stay with you?,” he asked.
“If you haven’t given much of the newer generation something new in six months they just switch off.
“We set up S&S to give companies an alternative to management consulting firms because their model isn’t set up for creating this blend of core skills and a learning culture.
“The newer generations won’t think twice about voting with their feet.”