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BW Businessworld

“The Human Connect Can Never Be Replaced By Technology”

P B. Venugopal, President, Lexus India, in conversation with BW Businessworld’s Avishek Banerjee talks about the abiding importance of the ‘human’ aspect in the face of growing technology adoption and digitization, and the need therefore for the new manager to adapt to changes by being flexible, pro-active and open to re-learning, among other things. Excerpts

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Given the changing landscape of education by the National Education Policy 2020, what will the new manager be like? 

Keeping the new NEP 2020 in mind, while technology will continue to play an even bigger role in our lives and especially in the education system, the need for human relationships and values will also hold equal prominence. Skill building, knowledge sharing as well as imbibing ethical and professional practices at the workplace will be some of the qualities that will definitely make a manager stand out from the crowd. People are definitely going to be the key to success in this dynamic new normal. We will need adapt to changes swiftly and efficiently while also becoming more flexible, proactive and open to unlearning and re-learning the way of doing things.

be required for the managers of the future?

Managers will need to be more receptive to newer ideas to bring about a change from within. They need to have the ability to visualize and identify core competencies and work on areas that can be strengthened. They will need to have the ability to think out of the box and act as the catalyst for the organization to evolve ahead of time. Managers have always been a crucial link between various stakeholders in the organization and in the future, they will need to adapt to the changing environment and equip themselves with relevant skill sets spanning technical know-how, practical knowledge, digital proficiency as well as soft skills 

With the pandemic disrupting the corporate sector in a big way, how do aspiring managers need to reinvent themselves?

The pandemic has taught us that challenging times can come in any form and we need to continuously remould and remodel ourselves at all times. Managers need to constantly keep themselves abreast of the latest technology available and at the same time be open to self-learning as well. This would help them to keep an open mind and anticipate newer vistas and challenges and accordingly plan ahead beforehand. They need to exercise their thinking beyond the existing scope of work and think what can be instead of just focusing on what is. So, an open mind and the ability to think bigger would be the key to success and will help in reinventing themselves and the company. 

Will there be further scope for employment going forward?

Without doubt, people will always be at the forefront of every evolution. At Lexus too, we have always believed that we are in the ‘people business’ and hence people have and will always remain our focus – be it our esteemed guests or relationship managers. Human beings have the ability to think rationally and emotionally which will always give us an edge over AI or any automation. This enables us to think and innovate in ways which the machines cannot do. The human connect can never be replaced by technology and that will ensure scope for employment going forward. 

Any other observations that you would like to make.

Challenging times always bring out the best in people and we realize the strength and depth of our own capabilities which we could have never imagined. Which is why at Lexus we have always emphasized on the ‘human’ aspect and we are a brand that is steeped in “people values”. Even with the increase in technology adoption and digitization, we believe that the future will always be led by ‘human’. However much technology may be the key to our lives today and in supporting us to develop the future, focusing on the human abilities and emotions will be the key factor to plan our future.