WATCH: Expert Shares How Businesses Can Map Out Their Purpose And Find Success

Technology futurist Ian Khan shares how defining your purpose can enable a business to overcome their biggest challenges, like finding employees in a shrinking talent pool.

In today’s fast-moving tech world, businesses need one thing to succeed: purpose.

That’s according to technology futurist Ian Khan, who spoke at The Channel Company’s NexGen event in Anaheim, Calif. on Sunday. Khan told the crowd of managed service providers that a clear understanding of their missions and goals will enable them to tackle their challenges and dream bigger than ever before.

“The sense of purpose drives everything else. It drives your planning, your execution. It drives people skills and how you build your organization and where you take it,” said Khan, pointing out that the biggest successes within tech all share purpose, from Michael Dell to Bill Gates.

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Businesses need purpose now more than ever as they face challenges that will only grow more complex as technology advances. Plus, the demographics of the workplace are changing: Millennials and younger generations entering the workplace want different things than their predecessors. That combined with a shrinking talent pool has made it even more critical.

“The Gen X is driven by the financial world. They’re driven by ammunition and they are generally happy. But, the next generation, the millennials and post-millennials, studies have found that they are really not driven by a financial reward.”

Solution providers agree that hiring and retaining talent are top challenges.

“Finding employees that kind of fit into the mold, fit our culture and are really able to stay for the long term, that’s been difficult,” said Eric Kim, chief technology officer at Ability Tech based in Colorado, specializing in cloud-based solutions.

Kahn went on to describe seven axioms that will lead to a businesses’ success. First on the list: engagement. Kahn says businesses need to engage with their employees and their customers in a way that matches their purpose. Next, accountability: Businesses need to be accountable with transparency and cohesiveness. Learning is next on the list. Kahn says businesses have to change the way they train their employees and they also have to effectively collaborate with one another. Employers also have to acknowledge their employee’s successes and they also have to understand their value, which Khan described as the main essence of what your brand stands for outside of making money. Last on the list is actualization, the legacy you leave behind.

“The seven axioms are a comprehensive seven step plan that not just get people engaged, but completely change why you are an organization in the first place,” said Khan.

We asked solution providers how they carry out some of these elements. Kim says he acknowledges his employees’ successes through a point-based system.

“If they take certain training or learn certain products, they get a certain number of points and they can spend those points in an employee store,” said Kim.

Meanwhile, 10th Magnitude CEO Alex Brown says he treats success as a group activity.

“We have a regular showcase where people talk about and present technology solutions that they’ve driven for their customers and have been impactful for them.” 10th Magnitude provides cloud services through the Microsoft Azure suite of software.

Watch CRNtv’s video for more coverage.