The connected car is transforming the automotive industry, attracting new players and disrupting long-established business models. We believe that leadership talent is at a premium and that a relatively small number of players will decided the outcome of the connectivity race in the automotive industry.
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Our research indicates that one-third of automotive companies underestimate the extent of the challenge they are facing and are unprepared, especially from a talent and leadership perspective. Lasting competitive advantage will belong to those businesses which invest in identifying, developing, acquiring and integrating the best talent available, both inside and outside the organization — from software engineers all the way up to the CIO and CMO.
Boards and executive teams will have to make it their priority to adapt to the challenges precipitated by the connected car and to ensure that their organizations are structured to succeed in this new world, both in terms of talent management and in their ability to build new partnerships.
The connected car requires a better and deeper collaboration between the automotive, IT, telecoms and consumer electronics industries. One of the key challenges for consumer electronics and automotive companies is how to marry their different cultures and styles to make such collaboration possible.
Many companies in the automotive industry are facing a triple dilemma. First, they do not have a clear idea about what critical capabilities senior leaders need to possess in order to address the connectivity challenge. Second, they do not know where to find that talent. Third, they have difficulty understanding the motivations and expectations of industry outsiders and how to get the best out of them. Without a radical overhaul to their talent development and succession planning efforts, they will be left with a severe management gap.
Players in the automotive connectivity space, especially auto OEMs and suppliers, need to focus on two key areas:
Build and strengthen their connectivity capabilities across the organization
- Raise the level of discussion, starting with the board, and understand connectivity in holistic terms — as a game changer, affecting the very core of the business, rather than as merely a series of functionality add-ons.
- Bring in the connectivity experts. Start by recognizing the unique features of this talent pool. These people are younger and expect a different compensation model. They have unconventional career paths and bring a different set of capabilities to traditional automotive executives.
- Assess how prepared you are to incorporate this new talent into your organization and identify which areas of your HR strategy and talent management systems will need adjustment.
- Drive connectivity expertise throughout the organization. Design your organization, processes and resources around technology, data and the possibilities it creates. Integrate business development, sales and technology and remember that speed is imperative.
Build a connectivity culture and remove organizational barriers
- Hire and develop executives with a connectivity mindset who fully understand and accept the revolutionary potential of connectivity and who can work seamlessly at the highest levels in both traditional and Silicon Valley environments.
- Support a culture of experimentation. Rethink how you develop and offer new products through new iterative processes (observation, anticipating patterns and testing) and rapid prototyping capabilities.
- Leading by example. Set the tone for the organization by insisting that consumer insight is integrated into technology systems and business models.