“Agility in the On-Demand Economy” Ft. Rob Biederman, Founder and CEO of Catalant

“Using conventional means to solve unconventional problems is just not very likely to succeed.” In this Episode, Rob and Chad discuss the constant disruption and innovation forging the future of work, and secret to keeping your head above water: agility.

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From the Episode:

Chad Nitschke: One of the words and I know you guys talk about a lot at Catalant, relating to the on-demand economy, is just agility. That comes up as a pretty consistent theme. I’m curious if you think about that word, what does it mean to you for a business to be agile from a talent perspective?

Rob Biederman: I think what we’re seeing across really the whole Fortune 500 right now, is that sources of disruption are coming in really surprising ways that nobody could have possibly anticipated. And so, to at the beginning of the year, set your strategy, one thing that you know, as the leader of a big company these days is that there’s going to be a lot of unforeseen developments. And so you want to have a talent strategy that really matches that. That’s sort of where in our case being agile comes in, which is that you know, in the same way, that waterfall, long cascades of software product development made a lot more sense for you have an on-premise world with periodic deployments, the idea that rapidly iterating and dropping live, you know, code into a site and understanding in much more real-time terms, what skills and resources are needed, has a lot of the same themes that you want to be deeply responsive to the market. You just can’t possibly plan it in advance. That’s exacerbated by the fact that for traditional roles, that the life cycle of any one job posting, can be six, to nine, to 12 months. If you think about your competitor releases a new product, you didn’t know that you needed to be proficient at that area. Starting to learn about that space in six to 12 months isn’t really viable. You need to start learning about that space like this week. Taking a far more, you know, dynamic approach to talent is almost a no-brainer in a world where upcoming business challenges are so unforeseen.

Chad Nitschke: You mentioned, you know, 30% of the Fortune 500 that you work with today and so there’s another 70% that are out there. What do you think in terms of like those new prospects, those new clients? What are some of the barriers that they think of associated with, you know, utilizing independent workers, and a more agile workforce?

Rob Biederman: One of the most difficult challenges that people have in trying to learn how to use our space or learn how to use our company, is that it’s just so non-intuitive to think about turning what yesterday would’ve been a job description into a project. That people are so committed to the way that they’ve historically sourced talent, that it’s actually really difficult to even conceptualize how you would source talent this way. The most difficult challenge among them is obviously turning a potential job into a project. That is really hard if you think, you know, we have a problem with on-demand customer acquisition, you just saying we need somebody with customer demand generation experience is a lot easier than specifically scoping out a specific project with a beginning, and end, and a middle. So we probably spend 80 or 90% of our time with our customers, not selling to them, but actually educating them on they can consume talent in this way, and how it’s better, and you know, what stumbling blocks to watch out for.

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