Global businesses should follow the lead of celebrities, who constantly reinvent themselves to successfully adapt to different locations, if they are to meet the challenges of the future.
This was the message Richard Scase of the University of Kent at Canterbury delivered to delegates attending Mercer Human Resource Consulting's global HR conference in London.
The need for continuous corporate reinvention, and developing meaningful approaches to strategy in different locations, is among the top challenges facing HR in Europe today, said Scase.
"Very few celebrities meet the challenge and equally so with businesses," he said. "Companies are unable to spontaneously reinvent themselves."
Scase said HR faces a similar challenge in responding to the demands of today's young employees, who are non-conforming, individualistic and cynical. He said the "restless employee" - who is mobile, knowledgeable and assertive - is a fact of modern business life.
Ultimately, Scase said, the key to a company's continuous improvement is "employee excitement - excitement is what you get when you forget the time".
Associated with excitement are three principles of work project success: being fit (agile and well-trained), fresh (constantly experimenting) and fun (getting a buzz). "Businesses destroy the fun, fitness, and freshness," he said in his conference speech.
Scase warned delegates about the dangers associated with the trend for transnational companies to evolve into decentralised operating units. This business model encourages inflated financial reporting, such as in the case of Enron, he said.
Scase said: "Each unit is given performing targets and key success indicators. Headquarters knows what everyone's doing, but business units don't know what headquarters is doing." He said organisations must improve accountability if they want to minimise regulatory risk.