Category: Employer Branding & Talent Management

Evidence of the end of globalisation is building up.
According to Satyajit Das, growth in trade and cross border investment, which has underpinned prosperity and development, is being reversed in a major historical shift.

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There are many theories on how to correctly “onboard” someone to an organization or a team. Most focus on how to provide the new hire with the information and skills she needs to succeed. But that can only take her so far. She will need connections and an understanding of the inner workings and culture of your company to be truly successful. Whether she is transitioning from another part of the organization or is brand new, you can get her up to speed more quickly by going beyond the basics and explaining how things actually get done.
What the Experts Say

According to Michael Watkins, the Chairman of Genesis Advisers and author of The First 90 Days and Your Next Move, there are four domains that new hires need to master: business orientation, expectations alignment, political connection, and cultural adaptation. The last two are often the hardest for managers to convey, and yet the most critical for the new person to understand. Watkins’ research shows that lack of cultural adaptation is the most common reason newly-hired managers fail. “It’s also the hardest area for managers to provide good advice, in part because they are embedded in the culture and not necessarily reflective about it,” he says. Jon Katzenbach, Senior Partner of Booz & Company, author of The Wisdom of Teams, and co-author of the forthcoming Leading Outside the Lines, notes that “a lot of onboarding focuses on the formal side of the organization and is programmatic.” But helping new hires understand the informal side of the organization will accelerate their acclimation. Follow these three steps to get your new employee productive faster.
1. Start early
Onboarding really begins with hiring. Start as early as possible in the process to expose your new hire to the organization’s or unit’s culture and to explain how work gets done. While selling your organization in the interview process is key to recruiting the right person, don’t risk his eventual success by not being upfront about how things truly work. “The starting point is to recognize that the best onboarding process can’t compensate for the sins of recruiting,” Watkins says. Be honest and don’t allow your vision of how you wish your company operated to confuse your communication of the reality of the situation.
Always recruit for cultural fit as well as skills and experience and identify transition risks, such as capability gaps or tenuous relationships, before the new hire starts. If he is transitioning from another part of the organization, don’t assume that he knows the culture. Companies, even small ones, often have different ways of doing things across units or functions.
2. Get them the right network
“The first thing a manager can do is ensure that the new hire understands how important the informal or ‘shadow’ organization is in getting things done,” Watkins says. It is your responsibility to explain this, but she will only truly experience it by meeting her colleagues. As soon as she starts — or even before — introduce her to the right people. “If the informal organization is really important, then the manager can accelerate the new hire’s political learning process by identifying key stakeholders and helping to establish connections,” Watkins says. Katzenbach suggests creating an “indoctrination inventory that includes meeting the people recognized as valuable resources for understanding how to make the organization work for you.”
You also need to be sure early in her new job she meets with “nodes” or “culture carriers” — people who others go to for different kinds of information and insight. These won’t necessarily be the people who have the highest rank or best title; instead they may be may be particularly connected middle managers or administrative assistants who decide when key meetings are held and who gets invited. “One simple way to do this is to identify ten people that the new hire really needs to know, explain to the new hire why they are important, and send messages to these stakeholders asking them to meet with the new hire,” Watkins says. If you don’t know who these people are, ask around or create a network map that helps you identify the “go to” people in your organization.
3. Get them working
This may seem like a no-brainer for bringing new people on board. Yet many companies start off new hires with a stack of reading and a series of trainings. Giving them real work immerses them in the way things function at the organization. This doesn’t mean you should let them “sink or swim”; definitely provide the support they need. Katzenbach recommends putting them on a real team where they can work on a real business problem. “Get them in working mode rather than a training or student mode,” he says. Doing this instead of busy work exposes them to the company culture, introduces them to the ways things get done, and helps them to begin making the critical connections they need to productively contribute.

Principles to Remember
Do:

  • Hire for cultural fit as much as for capabilities and skill
  • Introduce your new hire to “culture carriers” and “nodes”
  • Explain how work actually gets done at your organization

Don’t:

  • Let a new hire stay in “learning” mode for too long
  • Assume your new hire can’t be productive from the start
  • Rely on the org chart to help explain lines of communication

Case Study #1: Working within the first five minutes on the job
Michelle Pomorksi, started her job as a contract programmer at the software design and development company Menlo Innovations after an intensive hiring process. Within five minutes of walking into the office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michelle was working on a project. This wasn’t an “onboarding project” but a real one for clients. She was “tripled” (that’s company lingo for teamed with two other people) and sent off to a client site to do interviews. Rather than observing, Michelle actively participated and was expected to contribute by asking questions.
Rich Sheridan, founder and CEO of Menlo, thinks he has created a unique process to get new people productive faster than at other software companies. Every new hire is immediately paired with a current employee to do design and development work, in what the company calls “paired programming.” Pairs are switched every week so by the end of the first three weeks, a new person has three mentors to rely on for advice and help. Even better, after the initial three weeks, she is ready to mentor someone new. “The real power is in the pairing,” Michelle says. “There isn’t one day I’ve gone to work that I haven’t learned and taught at least one thing.”
The process is facilitated by an open work space: Menlo doesn’t have offices, cubes or doors. Rich thinks his hiring and onboarding strategy gives him an advantage over competitors because he can seamlessly expand and contract his work force according to client demand. It also makes employees enjoy a task they might otherwise dread. He acknowledges that onboarding this way requires careful attention to how pairs are put together and a good deal of orchestration. But he does not see it as a loss to productivity. “I probably get four times as much work done with two people pairs than most people get with two individuals,” he says.
Case Study #2: Start early and see the whole picture
Pat Lee, a top Marketing Director at Johnson & Johnson Asia, happily received a promotion to Vice President of Marketing. But, she was not fully prepared for the suddenness of the promotion and all that it entailed, including relocating to a different country. She immediately began planning the logistics of the move: deciding which town to live in, exploring job prospects for her spouse, investigating schools for her children. She expected to have all these details worked out in advance so that she could “hit the ground running” on her first day in the new job.
However, Joe, her HR business partner, urged her to begin the transition to the actual job before she made the move. He suggested she take a “transition risk assessment” to help her better understand the challenges she faced in the new role. This helped Pat to fully see the situation she was getting into and better understand herself. It uncovered several issues: she had never worked in another country before; she had never taken on a regional role; she had minimal understanding of how her company did business in other countries; and she had little knowledge of the people on her new staff, the office politics, and how things got done. She also didn’t know what her new boss expected of her and what phase of operation her businesses were in — start-up, turnaround, downsizing, optimizing on-going, etc. She realized she needed to address these problems and so with Joe, developed a Transition Acceleration Plan and started working with a coach, who helped her by interviewing her boss, direct reports, and colleagues to get honest feedback about their expectations. seo data . Doug Soo Hoo, former Director of Learning and Development at J&J, explains that this intense process is “a good way to get out of ‘sink or swim mode’ and an investment in the company that also shows a caring for the success of the individual.”
After three months on the job, Pat’s boss and her peers gave her rave reviews on how quickly she had mastered the “ins and outs” of the new situation and taken actions to address them. One of her new reports said it was almost as if she had been in the division for years.

According to a fascinating article in the current issue of Scientific American Mind, new research suggests that simply letting employees decorate their own office space yields quite significant benefits in productivity and employee well-being.

In the authors’ experiments, workers who could customize their office decor showed about a 30% improvement in productivity and well-being over those placed in undecorated office space. Not a bad return on office mementos! Meanwhile, people who worked in an environment that had been set up to include art and plants were 15% more productive than those in the undecorated space.
Bosses, however, should resist the urge to tinker unnecessarily with an employee’s decor if they’ve let the employee choose it. In the experiments, Scientific American Mind reports, productivity gains disappeared for “disempowered” workers who had their decoration choices overridden and their office rearranged — even though the rearranged office still contained art and plants. The Scientific American Mind article’s authors, S. Alexander Haslam and Craig Knight, conclude:

Employees perform best when they are encouraged to decorate their offices as they see fit, with plants and ornaments, comic calendars, photographs of their children or their cats — whatever makes them feel most comfortable and in their element.

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Extract from the MIT Sloan Management Review article Flat World, Hard Boundaries – How To Lead Across Them

…Technological innovations have revolutionized the workplace, bringing the competitive power of emerging economies’ fast-growth organizations into closer alignment with their developed-world counterparts. Paradoxically, at the same time that these developments have made doing business across borders easier, relational barriers — obstacles to productive human interactions — not only remain largely unchanged but in some cases have deepened. 

Consider the hurdles faced by those who lead functionally diverse teams across levels of management — often involving a variety of organizational partners who may be based in different countries. These leaders’ jobs are made easier by the technological advances that help to close gaps involving distance and knowledge. But the leaders also are confronted with entrenched boundaries such as residual bitterness between historical enemies, culture clashes, turf battles and generation gaps. Such boundaries invite conflict, impose limitations on performance and stifle innovation…

Technology has changed the way knowledge work gets done.
But have you changed your work habits enough to get the most from information technology?
MIT Sloan Professor Erik Brynjolfsson

MIT Sloan Professor

Erik Brynjolfsson

Researchers Sinan Aral, Erik Brynjolfsson and Marshall Van Alstyne have been studying information worker productivity for a number of years. (See, for example, “What Makes Information Workers Productive,”
In a new working paper, the three researchers highlight selected findings from their own work and that of others in order to offer practical tips to help information workers — and top managers — improve their own productivity and that of their organizations.
Here’s a quick summary of Aral, Brynolfsson and Van Alstyne’s four recommendations for improving individual productivity in information work:
1. Be an “information hub” in your network and maintain a diverse network of contacts.
Getting or sending a lot of e-mail is not, by itself, the best predictor of high productivity. But workers who are more central to information networks – who are well-connected and broker information between others – tend to be more productive, the researchers report.
2. Keep your e-mail messages brief and focused.
Research, the three authors observe, suggests that people who send short e-mails are likely to get responses more quickly than those who send longer, less focused ones. And getting faster responses to e-mail questions translates into better productivity.
3. Use technology such as e-mail to multitask more — within reason.
In one of their studies, Aral, Brynolfsson and Van Alstyne found that more productive employees used technology to enable them to multitask more and complete more projects. But that tip comes with an important caveat: The researchers also found that, if taken to extremes, excessive multiasking can actually decrease productivity.
4. Delegate routine information work to subordinates and use information-support systems.
The scholars found that the most productive information workers were more likely to allow lower-value information work to be handled by subordinates or IT-based tools. Those high-productivity information workers also were most likely to have knowledge of specialized information sources that gave them an advantage.

The Productivity Paradox

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology. So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the Productivity Paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques,” he wrote in his conclusion.

How Do We Measure Productivity, Anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How is exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications, such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”

In other words, this method weights productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible Causes of the Productivity Paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox.

▪ Mismeasurement: the gains are real, but our current measures miss them;
▪ Redistribution: there are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain;
▪ Time lags: the gains take a long time to show up; and
▪ Mismanagement: there are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

Why Work-Life Balance is Becoming Critical

The problem of work-life balance is becoming more acute in organizations, and there is a disconnect between employers’ and employees’ perspective on this issue.

A study of the issue of work-life balance in Europe completed by Joan Lazar and published in the journal, European Research Studies (link is external), showed that competing and multi-faceted demands between work and home responsibilities have increased substantially in Europe, and the result has been many government-led policy initiatives. Her research shows that workers who feel they have some control over their working environment tend to suffer less stress-related ill-health; and turnover is less frequent.

Millennials will represent the majority of the workforce within the next few years. Employers that grasp the importance of understanding Millennials will be better positioned to adjust their employer branding strategies and employment offerings around the expectations of Millennials. Of these expectations, two stand out: Millennials rank achieving wealth below spending time with family followed by personal growth and learning. They spend a much higher value on having enough personal time. Work-life balance is critical to them.

WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership portal servicing forward-thinking HR professionals, and CareerArc, a global recruitment and outplacement firm, announced the results of a new study (link is external)entitled, “2015 Workplace Flexibility Study.” The study was based on a national survey of 1087 professionals. The study included the following conclusions:

  • 67% of HR professionals think that their employees have a balanced work-life, yet 45% of employees feel that they don’t have enough time each week
  • 65% of employees say that their manager expects them to be reachable outside of the office
  • 64% of HR professionals expect their employees to be reachable outside of the office on their personal time
  • 87% of HR leaders believe that workplace flexibility programs lead to employee satisfaction, and 70% of HR leaders use workplace flexibility programs as a recruiting and retention tool
  • 50% of employers ranked workplace flexibility as the most important benefit they believe their employees desired, compared to 75% of employees
  • 79% of employees ranked financial support, such as tuition assistance, as being most important after time off.
  • Only 34% of the organizations surveyed currently offer outplacement assistance to their laid-off employees.

Dan Schawbel, Founder of WorkplaceTrends.com and New York Times best-selling author of Promote Yourself, said “Technology has expanded the 9-to-5 workday into the 24/7 workday, which has made it extremely difficult for employees to have personal time… In the future, every company will have flexibility program and those that don’t will lose the battle for the top talent.”

Part of the problem can be seen in the debate or push-back from employers. They are concerned that giving workers too much flexibility or “free time” will result in abuses.  At the same time, there is no evidence to support the proposition that “face-time” or “seat time” is the equivalent of engagement or productivity, which can realistically only be measured by results. There are new studies now available that show that in organizations that provide flexible work-life balance arrangements productivity actually increases.

The other perspective that becomes part of the issue of work-life balance is that of gender. With the increase in the numbers of women in the workforce, combined with the predominant expectation that they will continue to shoulder most of the responsibilities of child-rearing, the lack of work-life balance becomes more acute.

My experience in coaching CEOs and senior executives is that work-life balance is a serious and troublesome issue for them. Increasing demands on their time, and brutal meeting schedules regularly interfere with their intentions to spend time with their families. But most interestingly, many of them express dissatisfaction about not having time for themselves, because precious little time is left over.

It’s clear from recent studies such as the WorkplaceTrends.com and CareerArc study, that the issue of work-life balance is becoming more significant, particularly in light of the large influx of Millennials into the workplace. Smart employers would do well to take note and become proactive.

Post published by Ray Williams  in Wired for Success

John Baldoni  a leadership consultant,and author of eight books, including Lead Your Boss, The Subtle Art of Managing Up, contests that creating urgency to save a sinking ship is imperative. Working long hours to do so is also critical, but working day after day for months on end without a break is a bad idea. When a team is crashing on a deadline, pulling together can be energizing. But when there is no deadline in sight, the long hours exact vengeance in the form of loss of energy as well as diminished commitment. Managers do not become more creative by working harder; they burnout more quickly. You need give people a break from the day to day flow of work.

Here are some suggestions for sustaining performance under pressure…

Set standards. The team leader must make it clear that during the crisis people are expected to assume a greater work load. The leader sets the example by taking more than his fair share of the work. Part of that work means being there for his team. At the same time, the leader does not need to decide how individuals must work. Often employees can decide how best to do their jobs. For example, mandatory meetings are fine, but every meeting need not be mandatory.
Get a buddy. One way to work smarter is to do what I have seen efficient organizations do. Team up with a co-worker to cover for you, not simply on vacations but also during times you will be out of the office. If your buddy is junior to you, then it can be a development opportunity. The leader can also buddy with a colleague or boss to stand in for him, too. Many organizations preach team as in collaboration but too few take advantage of treating teammates as partners. You can do more when individuals work together.
Mandate fresh air time. Get out of the office from time to time. This can be as simple as going out for lunch, or taking a walk in the afternoon. Clock time in the gym, too. Fitness is essential for tackling a heavy workload. The leader also sets the tone by making time for himself. When the team sees the boss taking a break (mental or physical), it gives the team permission to do likewise. Without the leader’s example, no one will follow through on making time for self.
Clocking long hours is not reserved for the corporate suite. Working in government, or even in the highest office in the land — the White House — can be grueling. President Obama vowed to make his administration family friendly, but as his chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel quips, “It’s friendly to your [Obama] family.” As a result many staffers, as reported in the New York Times, are feeling stressed chiefly because they miss time with their families. Continued long stretches of working extraordinary hours will cause talented people to leave early.
Taking breaks is not the same as doing business as usual. It is an acknowledgement that people are your most valuable resource. They need rest and relaxation as well as an opportunity to reconnect with their families. Rather than diminish urgency, it heightens it. Getting outside of the bubble of work allows the mind and body to recharge and be better prepared to face the gauntlet of challenges that lie ahead.

Slumps can be devastating. They can take an otherwise productive, happy person and reduce him to a lethargic, depressed, indifferent person.

So what do you do?
If you’re like most people, you take a break from all of your projects and aspirations.
And you spend some time feeling depressed and indifferent to progress.

After a few weeks or months have passed, you exit your slump, but you do so very aware of how much time you’ve lost and how many opportunities you’ve forgone.

In the remainder of this guide, I’m going to help you to avoid that scenario. Instead of losing weeks or months to this slump or the next slump, you’re going to learn 21 ways to re-motivate yourself, refocus your life and goals, become happy and productive; and leave this slump in the distant past.
1. Take Action. Before you landed in this slump, you had goals, dreams, and lists of things you needed to do to accomplish them. At some point, you lost confidence in these ideas and stopped working on your projects and carrying out your dreams.
Well, it’s time to pursue those dreams once again. And you can do so by taking action. Ignore your feelings of lethargy and indifference and focus on making tangible progress. As you start checking things off of your “to do” list, you’ll feel better about yourself and the possibility of accomplishing your goals.
2. Ratchet Up Your Efforts. Working hard does not guarantee that you will accomplish your goals. But not working hard will undoubtedly ensure that you do not.
Be mindful of this when you’re deciding what to do for the day. Don’t simply drift along, waiting for your projects to make sense of themselves. Take control, make plans, and move towards them each day.
3. Pay Attention to People Who Have Succeeded. Just because someone else succeeded doesn’t mean you will. But it can provide a motivational example of path to your goal that has worked for someone else.
So, cast aside your doubts, stop telling yourself that you can’t do what others did–and instead take their examples for what they are: a source of inspiration and hope. And, most importantly, a means to get out of your slump.
4. Learn by Doing. If you’re faced with a complicated decision with no clear answer, one of the best ways you can move forward is to simply do, rather than thinking.
What do I mean by this? Instead of persevering on the decision, pick one of the options in front of you; and move forward with your best effort to make it work.
If you fail ultimately, at least you can eliminate that path as a dead-end and then move forward with the other path.
5. Avoid Over-thinking. Thinking hard and carefully about many things is critical to success, but if taken to an extreme, it can become pathological. It can paralyze talented, driven individuals; and prevent them from attaining the success they would otherwise have.
So, next time you find yourself paralyzed by a decision, stop over-analyzing the situation–and just pick one path or the other.
6. Re-organize Your Work Area. No matter what you do, it’s always a good idea to have everything you need organized and within close reach. Re-organize your work area, so that it is a productive environment, rather than a sprawling, disorganized heap of documents.
7. Start Afresh. One frequent source of slumps is boredom. If you’re unhappy with your current routine, it may affect your ability to work and to accomplish your goals. Consider switching your daily routine to something new that excites you and motivates you to accomplish new things.
8. Reward Yourself. Surprisingly, slumps are very common among those who work hard. Why? Because, eventually they hit a wall, can’t figure out how to get around it, and keep working until they’re thoroughly burnt out and frazzled.
So, don’t do this. Set specific goals, accomplish them, and then reward yourself by taking the rest of the night off to relax. When you come back to your work, you’ll be happy and refreshed.
9. Visit a New Place. Instead of mindlessly chugging along with your daily route, break free and visit a new place. Take a drive to the beach or to a lake. Take a walk through the woods. Drive somewhere new and relaxing. Experience the small pleasures in life to demonstrate to yourself that there are reasons to move forward, to make progress, and to indulge in life.
10. Refocus Yourself. Slumps tend to make life feel unclear, unfocused, and pointless. Take some time to refocus yourself, re-think your aspirations, and decide what goals to keep and what goals to discard.
11. Schedule Things, Rather than Letting Things Happen to You. Don’t allow your schedule to morph into an unpredictable, unmanageable blob. Take the time to record things you need to do, schedule them into your life, and tend to them carefully. This is not only a good way to prevent disasters, but also to commit yourself to getting work done.
12. Physical Activity. The cause of slumps is not always or entirely psychological. In many cases, complacency and a lack of physical exercise can leave us in a mental fog. One cure for this problem is to get some vigorous exercise. Not only will it get your blood pumping and make your thoughts clearer, but it will also release endorphins, making you feel happy and more satisfied with your life and goals.
13. Eliminate Negative Thoughts. Skepticism and self-doubt are healthy when applied in moderation, but when they prevent you from achieving your goals, it may be time to reign them in. If you constantly find yourself doubting that you an accomplish something, instead re-direct your thoughts towards considering how you can accomplish it.
14. Challenge Yourself to Accomplish Something New. If you find yourself repeating the same tasks on a daily basis, you may become bored and complacent. Find ways to challenge yourself–for instance, by seeing whether you can do some task in half the amount of time–so that you engage your work and goals, rather than becoming indifferent to them.
15. Create Artificial Scarcity. Most people work best when they have no other choice. When that project is due in two days, you buckle down, stay focused, and get it done. But one week before that, you probably sat in front of the computer, “working” on it, but truly got very little accomplished.
Next time, start on the project later, rather than sooner. Save that extra time when you wouldn’t really be working to do something fun and refreshing.
16. Change Your Diet. Another frequent cause of “slumps” is diet. If you find your busy schedule forcing you into an unhealthy diet that causes you to put on weight and feel sluggish, put an end to it immediately. Not only will this help you physically, but it will help you to avoid the mental and emotional burden that comes with weight gain and unhealthy eating.
17. Spend a Day to Improve Your Productivity. Hard work isn’t the only ingredient in success. Another critical component is productivity. You can think about productivity as the amount you accomplish in each hour. So, spend an afternoon or even a full day figuring out how you can be more productive. This might simply mean re-arranging your filing cabinet or learning how to use certain programs on your computer better.
18. Simplify Your Goals. It’s often easy to convince ourselves that our goals have to be complicated and hard to achieve. But it many cases, there are achievable, simple goals that are still very desirable. So, take some time to decide whether you can make your goals clearer, simpler, and easier to attain.
19. Take the Path of Least Resistance. Instead of taking the path you think you “should take” or “ought to take,” instead focus on what paths cause the fewest problems and present the fewest challenges. If you can find and exploit these paths, you’ll save yourself time and make it easier to finish what you set out to do.
20. Sleep More. Many hard-working individuals whip themselves up into a frenzy; and convince themselves that they should never stop working. When taken to an extreme, this can be very detrimental to their goals. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to go to sleep or to keep working late into the night. If you don’t sleep, you might get more done tonight, but you’ll definitely be tired and get less done tomorrow. So go to sleep and come back refreshed tomorrow.
21. Make an Effort to Learn from Others. Rather than always focusing on your own stories and struggles, make a concerted effort to truly understand other people and their daily trials. Learn from them, absorb their stories, and use them to motivate yourself.
No matter how depressed and indifferent you feel right now, you have the capabilities to break out of your slump. You have 21 different ways in which you can do it. It’s just a matter of taking a handful of them, living by them on a daily basis, and pushing forward.
So, don’t let your slump get the best of you. Reclaim your career, your family life, your goals, your aspirations, and your hunger for new and challenging experiences. Leave this slump in your past; and return to your productive, happy life.

James Heskett, a Baker Foundation Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, examined the degree to which strategy, execution, and culture contribute to organizational success, via 3 key questions that reflect all aspects of competitive sucess:


1. If your organization’s performance (operating income) = 100%, roughly what percentage is accounted for by the quality of the organization’s strategy (clients we target; products, services and results we offer; the way we organize and compensate people, etc.) vs. seo data the quality of the organization’s execution of its strategy (the quality of our people, work, processes, decisions, etc.)?2. If your organization’s strategy = 100%, roughly what proportion of its effectiveness is dependent upon and accounted for by the organization’s culture (widely-shared values, beliefs, behaviors, rites and rituals, etc.)?3. If the execution of your organization’s strategy = 100%, roughly what proportion of its effectiveness is dependent upon and accounted for by the organization’s culture?

In this unpredictable economic climate, leaders must be capable to lead their companies to quickly adapt to new market forces. Business models are changing to catch up with the emerging drivers of competition.

Success hinges first and foremost on “Thinking-Ahead” strategy  and robust execution.
Because execution plays such a critical role in success or failure, especially during a crisis, many companies are turning to new technology solutions to ensure they can deliver on strategies and emerge even stronger. Any company that fails to adapt quickly and efficiently to market changes can miss important opportunities or risk their very survival.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • A new strategy is not enough – executing under these extreme market conditions is not enough, meaning you need to make sure you touch every point of the strategy timeline and product offering.
  • Align your workforce with what you want to accomplish – workforce alignment and performance is critical.
  • Be prepared to change course or rethink your strategy monthly – it is difficult to get your strategy right the first time so review religiously.
  • Leverage performance and talent management solutions for business execution – this will help you attain the top and bottom line results.
    * Key points from Workforce Magazine

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“Leaders get the best out of followers and followers get the best out of leaders,” says Manfred Kets De Vries, Clinical Professor of Leadership Development at INSEAD.

The connection between leaders and their staff is only one of many circular connections he sees.

The challenge for leaders multiplies as organisations get bigger and as globalisation makes companies more diverse and more virtual.  “It’s very hard to manage large organisations, things become so enormous,” he said in an interview with INSEAD Knowledge.
Another circular challenge for leaders is to keep an organisation growing over generations. “To me, the real test of a leader is how well his or her successor does, and very few leaders pass that test,” he says.
Leaders have to help people re-invent their organisations. Kets De Vries imagines this as an ancient mythical serpent that swallows its tail but is constantly reborn in a circular connection.
To complete that circle, leaders are required to leverage their vision and their skills to create sustainable, results-oriented organisations. He believes group or team coaching is one of the most effective ways of achieving that long-term success.
Kets De Vries, the Director of INSEAD’s Global Leadership Centre, recently won a lifetime achievement award from the International Leadership Association for his contributions to the study of leadership. It was the first time the prestigious organisation had given the awards.
His extensive work in coaching business leaders has led him to believe that leaders need greater self-awareness: “Many executives don’t know themselves very well.” Some know the issues but they don’t know how to shift direction. Kets De Vries says for those executives it’s very difficult to set the right goals and get people to buy into your values and goals.
“Leaders need to help people think outside of the box,” he says, adding:  “When you are riding on a dead horse the best thing is to dismount. Many people try to keep on riding the dead horse, but you have to do something different.”

That requires teams of good leaders not just a single strong executive in any successful organisation. “Leadership is a team sport,” he says. That team needs to have clear goals and values. The leadership teams that are most successful know how to get people to buy into those values and practice those values.
Leaders, he believes, should strive to create better places to work. Kets De Vries argues that isn’t just an altruistic notion. Work today is complicated by rapidly changing technology, virtual working teams separated by cultural and geographical differences and the challenges for individuals of managing their own careers.
Workers want jobs that make them want to come to work everyday and that should be an important goal for any executive.
Leaders who make a deep connection with their employees will succeed, he says.  They lead in ways that are symbolic – as well as literal – to create organisations where people feel like they can and should do their best.
“You have to get people’s hearts and minds and get them to buy into the DNA of an organisation,” he says.