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21 июня, 15:00

If Strategy Is So Important, Why Don’t We Make Time for It?

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Jonathan-Knowles/Getty Images Almost every leader wants to make more time for strategic thinking. In one survey of 10,000 senior leaders, 97% of them said that being strategic was the leadership behavior most important to their organization’s success. And yet in another study, a full 96% of the leaders surveyed said they lacked the time for strategic thinking. Of course, we’re all oppressed with meetings and overwhelmed with emails (an average of 126 per day, according to a Radicati Group analysis). But leaders presumably could take at least some steps to prioritize what they claim to be an imperative. What could account for such a massive misalignment between their stated goals and their actions? One issue is the incentives put in place — often unconsciously — by companies. Even for senior professionals, there’s frequently cultural pressure to put in long hours, which researchers have discovered often serve as a proxy for both loyalty and productivity in the modern economy. Research has shown that employees who work more than 50 hours per week earn a 6% premium over their colleagues who work a more regular schedule. Tethering yourself to your desk may help you power through more emails, but it’s rarely a recipe for innovative strategic thinking. In fact, research reveals that productivity decreases for those who work more than 50 hours per week. What seems to really power creative thinking, according to a Stanford University study, is activities such as taking a short walk, especially outside. But that behavior may well be penalized in a corporate milieu that prizes face time. Another barrier to strategic thinking may be internal. At least in the United States, research shows, busyness is a sign of social status. As Silvia Bellezza of Columbia Business School and her colleagues put it, “By telling others that we are busy and working all the time, we are implicitly suggesting that we are sought after.” In addition to the very real demands on our schedules, then, there’s also an incentive to lean into the frenzy: It’s a marker of our professional success. Executives may therefore be subconsciously reluctant to give up the self-esteem benefits that being busy confers. Given these pressures — both internal and external — that push us toward rote busyness and away from strategic thinking, here are three ways individual leaders can fight back and create the white space they need. First, it’s important to remember that strategic thinking doesn’t necessarily require large amounts of time; it’s not about taking endless sabbaticals or going on leadership retreats. As productivity expert David Allen told me when I interviewed him for my book Stand Out, “You don’t need time to have a good idea, you need space…. It takes zero time to have an innovative idea or to make a decision, but if you don’t have psychic space, those things are not necessarily impossible, but they’re suboptimal.” Even with limited time and the same amount of responsibilities, it’s far easier to think strategically if you can clear the decks by doing simple things such as writing down all of your outstanding tasks in one place, so you can properly triage them and aren’t constantly interrupted by the feeling that you forgot something. Second, it’s useful to be clear on where your time is actually going. Earlier this year I undertook a time tracking experiment, in which I logged how I spent every half hour over the course of a month. It’s not the easiest project to keep up (we’re used to living our lives, not recording them), but the resulting data was invaluable in terms of helping me understand exactly where and how I was spending my time. It’s quite possible there are tasks you could combine, defer, or outsource to help buy you an extra two hours per week — more than enough to step outside the daily hurly-burly and enter into the flow state of considering big-picture strategy. Finally, once we’re aware of the implicit “busy = important” frame in our culture, it can become easier to let go of it and adopt another frame that’s more conducive to deep strategic thinking. One alternative view, espoused by Derek Sivers, an entrepreneur and author, is that “busy is what happens when you’re at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.” By extension, one might argue, true status comes from having the discretion to opt out of the frenzy. As Sivers shared in one podcast interview, “I find it funny when people preface their emails saying, ‘I know you must be incredibly busy,’ and I always shock them by going, ‘No, I’m not busy’…. It’s like, ‘No, I don’t have to do anything for anyone, so I don’t do anything I don’t want to do…I’ve got time.” By changing the way we think about busyness — from a marker of status to a mark of servitude — it may become easier to say no to the parade of endless obligations (from catch-up calls to informational interviews) that skitter across our desks every day. The responsibilities placed upon us are unlikely to diminish anytime soon. In fact, as we ascend in our careers — and as global competition further increases — it’s almost certain we’ll be expected to do more and produce more. Without a concerted effort, it’d be easy for strategy — yet again — to slip to the bottom of the to-do list, despite our protestations about its importance. By becoming aware of the disincentives to make time for strategy — and taking proactive steps to embed strategic thinking into your life and professional schedule — you can stand up for a goal that you, and 97% of other leaders, recognize as critical.

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21 июня, 14:15

How Are You Protecting Your High Performers from Burnout?

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Phil Ashley/Getty Images A little over a year ago, a high-performing specialist at one of the largest technologies companies — we’ll call him Santiago — was given an opportunity no high performer could turn down: an opportunity to play a manager role on a project he really cared about. The director told him, “You care about this; you lead it.” So he did, and all seemed to be going well — even though he was planning a significant company-wide event at the same time, a role he had volunteered for. “We had a really important conference call I had spent a lot of time preparing for. The call went well, but when I finished the call, I realized I was feeling really sick,” Santiago recounts. “It got worse after that. I went to the doctor later that day, and he told me I had pneumonia. I ended up in the ER the next morning and couldn’t work for the full next week. It was a shocking moment for me. I’m young and healthy, but I realized that if I push myself, I will burn out.” Unfortunately, this isn’t an unusual experience for high performers: A five-year study in the UK found that the mental health of 20% of the top-performing leaders of UK businesses is affected by corporate burnout. It’s easy to blame burnout on the high performers themselves. After all, the stereotype is that these overachievers say yes to more work even when they’re already at capacity. They routinely put work first, canceling personal engagements to finish the job. While such habits may be partially to blame, this isn’t the full story. In my experience, many companies and leaders engage in three common practices, often unknowingly, that make top performers even more likely to burn out: They put high performers on the hardest projects. “The most obvious difference between high performers and their peers is that high performers are put on the hardest projects over and over again. There are no ‘softball’ projects,” says a high-performing manager at a leading strategy and management consulting firm, who we’ll call Lisa. It makes sense: Of course you’d want your best people on the most important projects. But if you keep going back to the same small group of people time and time again, you’ll run the risk of wearing them out. They use high performers to compensate for weaker team members. Lisa describes another unique characteristic of the experience of high performers: “You’re seen as an exemplary employee, so you’re expected to support lower performers and mentor others.” A senior manager from a leading technology company, who we’ll call Karen, recounts her experience on a project where this was true: “I spent a lot of time trying to coach and mentor them and quite honestly taking on a lot of their work because you feel that is what you’re supposed to do when others are struggling.” While many star performers do enjoy mentoring others, they understandably start to feel resentful if they think the boss is letting poor performers off the hook. They ask high performers to help on many small efforts unrelated to their work. “As a high performer, you have demands as a culture carrier, a mentor, and a resource for others,” Lisa says. Similarly, Karen describes how this practice affects herself and her high-performing team members: “They are constantly being asked to help in small ways. ‘You’re good at making slides. Can you make this one slide?’ ‘You’re good at WordPress. Can you add this page?’ I’m just realizing how much time I’ve spent on all these one-off requests the last few weeks. And that’s why I don’t feel like I’ve gotten anything done.” While this issue is often framed as a personal problem for people who don’t know how to set boundaries or say no, it’s more fairly seen as an organizational problem where the most hardworking people are “rewarded” with more work. To fix this, managers can start by becoming more aware of how these practices are affecting their organizations and looking to scale them back when possible. Beyond that, employers and leaders should look to three other strategies to help them support their high performers for the long term: Let high performers occasionally pick their projects. High performers generally are very motivated by the work. Yet, they don’t regularly get the option to do the projects they care most about unless it happens to also be the hardest project available, or unless they agree to do it on top of their normal work. Letting them choose some of their projects reconnects them with the reason they are excited to do their job — something that can get lost in the throes of burnout. Lisa explains how such an opportunity saved her consulting job: “When I asked to be on a new project, I was managing a big team in addition to my other work, which included an exceptionally busy project. On the team I was managing, there was a low performer who was put on the team specifically for me to mentor and an inexperienced team member who couldn’t work too independently…. To add to all that, the partner was largely unavailable. I basically had to carry the team. After all that, I probably would have left if they hadn’t granted my request to go on the project I asked for.” Create high-performing pairs. High performers routinely find themselves separated from those they most closely relate to and enjoy working with. This happens for obvious reasons, but surrounding them with low performers increases their workload, saps their morale, and limits their development. Pairing two high performers of a similar level can help distribute this added weight and improve high performers’ experience without leaving some teams with no high performers. “When I got to work with other high performers, it felt like a totally different experience. Not only did it make me feel more motivated, but it made me better because the other high performers were pushing my thinking. That’s how you keep high performers growing. It’s not just putting them on the hardest projects,” Lisa says. It’s important to emphasize that these pairs should consist of employees at the same or a similar level. Placing a high-performing entry-level employee with a high-performing leader won’t have the same effect.  Keep track of additional demands on their time. Demands unrelated to core work are unsuspected drivers of burnout because they each feel so insignificant and it’s hard to keep track of their aggregate effect. Karen offers the transition she put her team through as an example of how to address this: “We get a lot of requests into our team, and because we all want to serve others and say yes, we ended up spending all our time on work not related to our priorities. I spent a few months breaking them of that by saying, ‘You don’t have the authority to say yes to anything. You can’t say yes or no. You need to talk to me. It’s my job to balance all priorities.’ And this gives them a layer of protection.” Employers or leaders won’t always need to be as draconian as this. In many cases, simply keeping track of all the requests in a single place can equip high performers with the awareness to turn down some of the incoming requests. These three strategies may seem to offer only marginal benefits, but it’s the accumulation of small savings and improvements that reduces the risk of burnout over time. High performers hold great value for any company, delivering 400% more productivity than average performers. Companies will lose much of this value if they don’t take deliberate action to protect their high performers from burnout.

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21 июня, 13:35

How Do We Combat Ageism? By Valuing Wisdom as Much as Youth.

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Andrew Chislett/EyeEm/Getty Images In a San Francisco federal court, the Communication Workers of America union recently expanded the scope of the class action suit they filed last December against some of the country’s largest employers — a diverse list of companies that included Amazon, T-Mobile, Capital One, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car — accused of deliberately targeting their Facebook ads to exclude older workers. A ProPublica investigation shows that IBM has quietly pushed out upwards of 20,000 aging workers over the past five years. And, for all that has been written about the woeful lack of diversity and the “bro culture” that prevail in the tech industry, Silicon Valley’s 150 biggest tech companies have faced more accusations of age bias over the past decade than racial or gender bias. Although the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against people 40 and older, a recent survey by AARP showed that two-thirds of workers between the ages of 45 and 74 said they have seen or experienced ageism. So, while class action lawsuits and tough journalistic scrutiny are steps in the right direction, efforts to merely enforce the law are not sufficient. Let’s remember that equal rights for women, blacks, disabled people, gays and lesbians, and others weren’t achieved solely through change in laws, but instead by a change in attitudes that usually predated legislation. And yet our culture, in this particular arena, is lagging behind. The brisk march of progress from the industrial to the tech era has created a strong bias toward digital natives who understand gadgets and gigabytes better than those of us who didn’t grow up “byting” from the Apple in childhood. One paradox of our time is that Baby Boomers enjoy better health than ever, remain vibrant and stay in the workplace longer, but feel less and less relevant. They worry, justifiably, that bosses or potential employers may see their experience and the clocked years that come with it as more of a liability than an asset. They fear becoming increasingly invisible, or even being cast aside. In many industries, especially in technology, you may feel “old” at 35 — even though you might continue to work full-time until you hit 75. The 40 years between may feel like a run-on sentence that could use some punctuation — especially in a world where more of us are living to 100. We’re living longer, but power is moving younger. While the median age of employees in the United States is 42, that number is more than a decade younger among our tech titans. A Harvard Business Review data analysis showed that the average age of founders of unicorns (private companies with more than $1 billion in valuation) is 31, and the average age of their CEOs is 41 (as compared with the average age of an S&P 500 company CEO, which is 52). The problem is that many of these young leaders are being thrust into positions of power long before they are ready — often tasked, with little experience or guidance, with running companies or departments that are scaling quickly. As a young tech leader asked me the other day, “How can I microwave my leadership skills?” The answer: There is a generation of older workers with wisdom and experience, specialized knowledge, and unparalleled ability to teach, coach, and council who could pair with these ambitious Millennials to create businesses that are built to endure. Working in the Age of the Modern Elder In early 2013 I returned to the workforce in my mid-fifties as a senior exec with tech startup Airbnb. I was twice the age of the average employee and was reporting to cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky, who was 21 years my junior. What I lacked in DQ (digital intelligence), I made up for in accumulated EQ (emotional intelligence). And the mutual mentoring I offered and received turned me into what I call a “Modern Elder” — someone who marries wisdom and experience with curiosity, a beginner’s mind, and a willingness to learn from those younger. With five generations coexisting in the workplace for the first time, it’s essential that we embrace and develop more means for such intergenerational collaboration. The attitudinal change necessary for Modern Elders to flourish needs to start with our language. It’s time to liberate the word “elder” from the word “elderly.” We associate the elderly with being older and often dependent on society, and yet separated from the young. On the other hand, society has historically been dependent on our elders, who have been of service to the young. Given that someone who is moving into a retirement home today is, on average, 81 years old, we have many productive elders in our midst who are growing whole, not just old. So, what comes first, Modern Elders or less ageism? Mining mastery in organizations fosters more meaningful collaborations between generations and creates the conditions for greater wisdom and success. Ageism is one of the few “isms” that ultimately affects us all. As deeply divided as we are politically and culturally today, the eventual arrival of elderhood is a condition that unites us. It’s time we embraced age like any other type of diversity. Wisdom precedes us and will succeed us. The Modern Age needs Modern Elders.

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21 июня, 12:05

How to Identify and Tell Your Most Powerful Stories

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Jeong Woo Kim/EyeEm/Getty Images When I ask executives what their favorite speech is, Steve Jobs’s Stanford commencement address is always at the top of the list. Many think of Jobs’s talk as their favorite because it is incredibly moving — thanks to the stories it contains. Execs love to hear talks like this, but few are comfortable delivering them. Why? Because great stories expose our flaws and our struggles. This is what makes them inspiring, and not sharing them is such a missed opportunity to connect with your audience. When my firm helps executives craft talks that will persuade and forge bonds with listeners, we often have to help them recall or dig up latent stories that come from a deep place of personal conviction. Over the years, we’ve used effective techniques for unearthing these personal stories — which can then be cataloged, added into communications, and effectively delivered. Here are some of the techniques we rely on again and again: Trigger Stories Through Memory Recall Most people try to recall memories chronologically when they’re developing a story for a talk, but there’s another way to conjure up deeper, dormant stories. Sit down with a notepad and think through the nouns that are important to you — the people, places, and things that have shaped your life. (Yes, I really mean sit down with a notepad and paper — studies show that you’re more likely to be creative when you’re writing than when you’re typing.) People. Write your name in the center of the paper, and start drawing out types of relationships: family, friends, coworkers, and so on. Each time you draw a connective line between you and someone else, think through the relational dynamics and emotions. There’s a story in there! Places. Get as specific as you can in recalling places that matter to you: the middle school hallways, the cabin at camp, the soccer field, that mountain, the ophthalmologist’s office, the red hatchback — whatever. Use spatial recollection to move through each location, neighborhood, and room. Retracing your movements will trigger scenes, sounds, and scents. It will dislodge memories that will reveal to you long forgotten events and interactions. Things. Take note of objects or items that have symbolic meaning in your life: gifts, awards, books — any items you’ve loved. Sketch pictures of these symbols and recall what makes them emotionally charged. These items don’t hold meaning for others, but they do for you. Why? When you’re done with the above exercises, look at the story kernels you’ve come up with and write one-line summaries of them. Some of the tales you’ve accessed may be too personal to share, but you may uncover some anecdotes that will become the basis of an important story you can return to again and again. Create a Story Catalog Once you’ve curated a host of stories that you can use in various types of situations, take your list and create a personal story catalog that you can turn to. Create and manage this list in the way you work. It could be a journal or a spreadsheet with summaries. You can use categories to sort by situation, theme, mood, or moral. Use whatever categorization makes the most sense for you. Many people pull from the most poignant part of their story catalog when they’re staring down mortality (like Jobs was). Instead of waiting until your hand is forced, take stock of the important stories in your life right now, and catalog them. Having these stories easily accessible to you without an accompanying crisis can help you to live life more fully and have a greater impact on others. Choose Stories with Your Audience in Mind To choose a story for your talk, remember who will be receiving it. Some of the stories are going to be hilarious and crack people up. Others are going to bring tears to their eyes or give them deep-seated hope. The same stories will evoke a different response from different people. One story that brings awe to one person could incite rage in another. When you’re looking through your bank of stories to find one that is right for your talk, consider who’s in your audience and what they care about. Carefully consider their values, goals, and interests, and then decide which of your stories fits them best. You and Your Team Series Public Speaking Assessment: What’s Feeding Your Fear of Public Speaking? Nancy Duarte and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic 6 Ways to Look More Confident During a Presentation Kasia Wezowski How to Land Your First Paid Speaking Gig Dorie Clark For example, when I speak to female audiences, I get more personal and raw by telling childhood stories where the odds were stacked against me, which encourages the ladies to have resilience in overcoming hardships. I don’t tell those same stories when I speak to a buttoned-up group of men. The men, instead, get stories about my quest for empathy. When traveling to Asia, I tell stories of failure. The structure of Eastern stories is different from that of Western stories. In Western stories the protagonist almost always overcomes their hardships; Eastern stories are mostly cautionary tales where the protagonist fails and you learn from their mistakes. Learn what market pressure may be on the minds of your audience. Research what’s going on in their industry, find their blogs, and recent news stories about their organization. Find out what they need to overcome. The next time you need to communicate, ask yourself why you are uniquely qualified to be the audience’s guide. Identify stories from when you were on a similar journey, encountered comparable roadblocks, and emerged transformed — and muster the courage to share them. Telling a personal story from a place of conviction is the most powerful communication device you have. That’s what the greatest and most beloved communicators do. They risk transparently revealing their vulnerabilities so that they can be mentors and guides who relate to people from places of universal needs and hardships. They connect to the audience and remind us that we are all human.

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20 июня, 14:00

3 Biases That Hijack Performance Reviews, and How to Address Them

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Scott Barbour/Getty Images When we talk about bias, we often tie it to acts of discrimination or prejudice. But according to cognitive science, everybody, by virtue of having a brain that’s constantly seeking efficiency, is biased in some way — and not all biases make us actively malicious. The key is how we manage our biases. While biases can affect any of an organization’s talent decisions, they can be especially harmful when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts. And there is perhaps no setting that shapes careers, salaries, and lives like annual performance evaluations. In a recent performance management summit we ran with over 100 large organizations, 57% of them said they weren’t taking any actions to address bias in performance reviews. One reason why may be a lack of shared language: In order to address biases, you first have to be able to label them. Research has found that several biases come up again and again when managers are evaluating a team member. Here are three of them, what they’re all about, and how to address each one. Expedience bias: It’s what’s most obvious, so it must be true. Expedience bias tilts us toward answers that seem obvious, often at the expense of answers that might be more relevant or useful. The privileging of immediate data can take many forms. In digital publishing, it might be measuring writers solely on traffic numbers, rather than the quality of the writing. In sales, it could be solely focusing on revenue targets, without considering how the quality of client relationships drives future business. Put another way: While it’s true that what gets measured gets managed, measurement should not be confused with management. How to address the bias. To avoid expedience bias, go beyond the data that is easiest to get, and prioritize less obvious signs of success or failure, such as a person’s ability to motivate other team members to hit their goals. We recommend that managers talk to colleagues across departments to get a fuller, more robust picture of the role a given employee plays in the organization. Of course, doing so requires managers also check their likability and similarity biases, to make sure the opinions are fair. Managers can also conduct less biased reviews by proactively asking employees to outline their personal goals ahead of time. For instance, in addition to hitting sales targets, an employee may want to lead more meetings and be a better collaborator. The technique avoids expedience bias because the data that is easiest to get is also now the most relevant, not to mention more comprehensive. To help this process, it’s in both parties’ interest to communicate early about the goal and begin tracking it. The manager can keep a tally of how many meetings the person leads and how many times the person tag-teams with a coworker on a project. The manager can empower the employee by encouraging them to do the same, and track themselves. If both sides stay transparent about the person’s goals, they’ll have an easier time talking about the progress that’s been made. Distance bias: What’s near is stronger than what’s far. True to its name, distance bias describes the brain’s tendency to think people and events that are closer to us, in space or time, are more important than things that are further away. The nearer something is, the greater the value we automatically assign. For example, it’s far easier to recall Marta’s sales numbers last week or last month than it is to remember how she’s performed over the entire year. Even if she improved dramatically over the last two quarters, her manager might defer to recent numbers because older ones take more effort to recall. That kind of bias can taint the manager’s view of Marta’s performance, hurting her career growth and perhaps the health of the company if she deserves a promotion. How to address the bias. In the context of a year-end review, you won’t remember events from January as clearly as those from October. Even if Marta’s performance has gone up or down, you’ll focus on where she is now, since the brain automatically reads more recent months as being more important. The best way to sidestep distance bias is to record information along the way, almost like a journal of employee feedback. It’s amazing how we read our journals and remember things we forgot we did or how we felt at a moment in time. It’s just as powerful when we read our own words about how incredibly well Marta led the meeting with the CFO back in February. By taking this approach, when the annual review rolls around, you have a year’s worth of evaluations to refer to, rather than defaulting to the latest news. Similarity bias: We like what is like us. Separating people into in-groups and out-groups appears to be part of being human. The major downside is we sometimes use superficial proxies like skin color or gender to decide who’s “one of us” and who’s not. This is similarity bias: We favor people who are like us, often at the expense of those who are not. At work, this tendency can lead male managers to unknowingly devote more attention to other men, for example, or religious people to favor those who practice the same faith. Even if managers claim to be “blind” to certain traits, out-group members still must work harder to gain the manager’s attention, lest they seem like underperformers. How to address the bias. We teach managers that, before delivering a performance review, they should find something that they have in common with the employee. This primes the manager to see the employee as part of their in-group, thus conferring all the benefits of attention and perception that come with doing so. For example, a male manager reviewing a female employee might begin by discussing a recent work event they both participated in, be it a soccer league or a team meeting. Finding common ground puts both people in a psychological state of certainty, due to having aligned goals. The male manager can then focus on the employee’s ideas and accomplishments, since she is now part of his in-group. Managers that regularly strive to find common ground in conversation can make this temporary perk part of the lasting company culture. People can come to see one another as similar just by virtue of being coworkers and sharing goals, regardless of belief or appearance. By addressing these three biases, managers can make their hiring, evaluation, and promotion decisions fairer. The takeaway in all three cases relates to a core principle about mitigating cognitive biases: If you aren’t working on them, they’re probably working on you.

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20 июня, 13:00

When Did the U.S. Stop Seeing Teachers as Professionals?

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J PAT CARTER/Getty Images Teachers have had enough. Since March, schools in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina have either been shut down or turned into sites of resistance. In Kansas, teaches are threatening to strike because their legislature continues to fund schools at a level the state Supreme Court has deemed unconstitutional. One Brookings Institute analysis projected that teacher actions could spread to another 11 states. Poor pay, increased health care costs, and diminished pension plans are certainly core issues — teachers in Oklahoma haven’t received a pay boost in a decade. But these problems alone aren’t driving the protests. In every state where teachers have recently gone on strike, demands for increase school funding have been made. Disinvestment in schools has also been central to teacher strikes that have occurred since 2011, in Jersey City, Philadelphia, Chicago (twice), Seattle, Portland and Wisconsin. The teachers’ position is that, under the cover of a commitment to improving schools, school district and local governments have instead closed neighborhood public schools, opened charter schools, instituted standard curriculums, mandated poorly thought out high-stakes standardized testing, attacked teacher tenure, instituted merit pay instead of annual salary increments, restricted collective bargaining rights, and subjected teachers to questionable and punitive evaluation schemes.  The result of years of “reform” has been modest improvement but little progress in national student performance. This, it seems, is the tipping point and brings me to what I believe is at the heart of what is really happening here: Teachers are seeing their own experience be devalued by policymakers and other officials with little experience in the education field, and it’s not improving the education of their students. In other words, and as others have noted, teachers are balking at the erosion of their status as professionals. In fact, I would submit that it’s precisely because of their sense of professionalism that teachers are driven to an agonizing decision to withhold their labor. Teachers perceive themselves and their students as being treated as fungible costs of production, cogs in a bureaucratic machine. To them, nothing less than the education profession is at risk. What is professionalism exactly? While there are varying definitions and disagreements among sociologists, a set of criteria put forth by Mirko Noordegraaf, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, is helpful. The starting point, he says, is “typically an emphasis on ‘good work’ and the social mechanisms for accomplishing this.” He further stresses that a “professional does not merely work; he/she has to be educated and trained, (socialized) as member of an occupational domain, supervised by his/her peers and held accountable.” Noordegraaf then acknowledges an element to professionalism that serves as the locus of historical and contemporary struggle for teachers: “professionals succeed in realizing so-called professional control: they control themselves.” Professionalism demands the capacity to internally organize and protect “professional practices from external influences.” The work of teachers also substantially accords with renown public administration expert Frederick Mosher’s definition of a profession: “[…] a more or less specialized and purposeful field of human activity which require some specialized education or training (though it may be acquired on the job), which offers a career of life work, and enjoys a relatively high status. It normally aspires to social, not selfish, purpose. Usually, but not always, it requires a degree or certification, and credential of some kind. Often its members join in a professional organization, local, state, or national, which enunciates standards and ethics of professional performance sometimes with the powers of enforcement.” This definition is echoed by a 2013 national survey of 20,000 conducted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It found that 6 out of 10 teachers went directly into teaching after earning their undergraduate or graduate degree. They taught because they wanted to provide a valuable public service. Eighty-five percent of teachers said they went into the profession because they wanted “to make a difference in children’s’ lives,” beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. The survey reported that 99% of teachers “strongly agreed or agreed” with the statement that “teaching is more than academics; it is also about reinforcing good citizenship, resilience and social skills.” Education, then, is not usually an incremental step to a better way to make a living life or a waystation to another career. Teaching, like pastoring, is often a “calling.” So it stands to reason that teachers themselves are the appropriate people to define the best “educational practices, entrance routes, credentialing requirements, continuing training options, codes of conduct, and methods of enforcement.” Except today, they’re not. A form of the classical structural-functionalist theory of professionalism prevails. This sociological view, first formulated by Talcott Parsons, holds that a profession is a static thing with attributes that apply without exception. Here, professionalism is a skill that can be practiced and learned over time, by anyone, with success and failure measured based on an agreed-upon objective standard. The recent history of the teaching profession helps explain why this version has come to dominate. When teaching became “automated” In 1983, President Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education published A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, a much debated and often mischaracterized call-to-arms. The authors sent a clear distress signal: “We report to the American people that… the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.” After A Nation at Risk was widely popularized, it became conventional wisdom that education was, in fact, in crisis. Task forces and commissions claimed to have evidence of failing students, obstructionist teacher unions, and poorly performing teachers. The constant saturation of negative school headlines took its toll: The public’s approval rating of public schools fell from 58% in 1973 to 29% in 2012. It was then that a belief in external controls began influencing the industry. In this view, an independent and external body best regulates teachers, in which teachers are part of an accountable and efficient production system. Schools needed to function more like businesses and successfully compete for students. To this end, teachers’ work has subsequently been the subject of major restructuring over the past three decades. Teachers are increasingly directed to follow a mandated curriculum, abide by grade level or school district units of study, and follow predetermined lesson plans. In addition, test-based accountability has colonized teaching techniques and objectives, teacher performance evaluations are yoked to student test scores, and teacher training programs are de-emphasized. Teachers also have little influence over professional development content, school-wide organization, or school budget decisions. Under these command and control conditions, teaching looks more like automation then imagination. As University of British Columbia professor Wendy Poole noted, “teachers’ work, once conceived as requiring high discretion and autonomy, is increasingly reduced to technical-rational conceptions of teaching and teachers are increasingly viewed as technicians. “ Creativity is squeezed out for conformity and teacher autonomy suppressed; room for going “rogue” is the exception. Unless everyone reads Shakespeare, no one does. I suspect that overhauling the work of teachers and undermining their professional status has also been aided by society’s tendency to undervalue “women’s work” (more than 75% of teachers in the U.S. are women). This all occurs in an environment where teachers need higher skills — many are required to have advanced degrees and numerous certifications — and are asked to do more with less. In addition to being under pressure to meet or exceed standardized performance indicators, teachers suffer from an intensification of work. They work 60-plus hour work weeks, are in near-constant communication with parents, and must collect copious amounts of student data, among many other administrative and technological tasks. Stagnant job growth in the industry has also led to increased class sizes. In other words, teachers are asked to work harder and longer with a growing number of students while also being told to adhere to an education plan they have little control over. The impact has been punishing. In one study, 93% of teachers reported high stress levels, while only 7% self identified as “well-adjusted.”  A survey by the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association reported that educators find work to be stressful 61% of the time and nearly a quarter of respondents said work was “always” stressful.  The survey notes for comparison purposes, “workers in the general population report that work is stressful 30% of the time.” And yet, for decades, teachers have endured. Why? In our book on the 2012 Chicago teacher strike, my colleague and I note, “Teacher unions have largely made compromises with the prevailing wisdom. They haven’t done so without expressed reservation or opposition, but in the face of an irrational and bipartisan demonization of schoolteachers and their unions, some believed tactical retreat seemed prudent.” And surveys of teachers suggest that many are interested in new school concepts that invite entrepreneurial thinking and experimentation. For most teachers, small acts of resistance while accommodating new bureaucratic boundaries has been possible, but only when a sense of professional control and a measure of satisfaction could still be derived from the work. In 2013, even as 82% of teachers found the ever-shifting nature of education reform to be the most significant challenge they face, many still maintained a love of the work and the profession. They still do — but their control has been eroded to almost nothing. That’s why they’re striking. Another theory of professionalism Yes, teachers need to be paid more and have better health benefits. But policymakers need to understand the kind of professionalism teachers are demanding, too. The professionalism practiced by teachers recognizes and prioritizes contextuality. This echoes a theory by LSU School of Library & Information Science professor Suzanne Stauffer who puts forth that there is nothing “discrete, universal, or enduring” about professions because they’re constantly changing in relationship to the market and the state. Because of this, professionalism is not merely a collection of traits or an individual competency that can be mastered — it can’t be, because these traits and expertise are constantly changing depending on context. In other words, teachers recognize that the school environment and children’s needs dictate what professionalism requires at a given moment in time. This means that a teacher’s classroom experiences, and the teacher-student relationship, is what ultimately creates the boundaries for what it means to be a professional. This does not rely on consultant-developed tests to measure student competency, but instead uses teacher-constructed assessments oriented to the subject matters they teach. Instead of standardized curriculum and lesson plans, teachers have the freedom to determine the best course to help each child acquire the necessary learning standards. The time needed to cover subject content corresponds to each learner’s capacity and not an arbitrary schedule demanding that every kid masters everything at the same moment. A contextualized professionalism would have teachers teach children, not a curriculum. What’s at stake The aspirations of today’s educators are not new. In 1987, the President of the National Educators Association Mary Hatwood Futrell hopefully wrote that, “We may at last be on the brink of realizing the centuries-old dream of American teachers: professional status, professional compensation… professional autonomy.” We’re clearly not there yet. But with today’s protests, public school teachers are pushing back harder than ever against rigid definitions of professionalism. Instead, they are offering their own student-centered approach, combining training, context, flexibility, and a lifelong commitment to children and society. But the failure of elected officials and school boards to recognize a teacher-constructed professionalism is an invitation to endless conflict. This battle has implications for who sets educational policy and gets to decide the future of public education. The outcome of that struggle will assuredly determine the quality of the nation’s schools and, subsequently, the strength of our country’s democracy. In the meantime, if the education profession continues to degrade, teachers will do what they know best and what their professional responsibility demands. Whether they’re in the classroom or picketing, they will protect their children. So while teachers have been forced to listen to the corporate-styled version of professionalism for decades, they’re making their voices heard on the streets. Why? Because the non-educators outside of the school have stopped (or never really started) listening to the version cherished by teachers.

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20 июня, 13:00

How Investment Advisors Are Tackling Leadership Challenges - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM TD AMERITRADE

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The challenges facing leaders today create a complex business landscape: Your business is more global, the pace is faster, technology is reframing your competitive world while customers, armed with more information and more choices, are changing their expectations and demands. That picture also reflects the challenges that face the more than 6,000 registered investment advisors who work with TD Ameritrade, leaders of firms that manage a total of more than $3 trillion of assets for their clients. While they deal with the increasing complexity of the financial world, market volatility and a changing regulatory environment, these advisors also manage their own businesses and face their own leadership challenges around growth, technology, sustainability and customer relationship. That’s why TD Ameritrade recently brought together a group of 200 top registered investment advisors (RIAs) for a leadership conference at The Broadmoor in Colorado. The three-day event featured speakers such as presidential biographer and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, talking about strategies for leadership and resilience and self-reflection. The program also included workshops that explored management trends and insights into the future of the advisor industry. Tim Hockey, president and CEO of TD Ameritrade, described the world of today’s advisors as one that is being reshaped by technology, hyper-connectivity and a shifting customer experience. In working with TD Ameritrade’s clients, providing services that range from a portfolio platform to advocacy and management consultant, Hockey said the company takes a holistic view of developing leadership. “Advisors look to us for best practices, not just in running the business but in becoming a better leader,” he said. “The best leaders constantly ask how can I be a better leader, not just so I can think through a business problem or get a competitive edge, but so I can develop as a human being. The best leaders are lifelong students.” Hockey singled out some areas where leaders of advisor firms – and other organizations – must adjust to new ways of operating: Technology Changes the Game – But Not in the Way We Expected. In the early days, people said the Internet will do away with the middle man in investing and other services. With so much information and so many transaction channels available, some experts said people would believe they no longer need an advisor. That did not turn out to be true, Hockey said. With so much data and information overwhelming them, people are turning to advisors. Indeed, the RIA channel has experience significant growth in the past decade. But the winners in the future will be the advisors who understand that technology allows them to be more efficient – and find new ways demonstrate their value to clients. “The ability to build an asset allocation model is now table stakes – we have technology that can do that,” Hockey said. He pointed to TD Ameritrade’s open-architecture platform that provides trading and portfolio management, giving advisors the ability to customize their offerings and supply a variety of portfolio strategies that tap into the minds of money managers without any of the complexities associated with outsourcing portfolio construction. Hockey predicted a world where technology like Amazon’s Alexa would be part of the advisor toolkit, providing quotes, and fact and figures in meetings while the advisors deploy online platforms to create portfolios and offer highly personalized services. “The best advisors will understand technology tools to automate so they can specialize in what cannot be automated,” he said. “The winners in the future will be the ones who embrace technology and use it to move upstream.” What Worked with Customers in the Past Won’t be Enough in the Future. The old customer relationship model has been blown apart for advisors, Hockey said. “Just doing an asset allocation model has gone the way of the dinosaur,” said Hockey. “Customers now have many more feeds of information and they have more inputs and they can log on to see returns. If you are an advisor today, you must be more knowledgeable, be quicker to respond, and be clear about your strategies and your unique value.” Customers come armed with information and questions to meetings and they check on credentials and reputations online, he said. Advisors can’t assume that clients will automatically agree with recommendations. They must focus on specialized client needs, while finding new ways of ensuring constant communication and information, aided by technology. “The new way of doing business is highly relationship-oriented and less transactional – even if it is easy to fall in the trap of thinking we should just focus on the data” he said. And Hockey said advisors must develop a new conversation with clients about uncertainty. “We are in the longest bull run in history, so a generation of advisors have never seen a downturn,” Hockey said. “Since 1981, clients have not lived through rising interest rates. But this will change and life will change. The best clients are geared up now, talking to clients about preparing for it. They are helping them understand that it won’t always be sweetness and light.” Managing Growth Looks Different When You are at the Top. Succession and talent management are big issues in many of TD Ameritrade’s advisor firms. The average advisor owner/ leader is now over 50 and as they think about the future of their company and scaling up, their clients also want to know what will happen to their accounts in a new generation of leadership. So recruitment that will help firms mirror the diversity of a new pool of clients is important. And leading a team of younger advisors also demands new skills, Hockey said. “Command and control is passé,” he said. “Today you have to tap into talent in a new way to get out the box. We have to focus on pushing down decision making so the new ideas come up.” To learn more about strategies for leadership from TD Ameritrade click here.

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20 июня, 12:05

What Western Companies Need to Know About Partnering with Startups in India and China

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px photography/Getty Images There are two contemporary strategic imperatives, among others, that many executives are grappling with: (1) competing in emerging markets and (2) partnering with startups to gain exposure to novel ideas and opportunities. While each on its own is hard enough to accomplish, in concert these imperatives pose a formidable challenge — yet one that some Western corporations are taking on, notably in China and India. Compounding the challenge is the reality that while often taken in the same breath, China and India are in fact a study in contrasts. Failing to take into account China-India differences can lead to inappropriate uniformity in the startup partnering strategies across these emerging markets. A more nuanced approach is needed when partnering with startups in those two important emerging markets (and entrepreneurial ecosystems). A useful starting point in analyzing China-India differences is the argument made by Harvard Business School Professor Tarun Khanna that India is essentially an institutionally weaker and more chaotic version of economies like the U.S. or UK, while China’s economy is qualitatively different in that it has been shaped by stronger state support and is consequently better organized. While there is no doubt an intent to strengthen India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, its state support is more limited and less sophisticated than China’s in addressing the voids that impede innovation and entrepreneurship. State support in China profoundly influences all three sets of actors that are vital in the context of corporation-startup partnering — ecosystem orchestrators, ecosystem participants, and ecosystem intermediaries — leading to certain distinctive features in China. First, in relation to ecosystem orchestrators, China has spawned strong home-grown rivals that shape the competition among corporations for the hearts and minds of startups. Second, in China, ecosystem participants — including startups — pay heed to the government’s national priority areas which influences the capabilities and orientation of the partner pool that a multinational can tap. Third, the Chinese ecosystem intermediaries (e.g. incubators) that nurture startups typically embody local government efforts through which state policy is implemented on the ground. Corresponding to each of these sets of actors, based upon my research in China and India (see “About the Research”), I recommend three ways multinationals’ startup partnering strategies in China be adapted to address the unique partnering opportunities and challenges in that market, which would differ from their approach in other emerging markets like India. About the ResearchThese insights stem from a three-year study (2015-18) in which 102 interviews were conducted with multinational executives, startup entrepreneurs, accelerator managers, government officials and industry experts in China and India, chiefly in the cities of Bangalore, Beijing, and Shanghai. The interviews’ focus was on understanding emergent partnering practices between corporations and startups including the role of the government, if any, in these. Apart from academic papers, this study has yielded teaching cases (e.g. Testin). Additionally, to get a broader perspective, 40 interviews were conducted during this period with similar informants in other locations including the US, UK, Germany, Israel and South Africa. Differentiate against home-grown rivals. Unlike in India, Western multinationals in China must contend with the triumvirate of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, collectively known as BAT, which are the dominant ecosystem orchestrators. This means that attracting startups to their ecosystem is a bigger challenge since many local startups will naturally gravitate towards BAT. For instance, in most major battlefields the key startups are backed by one or another of these companies; in the bike-sharing space, Mobike is backed by Tencent and its archrival Ofo by Alibaba. Moreover, some Western multinationals — notably ones such as Facebook and Google that would compete frontally with some of these corporations — wind up playing little to no visible role in the competitive landscape. The upshot is that Western multinationals operating in China are competing not only with each other but, more significantly, also local rivals and must differentiate themselves more forcefully than is necessary in India by, for instance, playing to their strengths in B2B rather than B2C business models. Align partner programs with national priorities. A manifestation of the Chinese state’s dominance is the clear articulation of national priority areas — for instance, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) — which in turn directs the attention of startups to such areas. An implication for multinationals seeking startup partners in China is that they are likely to get more bang for their buck by seeking out startups whose focus is aligned with those priorities. Such considerations seem less pertinent in a market like India where nationally mandated focus areas are less engrained. It also means that in China, multinationals would do well to ensure that publicly announced partner initiatives mirror the Chinese landscape, as is well illustrated in the case of Intel’s Mass Makerspace Accelerator Program, announced by global CEO Brian Krzanich in Shenzhen; the focus on areas like the Internet of Things and robotics are highly consistent with China’s national priorities (e.g. through its Made in China policy). By contrast, India may well see more bottom-up initiatives such as the Intel India Maker Lab which resulted from the entrepreneurial efforts of a subsidiary leader, albeit with subsequent government support. Leverage local government policy efforts. In China, policy measures initiated at the national level to redress the institutional voids impeding innovation and entrepreneurship cascade down to more local levels — the province level, city level, district level, and so on — through what are often entrepreneurial and creative actions taken by local government officials. For multinationals this can represent an opportunity to tap into ecosystem intermediaries that help enhance the efficacy of their startup partnering efforts. This may take the form of district governments within a large city like Shanghai incentivizing corporations to participate in efforts such as Zhangjiang High Tech Park’s Transnational Enterprises Joint Incubation Platform or to establish accelerators of their own, as in the case of Microsoft — China is the only country where it has set up a second accelerator. Other policy efforts may be less obvious (yet effective) as a means to foster startup partnering, as in the case of IBM’s collaborations with local startups via the Smart City program in less known Ningbo city. By contrast, in India, multinationals tend to work more closely with private sector entities such as the software trade body, Nasscom, through the latter’s 10K Warehouse program. In sum, while any emerging market requires a distinct strategy, in the case of China the distinctiveness of the strategy will likely be greater than in India because of the profound role of the state in influencing ecosystem orchestrators, participants, and intermediaries. Of course, today’s China may offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s India as the state seeks to introduce new policy measures — but their effects will likely take time to be seen. But as things stand, Western corporations’ efficacy in tapping the unprecedented opportunities to engage with startups in emerging markets such as China and India will, in part, be determined by how well they approach these markets in suitably distinct ways.

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19 июня, 19:04

Getting People to Help You

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Heidi Grant, a social psychologist, explains the right ways and wrong ways to ask colleagues for help. She says people are much more likely to lend us a hand than we think they are; they just want it to be a rewarding experience. Grant is the author of Reinforcements: How to Get People to Help You. Download this podcast

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19 июня, 15:00

How Liberals and Conservatives Shop Differently

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hbr staff/thelinke/Getty Images After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would no longer sell semiautomatic rifles in its hunting and fishing stores (it had already stopped selling them at its main stores after the December 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting). The company has gone on to destroy the guns it pulled from its shelves, rather than selling them back to the manufacturers. CEO Ed Stack told The New York Times, “We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.” While some consumers threatened to boycott the retailer, the company’s stock is up, and public perception of the brand is more positive overall. Dick’s is not alone. The charged political atmosphere is increasingly influencing the marketplace, and retailers are having to figure out where they stand. Consumers are putting more pressure on companies to choose sides (a recent survey showed that 66% of consumers want companies to take a stand on social and political issues), and customers are increasingly interpreting company actions through a political lens. In part, this reflects rising polarization overall. According to recent reports, the polarization of political attitudes in America has been on the rise over the last two decades, reached new heights during President Obama’s administration, and has become even larger during President Trump’s first year in office. Rising political divisions shape where individuals prefer to live, the types of people they surround themselves with, and how they interact with their parents, children, neighbors and partners. In this era, it seems, everything is political — including shopping. But our research suggests American consumers’ brand preferences are shaped not only by where companies stand on politically polarizing issues, but also by consumers’ own political affiliations and subtle brand associations. In a series of studies that I have conducted with Daniel Fernandes, a colleague from the Catholic University of Lisbon, we found that consumers’ political ideology shapes how they choose to differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace. People (of all political persuasions) have a fundamental desire to stand out from the crowd and to showcase their identity to others (Snyder and Fromkin 1980). From fast cars and expensive watches to unique clothes and the latest gadgets, consumers use products to signal that they are more affluent, powerful, creative, or hip than others. In turn, brands use market positioning and ad taglines to cue different identities that consumers may wish to adopt. While some products clearly cater to consumers’ desires to signal their superior qualities and positions to others (take Mercedes’s claim “A Class Ahead”), others speak to consumers’ desires to express their uniqueness from others (take Apple’s famous tagline “Think Different” or Vans’ slogan “Off The Wall”). In our work, we find that conservative and liberal ideologies lead consumers to systematically choose different strategies to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. In our research, conservatives tended to differentiate themselves through products that show that they are better than others – for example, by choosing products from high-status luxury brands. In contrast, liberals tended to differentiate themselves through products that show that they are unique from others – for example, by choosing products with unconventional designs or colors. These distinct preferences emerged across multiple studies in which U.S. participants (university students who completed surveys in the lab, adults who took surveys online, and members of a research panel) indicated their political ideology and made real or hypothetical choices between products. In one study, participants chose between coffee mugs that would be customized with their names and the message “Just Better” or “Just Different.” Conservatives were 2.2 times more likely than liberals to choose the mug that signaled superiority (“Just Better”) over the one that signaled uniqueness (“Just Different”). In another study, participants could win a gift card from one of two brands as a reward for participation — Ralph Lauren, which based on our numerous pretests of consumers’ brand perceptions generally signals superiority, and Urban Outfitters, which based on our pretests generally signals uniqueness. Conservatives tended to prefer Ralph Lauren, whereas liberals tended to prefer Urban Outfitters. These patterns emerged regardless of whether political ideology was captured by a simple dichotomous scale (“How would you categorize your political identity: liberal or conservative?” from Tetlock, Hannum, and Micheletti 1984), a single question (which asks people to locate themselves on a scale from 1 = “extremely liberal” to 9 = “extremely conservative” from Jost 2006), or a scale that measured people’s attitudes toward various topics (capital punishment, abortion, gun control, socialized healthcare, same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, and Democrats from Nail et al. 2009). Similar results emerged even when we temporarily made a conservative or a liberal identity salient to participants by asking them to recall a time when they were interacting with someone who was more liberal or someone who was more conservative than them. The results were also consistent across income brackets. For example, in one study participants from different annual income brackets were asked to rate their interest in wearing a red outfit to a professional networking event. They were told that most people would wear black to the event and hence that a red outfit would make them stand out. However, half of the participants were primed to think that red would signal superiority after reading a magazine article which claimed that red was increasingly regarded as the “color of success, prosperity, and accomplishments in the 21st century,” whereas the other half were primed to think that red would signal uniqueness after reading an article which claimed that red was regarded as the “color of originality, rebelliousness, and edge in the 21st century.” Regardless of their income bracket, conservatives were more interested in wearing the red outfit when they thought that red signaled superiority (rather than uniqueness), and liberals were more interested in wearing the red outfit when they thought that red signaled uniqueness (rather than superiority). We hypothesized that these differences in product preferences might emerge because of different beliefs about social hierarchies. Conservatives tend to endorse social hierarchies as reflecting legitimate differences in people’s skills and work ethic. As a result, conservatives view products that signal superiority as legitimate reflections of their favorable individual qualities such as hard work and motivation. On the other hand, liberals tend to oppose hierarchical social structures, believing that everyone works hard and that some people attain high positions in society because of luck or connections. As a result, liberals try to break away from traditional hierarchical structures and to signal their unique identities in alternative, non-conventional ways. To test this explanation, in multiple studies, in addition to measuring participants’ preferences for superiority-signaling and uniqueness-signaling products, we also measured participants’ beliefs about the social hierarchy (using a validated scale from Pratto et al. 1994, which included items such as “some groups of people are simply inferior to other groups” and “inferior groups should stay in their place”). The results confirmed that hierarchy beliefs account for conservatives’ and liberals’ distinct choices of self-differentiating products. This ultimately means that if conservatives’ and liberals’ perceptions of hierarchical structures can be reconciled, at least temporarily, the differences in their product preferences may also be bridged. These findings encourage marketers to think about how they position their products. Brands that emphasize superiority or luxury may be appealing to conservatives, while brands that signal distinctiveness or unusualness may be resonating with liberals. Furthermore, our findings suggest that different products may do better in conservative or liberal regions, or when they are advertised in conservative or liberal media, depending on their product positioning. For example, our analysis of over 130 million searches on Google across conservative and liberal U.S. states showed that searchers’ interest in Ralph Lauren (and in similar superiority-signaling products and concepts) was higher across conservative states, whereas interest in Urban Outfitters (and in similar uniqueness-signaling products and concepts) was higher across liberal states. Ultimately, this work introduces a new, political lens for understanding key differences in consumers’ purchase decisions, and it can shine a new light on how certain differences in preferences (in the store, and, maybe, at the kitchen table) can, at least temporarily, be bridged.

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19 июня, 14:23

Back in September with Season Two!

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We’re delighted to be making more episodes for you. Download this podcast Help shape our conversations by responding to these questions. You can answer as few or as many as you’d like: What work decisions do you struggle with? Do you overthink? Stress about making the best choice? Is there a strategy you’ve found useful in making complex decisions? Ever wonder if being a woman influences your decision making? Tell us about a time when a colleague took credit for your idea: What happened? How did it make you feel? Did you speak up about it? And what about when you’ve made it clear that you alone were behind a success: How did you do it? How did taking ownership make you feel? What questions do you have about claiming credit? Do you describe yourself as a perfectionist? If yes, how does that show up in your job? Has that pressure ever gotten in the way of making a decision or finishing a project? If you know how to keep your perfectionism in check, how do you do it? What questions do you have about perfectionism? Tell us about the “office chores” you do: Do they include taking notes? Handling lunch orders? Cleaning out the fridge? How did you wind up with this work? If you’ve been able to stop doing office housework, how did you say no? Send your responses to [email protected] Your answers will help us explore women’s experiences at work in the new season. And our producer might write you back to hear more about your story and ask if we can use it on the show. Thanks for contributing! We’ll be covering a lot more in season two, and we’ll keep asking for your input. Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.

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19 июня, 14:00

It’s Not Always Clear What Constitutes Sexual Harassment. Use This Tool to Navigate the Gray Areas.

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Peter Dazeley/Getty Images The #MeToo movement started by activist Tarana Burke gained momentum in October of 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano invited women on Twitter to respond “me too” to her tweet if they’d experienced sexual harassment or abuse. Women did so across social media, telling their stories and revealing the extent to which so many had lived in silence. The Time’s Up movement was founded shortly thereafter to foster fairness, safety, and equity for women in the workplace. Part of its purpose is to alter the power system that favors men and thereby provides a foundation for discrimination and hostility toward women. The passion was palpable. A cultural shift had taken place, and not just for women. Men began to consider their roles; some engaged in soul searching, wondering if they’d done enough as bystanders to stop sexual misconduct directed at women. Others, however, felt threatened. They worried that the accusations against high profile men leading to resignations and firings might happen to them. Some adopted the “Pence Rule” at work, refusing to meet with women alone. In my experience working with leaders in organizations, much of this negative reaction to women’s voices being raised stems from a lack of understanding about what exactly constitutes harassment. Because there is a lot of gray area when it comes to delineating mild to serious forms of gender-based offenses, confusion naturally clouds efforts to eradicate them — and questions abound. Where are the lines over which men should not step?  How should men and women be handling comments and behaviors that are mildly — or deeply — offensive? When are resignation and firing appropriate? In response to questions like these, I developed the Spectrum of Sexual Misconduct at Work (SSMW) to help people define and differentiate among types of gender-based offense. The SSMW was derived from my interviews and interactions with hundreds of women in a wide variety of fields. It is intended as a blueprint for men, women and organizations to use in becoming familiar with levels of offense that can harm work relationships and create or perpetuate hostile work environments. Most important, the SSMW provides a means of talking about sexual misconduct — a way to halt backlash against women by formulating solutions. It also helps women decide when and how to respond to behaviors they see as offensive whether minor or extreme. Organizations can use it as a framework to provide training that improves work culture and lowers the risk of conflict and legal action.   As you can see from the spectrum, I used the term “sexual misconduct” to include mild and moderate forms of offense, sexual harassment, and abuse. The lowest level on the spectrum (“Generally not offensive” behavior) is included because women repeatedly told me that some seemingly innocuous behaviors, such as commenting on a woman’s looks or manner of dress, if accompanied by sexually toned glances or gestures, can be experienced as misconduct. Additionally, women I’ve interviewed believe such comments and behaviors, if repeated often enough, become offensive. Decisions about which category a behavior falls into depend on the situation, history of the relationship, tone of delivery, and nonverbal behaviors. I can, however, provide some general examples to facilitate discussion. Comments like “You look nice today” or “I like your haircut” would most likely fall into the first category of “Generally not offensive.” Whereas, a comment such as “We can’t speak frankly around you women anymore” is more likely to be interpreted as at least “Awkward/Mildly offensive.” Behaviors such as uninvited hugs or implying or stating that women are distracted by family likely move along the spectrum to “Offensive.” Jokes or implications about a woman’s intellect or skills being limited due to her gender or comments on physical attributes made with the intention of embarrassing, insulting, or demeaning the target are examples of the “Highly offensive” category. Behaviors further along the spectrum toward “Evident sexual misconduct” include such behaviors as looking a woman up and down in a sexually suggestive manner or grabbing, touching, kissing, or otherwise ignoring a woman’s expressed disinterest in an intimate relationship. At the far end of the spectrum, “Egregious sexual misconduct,” includes behaviors such as pressing against a woman suggestively and threatening or implying career damage to a woman who refuses to engage in sex or sexual behavior. The placement of these examples may vary somewhat across teams adapting the spectrum for their own use and teams may develop additional examples relevant to the culture in which they work. Note that while the SSMW focuses on offensive behavior directed at women by men, sexual misconduct can take many forms. Certainly, a woman can be the offending party. An additional benefit of using the SSMW as a blueprint for discussions is that those other forms can be identified along with ways of effectively dealing with them. How Companies Are Using The Spectrum My goal in developing the SSMW was not to create a cut-and-dried, one-size-fits- all, static set of categories. I wanted to provide a working taxonomy that organizational teams and groups can adapt and make their own. Persuasion research shows that if people are involved in discussing different ways of looking at situations and developing rules for responses consistent with their views, they are more likely  to be receptive to change. Ideally, people at organizations will work together to provide additional examples of behaviors at each level of the spectrum as well as ways to effectively respond. Organizations from law firms to tech companies to nonprofits, have been using the spectrum. My advice to them — and to anyone who wants to implement it — is to treat the spectrum as a living document. Talk about what behaviors and examples should go where and why (see the exercise in the sidebar). The experiences from companies using the spectrum have been encouraging. Katherin Nukk-Freeman, an attorney and partner at Nukk-Freeman & Cerra P.C, has used the spectrum in training employees and she’s found that it can encourage an “upstander culture.” By this she means a willingness on the part of women and men to address sexual misconduct and deal with it openly and constructively. Instead of ignoring incidents, Nukk-Freeman says, people are more willing to speak up. David Lawrence, the Chief Collaborative Risk Officer at the Risk Assistance Network and Exchange (RANE), sees the SSMW as an essential tool for organizations to “understand the various and often nuanced ranges of sexual misconduct that can occur — as well as to find the necessary solutions from a risk management perspective that can protect an organization’s reputation.” He believes that too many organizations are under-responding.  Some leaders think that certain conduct could never exist in their organizations. Others lay low or believe they’ve done enough about sexual misconduct.  But Lawrence says, “Organizations that don’t provide employees with a way to talk about it, raise the issues early and share their experiences and perspectives, will remain on a slippery slope.” He adds, “While they wring their hands the problem can quickly metastasize.” Sandra Corelli, vice president at the training company, Corporate Class Inc. based in Toronto, Canada, has worked in HR for over eighteen years and has started using the spectrum in her trainings on gender differences. For her, the spectrum is useful in assuring that the person who comes forward about sexual misconduct “feels heard and seen,” since it captures the nuance found in so many of these situations. “A single comment or gesture may mean little, but a string of them can turn into a sentence” — perhaps with unintended offensive meaning, she says. Corelli advises that no senior manager take for granted that offenses on the spectrum aren’t happening where they work. Exercise: Using the Spectrum in Your OrganizationWhen using the spectrum in your team, division, or company, below are a few scenarios to start the conversation. Bring people together with a proven facilitator who can keep the discussion away from naming particular people and placing blame. Discuss where on the spectrum each scenario belongs. Determine if the situation can be resolved on-the-spot. If so, what could be said to assure it won’t happen again? Which ones present teachable moments, and which are too far along the spectrum and so require interventions by senior management and/or HR? After inviting you to a meeting, a colleague notes that you’ll be a great addition because you’ll bring a “woman’s gentle perspective.” Your boss gives you an enthusiastic, tight hug after you tell him that you landed a client deal. He has never done this before. Several times, you’ve made clear to your manager that you don’t want to go out with him.  He tells you that’s a bad career decision. A more senior person in your organization tells you that he’s “taken an interest in you” and regularly insists you sit next to him at meetings, pulling your chair close. You overhear him tell your boss, with a smile that makes you uncomfortable, that he plans to mentor you.   A coworker tells you that he had a dream about you last night. When you ask what it was about, he says, “You don’t want to know” and winks at you. Your boss tends to use his hands when he speaks. One time in an animated discussion, he throws his arms out wide – and accidentally touches your breast. A colleague requests a meeting with you but in a private place so “no one will get the wrong idea.” You came to work wearing a new dress. Your boss comments in passing that it looks nice on you. A colleague corners you at an off-site meeting. Others are watching. You try to edge away. He pulls you close and kisses you hard. You stand up at your desk. A male coworker looks you up and down and says to the amusement of others, “Nine point five.” You wear a slightly snug sweater to work and a coworker says, “You’ve been hiding your light under a bushel.” He appears to mean it as a compliment. Challenges to Using the Spectrum Of course, using the SSMW presents challenges for some organizations. Speaking with U.S. congressional and senatorial staff members, for example, I found concern about being too visible on this issue, in part because they were afraid of creating a backlash. Another concern is that some colleagues have been asked to resign before their alleged misconduct could be assessed using a spectrum approach. If after using the SSMW, they realized that they might have overreacted, or in other cases, underreacted, there would be many challenging questions to answer. The SSMW might also be difficult to use in an organization where open conversations about challenging issues aren’t the norm. Nukk-Freeman says that the spectrum would likely be more welcome in an “evolved organization” characterized by openness and flexibility. The #MeToo movement escalated due to sexual misconduct in an industry known for a lack of such openness. I recently spoke with David Puttnam and Sandy Lieberson, award-winning producers and educators who described the film industry as especially challenging for women.  Puttnam explained that even women who seemed secure at the top in the past have “always felt like they were looking over their shoulders” and Lieberson emphasized the “culture of fear” and lack of mentoring that hurt women’s chances of long term success. Such corporate cultures tend to go into lockdown when issues of sexual misconduct arise. Talking about sexual misconduct may indeed bring up feelings that many individuals and organizations would just as soon avoid. But conflict is a part of change. The spectrum should be employed with facilitators — internal or external — who can manage discussions to avoid anger and help people focus on the future rather than the past. Developing a Repertoire of Responses to Sexual Misconduct In addition to helping organizations have more open conversations about what is and isn’t inappropriate, I also wanted to help people develop a repertoire of responses they can employ on-the-spot when an offense occurs. By empowering people to respond on their own, issues that could become legal problems can be dealt with between or among the parties involved. Below is a sample of comments that can be used to halt gender-based offenses; some are suited to lesser offenses and to people with styles that are not direct.  Others get right to the point. Which you choose to use will depend on the situation and what feels right to you. “I’m taking a moment to be sure I heard you right.” “This seems like a good time to take a break — to reflect on what was just said.” “If I look perplexed, it’s because I’m thinking about how to give you the benefit of the doubt.” “I suggest we step back for a moment, as something just went awry.” “Of all the things I thought you might say, that certainly wasn’t one of them.” “If I said what I’m thinking, we’d both be out of line.” “For two people who respect each other, we’re certainly off course today.” “Do you want to run that by me again in a less personal way?” “Did you really say that?” “I usually respond defensively to comments like that, so give me a moment.” “If I didn’t know you, I’d think you were insulting me.” “I have a rule about comments like that one — I don’t respond.” “Were you making a point or simply trying to amuse yourself at my expense?” “You’re funny sometimes, but not today.”   With the #MeToo Movement taking front stage at the moment, the considerable risk to careers and organizations, and potential backlash against women, it’s important to make every effort to talk openly about sexual misconduct. The better our ability to articulate how and to what extent particular behaviors offend, the better the chances of women and men working effectively and equitably together. While these conversations are no doubt challenging, they are far superior to a black hole of silence. No good can come from that.