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17 ноября, 15:00

How to Excel at Both Strategy and Execution

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Adam Pretty/Getty Images For decades, we’ve often thought of leadership profiles in unique buckets—two popular varieties were the “visionaries”, who embrace strategy and think about amazing things to do, and the “operators”, who get stuff done. We intuitively knew that there must be leaders that span these areas, but in fact, few do. According to a global survey of 700 executives across a variety of industries conducted by Strategy&, the strategy consulting division of PwC, only 8% of company leaders were said to excel at both strategy and execution. You may think that success can be achieved by excelling at either strategy or execution individually—that great visionaries can change how we see the world, or that amazing operators can wind up outperforming competitors. But our experience and research suggests that the days of keeping strategy and execution as separate topics are ending: We need leaders that can create big promises to customers, and help their organizations deliver on those promises. Take Starbucks: CEO Howard Schultz created a very ambitious aspiration for the company, far more than just being a seller of coffee. He wanted Starbucks to be a “third place” for conviviality beyond home and the workplace. Visit a Starbucks anywhere in the world, and you will find the same consistently comfortable and welcoming ambiance. But he didn’t get there simply by telling his staff to “be warm and friendly”. Starbucks has been able to deliver on its promise because that promise is tightly linked to the company’s distinctive capabilities. The feel of Starbucks stores isn’t created merely by the layout and the décor—it exists because the people behind the counter understand how their work fits into a common purpose, and recognize how to accomplish great things together without needing to follow a script. Insight center The Gap Between Strategy and Execution Sponsored by the Brightline Initiative Aligning the big picture with the day-to-day. Over many years, Starbucks has built a capability to foster a relationship-driven, “employees-first” approach. It was Schultz who famously said “You can walk into [any type of retail store] and you can feel whether the proprietor or the merchant or the person behind the counter has a good feeling about his product. If you walk into a department store today, you are probably talking to a guy who is untrained; he was selling vacuum cleaners yesterday, and now he is in the apparel section. It just does not work.” Schultz made sure that Starbucks would be different: Workers are called “partners” rather than employees, and even part-time staff (in the U.S.) receive stock options and health insurance. At the height of the global financial crisis, when other companies were cutting HR costs wherever they could, Starbucks invested in staff training, including coffee tastings and courses that ultimately qualified employees for credit at higher education institutions. Beyond employees, much of what you will see and experience at Starbucks has been well thought out to accomplish the company’s mission, from the music played to the furniture selected. Even the bathrooms are strategic at Starbucks, because they play a part in allowing customers to spend time in the “third place.” Leaders like Howard Schultz don’t just have both the visionary and operator skills—they deeply value the connection between the two skill sets. In fact, they see them as inextricably linked, since a bold vision needs to include both a very ambitious destination and a well-conceived path for execution that will get you there. This is ever more important today, where differentiating your company is so difficult. Differentiation increasingly requires more innovative thinking, and the use of very specific areas of expertise (like Apple’s winning design, a capability that wouldn’t have been prioritized in most technology companies before Jobs). Leaders who master both strategy and execution start by building a bold but executable strategy. Next, they ensure that the company is investing behind the change. And last, they make sure the entire organization is motivated to go the journey. Developing a bold but executable strategy starts with making sure leaders have addressed the questions of “What are we great at?” and “What are we able to achieve?” rather than coming up with lofty plans and asking functional and business-unit teams to do their best to execute. Indeed, they spell out the few differentiating capabilities that the company must excel at to realize the strategy. Ensuring that the company is investing behind the change means that leaders recognize that the budget process is one of the most important tools in closing the strategy-to-execution gap. Cost isn’t an exogenous variable to be managed—it is the investment in doing the most important things well. But rarely are budgets linked closely to the strategy. If your company is merely incrementalizing the budget up or down by a few percentage points, ask yourself whether the investments are really reflective of the most important tasks. Motivating individuals is a hugely underleveraged tool to close the gap between strategy and execution. Great leaders know that success stems from specific skills that come together in unique ways to do the challenging tasks in executing the strategy. But today most employees don’t even understand how they are connected to the strategy. In a recent (not-yet-published) survey of 540 executives, managers, and non-managers by Strategy&, only 28% of employees said that they feel fully connected to the purpose and identity of their organization. Articulating the strategy in human terms—what capabilities the company will need to build, and what skills are required to do so—not only helps the company focus on how to develop the right talent, but it allows individuals to understand how their role fits into the overall strategy, and allows them to see their work in a much more fundamentally connected way. How are you doing in combining strategy and execution? Below are some questions for you to think through that cover all three stages of the strategy-to-execution continuum. Getting these three areas right allows leaders to make a big step forward toward closing the gap between strategy and execution: Build the strategy. Are you very clear about how you add value to customers in a way that others don’t, and about the specific capabilities that enable you to excel at that value proposition? As strategies are being developed, are you using the classic approach of “build the strategy, then think about execution,” or are you asking yourself the question, “Do you have the capabilities needed—or can you build the capabilities needed—to execute the strategy?” As you’re dealing with disruption, are you shaping the world around you with your given strengths, or are you waiting for change to happen, and therefore playing by someone else’s rules? Translate the strategy into the everyday. Are you diligently following through on what you have decided? You need to be very clear about what the strategy is and what it takes to succeed—and to communicate it so that everyone in the organization understands what they should be doing. Are there visible programs (for example specific new technologies, new processes, or training programs) to build the key capabilities your organization needs to win with its strategy? Are you building specific connections between strategy and the budgeting process so you’re reallocating funds to where they matter most? And do you have mechanisms in place that translate the strategy into personal goals and rewards for managers and employees? Execute the strategy. Are you motivating employees every single day to understand how what they’re doing connects to the important strategic levers that you have focused on? Are you enabling employees to work together across organizational silos to tackle the cross-functional challenges that allow the company to win? Are you keeping track not just of your performance, but of how you’re building and scaling up those few key capabilities that enable you to create value for customers in ways that others cannot? Is your management team engaged in how you are executing the strategy—not just by measuring results, but by constantly challenging the organization and supporting it in improving its key capabilities? Are you setting your team’s sights high enough for what they need to accomplish, and by when? We believe there’s a tremendous upside for companies that can succeed at strategy through execution. The leaders who are able to be both visionaries and operators, and switch between these two mindsets, are the ones who can turn their organizations into super-competitors.

17 ноября, 14:00

Why the Entire C-Suite Needs to Use the Same Metrics for Cyber Risk

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Harry Haysom/Getty Images When it comes to cybersecurity, the chains of communication that exist within an organization, if they exist at all, are often a mess. Multiple conversations about cyber risks are happening across a multitude of divisions in isolation. At the same time, members of the C-suite are measuring their potential impact using different metrics — financial, regulatory, technical, operational — leading to conflicting assessments. CEOs must address these disconnects by creating a culture that promotes open communication and transparency about vulnerabilities and collaboration to address the exposures. Organizations of all sizes across all sectors are experiencing an exponential increase in their exposure to cyber risk. The number of endpoints that need protecting is exploding as consumers demand more digital interactions and smart devices. (Gartner estimates there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020.) Adversaries have evolved from individual bad actors to highly capable organized crime groups and nation states. The regulatory landscape is increasingly shifting and, at times, conflicting at local, national, and international levels. High-profile cyberattacks — ranging from the one suffered by Sony Pictures in 2014 to the global ransomware attacks that occurred last May and June — highlight the huge financial and reputational stakes. CEOs committed to staying on top of this ever-evolving threat must break down the silos that exist in the organization in order to assess the full dimensions of the risks across the enterprise and address these exposures holistically. The consequences of not doing so could cost them the trust of their shareholders and customers and even their jobs — as the recent Equifax hack demonstrated. Insight Center The Human Element of Cybersecurity Sponsored by Varonis Shore up your company’s first line of defense. Members of the C-Suite often aren’t speaking the same language around cyber risk, and reporting lines are reinforcing silos. For instance, the general counsel thinks about the issue in terms of compliance with information security regulations such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. The chief information security officer (CISO) or chief information officer (CIO) reports the technical vulnerabilities that his or her team has successfully remediated. The chief risk officer (CRO) looks at the problem in terms of risk transfer and cyber insurance purchased. And the chief financial officer is looking at the potential financial impact. This lack of communication and coordination across functions makes it very difficult to assess the impact of cyber risk on the business as a whole or create any common metrics for doing so. This makes it difficult to prioritize the risks that need to be dealt with most urgently and more challenging to appropriately direct efforts and resources. There are several steps that CEOs should take to create a common language around cybersecurity in their organization. First, CEOs should bring together the different members of the C-suite so that all stakeholders are communicating and working in partnership to create a realistic and integrated picture of the business’ exposure. This includes: identifying critical data and assets that could be at risk; assessing technical vulnerabilities; understanding the threat landscape; appreciating the potential regulatory and compliance consequences of cyber attacks; quantifying the financial implications of attacks (e.g., business-interruption costs, lawsuits, remediation costs, loss of enterprise value, and damage to brand and reputation); and gaining a more accurate picture of the impact on shareholder value. The second step is to create a culture that encourages employees to speak openly about cyber-risk exposure without fear of negative repercussions. It’s rare that a CEO motivates key members of the C-suite — especially the CISO or CRO — to report the seriousness of a company’s exposures as they evolve. Because cyber risk is dynamic, CEOs must create an environment where there are continual conversations about the impact on security of new events — such as the introduction of new technologies and systems, new cyber threats, and mergers and acquisitions that involve combining different organizations’ information systems and security cultures. As part of this effort, CEOs should proactively get to know the people outside of the C-suite working in the security trenches. The more CEOs speak with system engineers and technical teams, the more comfortable they will be asking questions about the organization’s security. If the CRO and the CISO are only reporting on what’s going well, then alarm bells should be ringing. Third, CEOs should prepare for cyber attacks to ensure everyone knows what to do and can communicate effectively with each other during an incident. There should be a customized incident-response plan that is routinely tested via simulated attacks, which can also test a company’s vulnerabilities. A plan can help minimize business disruption, reduce the time attackers have to steal critical data or money, and reduce the amount of damage. An incident-response plan should include four phases: preparation; detection and analysis; containment, eradication, and recovery; and post-incident. The preparation phase is the most important since creating a response plan during an incident will not work. Planning helps all stakeholders understand their role and responsibilities, from what constitutes a security incident to who initiates the plan. It also helps leadership communicate with confidence during a real incident both internally to senior executives and members of the board and externally to customers, outside counsel, insurance companies, regulators, and law enforcement. In the detection-and-analysis phase, the security team determines the scope of the incident and collects the data necessary for analysis. The third phase is about containment: stopping the attack from spreading by removing any infection from the system and fixing any vulnerabilities uncovered. The post-incident phase is a review of what went well, what went wrong, and what can be done better next time. Outside cybersecurity experts can help develop the plan. If they aren’t involved, CEOs should at least consider having one test the plan’s effectiveness and crucially, ensure they have engaged external firms on incident-response retainers ahead of an incident. You don’t want to be struggling to negotiate the fine print of contract terms during an attack. Finally, companies should create an internal function, led by a chief vulnerability officer, to conduct regular audits of the company’s preparedness. This unit, which should report directly to the CEO, should also stage simulated attacks on the business — in addition to those carried out by the CISO or CIO. It should leverage external cyber experts with up-to-date perspectives on the latest cybersecurity methods, threats, and trends to provide unbiased perspectives and help challenge management decisions. A CEO should enlist all functions in the effort to establish common metrics to assess cyber risks so everyone is speaking the same language and should build a culture of security through open dialogue, planning, and testing. Then, when he or she asks questions — such as “What are our greatest risks?” “What are our critical assets?” “Who has access to them?” “What is our current information security policy?” “What is our incident response plan?” “When was it last tested?” — they will yield a more accurate picture. Only when a CEO understands the business’ true exposure to cyber risks can he or she prioritize the allocation of resources to manage them.

17 ноября, 13:05

How to Reduce the Costs of Salesperson Turnover

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dave Wheeler for HBR Even the best sales forces can’t keep every good salesperson. Loss of salespeople to competitors occurs frequently in high-growth industries in which the demand for experienced salespeople exceeds the supply, such as in fast-evolving technology markets. Poaching of salespeople also occurs when sales are driven largely by relationships. For example, wealth management companies frequently recruit advisors who have built a strong book of business at competitive firms. Companies facing high sales force turnover situations can try to reduce undesirable loss of salespeople, but they should also use another strategy, by taking steps to reduce the negative consequences on customers and the company when salespeople do leave, as some inevitably will. These strategies focus on minimizing sales loss during three critical phases surrounding a salesperson’s departure – the withdrawal period, the vacancy period, and the hiring/orientation period. Managing the Withdrawal Period In the period from when salespeople contemplate leaving until they actually depart, salespeople often stop putting full effort into the job. Too frequently, departing salespeople are distracted by their job search. Or worse, if a departing salesperson plans to work for a competitor, the salesperson might feel pressure to convince customers to defect. Minimizing withdrawal period sales loss requires a proactive approach. It starts with detecting the possibility that a salesperson might leave as early as possible. First-line sales managers are critical to this effort. By keeping in touch with their people, managers can identify and address emerging issues before they escalate to the point where salespeople decide to leave. One company with a large internal sales force used an early-warning system to track call agent behavior and predict the likelihood of resignations. Signals of impending departure included fluctuating productivity, an increase in the number of vacation days taken one at a time, a drop in call quality, and increased off-phone time. By tracking these signals, the system could direct incoming phone calls from important customers to agents who were not at risk of leaving. In addition, managers could meet with employees at risk of leaving to talk through their situation and try to prevent their departure. Managers could use solutions such as job rotation, job enhancement, relocation, and greater control of their work schedule. Even when intervention can’t preempt an unwanted departure, early detection gives companies more time to prepare for a smooth transition of relationships with customers before a salesperson leaves. Managing the Vacancy Period From the time the salesperson departs until a replacement is found, two strategies help minimize sales loss. The first is to shorten the vacancy period through aggressive and proactive sales force recruiting. One medical equipment company minimized vacancy time by keeping a bench of screened and trained candidates who were ready to jump into sales positions quickly when needed. Bench programs work best in large sales forces in which the sales job requires significant training time. If training needs are modest or the cost of maintaining a bench is too high, constant recruiting can create a “virtual” bench. By maintaining a list of viable job candidates before an opening occurs (including employee referrals, candidates who rejected past offers, employees in other functions), companies accelerate hiring and reduce vacancy time. The other key to minimizing the costs of the vacancy period is to avoid lapses in customer coverage. This is especially important for major customers that depend upon and trust a departing salesperson who has in-depth knowledge of their business or who has participated throughout a long sales cycle (which means sales are often left half-completed). Even the most loyal customers may see the salesperson’s departure as a reason to consider competitive offerings. Providing temporary coverage of major customers by a sales manager or by another salesperson until a permanent replacement is found can avoid sales loss. Managing the Hiring/Orientation Period Once a replacement is selected, it takes time for that individual to become fully productive. The costs of this period can be reduced by making it a priority to get salespeople up to speed quickly. Sales managers play a critical role in onboarding and training new salespeople to help them understand the culture, learn the products and customers, and become fully engaged. Hiring experienced salespeople also helps accelerate the learning curve. An Ounce of Prevention Defensive approaches can protect companies in high sales force turnover environments. Two strategies help minimize sales loss across all three phases surrounding a salesperson’s departure. First, build multiple connections between customers and the company. The risk of customer loss is especially great when departing salespeople hope to bring customers along to a new job with a competitor. Take action well before a departure is imminent. Get a sales manager or sales specialist involved with customers in deals with long sales cycles. Provide customers with resources they value outside the sales force, such as a customized ordering website or easy access to customer service or technical support personnel. Such resources can encourage customer loyalty that outlives a connection with an individual salesperson. Second, use CRM systems to capture critical information. Such systems can document customer needs, track the sales pipeline, and help ensure essential information is not lost in transition. Turnover of salespeople too often results in missed sales opportunities and loss of business. Even the best sales forces experience some disappointing departures. By taking defensive steps now, and working diligently during the three phases that accompany an individual’s departure, those costs can be minimized.

16 ноября, 16:00

What to Do When a Personal Crisis Is Hurting Your Professional Life

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Issara Willenskomer/Unsplash At some point, we all confront a stressful life event or personal crisis that threatens to distract us from work. Perhaps it’s tending to a sick family member, coping with your own illness, or dealing with a divorce. These are all incredibly tough situations to navigate personally — let alone professionally. Should you disclose what’s happening to your manager and colleagues? How do you ask for what you need, such as flexible hours or a reduced workload? And how do you know if you should take a leave of absence? What the Experts Say “This is life, and these things happen to everybody,” says Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal. But knowing you’re in good company is not necessarily a comfort, especially if you’re struggling to stay on top of your responsibilities at home and work. If you’ve reached the point where you say to yourself, “I can’t get my job done,” it may be time to ask for help, says Jane Dutton, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and coauthor of Awakening Compassion at Work. Here’s some advice on how to navigate work when you’re having a personal crisis. Decide what you need First, take stock of the resources you have at hand “both inside and outside the organization” to help you through this crisis, Dutton says. Are there friends or family who might be able to pitch in? Do you have team members who might be able to cover some of your responsibilities in the short term? What you need may not be huge. “It might be as simple as leaving work early on Fridays for a month,” Dutton says. The key is to figure out what will help ease the pressure. Consider how important privacy is to you Before you ask for help, however, consider how much you’re comfortable sharing. “This has to be an individual choice,” Kreamer says. “There are many different reasons why people choose to maintain their privacy,” especially about illnesses that carry a stigma. Uncertainty about your standing in the organization is another reason to be afraid, she adds. Dutton agrees, noting that, in some cases, “it can be dangerous to disclose your situation.” She suggests assessing the risks with questions like: What kind of culture am I in? Are there formal procedures for handling this? Do I need to go to HR? Or are there people in my unit who can be helpful? Are they going to treat me humanely? Or do I need to think about how to protect myself? It’s better to share if you feel OK doing so If you do feel that it’s safe to share, it’s often better to do so. “We’ve been encouraged to keep the boundaries between private and professional distinct, but that’s not always helpful,” Kreamer says. In fact, research by Ashley Hardin, a professor at Washington University’s Olin Business School, shows that when you allow coworkers to discover more about your personal life, they are more motivated to meet your needs. “If the situation is interfering with your ability to complete your job, it’s likely that your coworkers may already realize something is amiss, and in that case you are better off letting them in on what is going on,” Hardin explains. You can also give permission to your close colleagues to share your circumstances with other coworkers if it is too difficult for you to tell them directly. “This type of indirect disclosure can open up a space for your teammates to brainstorm ways to help you,” Hardin adds. Set boundaries This doesn’t mean you need to sit down with everyone and explain your situation in agonizing detail. Set boundaries for yourself and for others. You can turn to close colleagues for the more personal conversations, but keep in mind that “most people don’t want to know every detail of your parent’s chemotherapy. They want to know the pertinent information and how it’s going to affect them,” Kreamer says. Also, it can be tough to answer lots of questions and rehash the details of a sad situation, so don’t be afraid to redirect the conversation back to work if a coworker continually inquires about the details. You might say: “Right now, it helps my sanity to stay focused on work. Is it OK with you if we talk about the project instead?” Ask for specific help “Ideally, when you share the news, your colleagues will say: ‘I’m going to do such-and-such for you. Are you cool with that?’” Kreamer says. But if your coworkers aren’t forthcoming about offering help, ask for it explicitly. And be thoughtful about how you frame your request. Research by Wayne Baker, a professor at the Ross School of Business, shows that how you frame your appeal strongly influences whether someone will agree to it. He recommends making the request specific and describing why the help is meaningful to you: We “often assume that the importance of a request is obvious, but it rarely is.” And as with any request you make at work, give a deadline. So you might say, “I’d love your help over the next two weeks while I’m out caring for my mother. Would you be able to complete the report we’ve been working on? It would free up my mind to focus on what I need to do at home.” Approach your boss It’s also a good idea to loop your boss into what’s happening, assuming you feel comfortable doing so. If you have a very close relationship, tell them first and brainstorm ideas for reducing or covering your workload. But, in most cases, Kreamer says, it’s best to talk to your manager when you already “have some notion of how you intend to handle the problem.” Run a tentative plan by your manager, outlining the time period you expect to be absent or working less, the colleagues who might step up for you, and whether you’ve already discussed that possibility with them. Then ask for your boss’s input. Do what’s right for you There is no right answer when handling a crisis situation. Some people might find comfort in coming in to work every day. Kreamer did that when she was dealing with three family deaths — her parents and a grandmother — within six months. “I was overwhelmed by the tsunami of death, and work was very much a solace for me,” she says. “Work is often an antidote, a space where you can forget about what’s happening and operate as a functioning adult rather than feeling helpless in the face of these events.” For others, it might be better to take an official leave of absence. “When you believe that you won’t be able to function at the caliber that your job requires of you, it may be better to remove yourself from that situation for a time to recharge your batteries,” Kreamer says. “When you push forward and don’t allow yourself to feel the grief, you don’t recover as quickly.” Facebook is leading the way in offering generous bereavement leave, in the wake of COO Sheryl Sandberg’s losing her husband, but not all companies offer paid leave, so there are financial and career implications to consider. Still, even a short leave — just a few weeks — might be enough time. Principles to Remember Do: Determine what type of support you need — at home and at work. Tell your colleagues what’s happening so that they feel compassion for your situation. Make clear, specific requests of your coworkers and boss so that they know how they can help you. Don’t: Feel you have to tell everyone directly — it’s OK to ask close colleagues to explain to others what’s going on. Share every detail of your situation; tell coworkers only the details that are pertinent to them. Assume that it will be painful to continue working during this time — sometimes going to the office can be a comfort. Case Study #1: Reassure coworkers and maintain boundaries When Keisha Blair, cofounder of career resource platform Aspire-Canada, was 31, her husband passed away suddenly from a rare disease — eight weeks after she’d given birth to their second child. At the time, she was managing a team of six policy analysts in the Canadian government. The immediate response from her boss and coworkers was caring. “They were very supportive during my time of grief,” she recalls. Although everyone had been expecting her back from maternity leave, they assured her that she could take off additional time should she need it, and she took them up on the offer, staying out 10 months. But the situation was still challenging when she returned. “I could see that my story had really affected my colleagues,” she explains. On her first day back, “there was an outpouring of emotions; some cried openly in the office,” she recalls. And “many had questions about how the kids were coping, my support system at home, and how I was doing in the aftermath of such a sudden, unexpected death.” Her response was intentionally measured. “I didn’t want to totally shut down the conversation, but in order to limit unnecessary chatter and maintain my own composure as a leader, I told colleagues that if they wanted to come talk they should feel free to do so in private. This way I could gauge how much a particular employee was affected and also manage my response,” she says. She also made it clear that there were some things she wouldn’t talk about. These boundaries helped make sure these conversations didn’t intensify her grief. If employees needed additional help, she referred them to the Employee Assistance Program. Looking back, Keisha is proud of how she handled herself during this time: “I became known as a strong and resilient leader.” Case Study #2: Ask for what you need The day that Jisella Dolan received a job offer from Home Instead, an in-home care organization for the elderly, she learned that her father had six to 18 months to live. Looking at the company’s vacation policies, and thinking of how often she would have to travel to her parents’ town, eight hours away, she didn’t know how she could make it work. Because she didn’t know her prospective boss very well, Jisella was hesitant to share her situation with him. “He was basically a stranger to me. I had no sense of how he would respond to my story,” she explains. She assumed that Home Instead wouldn’t allow extra time and “didn’t want to ask for special favors, especially as a new employee.” But it was her “dream job,” so she decided to explain the situation. “I had to be honest about how it might impact my ability” to do the job, she says. She was clear that she would need to leave work early on Fridays to travel to see her parents and probably take calls from her mother during her workday. Jisella’s soon-to-be boss surprised her. “They acknowledged and honored the position I was in and shared that they would work with me” on a solution. She was still expected to work hard. But, even when an emergency with her dad forced her to leave an important meeting, no one questioned it. The experience “bred instant loyalty to the organization,” she adds. Their “willingness to accommodate my needs made me more passionate about doing good work for them.” Jisella’s father passed away six months after she accepted her job. Ten years later, she is still at Home Instead and now serves as its chief advocacy officer. Case Study #3: Make your plans clear Several years ago, when Jacqueline Ardrey was working as a senior merchandising and supply chain executive for Harry & David, she experienced a series of tragedies. First, her daughters’ stepsisters were killed in an accident. And then her mother died suddenly, leaving behind her ill father. Her boss, colleagues, and team couldn’t have been more supportive. Even Harry & David’s CEO called her after he heard about what happened and asked what she needed. She asked if she could temporarily have Fridays or Mondays off, and he agreed without question. But she made sure to stay in close touch with her team, in person when she was at the office and through email when she wasn’t. “I let them know what was happening, what my plans were, and what they could or could not expect from me during my time out. It was such a critical time for the business, so I told them that I needed to be there for my kids and that I may not be as ‘present’ physically or in meetings, and I asked for their understanding.” When she wasn’t comfortable talking with someone directly, she wrote them an email. Jacqueline will never forget the support she experienced while working at Harry & David. She is now the president of Cold Brew Kitchen, a supplier of coffee products. “I offer my team incredibly flexible schedules so that they can navigate their lives and goals. This event definitely had an impact on that decision,” she says.

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16 ноября, 15:59

Why Mergers Like the AT&T-Time Warner Deal Should Go Through

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Britta Knappmann/EyeEm/Getty Images Recent leaked reports suggest trouble for the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner, an $85 billion deal first announced over a year ago. Last Wednesday, government sources claimed the Department of Justice’s antitrust division was demanding that AT&T sell Turner Broadcasting channels, including CNN, as a condition for approving the deal — and that AT&T had refused, setting up a possible court challenge. Later stories reported it was AT&T that had offered to sell CNN. But CEO Randall Stephenson immediately denied both versions, and reiterated that the company will not let go of either CNN or the deal itself, pledging to fight the government if necessary. Whatever the government actually plans to do about the merger, it will need to do it fast. Last Monday, AT&T exercised its right to complete the deal, giving the government less than a month to sue. But if the government does go to court, it’ll lose. While some large mergers have been scuttled in recent years, this one is different, principally because the parties occupy different rungs in the media industry supply chain. Time Warner is all about content, while AT&T is focused on distribution. Their combination is what antitrust experts refer to as a vertical merger. According to the Department of Justice’s review guidelines, vertical mergers pose far less risk of consumer harm than mergers of competing, or horizontal, firms. That’s certainly true in media industries, which are driven by broadband, mobile devices, and new video platforms preferred by younger consumers. Even with Time Warner properties that include HBO, Warner Brothers, and Turner, AT&T will own only a small piece of the total pie, both in its traditional form and in a parallel, converging media industry dominated by Internet giants including Google, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Snapchat. The merger review guidelines, which haven’t changed significantly since publication in 1984, list a dozen unlikely scenarios under which vertical mergers might be given extra scrutiny — none of which apply to the AT&T-Time Warner deal. In fact, antitrust authorities haven’t successfully opposed a vertical merger in any industry for over three decades. That’s according to a 2007 study by J. Thomas Rosch, then a member of the Federal Trade Commission. (The FTC shares merger review authority with the Department of Justice.) Rosch notes that U.S. antitrust law has long followed the permissive teachings of the “Chicago School,” a group of University of Chicago legal scholars, led by my former boss Richard A. Posner, who introduced microeconomics to antitrust analysis during the 1970s. “Chicago School economics,” Rosch writes, “posits that competitors (including dominant firms) are likely to engage in rational and efficiency-enhancing conduct rather than conduct whose purpose and effect is simply to eliminate rivals, and, if they do not, markets are likely to correct themselves.” This means the need for government intervention is limited, and rarely requires pre-emptively blocking a deal. With widespread acceptance of the Chicago School’s methods, antitrust shifted from its punitive 19th-century origins to a nuanced theory of law firmly grounded in rational analysis, leaving merger reviews largely the domain, inside and outside the government, of trained economists. The results have been dramatic, especially for vertical mergers. The government has only challenged 23 vertical combinations since 1979. Of those, three were abandoned by the parties, while the other 20, including AOL’s merger with Time Warner in 2000, were approved, many with conditions designed to deter theoretical harms to their markets. For vertical mergers, the government hasn’t won a single court case. Not one. And though there have long been half-hearted efforts to reduce the influence of the Chicago School, most lack any analytic rigor, amounting to little more than calls to return to the early days of antitrust, when big was decidedly bad. Recently, in response to the rise of dominant network companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, some Democrats have called for broad but unspecific limits on the reach of modern enterprises, known derisively as “hipster antitrust.” Such a shift would represent a huge change in antitrust law, one that would have wide-ranging repercussions well beyond the media industries. Wall Street has long assumed economically efficient combinations, especially vertical mergers, are unlikely to be challenged, a core belief that has helped fuel bull markets for decades. On the same day rumors were swirling about objections to AT&T Time Warner, for example, Broadcom offered to buy fellow chipmaking giant Qualcomm, and stories surfaced of merger talks between Disney and 21st Century Fox. If the government challenges the Time Warner deal, these and other pending or likely mergers will be thrown into chaos—and the stock markets along with them. Fortunately, there’s little to suggest antitrust authorities are considering any dramatic course change. Though President Trump was critical of the Time Warner deal on the campaign trail, since the election he has struck a more conciliatory tone. And in appointing Makan Delrahim, a well-respected lawyer, as the Justice Department’s chief antitrust enforcer, the White House signaled business-as-usual for merger review. So what’s really going on? The short answer is we don’t know, and won’t unless and until the government files suit or lists conditions for its approval of the deal. The president’s very public fights with CNN have invited speculation of White House pressure on Delrahim to somehow hobble the network. If true, however, the government’s legal case will be even harder to make, raising issues of freedom of the press issues and potentially illegal interference with what by law is an independent review. Even proponents of hipster antitrust, including Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), were quick to denounce possible White House pressure. “Any suggestion that the deal be conditioned on selling off a news channel because of its coverage,” Markey said in a statement last week, “is offensive to both the First Amendment and the rule of law.” Under Chicago School analysis, likewise, a demand by the government to sell one or more of the Turner properties makes little legal or economic sense. The Turner channels all have plenty of competition. CNN, in particular, is hardly the only news source readily available to consumers. It’s not even the only left-of-center news on what remains of pay TV. Even if the government finds what the guidelines call post-merger concerns of “actual potential competition,” enforceable market safeguards are both the efficient and normal solution. The combined company could be required to license some content to competing networks at market prices, for instance, particularly exclusive content such as sports programming, some of which Turner controls. Such narrowly focused conditions would be far less intrusive than the forced sale of some assets or outright rejection of the deal–remedies whose very existence would torpedo a broader legal challenge. But having paid $85 billion for these new properties, AT&T already has a strong incentive to license them even without being legally required to do so. Video programming, after all, is produced at high fixed costs, with increasingly small marginal costs to duplicate and distribute widely. A rational content owner would look for new markets, not foreclose them. And rational economics remains the bedrock principle for antitrust analysis, both by regulators and in the courts. So if regulators do decide to sue, the government is holding a losing hand.

16 ноября, 15:00

Figure Out Your Company’s Make-or-Break Strategic Problems, Then Use Small Teams to Solve Them

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rosmaro/Getty Images Can a large incumbent company rediscover how to act like an agile start-up? I believe the answer is yes, though success depends largely on another question: Can the executive team learn to get out of the way? Behaving like an agile start-up implies speed, a sharply defined mission, and a deep understanding of customers. Those qualities allow a company to consistently formulate the right strategy and execute it cleanly—but also to pivot decisively when conditions change. Big companies generally don’t act this way, and neither do their leaders. The complex organizations they’ve built to capture the advantages of scale slow them down and dull their reactions. Internal issues and processes muffle the voice of the customer. Divisional politicking fragments the sense of mission. There’s too much planning and not enough doing. When companies do find a way to recapture the insurgent energy of a start-up, it’s usually because leadership has emphasized two things. The first is clarity. Ask what their mission is and they can tell you in a sentence, ticking off on their fingers the three or four distinctive capabilities that ensure its execution. The second is focus. Starting with a bold strategy, they pick specific battles that must be won and then design initiatives to attack potential failure points—the game-breaking issues that stand in the way of success. Insight center The Gap Between Strategy and Execution Sponsored by the Brightline Initiative Aligning the big picture with the day-to-day. At Bain, we call these initiatives “micro-battles” and believe they are a powerful tool for fighting back against the complexity that slows companies down when trying to implement strategy. Though they may sound like an exercise in micromanagement, they are actually the opposite. Leaders of these companies work relentlessly to focus the enterprise on their strategy’s biggest potential challenges, but they delegate solving these issues to small, cross-functional teams of specialists drawn from across the company. That forces the action closer to the customer, dials up speed, and begins to break down bad corporate habits that have accumulated over time. Micro-battle teams use agile ways of working to achieve narrowly focused missions, not sweeping divisional priorities. They have the authority to make rapid decisions rather than shop approvals up the line. Their objective is always to get a basic prototype, or “minimum viable product,” in front of customers as quickly as possible. They can then test it, learn from it and devise a new prototype in rapid, iterative cycles based on real-world customer data. Micro-battles are all about using these fast test-and-learn cycles to innovate—developing new products, opening new markets, figuring out better ways to do things. They also shed valuable light on the corporate behaviors, cultural habits, and complex processes that cut down innovation in its tracks. Building a winning prototype that incorporates both kinds of learning is the first aim of the micro-battle team. But the solution can start to be transformational if the team can turn that prototype into a repeatable model that can be rolled out across the organization. Needless to say, trusting teams with this kind of responsibility doesn’t come naturally for many top executives. Most leaders, in fact, have been trained not to trust those around them. Their default mode is to second-guess, to challenge, to assume they know better. Rather than solve the specific, their impulse is to broaden the inquiry, which only makes problems bigger. Even leaders who embrace the micro-battle concept have trouble breaking old habits. One global logistics company CEO, for instance, launched a series of micro-battles in a bold effort to shake up a tired organization and implement a new strategy. The company staffed the battles with 20 of its biggest stars and set them free to start building prototypes. When the teams and top management gathered a month later to talk progress, the CEO showed up late and was clearly distracted. Ordinarily, this would have been a golden opportunity to exercise new coaching muscles and build up team confidence. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the CEO asked: “So whose idea was this thing?” “Well, actually, it was yours,” answered one deflated micro-battle leader. “Three weeks ago, you asked me to lead what you said was one of your most important priorities.” Changing leadership behaviors like this is a major part of making micro-battles work. It means standing the typical large-company approach on its head. Instead of creating enterprise-scale solutions at the center and pushing them down through the organization, leaders rely on teams of front-line stars to find solutions that actually work in the real world and then help them clear a path to broad corporate adoption. Leaders set strategy. They make the hard decisions about which micro-battles to fund and at what level. But their most important role is coaching, mentoring, and breaking through the inevitable big-company organizational hurdles that would otherwise block progress. This typically requires a period of behavior modification as leaders buy into moving decision making closer to the front line. But if leaders set the right course and deploy the right people, it should be easy to trust that their teams will deliver the goods. More than anything else, companies that act like insurgent start-ups know how to get things done. They have finely tuned radar for what customers want and are relentless in delivering it quickly. The most effective micro-battles are set up as microcosms of the fast-moving, strategy-driven insurgent you want to become. Given the chance, that energy will grow and spread across a large organization. The biggest challenge for leadership is stepping back and letting it happen.

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16 ноября, 14:00

Boards Should Take Responsibility for Cybersecurity. Here’s How to Do It

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Clique Images/Getty Images With news of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and zero-day vulnerabilities making headlines, cybersecurity is likely appearing even more frequently on the agenda in many board meetings. After all, no company wants to become the next brand on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or have their executives testify in front of Congress. But while cybersecurity is now on the agenda at board meetings, this doesn’t mean that board members understand how to tackle the issue. After all, most board members have expertise in other forms of risk, and not in how to protect corporate assets from nation-state attackers and highly organized cyber adversaries. The good news is that there are several practical steps directors can take to protect their organizations that don’t require deep cyber expertise: Help the executives in charge of information security understand the business. While security executives have a reputation for stymieing operations and product development with the burdens of technical operations, their role is actually to enable business. Their job, in fact, depends on it. By including them in discussions about immediate and long-term business priorities, customer issues, and overall strategies, directors can ensure that the company’s security plan aligns with the company’s business goals. Insight Center The Human Element of Cybersecurity Sponsored by Varonis Shore up your company’s first line of defense. Ideally, security executives should attend board meetings in the same way that a chief financial officer would. Failing that, they should at least be briefed by the board on the organization’s projects and should have a chance to respond with functional plans to support the company’s top priorities. When meeting with security leaders, directors should ask how their cybersecurity plan will help the company meet one or some of these objectives: revenue, cost, margin, customer satisfaction, employee efficiency, or strategy. While these terms are familiar to board members and business executives, security leaders may need guidance on how to frame their department’s duties in the context of business operations. Make sure that security is included in discussions on new products and services. Security is often tacked on at the end, or, even worse, after a flaw is discovered in a product that’s already being sold. Incorporating security in the early stages of product development results in safer, more secure offerings and can spare companies the expense, hassle, and potential public embarrassment that accompanies retrofitting security. Ensure that the organization develops and implements a cybersecurity curriculum for all employees. The learning curriculum should include practical examples of how security incidents could affect the organization. Cautionary tales aren’t meant to spread fear. Instead, these examples should transform cybersecurity from an arcane concept into tangible scenarios understood by everyone. Plan ahead for security incidents. Companies have to accept that despite their best defensive efforts, they will likely be breached at some point. Boards need to ask about a company’s incident-response plan and ensure that it’s current, and that contingencies exist for extreme scenarios, multiple incidents, or when third parties are affected. Board members should also make sure that the plan is thorough: marketing, crisis communication, risk mitigation, and decision making in the moment can be overwhelming and lead to errors. Beyond including IT and security personnel, the plan should assign a cross-functional risk committee that has full executive authority. The plan should include marketing and legal personnel to handle public relations efforts or comply with government regulations on publicly disclosing breaches. Focus as much on culture as technology. Security is so much more than purchasing antivirus software and conducting penetration testing. It also entails changing corporate culture and helping employees realize that the duty of keeping intellectual property, customer information and other business data safe isn’t limited to security and IT personnel. It’s a task that requires the full effort of the entire company. Ideally, boards should eliminate obstacles that prevent organizations from developing a culture of proactive security. Without strong support from executive management and the board, companies are unlikely to develop strong cybersecurity practices. Directors should make sure that OpEx and CapEx are aligned with risk reduction priorities and projects; security is not done for security’s sake. It’s done for the business. In the future, familiarity with cybersecurity will become de rigueur for most directors. For the time being, however, several practical steps can be taken at the governance level to greatly reduce the risks of cyber-attacks.

16 ноября, 13:05

Yes, You Can Make Office Politics Less Toxic

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Juan Díaz-Faes for HBR I once served on the board of a nonprofit with a group of men and women I deeply admired. Board meetings were an uninterrupted joy. Even lengthy conference calls were opportunities for spontaneous sharing, personal connection, and productive problem-solving. It was Camelot. Until it wasn’t. As the composition of the board changed, so did my experience. The board got larger. Big donors took board seats – bringing important connections and resources as well as egos and politics. When a voluble board member went on about himself in agonizing detail, others rolled their eyes and turned to their laptops. When the rich and powerful made lame self-referential jokes, executive team members laughed too loud and too long. Decisions reflected who said it as much as what was said. I found myself avoiding dinners and other social gatherings and even sniping about the degenerating experience outside of meetings. It wasn’t until a few years into this slide that I realized I was as much to blame as anyone for the change. Too many management articles — including many I’ve written — serve to comfort those afflicted by the misdeeds of others. Authors invite you into an article with tacit collusion: describing some miscreant then doling out advice for how to fix “him” or “her.” The unstated conceit is that you and I are pretty good folk — if we could only figure out how to deal with the rabble. Well, I’ve got none of that for you. In the 30 years I’ve been mucking about organizations, I’ve come to see that those who spend the most time cursing the darkness are the least likely to be holding a candle. I certainly wasn’t helping the situation with the board I was on. As an organizational “expert,” I was proficient at enumerating its dysfunctions. I could catalog the creeping evidence of covert struggles for status, power, and resources. Status-building. I cringed when people spoke and acted for the purpose of garnering respect rather than building the enterprise. For example, a tardy board member would take eight minutes to explain how his late arrival was the inevitable consequence of multiple “liquidity events” he had to attend to that morning. Power-wielding. I resented it when a colleague referenced who supported an idea more than why the idea had merit in relationship to our mission. Not unlike announcing, “Tony Stark thinks we should look more at East Africa as our next geography.” Resource-competition. I was disgusted when budgeting decisions were turned into tests of loyalty. “Do you prefer Lynda’s debt strategy or Cal’s equity fund?” Power, personality, and prestige loomed larger as our mission receded in the rear view mirror. You and Your Team Series Office Politics Make Your Enemies Your Allies Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap Why We Fight at Work Annie McKee How to Manage a Toxic Employee Amy Gallo Fifty years ago, the Austrian-born organizational psychologist Fred Fiedler made a fascinating discovery. He administered a survey to employees asking them to describe their “least-preferred coworker” on a series of scales from “hostile” to “supportive” and “insincere” to “sincere,” for example. Some people derided their least-liked colleague with every harsh adjective they were offered — while others offered a more nuanced and tempered view. The surprise was that Fielder found that the magnitude of the criticism had more to say about the respondent than their coworker. To this day, the Least-Preferred Coworker instrument is a reliable way of inviting prickly professionals to unwittingly self-identify as those who are most difficult to get along with. What Fiedler has made clear — and what became obvious to me in my board experience — is that it’s less about what other people are doing and more about how you respond. Office politics are real, and dangerous. Just as there is likely merit to the judgements of those who judge colleagues harshly — so is it true that power politics in organizations can cause organizational drag, dumb down decisions, and damage careers. My point is that it is your response to both perceived and real machinations that either amplifies or moderates these dysfunctions. Responding with integrity rather than complicity — being open and communicating clearly and directly — helps you both observe and be less of a problem. The Openness Principle Political behavior is based on an assumption of mistrust. For example, a board member makes pre-meeting calls to recruit two friendly members to her position on an issue. I see how aligned they appear during the meeting and suspect conspiracy. Following that board meeting, I ask another board member to join me for coffee to debrief. In our discussion, we describe what we really think about what happened in the meeting and prepare covertly for the next one. Notice that office politics thrive on secrecy. We can diminish, if not eliminate, petty practices by skillfully practicing guileless openness because the selfishness and manipulation that are the primary principles of politics can’t bear transparency. Imagine, if when I arrive late for a meeting, I announced, “I will now detail for you how much money I made this morning in an attempt to make you think I am more important than you.” My manipulation would lose its effect. The way to ensure your openness is guileless is to practice it rather than use it. It becomes a practice when you apply it to yourself first — examining and exposing your own motives — and others second. Return to Camelot Some of the most political behavior in our board related to concerns with the chairman. Staff were publicly friendly but privately outraged about some of his behavior. Other board members lobbied and gossiped outside of meetings as work-arounds to his weaknesses. All justified their game playing with references to the chairman’s connections to important donors. And I played right along. Eventually, I looked in the mirror and I realized that my behavior was identical to those I saw as my moral inferiors. So, I swallowed hard, took a leap into guileless openness, and made the following changes. Start with heart. I opened up my own motives for examination. I asked myself, “What are my actions saying that I want?” and “What do I really want?” My behavior showed that my ego, my reputation, and my position had become more important than our mission. I resolved to change that. I wanted to be a man I admired and make a contribution to a mission I loved. All other considerations were secondary. Abandon collusion. First, I abrogated all of my tacit conspiracies with staff and board. I let them know I didn’t like the way I had behaved and that I wanted to be honest with the chairman about my concerns. I asked their permission to cite them. When they refused permission, I let them know I still intended to share cumulative unattributed feedback, including views they might have shared with me. I ensured the permanence of my new commitment by announcing my new rule would be: “If you put it in my brain, you must assume I will act on it.” I would no longer participate in conversations absent of accountability. Second, I opened up with the chairman. I had a one-on-one meeting and asked for permission to share some tough feedback. He responded with tentative permission. I described the behaviors I believed were undermining our mission and health. I expressed sincere gratitude for his influence on our mission. And I concluded by sharing my opinion that resigning would be profound evidence of the primacy of his commitment to our mission over his ego. I felt slightly nauseous as I began, but grew in confidence as I reconnected with my convictions. Own the meeting. My new rule in our meetings became, “If I am acting it out, I’ll talk it out.” In other words, if thoughts, judgments, or feelings began to show up covertly in my behavior, I would check my gut and go public about it. I acted as if I was a co-creator of our meetings rather than a victim of them. When board members would take us on tangents, I’d call attention to what was happening and politely ask if the group wanted to return to topic. When we seemed to skirt a sensitive subject, I’d find a tactful way to draw attention to the avoidance. At times, people disagreed with my observations and the meeting continued on its path. But more often than not, others rallied around my comment as though they had previously suffered in silence. Things got much better. The chair resigned. But our former cordiality was replaced with an icy stiffness. It was not quite Camelot again. However, the organization began to make bold moves in a direction much more aligned with the mission. I became reengaged with the mission — as did others. We become complicit with the political climate we despise when we participate in it rather than confront it. The first step to addressing office politics is self-examination. You can’t expect an organization to operate at a higher moral level than the one you hold yourself to.

15 ноября, 16:10

Training Programs and Reporting Systems Won’t End Sexual Harassment. Promoting More Women Will

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FotografiaBasica/Getty Images We already know how to reduce sexual harassment at work, and the answer is actually pretty simple: Hire and promote more women. Research suggests that this solution addresses two root causes of harassment. First, as a raft of studies has shown, harassment flourishes in workplaces where men dominate in management and women have little power. We’ve recently seen this imbalance wreak havoc in the entertainment and media industries, where it’s long been understood that major players like movie producer Harvey Weinstein and former Fox News chief Roger Ailes could easily make or break women’s careers. But this is also happening across the economy, with women in tech and law, saleswomen (particularly in retail), waitresses, hotel maids, and many others. Male-dominated management teams have been found to tolerate, sanction, or even expect sexualized treatment of workers, which can lead to a culture of complicity. People may chuckle over misbehavior rather than calling it out, for example, or they may ostracize harassed women, privately ashamed of not having spoken up. Reducing power differentials can help, not only because women are less likely than men to harass but also because their presence in management can change workplace culture. Second, harassment flourishes in organizations where few women hold the “core” jobs. Fixing this is about finding power in numbers, not just in authority and hierarchy. Female firefighters, police officers, construction workers, and miners are frequently harassed because they’re outnumbered. So are women in the tech industry, advertising, journalism, and our own field — academia. Again, the answer is to bring more of them into the ranks. In industries and workplaces where women are well represented in the core job, harassment is significantly less likely to occur. If it’s that simple, why aren’t companies putting more women into management roles and core jobs? One reason, ironically, is that women tend to leave workplaces where sexual harassment is common and goes unaddressed; the fight can feel hopeless in an environment where gender bias runs rampant. Another reason is that companies don’t take the steps proven to be effective for hiring and retaining women, such as setting up special college recruitment programs to telegraph that they actually want women in management, or creating formal mentoring programs to make sure everyone who wants a mentor gets one. Companies have also found that they can stay out of legal trouble by adopting cosmetic fixes, which is much easier than solving the problem of harassment at its roots. Beginning in the 1970s, when U.S. federal courts found on-the-job harassment to constitute sex discrimination, companies created anti-harassment training programs and set up systems to handle internal complaints. Many executives were skeptical that these measures would reduce harassment, but they thought they ought to do something to ward off lawsuits. And in that sense the measures worked. In 1998, to the surprise of many legal experts and social scientists, the Supreme Court found in dual judgments that providing anti-harassment training and grievance systems could shield companies against some types of harassment charges — even though such programs had never been proven effective. Most companies had anti-harassment training (70%) and grievance procedures (90%) before the Supreme Court spoke in 1998. So, of course, the rulings didn’t solve the problem; the harassment numbers haven’t budged since the first surveys were conducted in the early 1980s. In studies over several decades, using random samples of workers, about 25% of women report having experienced harassment at work. Harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doubled from 1990 to 2000, and they have gradually crept up since. By either measure — survey findings or charges filed — harassment isn’t going away. The courts are partly to blame for this situation, because they often give employers with these programs a pass. But executives are responsible too. Most have installed training and grievance procedures and called it a day. They’re satisfied as long as the courts are. They don’t bother to ask themselves whether the programs work. If they did ask, what would they learn? At the organizational level, our latest (unpublished) research shows that anti-harassment training for managers does lead to increases in women in both management and nonmanagement roles. It teaches managers what counts as harassment and what they can do when they see it, which in turn reduces harassment and the high quit rates of women who experience it. But at the individual level, findings are mixed. Though most people who undergo training are better able to define and recognize harassment and to intervene, that’s not true of everyone. Men who score high on a psychological scale for likelihood to harass women come out of training with significantly worse attitudes toward harassment, thinking it is no big deal. The received wisdom is that you have to get the worst offenders in the room for training. But it turns out that can aggravate the problem. Executives might be excused for not realizing that training can backfire when people with negative attitudes are forced to attend — that’s counterintuitive. But company leaders should know that grievance systems are flawed, because they see firsthand what happens to employees who complain. Among people who file harassment complaints with the EEOC, at least one-third say that after complaining to the company they were demoted, moved to lousy jobs or shifts, fired, raped, or further harassed. Indeed, as several large-scale surveys show, people who file harassment complaints are much more likely to lose their jobs than those who experience similar levels of harassment and say nothing. Our own analysis backs all this up: We’ve found that companies see significant declines in African American, Latina, and Asian American women in both management and nonmanagement roles after establishing grievance procedures for harassment. Percentages of white women in management go up slightly — perhaps they are better protected from retaliation because, on average, they are in more senior roles. But overall, women who file harassment complaints end up more likely to leave their jobs either involuntarily or of their own accord — and others may follow them when they see complaints badly handled, with the harassers still in their jobs. Related Video Why the Most Common Diversity Programs Don't Work And what to do instead. Save Share See More Videos > See More Videos > So, that brings us back to moving more women into management and core jobs being the best way to reduce harassment. Since this takes considerable time and effort, what can companies do in the meantime, aside from waiting for the indirect positive effects of training (fewer women quitting) to kick in and offset the direct negative effects of training (likely offenders becoming likelier offenders) and grievance procedures (the accused retaliating)? We need to fix how companies handle complaints so that the people being harassed aren’t the ones who get punished. An EEOC task force (on which one of us, Frank, served) recently recommended providing multiple avenues of redress for those who experience harassment, since grievance systems often fail to resolve complaints. One option is to establish a formal open-door policy that encourages employees to bring concerns to anyone in management. Sometimes the right person can put an end to harassment quietly, without eliciting retribution. It’s hard to imagine this approach reining in the superstar harassers of this world, though, when multiple multimillion-dollar settlements don’t seem to stop them. Confidential electronic systems that allow employees to report harassment, but embargo the report until someone else has complained about the same person — or until they can’t stand it any longer — might expose the misbehavior of serial harassers. But such systems, like open-door policies, put the onus on harassed employees to solve the problem. So it’s critical that leaders start accepting some of the responsibility that the courts have allowed them to brush off for such a long time. CEOs must take a strong public stand against workplace harassment — and keep repeating that message. They should be first in line for training, and they should chair the committees tasked with solving the problem. The U.S. Armed Forces provide an instructive example. They had long experienced high rates of harassment: Surveys in the 1990s found that 65% to 79% of women were harassed each year. But leaders made a concerted effort to reduce harassment through consistent anti-harassment messages, regular training, formal and informal reporting mechanisms, and systematic investigation and remediation. Where women reported that their commanders supported these measures and modeled respectful behavior, they also reported that they had been harassed less in the last year, that they observed less harassment over several years, and that they were more satisfied with responses to their complaints. That makes sense. After all, culture is shaped by behavior at the top. As long as men dominate in management, it’ll be up to them to make those changes.

15 ноября, 15:00

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

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Danita Delimont/Getty Images There is a broad assumption in society and in education that the skills you need to be a leader are more or less transferable. If you can inspire and motivate people in one arena, you should be able to apply those skills to do the same in another venue. But recent research is rightly challenging this notion. Studies suggest that the best leaders know a lot about the domain in which they are leading, and part of what makes them successful in a management role is technical competence. For example, hospitals managed by doctors perform better than those managed by people with other backgrounds. And there are many examples of people who ran one company effectively and had trouble transferring their skills to the new organization. Over the last year, I’ve been working with a group at the University of Texas thinking about what leadership education would look like for our students. There is broad consensus across many schools that teach leadership education about the core elements of what leaders need to know. These factors include: The ability to motivate self and others, effective oral and written communication, critical thinking skills, problem solving ability, and skills at working with teams and delegating tasks. On the surface, this seems like a nice list. Good leaders do have these abilities and if you wanted to create future leaders, making sure they have these skills is a good bet. They need to take in a large volume of information and distill it into the essential elements that define the core problems to be solved. They need to organize teams to solve these problems and to communicate to a group why they should share a common vision. They need to establish trust with a group and then use that trust to allow the team to accomplish more than it could alone. But these skills alone will not make a leader because, to actually excel at this list of skills in practice, you also need a lot of expertise in a particular domain. As an example, take one of these skills: thinking critically in order to find the essence of a situation. To do that well, you must have specific, technical expertise. The critical information a doctor needs to diagnose a patient are different from the knowledge used to understand a political standoff, and both of those differ in important ways from what is needed to negotiate a good business deal. Even effective communication differs from one domain to another. Doctors talking to patients must communicate information differently than politicians reacting to a natural disaster or a CEO responding to a labor dispute. When you begin to look at any of the core skills that leaders have, it quickly becomes clear that domain-specific expertise is bound up in all of them. And the domains of expertise required may also be fairly specific. Even business is not really a single domain. Leadership in construction, semiconductor fabrication, consulting, and retail sales all require a lot of specific knowledge. A common solution to this problem is for leaders to say that they will surround themselves with good people who have the requisite expertise that will allow them to make good decisions. The problem is that without actual expertise, how do these leaders even know whether they have found the right people to give them information? If managers cannot evaluate the information they are getting for themselves, then they cannot lead effectively. This way of thinking about leadership has two important implications. First, when we teach people about leadership, we need to be more explicit that domain expertise matters. Just because a person is successful at running one kind of organization does not mean that they are likely to have the same degree of success running an organization with a different mission. Second, when we train people to take on leadership roles, we need to give them practice solving domain-specific problems so that they can prepare to integrate information in the arena in which they are being asked to lead. For example, it isn’t enough just to teach people about how to resolve generic conflicts between employees, we should create scenarios derived from real cases so that people have to grapple with all of the ambiguities that come from the conflicts that arise within particular industries. This issue is particularly important given the frequency with which people in the modern workplace change jobs and even move across industries. This mobility means that many younger employees may not gain significant expertise in the industry in which they are currently working, which will make it harder for them to be effective in leadership roles.  Companies need to identify prospective future leaders and encourage them to settle down in order to develop the specific skills they need to lead.

15 ноября, 14:15

3 Changes Retailers Need to Make to Survive

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Danita Delimont/Getty Images Few industries are being disrupted as drastically as the retail industry. Pioneers of new business models, such as Alibaba and Amazon, are launching innovations in rapid succession, such as voice ordering and real-time pricing, while simultaneously building scale and driving down costs. More retail purchases are moving online, and a growing number of manufacturers now sell to consumers directly, cutting out retailers entirely. Making matters more challenging, these shifts are happening across practically every retail category – books, entertainment, housewares, clothing, food, financial services, and even energy. The retailers left standing are those that figure out how to treat disruption as business-as-usual in an industry accustomed to slow, strategic planning. Today, even long-established retailers are starting to set and deliver on selling strategies at the nearly real-time pace set by their online competitors. It’s either adapt to the new environment or step aside and make room for a competitor who can. To accommodate frequent, fundamental changes to business models, leading retailers generally follow three principles that have been developed through trial and error, often in the midst of disruption. Below, we explore each one, in turn: Empower mid-level teams. While executives excel at setting a firm’s strategy, it usually takes teams made up of people on the front line from all of the divisions affected by proposed changes to figure out how to implement them at pace. That’s why Alibaba and Amazon, for example, create and sprinkle autonomous cross-functional teams across their respective companies to invent and deliver products in new ways. These teams regularly come up with innovations that enable these online retailers to roll out more new products and services faster than their competitors. At other future-focused retailers, setting up autonomous, cross-functional teams to meet constantly evolving challenges is taking hold in different ways. Some retailers maintain a separate in-house team to try out potentially superior new systems that don’t follow traditional rules, in parallel with existing processes. Others have gone so far as to start their own venture capital funds, such as Walmart’s Store No. 8, to invest in small firms to test out new technologies – such as advanced data analytics or new ways to deliver products – before bringing them in-house. By incorporating these disruptors into its own operations, a retailer can more easily pose challenging questions and embrace change more quickly. Insight center The Gap Between Strategy and Execution Sponsored by the Brightline Initiative Aligning the big picture with the day-to-day. Once given permission to “think the unthinkable” via cross-functional teams, retailers can often realize material impacts on agility and costs. For example, by pulling together people from finance, human resources, sales, and other product-related departments, one retailer figured out how the company could operate with one-third fewer employees in its stores. The group designed an entirely new store model from the ground up, using lean store approaches, and cherry-picked the company’s best products, reducing the number of offerings by 70% in its catalog and by one-quarter in its stores. They also simplified checkouts and shelf restocking processes and equipment. By streamlining store complexity, the team was also able to slash the retailer’s supply chain costs by 20 percent. In the process, the company became better acquainted with its customers – what they liked to buy and how they liked to shop. Leading retailers continually improve their businesses by encouraging employees to not only abandon old ways of doing things, but to think as if they were creating the company from scratch and picking the system or tool that makes the most sense. This is especially effective since cross-functional teams do not answer to a particular department. So they are more likely to recognize, for example, when a company’s legacy IT system has become a stumbling block to progress – a common affliction in retail operations. Engage executives in continuous small sprints. Companies often pull together teams made up of technologists and front-line managers to continuously test and refine paths to progress, remove obstructions, and keep things on track. But top retailers have found that executives, including chief executive officers, need to get involved day-to-day for revolutionary thinking to be accepted quickly. Otherwise, issues raised will go unresolved or projects will drift back to more conventional paths. At Amazon, for example, executives are required to “dive deep” as well as to “think big.” That means they are expected to work regularly with junior operational teams to solve specific issues as well as set strategy, and they are rated by others on their ability to strike the right balance. By taking this approach, Amazon can improve its processes swiftly and the company’s senior leadership stays in touch with what’s happening on the front line. One way insightful retailers are breaking free from their conservative cultures is to have the CEO lead a weekly “drop in” meeting for project teams or 15-minute daily catch-ups. When CEOs lead these meetings, teams can raise any issues, big or small, and get them resolved in minutes. Even complicated issues that cut across traditional organizational boundaries can be detangled, such as getting permission to change a marketing campaign without checking with the marketing director or to test a new product offer in stores without first having to secure agreement from both the commercial and store operations departments. Executive involvement can also help with breaking free of strongly ingrained principles or procedures, such as rules around how products are displayed on shelves. Enable people to feel comfortable with failing fast – including the CEO. Leading retailers have developed the ability to nimbly change direction, even based on beta testing. The ones that do this best have CEOs who fight their instincts to avoid failure and instead champion taking more risks and learning from them – even at the very top of their organizations. Amazon has practically codified failure throughout the company by separating decisions into “one-way doors” and “two-way doors.” One-way doors are decisions that are difficult to reverse, such as a big acquisition, where it’s critical for the decision to be more carefully considered and made at a slower pace. But two-way door decisions are reversible without costing the company its life, such as a new product launch or pricing decision. It’s assumed that these decisions can be made fast with limited information and that failing is okay. As a result, Amazon can regularly adjust to trends and rush out products. In some cases, retailers are setting up “lab stores” — pop-up establishments designed to test a specific hypothesis. Nordstrom, for instance, has set up a smaller “Nordstrom Local” test store where customers can try on clothes and then have them delivered to their homes later the same day. Nordstrom offers customers time-saving, personalized attention by keeping personal stylists, tailors, and manicurists at the store. But it does this at a lower cost by pulling merchandise from its other larger mall-anchored stores and web site instead of keeping inventory for purchase in stock. The retail upheaval that began two decades ago when Amazon was founded is nowhere near an end. While painful, the turmoil has given retailers a head start in discovering how to transform constant disruption into new ways to unleash inventions that make their operations stronger. If managers in other industries take a page from retailers’ playbooks, dealing with disruption could start to feel like second nature to them as well.

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15 ноября, 13:05

Research: If You Position Products as a Set, People Are More Likely to Buy Them All

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De Agostini/G. Cigolini/Getty Images It’s no secret that people like to finish things; there’s something deeply and inexplicably satisfying about crossing the last item off a to-do list or acquiring the final piece of a collectible set.  But just how far are people willing to go to achieve “completeness”?  Recent research I conducted with Leslie John, Elizabeth Keenan, and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School investigated whether it’s possible to harness this desire to motivate people in specific ways. In a series of studies, we used visual cues and verbal descriptions to artificially reframe individual items, from donations to tasks to gambles, as cohesive but otherwise arbitrary groups.  We then measured the effect of this pseudo-set framing on people’s effort levels and completion rates, and found that behavior changed in significant and meaningful ways. Our first test was in the field; we teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) to conduct an experiment during their 2016 Holiday Campaign.  The CRC randomly directed more than 7,000 donors to one of three nearly-identical websites.  One version displayed the business-as-usual website, a platform offering donors the option to give money and/or up to six aid items (e.g., hot meals, blankets).  A second version encouraged donors to give the six aid items—the more, the better – and “rewarded” them with a badge for each one added to the cart.  A third version also encouraged donors to give the six aid items, but this time described them as component parts of a “Global Survival Kit,” presented a graphic that filled in as items were added, and showed text marking progress toward “100%” completion, indicating all six goods were in the cart. Once the final donations were tallied, we found that the Global Survival Kit framing led four to seven times as many people to donate all six items (as compared to the business-as-usual site and the badge prompts.) By merely tweaking the framing—and without changing anything about the choices themselves—we were able to systematically shift what donors chose to give. Next, we wondered:  Just how arbitrary could these sets be and still elicit the same behavior?  We tested this in several follow-up laboratory studies, which depicted pseudo-sets in different ways: a five-slice pie chart that “filled in” as tasks were completed, an image of a subdivided coin that “filled in” as gambles were won, and the description of a “batch” of greeting cards that could be written.  In all of these cases, the framing made people significantly more likely to reach completion—spending more time, or in the case of the gambles, incurring more risk—relative to control conditions, even though there were no rewards for doing so, and even when the total arbitrariness of the grouping was made explicit. So what exactly makes pseudo-set framing work?  To explore the “why,” we turned to a common real-world scenario: beer purchases.  In an online experiment, we showed one group of study subjects images of one, two, or three loose beers with no product packaging, and then asked how many additional bottles they’d want to buy.  Most said they’d purchase either nothing more or the number needed to add up to six, representing a traditional six-pack.  However, when we presented a second group of subjects with a four-pack container—pre-filled with one, two, or three bottles—they overwhelmingly said they would purchase only the extras needed to fill all four slots, no more and no less.  They did so, we discovered, because they were uncomfortable leaving the case incomplete.  Our conclusion is that organizations can fairly easily shift consumers’ go-to quantity for purchases with a simple tweak in product packaging. And there are many other possibilities for implementing pseudo-set framing in the real world.  People frequently encounter tasks with no obvious stopping point, prompting the question: “How much is enough?”  How many items should we buy?  How many friends should we refer?  How many times should we donate?  Although firms and fundraisers would always prefer more engagement, they might instead consider finding a sweet spot for engagement and setting that as a point of “completion”—via text, graphics or other nudges.  We’d bet that many people won’t be able to resist their inherent desire to finish.