23 мая, 21:46

Do Doctors Get Worse as They Get Older?

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A debate has erupted within medicine over how to ensure that physicians maintain their clinical skills throughout their careers. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has long required internists to pass Maintenance of Certification exams every 10 years to keep their board-certified status. However, this policy has recently come under scrutiny due to its high burden to doctors and the lack of sound evidence that recertification processes improve doctors’ quality of care. In response, the ABIM announced it would offer a new assessment option starting in January 2018, allowing doctors to be recertified through shorter, but more frequent, assessments. But it’s not clear that this will make much difference. In fact, it raises a couple of important questions: Are assessments even the most effective way to incentivize doctors to keep up with the latest medical knowledge and new technologies? Why don’t we directly measure physicians’ quality of care and patient outcomes as they grow older? While there is some evidence that physicians’ clinical knowledge, adherence with up-to-date standards of care, and performance on process measures may wane as they get older, little is known about whether and how age impacts physicians’ practice and their patient outcomes. On one hand, skills and knowledge are accumulated through experience and can improve quality of care. On the other hand, scientific knowledge, technology, and clinical guidelines change so regularly that keeping up with them and incorporating them into clinical practice can be overwhelming. As the physician workforce in the U.S. ages (approximately one-fifth of U.S. physicians are over 65 years old, and the size of the group has increased 27% since 2005), it becomes even more important to understand how physician age might relate to patient outcomes. This would help inform new efforts to educate older physicians and improve clinical outcomes. What the Data Says The relationship between physician age and patient outcomes has not been empirically studied at a large scale. Therefore, we decided to investigate this issue by analyzing the outcomes of hospitalized Medicare patients and the age of their treating physicians. In our study, which was recently published in The BMJ, we found that U.S. Medicare patients treated by older physicians were more likely to die within 30 days of hospitalization, compared with patients treated by younger physicians — unless the older physicians were used to treating large numbers of patients each year. We looked at nationally representative data on Medicare patients hospitalized between 2011 and 2014 with a general medical condition and treated by a hospitalist physician, a general internist who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients. Our final sample consisted of approximately 700,000 hospitalizations treated by 19,000 hospitalists in 3,000 hospitals across the United States. We found that patients treated by older physicians experienced statistically significantly higher mortality rates than patients cared for by younger physicians. Thirty-day patient mortality rates were 10.8% for physicians under 40, 11.1% for those age 40–49, 11.3% for those age 50–59, and 12.1% for physicians age 60 or older. (Because we focused on hospitalists, most of the physicians in our sample were under the age of 50.) Hospitalists typically work in scheduled shifts, much like emergency room physicians, so patients are unlikely to select the physician who treats them. In effect, the chance nature of patient admissions ensures that patients are randomized to their treating physician, similar to how patients in a clinical trial are randomly assigned to receive a treatment or a placebo. This approach limits the possibility of selection bias that could occur if older physicians tended to treat sicker patients. We adjusted for patient and physician characteristics that could influence 30-day mortality rates. Patient characteristics included age, sex, race or ethnicity, primary diagnosis, coexisting chronic conditions, median household income, and Medicaid status. Physician characteristics included age, sex, medical school attended, and, importantly, the hospital where they practiced. By accounting for differences between hospitals, we could effectively compare patient outcomes of older and younger physicians within the same hospital. When we stratified our analysis by the number of patients each physician treated per year, we found that the difference in mortality rates was mostly being driven by older physicians who saw fewer than 200 hospitalized patients annually: They had higher patient mortality rates than younger physicians who saw the same number of patients. We saw no systematic relationship between physician age and 30-day mortality rates among physicians who treated more than 200 patients each year. So, among doctors who saw lots of patients, older doctors seemed to deliver the same quality of care as their younger colleagues. When we expanded our study population to include general internists, including those who are not hospitalists, our results held: Patients treated by older internists had higher mortality rates than those treated by younger ones. What These Findings Mean We were not able to assess exactly why older physicians had worse patient outcomes. One possible explanation could be that it becomes more difficult to keep up with scientific and technological advancement over time. Another explanation may be that physicians are most skilled in the few years after residency training. Residency is arguably the most intense period of patient care that a physician experiences over their entire career. Young physicians treat many different patients during their residency training, and therefore become familiar with the evidence-based management of a wide array of diseases. It is not uncommon for internal medicine trainees who are finishing residency to be told that they may never know more about the practice of internal medicine than they do at that time. Once they become attending physicians, they generally see fewer patients. And if they later take on management roles or split their time between clinical work and research, they may see even fewer patients. There is reason to believe this could impact their clinical knowledge and patients. Some evidence shows that, in surgical specialties, physicians with lower procedural volumes tend to have worse outcomes. If this hypothesis about patient volume were true, then continuing medical education and recertification requirements may not be sufficient to prevent the age-related trend in clinical quality. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that doctors who see more patients are somehow systematically different from other physicians. Perhaps, for instance, older doctors who see the highest number of patients do so because they are really good doctors (and love seeing patients). Another explanation for our findings may be that they reflect differences in how younger and older hospitalist physicians were trained. Since the hospitalist specialty was only recognized in the 1990s, the older hospitalists in our data had transitioned into the hospitalist specialty after beginning their careers as primary care providers, which is an outpatient specialty that focuses heavily on nonacute care, including chronic disease management and prevention. Unless primary care providers also attend on inpatient services, they likely won’t have lots of ongoing experience with seeing and treating the acute illnesses that hospitalist physicians routinely manage. In contrast, younger hospitalists may have trained as hospitalists right after residency and would therefore be most comfortable and experienced with acute inpatient medicine. Ultimately, we need to further explore whether physicians’ practice patterns change over the course of their careers and how clinical volumes impact practice patterns and clinical skills among older physicians. There is evidence that continuing medical education is associated with improvements in clinical knowledge, but little is known about whether those activities actually lead physicians to provide higher-quality care. Additional studies will be important for helping physicians consistently deliver high-quality care over the course of their careers and for ensuring that all patients receive the best possible care.

23 мая, 16:00

How Multinationals Can Adapt to a Political Mood That Doesn’t Care for Them at All

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The fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, ushered in a new era of globalization. People, capital, goods, and ideas moved around the world with a freedom not seen since the late 19th century. The economic gains for developing countries have been extraordinary. The percentage of the world’s population living in absolute poverty has fallen from 40% in 1980 to 10% today. China and India now have middle classes numbering in the hundreds of millions. Multinational corporations have been instrumental in this process. To reduce costs, they have shifted production to countries with low-paid workers, thereby increasing demand for their labor and increasing their wages. This has spread advanced production techniques and management practices around the world, dramatically improving productivity. And they have sold their products in countries whose citizens were until recently shut off from goods and services of the quality and value familiar to Western consumers. It wasn’t for charity, of course. Shareholders have benefited greatly from bigger product markets, lower production costs, and the judicious use of head office domiciles to reduce tax bills. Since 1990, the market capitalization of multinational corporations has grown at more than three times the average rate of listed companies around the world, our research shows. But this ascendancy is under threat. Political sentiment has turned against globalization and the political and economic policies that promoted it. The financial crisis of 2008 is often attributed to deregulation and unfettered capitalism. Governments have since created new regulatory agencies and strengthened the powers of existing ones with a view to reducing “systemic risk” and protecting consumers, workers, and the environment. At the same time, international trade and migration have come to be seen as harmful to the low- and middle-skilled workers in advanced economies, suppressing their wages and threatening their jobs and ways of life. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of nationalist parties across Europe are signs of this new political mood. As this mood is translated into policy, the structural advantages of multinational corporations are coming under threat from five main sources. The first, and most obvious, is trade protectionism. Already, the World Trade Organization reports a rise in protectionist measures by the G20 countries, with 1,583 added since 2008 and only 387 removed. Tariffs not only restrict global corporations’ access to consumers around the world but also drive up production costs, as the price of imported components increases. Second is the return of “industrial policy,” as advocated, for example, by Theresa May, the British prime minister. Domestic champions receive favorable regulatory treatment that makes competing with them difficult for global corporations. Multinational banks are in retreat, and even digital businesses such as Uber and Airbnb have found their business models undermined in several countries by regulations introduced to protect the domestic suppliers they compete with. A third threat comes from increased demands for accountability. Domestic regulators seeking to avoid environmental disasters, accounting scandals, or consumer detriment want responsible parties on the ground. Lean cost models that make use of globally centralized control functions (finance, compliance, legal, risk) will no longer be deemed sufficient. Fourth are the broader demands for corporations to be socially responsible. This can reduce revenues — for example, through demands for more-affordable products. It can increase costs, through calls for fair pay or environmentally friendly production. And it can push tax liabilities up, from what the letter of the law says to what is deemed a company’s fair contribution. Some multinational corporations have already made voluntary tax contributions in response to public discontent. Finally, the chance that an investment will go wrong because of unexpected political events is increasing. This heightened political risk entails higher hurdle rates for investment. Foreign direct investment from the European Union fell from 6.9% of GDP in 2007 to 3.3% in 2015, while foreign direct investment from the United States fell from 2.9% to 1.8%. This new world order need not spell the end of multinational corporations. But they will need to change. In particular, we see two major adaptations that are needed — and one enduring advantage that will become even more important. The first major adaptation is the adoption of corporate goals that go beyond short-term gain for shareholders and attend to the longer-term interests of all stakeholders. What this means in practice will vary with the multinational corporation’s line of business: An oil company will need to protect the environment; a bank will need to promote the financial security of its customers and contribute to macroeconomic stability; a global fashion brand will need to be a good employer (or buyer). Social responsibility must be built into the business model, rather than being a philanthropic appendage. The second is that a shift from global models to approaches based on a global-local hybrid approach. Centralized governance and “cut and paste” business models won’t work in the new world of economic nationalism. Multinational corporations may need to evolve from being globally integrated enterprises to federations of quasi-independent subsidiaries. This will mean being a little less multinational — making fewer, deeper strategic commitments to particular markets. These changes relinquish some of the cost advantages of being a multinational corporation, and others may be removed by trade barriers. This is where their enduring advantage comes into play: Multinational corporations will continue to derive competitive advantage from intellectual property, the one corporate asset that cannot be stopped at the border. The business model in which intellectual property is used will need to be tailored to the regulations and political imperatives of the countries where it is deployed. But provided this can be achieved quickly and at reasonable cost, as it usually can be where digital intellectual property is concerned, multinational corporations will still be able to derive outsize value from it. Hence the continued success of Netflix, Skype, Zappos, and the like as the tide has turned against globalization. Under the economically liberal policy consensus of the last 30 years, senior leaders of multinational corporations concerned themselves with commercial matters — consumer demand, production efficiency, investor appetite, and so on. They must now pay far more attention to innovation and politics. If any are reluctant to do so, they should remember the wisdom of Pericles: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

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23 мая, 15:00

Giving Seriously Ill Patients More Choices About Their Care

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Nearly everyone in health care wants to cut waste and reduce unnecessary costs — until the conversation turns to advanced chronic illness and end-of-life care. Fears about “pulling the plug on granny,” no matter how ill she may be, have slowed progress toward value-based care. As Atul Gawande notes in Being Mortal, “Such talk, however carefully framed, raises the specter of a society readying itself to sacrifice its sick and aged.” A new clinical model based on an advanced illness-management program one of us (Brad) developed at Sutter Health, an integrated system in Northern California, demonstrates how to increase quality while dramatically reducing costs. The solution: Help seriously ill people choose exactly what kind of care they want — and want to avoid. This model doesn’t leave patient choice to chance; it’s hardwired into clinical operations. The Status Quo One-quarter of all Medicare dollars are spent on treatment during the final year of life, with one-third of the final-year expenditures squeezed into the last month before death. Over that period, 80% of spending is for hospital-based treatment, much of it in intensive care units (ICUs). America’s medical model has mastered trauma, infections, and other curable conditions — but it fails when it’s applied to advanced chronic illnesses. Insight Center The Leading Edge of Health Care Sponsored by Optum How the most innovative providers are creating value. Such illnesses progress on their own schedule, and full recovery is rare. Indeed, some types of “usual care” — such as chemotherapy for late-stage cancer and multiple hospitalizations for advanced heart failure — appear to shorten life, not prolong it, compared with palliative care focused on comfort. In effect, the notion of a “cure” for advanced chronic illness is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, when patients with such illnesses deteriorate, our default response is aggressive, hospital-based treatment, even though most of those patients say they would prefer to stay as safe and comfortable as possible at home — if they were given the choice. Hospice, which Medicare pays for, was designed as a home-based alternative to hospital care for maintaining quality of life at the end of life. But to qualify for hospice, patients must have a life expectancy of no more than six months, and, unless they participate in the current Medicare Care Choices demonstration, must forego their right to curative treatment. Consequently, many people, their families, and their physicians resist hospice until all therapeutic options are exhausted. Over one-quarter of all hospice patients get enrolled when they have less than three days left to live, many of them coming straight from the ICU. For these people, hospice is just another emergency service tacked onto the end of a long siege of hospital treatment. A Better Model Physicians are expected to conduct advance care planning with their patients who have chronic illness. But because many doctors dread these talks, they often don’t occur. And even if they do, the resulting advance directives may be inadequate, even inaccessible, in a health crisis. Sutter and other health systems have risen to the challenge, combining best practices from hospice and palliative care to create an advanced care model that extends the practices of primary- and specialty-care physicians into the patient’s home through interdisciplinary teams of palliative-care providers, care managers (nurses and social workers), community health staff, spiritual care providers, and others. The goal: Help patients clarify and document their care preferences, communicate those preferences to providers, and then oversee their preferred mix of medical and nonmedical care, ensuring they receive no more and no less than they want. By having patient choice directly inform a shared care plan, the advanced care model can break the common cycle of late-life revolving-door hospitalizations, thereby enhancing quality and lowering costs for consumers and health systems. Sutter’s Advanced Illness Management (AIM) program, funded by a $13 million grant from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), achieved the most significant quality improvement and utilization or cost reduction in CMMI’s entire Complex/High-Risk Patient Targeting portfolio. On average, AIM saved $5,700 per patient in the final month of life, and almost twice that during the entire enrollment period. To date, the program has served more than 16,000 patients. Similar programs implemented after Sutter’s by others — including Sharp HealthCare in San Diego and Aetna — have also produced good results. Sharp reported that its Transitions Advanced Illness Management Program reduced mean per-participant costs in the final month of life to $3,711, compared with $17,006 in a control group that received usual care. Both Sutter’s and Sharp’s programs had high rates of satisfaction from patients, families, and referring doctors. Indeed, three-quarters of physicians surveyed about AIM agreed that “the program decreased my workload.” Based on the experiences of one of us (Brad) with AIM and other programs and an ongoing research program that one of us (Len) is conducting on improving the service experience of patients with advanced illness, we believe that advanced care models should have eight key components: They establish close, enduring personal relationships, primarily in the home, among patients, family, and staff. They ensure seamless communication across all clinical settings to remedy fragmented, episodic standard care. They relieve pain and suffering, which, if left untreated, impair quality of life and encourage hospitalization. They educate patients and their families about disease process and prognosis, and they foster open discussion about all options for care, including hospice. They engage patients on their own terms and at their own pace to identify what matters most to them. They document personal care preferences as they emerge, and they use electronic health records or traditional communication channels to convey those preferences to all potential providers. They continue these discussions, documenting and transmitting any new care preferences that may emerge as disease progresses. They provide support to families to help relieve the burden of caregiving. Carefully recruited, well-trained team members are critical to effectively implementing these eight features. They’re taught to talk frankly and with ease about sensitive issues, such as treatment failure and impending death. According to a care manager quoted in CMMI’s report, “Having a conversation about end-of-life options allows everyone to breathe.” They’re also expected to help patients navigate the complex world of clinical medicine. One blind patient said, “The nurse case manager went with me and stayed through it all. A lot of people who go to appointments with me drop me off and leave. When you’re blind, you get kind of scared. She stayed with me, and the doctors explained everything to her. That’s what I need.” The staff, in turn, feel fulfilled. In program evaluation interviews, care managers often say, “This is the work I was meant to do.” Moving forward Imagine having a health care system as committed to improving end-of-life care as it is to treating illnesses. The advanced care model offers an innovative solution that benefits all stakeholders — patients, families, providers, and payers — by informing and engaging seriously ill patients directly in making decisions about their care. Cost savings result from avoiding treatments that patients don’t want, not from rationing care. A proposal for a national demonstration of the advanced care model is now before the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. PTAC will decide whether to recommend implementation to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A multipronged approach to financing that involves both care-management fees and shared savings would support replication, scaling, and sustainability. The advanced care model could be an important element in migrating the U.S. health care system from a supply-driven, fee-for-service structure toward payment for real value. It would hardwire choice, compassion, and communication into the care of our sickest, most vulnerable citizens.

23 мая, 14:00

What I Learned from Transforming the U.S. Military’s Approach to Talent

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When Army 2nd Lieutenant Joseph Riley was a senior at the University of Virginia, he ranked 10th out of 5,579 in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) National Order of Merit List. Upon graduation, he was proudly commissioned an Army officer and selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford, where he pursued a master’s degree in international relations. That was where the trouble began. In 2015 the Army informed Riley that, because of his time away, he was not being promoted alongside 90% of his peers to the rank of 1st lieutenant and he would soon be facing a board to determine whether he should be separated from the Army altogether. It took the intervention of Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley to save Riley. Today he continues to wear the uniform. 2nd Lieutenant Riley’s background is any employer’s dream, and his retention in the armed forces is a good thing for the Department of Defense, the organization I had the honor to lead from 2015 to 2017. But the protocols that almost led to his leaving the Army are an employer’s nightmare. When contending for talent in a competitive world, no organization — let alone the largest in the world, with the largest stakes — can afford to lose employees like 2nd Lieutenant Riley. A case like Riley’s would make any leader take a hard look at his institution’s talent management, but it is particularly worrying at the Defense Department. When Americans reflect on what makes their military the best, it is not just its unrivaled technology, the nearly $600 billion dollars per year we spend on it, its compelling mission, or our network of global allies. America’s military is the finest fighting force the world has ever known because of the people we attract to an all-volunteer force. But the traditions and rules that have strengthened the U.S. military over the last 250 years can, at times, make recruitment and retention difficult. That’s why, as Secretary of Defense, I took steps to transform the department’s personnel policies. Working with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the individual military services, who are responsible for training and equipping personnel, we launched our “Force of the Future” initiatives to make the department more open, more flexible, and more supportive of alternative paths like 2nd Lieutenant Riley’s. But, while much progress has been made and the logic behind the initiatives is ironclad, the job of building the Force of the Future is not yet complete. What I learned, and present here, will help leaders in the Defense Department and Congress finish what we started, and I believe these lessons can help leaders in the private sector make needed changes in their talent management to keep up and stay ahead. When I took the oath of office, in February 2015, with two years left in the Obama administration, I made a specific commitment to ensure that the U.S. military continues to be a place where America’s finest want to serve. It was clear to me then that the Defense Department would need to keep pace with the dramatic changes — many of them technological — reshaping the economy, the labor market, and human resource management. We set out to change how the department thought about and treated talent through the full career cycle of our uniformed and civilian personnel, from their recruitment through their training, advancement, retention, and retirement. As we dug into the challenge, it became clear that the pool of available talent from which the department can attract and recruit young Americans is shrinking quickly. The U.S. military needs at least 250,000 young people to join up every year. But of the more than 4 million men and women who turn 18 each year, a mere 29%, or about 1.2 million, are high school graduates (or have earned their GED) who meet the military’s recruitment standards and are eligible to serve. (The main barriers are obesity, drug use, and problems with the law.) Even though the profession of arms is unique in many ways, I knew that to build the Force of the Future in a relatively successful economy, we were going to have to compete against some of America’s best employers, and so we sought to learn from them. We learned that we would need to change the way we used analytics and data and the way we managed our personnel processes. But more than that, we would need to make fundamental changes in how we attracted, developed, and advanced our talent, and how we helped the department’s people transition back to civilian life. Attracting Talent First, the Defense Department had to find a way to increase the pool of high-quality candidates inclined toward service. We faced geographic and awareness challenges. Nearly 40% of all active duty military recruits come from just six states. At the same time, military service has become something of a family business: Those who have joined the military are nearly twice as likely to have a parent who served. Data shows most young people are unsure — or even misinformed — about what it could mean for them to wear a uniform. To overcome those challenges, we began to change where and how we recruited and advertised. The department started sending recruiters to the 44 states where we had fallen behind. We laid the groundwork to appeal to the influencers young people trust most — their parents and family, teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and clergy — and convince them military service is something to encourage. And we planned and budgeted to launch a new advertising and marketing campaign, which still awaits congressional approval, to employ predictive analytics and microtargeting, similar to those used in consumer marketing, to reach Americans who may not have previously considered military service. Of course, as we sought to expand the military’s talent base, we could not afford to continue the policy of closing certain military positions to women. Taking 50% of the population off the table meant losing too much potential talent. I therefore decided to open up all combat positions to women, including infantry, armor, and some special operations units, like the Navy SEALs, without exception. Now women who meet our uncompromising standards will be measured by their contribution to the force no matter what field they choose. The Pentagon also needed to improve the way the department attracted young officers, 40% of whom do not attend the three military academies, instead coming from our century-old, college-based ROTC program. The department found that too many talented students did not know about ROTC until they were already on campus. So the Defense Department will now offer more two- and three-year ROTC scholarships to students interested in joining after their freshman or sophomore years. And because the Force of the Future will not all serve in uniform — 700,000 civilians do critical work across the department — we changed how we hire civilians. The Pentagon used to lose too many talented college graduates to more agile competitors, even though we were their first choice, because of the time it took to get an offer through the cumbersome bureaucracy. So Congress agreed to give the department the authorization to hire civilian employees directly through recruiting visits on college campuses. This spring, for the first time, recruiters were out there using this new authority to hire the civilians who will serve in the Department for years to come. Developing Talent As any employer knows, recruitment is just the first step to talent management. To develop these civilians and uniformed servicemembers, the department also needed to give its personnel more opportunities to grow. One way I sought to do so was by creating new and expanded “off-ramps” and “on-ramps” for personnel. We gave the department’s people time to work outside of the Pentagon and to bring smart, dedicated outsiders in for a time to help us think differently and imbue our staff with ideas and practices from outside the ranks. One off-ramp is the Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellowship, which selects officers to train with a forward-thinking business or organization. In recent years, the department has sent men and women to Google and Amazon, among other tech leaders. And now the Defense Department is doubling the size of this program, opening it to enlisted leaders, and diversifying where personnel can do a tour, including other innovative state governments and not-for-profit organizations. Promotion Of course, the Defense Department needs to be sure that its highest performers continue to move up through the military ranks. To do so, the Pentagon proposed some important and innovative improvements, but although the U.S. Senate approved the changes, the House of Representatives has not yet enacted these necessary reforms. The current system is governed by the 36-year-old Defense Officer Personnel Management Act, or DOPMA, which established the requirement that officers advance or be forced out. While the system has fostered a world-class officer corps for generations, this “up-or-out” system has grown too rigid for today’s young people, who want more flexibility and variety in their career paths. So we sought to improve DOPMA to ensure talented officers would not be penalized for pursuing opportunities outside of the traditional “command” track or temporarily postponing promotion consideration. These are logical changes to a system that is, in some ways, dated, and I hope Congress will enact them soon. Retention Retention can be a challenge as young personnel start families and have to balance those personal commitments with their commitment to service. That is especially true at the Defense Department, where 70% of the officer corps is married, compared with 45% of civilians age 25 to 34, and where military members marry and have children at younger ages than their civilian counterparts. That is why it is said often: You recruit a servicemember, but you retain a family. We accordingly expanded paid maternity and paternity leave, we created a standard that required a mother’s room for nursing at every Defense Department facility (establishing 3,600 such rooms in the process), and we expanded the hours of daycare centers up to 14 hours a day across the force to provide military parents with greater flexibility. The costs of these changes have been more than offset by higher retention of expensively trained personnel. We also found that we could increase retention by allowing family members to stay longer at a duty station of choice, in exchange for an additional service obligation. Separation and Retirement Finally, the Defense Department modernized its retirement system. It’s the right thing to do for any number of reasons, but in this context it’s actually an important recruitment tool. I remember when veterans were treated poorly, and in my time at the department we recommitted ourselves to helping them transition to veteran status when they move on, so that they can succeed in every way possible. We provided new career counseling as well as professional skill certification for our tradesmen, among other efforts. And employers around the country now sing the praises of their veteran employees. The Pentagon also improved servicemember retirement benefits. The department now offers a portable, 401(k)-like plan that personnel can take with them when they move on. Looking Toward the Future At a time of economic, technological, and labor evolutions, organizations have to change to compete for the best talent. As I learned, that meant looking in new places and in new ways, taking care of families more than ever before, and helping those who leave succeed so that they continue to be good examples to those who might join up. When I took the oath of office, with just two years left in the Obama administration, I believed firmly that even if I could not finish everything I started, it was important to get many innovative initiatives, including the Force of the Future program, set in motion. The logic behind these initiatives is irrefutable, so I’m confident they will continue. As the new Secretary of Defense, new commander-in-chief, and new Congress continue to shape the Force of the Future, I believe they can build on these lessons. Our security depends on it.

23 мая, 13:00

Before You Agree to Take on New Work, Ask 3 Questions

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During the 2009 recession, I took a high-profile job with a marketing agency. On the surface, it looked like a dream opportunity. The clients were big, the pay was excellent, and given the economic climate at the time, I considered myself lucky. No, the work didn’t excite me, but what would people think if I turned it down? I started on a Monday, and every morning that week I felt myself growing more and more uncomfortable. On Friday, while I was sitting in on a four-hour conference call in a windowless meeting room, I couldn’t pretend that I wasn’t miserable. I ended up quitting that day, just 4.25 days after I started and without a plan B — yet I felt instant relief. You should take that job. You should join that board. You should take on that new client. “Shoulds” are the things we do out of obligation because we have not thoughtfully considered our true objectives, even out of fear: What if we never get another opportunity? What will others think of us if we say no? What will we think of ourselves if we say no? Sometimes, shoulds even seem like things we want to do. But, in fact, they stand in staunch opposition to our true desires, those things we hope and strive for, those opportunities that are an immediate “yes!” When we say yes to shoulds, we end up overcommitted, spread thin, and burned out. Despite our best intentions, we can end up disappointing ourselves and the people who matter most. The truth is, achieving the best outcomes — job satisfaction, meaningful relationships, successful ventures — requires shedding our shoulds. We can do this by asking three potentially life-changing questions before pursuing a path or taking on a new commitment: 1. What is my motivation? This is about intrinsic motivators, not external ones. Intrinsic motivation is a drive that comes from within, an expression of our true desires. Extrinsic motivation is found in outside factors, such as money, prestige, or praise. It can be incredibly persuasive, to the point of pushing us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise choose, but it doesn’t always lead to success or happiness. In fact, a study by Tim Judge and colleagues shows that perhaps our greatest extrinsic motivator — money — correlates with employee satisfaction only 2% of the time. On the other hand, employees who are intrinsically motivated by factors such as curiosity and fulfillment are three times more engaged than those who are extrinsically motivated, according to a study by Yoon Jik Cho and James Perry. How do you identify your motivators? Ask yourself why you’re making a specific decision. Are you considering joining that board because you feel you should say yes to such a flattering opportunity, or because you’re truly passionate about the organization’s mission? Are you considering that merger because you should say yes to the potential cash windfall, or because it truly aligns with your company’s long-term vision? Are you considering buying tickets to that glitzy conference because you feel you should be networking, when what you really want to do is be at your daughter’s soccer game? Of course, it can be complicated to disentangle intrinsic motivations from extrinsic ones. Our motivations are not black and white. Sometimes, it might feel like you truly want to do something…but if you’re honest, you might admit you want to do it because you want to be seen (by yourself and others) as a nice, generous, or smart person, rather than because you really want to do it. If you find yourself saying yes to something solely for extrinsic rewards (praise, money, prestige), rather than intrinsic motivation (a genuine desire), stop and consider if the task is a “should” you should shed. 2. Does it align with my values? Being able to confidently shed our shoulds comes back to aligning our decisions with our core values. We can’t do that if we don’t know what those values are. It’s likely that you have an idea of what you value most, but being honest with yourself and fine-tuning the reasoning behind those values will help you get better at walking away from “should” opportunities. In “Do Your Commitments Match Your Convictions?” Donald Sull and Dominic Houlder suggest creating a worksheet with four columns. In the first, list the things that matter most to you, such as spending relaxed time with family, or the financial security that would allow you to retire early. The authors suggest being specific (e.g., not writing just “family” or “money”) and listing at least five things in the first column to reflect the different facets of your life. Label the other three columns with your resources — money, time, and energy. Go through the values you listed, evaluating how much of each resource you expend on that value. “The basic idea is to identify big gaps — stated values that receive little or none of your scarce resources or a single value that sucks a disproportionate share of money, time, and energy from other values,” the authors write. Try the values exercise, then circle back to a “should” decision you’ve recently made or are considering. Where does it fit into your list? Will it eat up time, money, or energy that you want to allocate to one of your other core commitments instead? It’s when values compete that this gets really hard, even for someone who coaches others on it for a living. For example, I recently agreed to a pro bono speaking engagement at a nonprofit because the cause genuinely inspired me. I also knew there was potential to make meaningful connections. As the event approached, though, I found myself feeling more and more dread, because I hadn’t fully considered what I was giving up in order to speak: precious weekend time with my family. 3. Do I have a choice? I’ve put this consideration last because too many of us jump to it first. We look at our calendars, see a bit of free time, and commit to something before considering whether it fits our intrinsic motivations or our values. But, of course, it’s true that sometimes we do have to do things for extrinsic reasons, or do things that take us away from our most important commitments. Every job contains some stultifying or downright unpleasant aspects. For example, people in general dislike networking, but it’s part of generating new business leads. But it is important to recognize that even things that don’t feel optional often are. Self-determination theory suggests that in order to act, or to feel motivated to act, we need to feel that we’re in control. We’ll enjoy something more if we recognize that it’s a choice. The converse is often true as well: When we feel that we should do something, we begin to lose our sense of autonomy. Obligation takes its place. An attorney I work with frequently feels she should go into the office on weekends in order to prove her commitment to her career. The result? She is not only producing subpar work but also resenting it. She has two choices: Keep pursuing the partner track, and work those hours with a new, empowered outlook, or decide the destination is not worth the journey and step back, knowing it’s the journey she wants to enjoy. Neither choice is wrong, but understanding that she owns the choice has changed her outlook. A business executive client feels she should attend every meeting she’s invited to, despite having little time for actual task completion, and finds herself spending evening hours catching up. Does she need to be in every meeting? No. But she can make a choice: Keep going to unnecessary meetings, and live miserably, or stop attending and trust her team to do their jobs, winning back her free time. You are the architect of your life. Don’t let others design it for you. Remember that you have a choice about most shoulds. Shedding our shoulds isn’t easy. We all take on projects and commitments for the wrong reasons, because we don’t think we can say no, at the expense of our values. Once you identify your shoulds, it becomes easier and easier to say no to them, and to begin saying yes to things that actually align with your goals — the things that you really should do.

23 мая, 12:05

How Leaders Can Push Employees Without Stressing Them Out

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One of the most interesting findings of a recent HBR article on team chemistry is that the types of people who become leaders within organizations are about 30% less likely than their coworkers to feel stressed out. As the CEO of a small investment firm, I was surprised by the finding, but as I considered my own leadership style and intraoffice relationships, I concluded that the authors were onto something. Plus, a finding from a 20,000-person survey is probably worth paying attention to. First, let me explain why I was skeptical. I do sometimes feel enormous pressure, generally about our firm’s investment performance. Do I really feel calmer than my colleagues? Both my husband and my second-in-command at the office would suggest, only half-jokingly, that I am miraculously unencumbered because I am so skilled at off-loading my stress onto them. But it’s all relative, and other researchers have also found that bosses feel less stress than their employees do. Bosses’ perceptions of stress are offset by factors such as status, autonomy, and job security, which are generally higher for managers than for their employees. While I’m not about to ask everyone in my company to participate in a daily cortisol readout, I have to operate under the assumption that even if I do feel pressure, my employees may feel more. Which is even more of a reason to understand how to reduce the tension my colleagues feel. Steve Arneson describes the “leader’s dilemma” as the quandary of how to secure the greatest output at a company without building stress to the point of diminishing returns. He recommends the transformational style of leadership, in which a manager provides support and positive feedback to their staff, building respect, commitment, and cooperation within a workforce. It’s a great idea. Unfortunately, the corporate landscape is littered with violations of this concept. For example, my friend Terri is the regional sales manager for a medical device company, which was acquired by a larger firm six months ago. She still does not know whether she will have a job in three months, and her new boss has been unable or unwilling to shed light on any details about Terri’s future or that of most of the legacy sales and marketing staff. She suffers from sleepless nights, low morale, stress, and limited interest in promoting a portfolio whose owners have shown her no respect. The fact that Terri’s superiors have pursued a policy that results in this type of anxiety and dysfunction is clearly counterproductive and, frankly, more than a little mean. There are too many people in Terri’s position in offices all over the world. You and Your Team Series Stress Turning Stress into an Asset Amy Gallo Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan Steps to Take When You’re Starting to Feel Burned Out Monique Valcour I know that no leader, no matter how high they are in the hierarchy, can have all the answers to all the questions an employee might ask. But we can be honest and considerate in how we try to answer them. Studies show that when leaders create a safe and supportive environment, individuals tend to feel more connected to that leader, perform at a higher level, and experience less stress than when they feel unattached to their boss. So what should we be doing to reduce the stress of our employees? I’ll lay out my own suggestions below. Some of these may be second nature for many leaders, but others are less obvious. The high rates of stress and low rates of engagement in organizations show that even if they sound like common sense, not enough bosses pay attention to them. To the greatest extent you can, provide certainty and clarity. This is especially important for job function, lines of reporting, compensation, and any significant changes to the organization. In a classic article, Frederick Herzberg called these kinds of things “hygiene factors.” They are minimum requirements — they don’t guarantee employee motivation, but without them employees are likely to feel disgruntled. While there are always elements to organizational structure and change that are privileged, sharing relevant information with your staff should be standard. Without clarity on important issues, everyone’s mind goes to the worst-case scenario and productivity suffers. Be fair. When people feel that they are being treated unfairly, they tend to suffer anxiety, assign blame, and become stressed. Fairness can take the form of spending equal time with those in your next level of command, listening to everyone at a meeting, explaining your decision-making processes more clearly, and recognizing when someone might feel slighted. Show support and gratitude. That sounds easy in theory, but it isn’t in practice. When Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman studied results from workplace surveys and 360-degree reviews, they found that managers were more likely to avoid giving praise than to avoid giving criticism! 37% admitted they didn’t give their teams any positive reinforcement. Don’t be that boss. Get up and walk around to talk to people, thanking them for helping on a project, hitting a sales goal, bringing in a new account, or staying late. Putting resources, money, and praise behind their efforts will alert colleagues that the firm cares about supporting people who do good work. Exhibit self-confidence and competence as a leader. When executives demonstrate their own abilities, it provides an assurance to coworkers that they are under the direction of a “pack leader” who can protect them. Feeling safe, as described above, is a key factor in stress reduction and job satisfaction. This may seem to conflict with the currently popular theory of showing vulnerability. However, careful reading of the literature emphasizes that the best executives need to illustrate both warmth and competence. Keep your promises. And if you can’t, don’t make any! Too much stress results from people becoming worried about the lack of follow-through by the boss on promises or offers made, even when they are well intentioned. It’s important that leaders are the prime example of thoroughly executing on their own commitments to the people who support them. Applying these principles into our daily leadership practice should help relieve employee stress. Please try. I don’t want to stress about it.

22 мая, 16:00

How to Improve Your Sales Skills, Even If You’re Not a Salesperson

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At some point in your career, even if you’re not a salesperson, you’re going to have to sell something — whether it’s your idea, your team, or yourself. So how can you improve your sales skills, especially if you don’t pitch people often? What should you focus on first? And what should you do if you lose a sale? What the Experts Say Selling has a bad rap, says Thomas Steenburgh, professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. “Very few parents say they want their kids to grow up to be a salesperson,” he says. His MBA students are no different. “Many of them tell me that sales is something they never want to do in their careers.” And yet, he says, “Sales is the most fundamental skill.” Scott Edinger, the founder of Edinger Consulting Group and the author of The Hidden Leader, says that the resistance to sales stems from an “antiquated idea that selling is pushing people to buy something they don’t want, don’t need, or can’t afford.” But that notion is outdated. “Selling is moving somebody else to action,” he says. And that is part and parcel of professional life. “If you look at things you do over the course of your day, from internal meetings with colleagues to clients calls, almost all of your interactions involve some form of selling.” Here’s how to get better at it. Reflect Getting comfortable with sales requires an “understanding of what selling is,” says Edinger. Move beyond the used car salesman cliché. “Selling is not about putting undue pressure on and talking incessantly,” all while “wearing a light blue polyester suit,” he says. Rather, selling “is persuading, inspiring, and leading.” Your goal is “to work in collaboration” with a client or colleague “to drive change.” To get into the right mindset, Steenburgh recommends reflecting on your past positive experiences as a customer. “When you think about the best sales interactions you’ve had in your life, it’s almost like the salesperson wasn’t there,” he says. The seller was just “a person who’d taken a genuine interest in your problem and was helping you solve it.” Put yourself in your counterpart’s shoes “People buy for two reasons,” says Steenburgh. They either have a business problem that needs to be solved or they have a personal need, such as a desire to move up in the organization” that your idea helps accelerate. It’s your job to figure out your customer’s motivations: “What would it take to get your boss to sign off on a project or to get your clients excited about what you have to offer?” says Edinger. Do your research by talking with the people you’re trying to win over, and others in the know, well in advance of making your proposal. Think about what information you need to uncover. “Be empathetic. Focus on understanding the other party — what they need to accomplish and how they measure success.” This will help you tailor your recommendations. Plan and practice Crafting your sales pitch should not be a solo endeavor. Edinger suggests enlisting “a trusted peer or manager” to “role-play” so you can “see what works and what doesn’t.” Your goal is “to understand how the flow of these conversations feels and sounds.” Your colleague can coach you on how you come across and how to improve your delivery. Steenburgh recommends practicing in front of novices. “Talk to someone who is not an expert in the field, such as your grandmother,” he says. “Her questions will help you frame the problem.” Chances are, your first attempt at a pitch will miss the mark. “People spend so much time in their own heads, thinking about their idea, that they fail to draw the connection to how the product will improve someone else’s life,” he says. Stay calm and don’t brag Even with meticulous preparation, pitches can go awry. Your adrenaline is surging, so you may end up talking too much or failing to get to the point quickly. There is no easy solution, says Edinger. His advice: “Chill out.” Try to “relax your facial expressions” and keep your body language confident and loose. Check your tone and pacing. “Nobody wants to be lectured. Be respectful” but not overly deferential, he adds. “Establish a peer-level interaction. You’re not begging on bended knee.” Another common problem, says Steenbergh, is “letting your ego get in the way.” Sometimes, you get caught up in “talking about your strengths, and not what your counterpart wants,” he says. “At best, the person gets bored. And worst, it sends a message that you’re [not right] for the job.” Close the deal Being good at selling means you both “understand the ‘customer’ and understand the path they need to go through to buy,” says Steenburgh. It’s rare that anyone will immediately bite upon hearing your pitch — no matter how brilliant it is. Your counterpart “might need to assess the financial impact of such a purchase,” review competitors, or check with a higher-up before signing off. Regardless of what that next phase may be, you should “ask permission to move forward.” He recommends saying something like, “Are you ready to take the next step? What else can I do to help you make this decision?” Be “flexible” and willing to brainstorm, says Edinger. Think about ways you can “work together in collaboration to improve a product, service, or idea.” If the answer is no, or not yet, use the opportunity to gently probe. “Is the new idea too threatening? Too difficult? Or too expensive?” Think long term Veteran salespeople know it’s possible that “you’re going to fail more than you will succeed,” says Steenburgh. “You just have to have the guts to keep moving forward.” To summon that courage, remind yourself “that it’s not always about you.” Your counterpart has to take many interests into account. Remember, too, that sales is rarely “a one-and-done deal.” If your pitch is unsuccessful, “go back to your target in three months and ask, ‘How’s it going? Are your needs being met?’ If they are, great, but if not,” you may have another shot. “Think about the big picture.” Principles to Remember Do: Your research. Figure out what’s important to your counterpart and what business problems they’re trying to solve. Role-play your pitch with a trusted colleague and ask for feedback on ways to improve your presentation Ask permission to move forward after your initial pitch by saying something like, “Are you ready to take the next step?” Don’t: Tense up. Relax your facial expressions and keep your body language loose. Talk too much — and especially don’t brag. Focus on how you can help your counterpart. Beat yourself up if you’re unsuccessful. Think big picture. Stay in touch and look for opportunities to try again. Case Study #1: Develop an understanding of your customer’s needs, and show empathic concern Damian Vaughn, head of programs at BetterUp, a San Francisco–based company that connects employees with executive-level coaching, believes that being good at sales means that you understand both the “political and personal element” behind every buying decision. “You need to be able to connect the dots between [your customer’s] business needs and their personal needs,” says Damian, a former NFL player turned entrepreneur. “And you need to show empathic concern.” Earlier in his career, Damian worked as a management consultant. He wanted to sell his company’s organizational assessment and leadership development services to “George,” a CEO who had taken the reins of a technology firm poised for a great deal of change. Before he developed his pitch, Damian did his research. “I needed to get a sense of the broader macroeconomic environment George was operating in,” he says. He talked to George’s colleagues to develop a deeper understanding of the CEO’s personal motivations. The conversations were illuminating. “George was a seasoned CEO but not a veteran, and this was his first transformation,” he says. “He wanted to deliver business results, but he also had a need for significance. He wanted to prove that he belonged in this orbit.” In addition, George was eager to connect with his employees. “The people component was really important to him,” Damian says. He used this information to tailor his pitch to George. It was subtle: “The messaging was that the success we were going to achieve would tie directly back to him,” he says. Damian also demonstrated how his consulting services would allow George “to engage and collaborate with his employees. I showed him how everyone would feel connected.” At the beginning of the pitch, Damian provided a brief overview of his company’s services. Then he paused. It was George’s turn to talk. “I listened to George’s vision and intentions,” he says. After George was done, Damian presented his case. “Our solution was what I’m sure felt like a customized service,” he says. “It was what the business needed and what he wanted.” George signed on, and the successful engagement lasted about 18 months. Case Study #2: Learn from mistakes and be willing to collaborate with your customers on a solution David Neenan, president of international at TransUnion, a consumer credit reporting agency, often attends sales meetings at the C-suite level. “I am not a salesperson, but I have to represent the best of what we do and why it’s relevant,” he says. Early on, he made mistakes. “I sometimes came in with too many ideas of where we might be helpful, and it overwhelmed the listener,” he says. “I have learned that sales takes discipline and that I need to pick and choose what to talk about once I understand the customer’s problem.” Other times, “I left regretting that we didn’t make ‘the ask,’ or that we didn’t make it aggressively enough,” he says. Now he knows that the team needs someone in the meeting who is “not afraid to ask the customer to commit to a next step.” He says he’s picked up a lot from TransUnion’s best salespeople, and from conversations with customers: “A client once said to me, ‘A good salesperson takes you where you want to go. A great salesperson takes you where you need to go,’ and it’s true,” he explains. A few years ago, David was in a sales meeting with a big bank that wanted to cut its approval process for credit seekers to less than 10 seconds. “We understood that this was not going to be a quick fix, because we did not have an off-the-shelf solution,” he recalls. “We needed to take a couple of leaps forward and brainstorm with the client to see how we might build a model or framework to solve the issue.” David enjoys this kind of collaboration. “I work in 30 countries, and I like sharing experiences from other markets by taking what we know works in Market A and applying it to Market B,” he says. “That’s when you start to use the word we, as in ‘We are solving the problem together.’” David and his team marshaled the internal resources to build a solution for the bank, and it signed with TransUnion.

22 мая, 15:20

Why Is Cybersecurity So Hard?

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After nearly 20 years of trying and billions of dollars in investment, why are organizations are still struggling with cybersecurity? In fact, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. Answering this question requires moving beyond a purely technical examination of cybersecurity. It’s true that the technical challenges are very real; we don’t know how to write bug-free code, for example. But if you look at the challenge more broadly, even if we resolved the technical issues, cybersecurity would remain a hard problem for three reasons: It’s not just a technical problem The rules of cyberspace are different from the physical world’s Cybersecurity law, policy, and practice are not yet fully developed The first reason — that cybersecurity is more than just a technical problem, incorporating aspects of economics, human psychology, and other disciplines — has been explored in other articles in this cybersecurity series. However, the other two reasons also contribute strongly to making cybersecurity difficult, and our approaches must take them into account. Differing Rules in Cyberspace Cyberspace operates according to different rules than the physical world. I don’t mean the social “rules” but rather the physics and math of cyberspace. The nodal nature of a light-speed network means that concepts like distance, borders, and proximity all operate differently, which has profound implications for security. First, with distances greatly reduced, threats can literally come from anywhere and from any actor. Second, the borders in cyberspace don’t follow the same lines we have imposed on the physical world; instead they are marked by routers, firewalls, and other gateways. Proximity is a matter of who’s connected along what paths, not their physical location. Insight Center Getting Cybersecurity Right Sponsored by Accenture Safeguarding your company in a complex world. As a result, our physical-world mental models simply won’t work in cyberspace. For example, in the physical world, we assign the federal government the task of border security. But given the physics of cyberspace, everyone’s network is at the border. If everyone lives and works right on the border, how can we assign border security solely to the federal government? In the physical world, crime is local — you have to be at a location to steal an object, so police have jurisdictions based on physical boundaries. But in cyberspace you can be anywhere and carry out the action, so local police jurisdictions don’t work very well. The same principles of cyberspace that allow businesses to reach their customers directly also allow bad guys to reach businesses directly. Yet you can’t have governments get in the way of the latter without also getting in the way of the former. Sharing information among people at human speed may work in many physical contexts, but it clearly falls short in cyberspace. As long we continue to try to map physical-world models onto cyberspace, they will fall short in some fashion. Legal and Policy Frameworks Next, cyberspace is still very new from a legal and policy point of view. In the modern form, the internet and cyberspace have existed for only about 25 years and have constantly changed over that time period. Therefore, we have not developed the comprehensive frameworks we need. In fact, we don’t yet have clear answers to key questions: What is the right division of responsibility between governments and the private sector in terms of defense? What standard of care should we expect companies to exercise in handling our data? How should regulators approach cybersecurity in their industries? What actions are acceptable for governments, companies, and individuals to take and which actions are not? Who is responsible for software flaws? How do we hold individuals and organizations accountable across international boundaries? Some answers are beginning to emerge. For example, we should not expect the federal government to protect every business from all online threats all the time — it’s simply not practical, nor is it desirable, because it would significantly impact the way we’re able to do business. On the other hand, we can hardly expect most organizations to thwart the activities of sophisticated nation-state actors. So how do we resolve this dilemma? Perhaps we should borrow concepts from the disaster response world, and divide responsibility in a fluid manner that adapts over time in response to changing circumstances. In disaster response, preparedness and initial response reside at the local level; if a given incident overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm local responders, then steadily higher levels of government can step in. We could apply these principles to allocating responsibility in cyberspace — businesses and organizations remain responsible for securing their own networks, up to a point. But if it becomes clear that a nation-state is involved, or even if the federal government merely suspects that a nation-state is involved, then the federal government would start bringing its capabilities to bear. Fully answering these questions is the key cybersecurity policy task for the next five to 10 years. As long as we treat cybersecurity as a technical problem that should have easy technical solutions, we will continue to fail. If we instead develop solutions that address the reasons why cybersecurity is a hard problem, then we will make progress. The Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) is just one example of this approach (disclosure: I’m the president of CTA). A little over two years ago, a group of cybersecurity practitioners from several organizations concluded that the industry’s operational model was not producing the desired results and decided to adopt a new one — to work together in good faith to begin sharing threat information in an automated fashion, with everyone contributing to the system, and with the context of threats being given a lot more weight. CTA’s structure is an attempt to deal with the known flaws in existing information sharing efforts. If we can continue to innovate in this manner, we can finally begin to make some progress against this seemingly intractable problem.

22 мая, 14:00

8 Ways to Get a Difficult Conversation Back on Track

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Despite our best intentions, conversations can frequently veer into difficult territory, producing frustration, resentment, and wasted time and effort. Take David, one of my coaching clients. Recently appointed to a business school leadership role, he was eager to advance his strategic agenda. Doing so required building his team members’ commitment to and sense of ownership over the proposed changes. When people were slow to step up and take on key tasks and roles, David felt frustrated by what he saw as their unwillingness to assume responsibility. For example, when he spoke with Leela, the head of the school’s specialized online master’s degree programs, he shared his plan to increase enrollment in these programs to boost revenue. He believed that the programs could accommodate 20% more students at the same staffing level with no loss of student satisfaction; Leela disagreed. David argued, and when Leela pushed back with concerns and counterarguments, he batted them away. Nothing got resolved. David believed that if he “won” an argument — through logic, force, or stamina — that meant his conversational partner had accepted his argument and would proceed to act upon their agreement. Instead, his team members left unconvinced and uncommitted. David’s conversational inflexibility made it near impossible for him to lead change. Instead of motivating and facilitating progress, he exasperated and exhausted his team. To have more-effective conversations, he needed to add more tools to his conversational toolbox and learn to use them skillfully. Below are eight strategies David put into practice, all of which you can use to get conversations back on track and then move them forward. Shift the relationship from opposition to partnership. In the midst of a difficult conversation, it’s easy to see your conversational partner as your opponent. Try repositioning yourself — both mentally and physically — to be side by side with the other person, so that you’re focused on the same problem. David told me that trying to convince his team to follow him felt like trying to break into a fortified castle. “How are you trying to get in?” I asked. “I’m trying to break through the wall with a battering ram. It’s the only way in!” he said. David realized that instead of approaching conversations like a frontal assault on a guarded building, it was better to knock politely on the castle door, where he was more likely to be welcomed inside. He now uses the metaphor of “coming around to the same side of the table” to remind himself to seek to build an alliance when a conversation gets stuck. Further Reading HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict COMMUNICATION Book Harvard Business Review 19.95 Add to Cart Save Share Reframe your purpose from convincing to learning. Conversations often go off track when we try to get someone to adopt our view or approach. When our purpose is to make another person see things our way, they are likely to resist — and arguing blocks learning and sends conversations into a ditch. No matter how well-spoken and logical we may be, we can’t understand and solve the problem without exploring how the other person sees it. Whenever David fixated on persuasion as his conversational objective, he became ineffective. As Leela explained, “There’s a lot David doesn’t understand. It would be better if he would work with us rather than trying to ram his plans through, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in learning about our experience and expertise.” Consciously shifting into a learning mode helps us gain the insight we need to be creative, to collaborate, and to move the conversation forward. Loosen your grip on your own viewpoint, at least temporarily, so you can make space to take in your partner’s. David employs the mental trick of being a fly on the wall, a neutral, objective third party who’s witnessing the conversation. From that mental perch up, he’s not trying to convince and he doesn’t have the urge to defend his viewpoint. He doesn’t feel invested in either side, so he can accurately see what and how each is communicating. Verbalize your intention. Transparency helps facilitate productive conversations. Share your purpose and what you hope to achieve with your partner. For example, you might say, “I’d like each of us to get all of our concerns out on the table, so that we can be confident we’re not missing anything.” Ask what they’d like to get out of the conversation. Be explicit, not just about the topic and desired outcome of the conversation but also about process. For example, David said, “I want to remain open-minded and nonjudgmental. Will you let me know if I slip up at this?” Avoid assumptions. Ask someone who’s just had a difficult conversation what went wrong, and they’ll likely describe what they believe was in the other person’s mind: “He’s totally focused on his own career and couldn’t care less whether the team succeeds.” Or, “She’s after my job. She wants me to fail.” The assumptions we make about another person’s intentions usually reveal more about ourselves than about what’s going on in their mind. Making assumptions also limits our effectiveness because it prevents us from fully understanding the situation and narrows the range of solutions we consider. Examine the other’s perspective with openness and curiosity. To understand your conversational partner’s perspective, switch off defensiveness and turn on curiosity. Avoid asking leading questions such as, “You don’t want to become known as the difficult person in the office, do you?” Rather, try asking open-ended questions like these: “How does this affect you?” “What’s at stake for you?” “What is this conversation like for you?” “What do I need to understand?” “What would help us to get on the same page?” Thank them for their responses without rebutting what they’ve said. Acknowledge your part. It’s very easy to identify what the other person has done wrong, and much harder to identify one’s own contribution to the problem. But acknowledging your part demonstrates how to take responsibility and encourages others to do the same. By asking open-ended questions and listening with detachment, David came to see that his desire for fast results led him to cut off discussion too quickly, giving his conversational partners the impression that he wasn’t interested in their ideas. Learn your A-BCDs. University of Washington psychologist John Gottman identified four communication behaviors that derail conversations so consistently that he refers to them as “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.” With a mnemonic modification to Gottman’s formulation, I teach clients to avoid torpedoing conversations by “learning your A-BCDs,” by which I mean learning to Avoid Blame, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. In the absence of Leela’s enthusiasm for his plan, David rolled his eyes with exasperation (an expression of contempt) and barked, “Oh, come on. How are we supposed to get things moving if you won’t take on responsibility?” Here he was blaming her for the delay, while she still felt he hadn’t heard or responded to her concerns. When she raised her eyebrows at his outburst, he realized that he’d slipped up on his stated intention to remain open-minded during the conversation, which he acknowledged with a self-deprecating “oops.” Defensiveness shows up when we deny responsibility for our own contribution to the difficult conversation. Leela contended that David should involve an assistant dean in the planning process. David felt defensive at what he interpreted as a suggestion that he was cutting out important players. He said, “If we have to talk with everyone, we’ll never get anywhere.” By defending his approach with a blanket statement about how involving more people will block progress, he signaled that he’s not open to input on how to move the process along. Stonewalling can take a number of forms, including passivity, avoiding a certain topic, refusal to participate in or contribute to discussion, or withholding relevant information. If you find yourself engaging in any of these behaviors, refocus on what you’re trying to achieve and remember that examining difficult issues with openness and curiosity, while sometimes uncomfortable, is key to having productive conversations. Discuss the four behaviors with your team and agree that you’ll hold each other accountable for avoiding them. Seek input to problem solving. Humans are motivated to preserve and protect our self-image, so feedback can be difficult to receive. We tend to reject information that threatens our identity (e.g., “The customer reports that you were impatient and uninformed”) and, therefore, we don’t learn from it. Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith recommends the simple and effective practice of “feedforward.” Instead of digging into what has happened in the past, tell the person what you hope to learn or achieve, and ask them for their suggestions. For example, David eventually asked Leela, “What can I do to invite greater participation in the change process?” She was so surprised the first time he tried this that it took her a few minutes to respond. Then she said, “I think it would help if, before moving to a decision, you ask if there’s anything else anyone would like to add and give people time to respond.” David appreciated the suggested tactic and added it to his tool kit. Practicing any of these techniques will increase your ability to have productive conversations about even the most difficult or contentious issues. Then try out a second technique. The goal is to incorporate all eight into your repertoire, increasing your conversational agility and improving your ability to influence your colleagues.

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22 мая, 13:00

As Machines Take Jobs, Companies Need to Get Creative About Making New Ones

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Jobs in retail, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture are highly vulnerable to technological change. Retailers such as Macy’s and The Limited are closing hundreds of stores and cutting tens of thousands of jobs as people buy more and more products online, and others are testing robotic assistants or planning for autonomous stores. Over 33 companies are now working on autonomous vehicles, which will soon replace transport jobs. Robots have probably taken about 85% of the 5 million manufacturing jobs that have disappeared from the United States since 2000. Automated farming is also quickly advancing. While our first instinct might be to help employees find new jobs, what we really need to do is help companies shift into new markets focused on human services and adopt new business models that will allow employees, customers, and communities to benefit from technological change. First, companies, especially those with big brick-and-mortar stores that are being pinched by online retail, can turn their strategically located buildings into stores that benefit communities. This is already beginning to happen. For example, Walmart now offers optometry services, beauty salons, and restaurants. But why stop there? Why not also offer classes in yoga, fitness, cooking, nutrition, or well-being at an affordable price? Or child care, elder care, psychological services, rehabilitation, or meeting space for community groups? This would create new sources of revenue, improve communities, and offer new jobs and skill sets to employees who used to ring cash registers, stock shelves, or mop floors. Another way to redefine the terms of the automation debate is to provide stock to employees, something many of the world’s most innovative companies already do. This practice helps companies recruit and incentivize workers. It also offers a buffer against the downsides of technological unemployment for employees. Many people think stock only works with entrepreneurs and tech industry workers. However, a number of companies in the food industry, including Chobani and Starbucks, are leading the way in proving this model can work with factory and retail workers. In 2016 Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, decided to give 10% of his yogurt company in stock to his 2,000 employees. He likely made several of them millionaires, and the rest received stock options worth about $150,000 each — a great deal of money for factory workers in Idaho and central New York, where the average cost of a home is $153,600 and $85,800, respectively. While this kind of approach helps employees prepare for technological unemployment by simply transferring more wealth to them and increasing their economic security, it is particularly valuable if a company plans to automate its jobs. If an employee holds stock in a company, and is replaced by a robot, they may actually benefit from the robot taking their job and doing it better, since their stock’s value will increase as the company becomes more successful. Imagine if Uber gave out stock to its drivers today — several years from now, if Uber becomes a successful autonomous car company, its former drivers would gain financially. Stock options allow workers the possibility of becoming future owners and beneficiaries of the robots that replace them. Some of the most innovative companies today are using technology to create win-win business models that allow their customers to generate income. For example, Tesla plans to let its customers to rent out their vehicles to pay off car loans and earn extra cash. Similarly, homeowners who have bought solar tiles will be able to sell energy back to power grids for additional income once they pay off their loans, which can take from eight to 11 years. ReGen Villages, known as the “Tesla of Eco-Villages” is planning to apply this same model to village communities, where residents will employ technology to grow their own food and produce their own energy and water, and can sell excess goods to help pay off their original housing loans or generate additional income. ReGen is building its first village in the Netherlands, with plans to expand across northern Europe and the world. As these business models scale and go mainstream, they will help create an economy that generates a bigger pie for everyone. This transition won’t be easy, of course. Company leaders will need to invest time and money in studying their industries and how they will be impacted by technology. This includes not just understanding how competitors might use new technologies to create competing products and services more efficiently at lower cost but also exploring new business models and corporate models. While past business models succeeded by extracting value from employees and customers, future business models will succeed by partnering with employees and customers to create new wealth together. In addition to traditional companies, we need those building the innovation economy to step up. For example, the growing ecosystem of incubators, accelerators, universities, institutions, investors, and others who support the startup ecosystem need to reach out to some of the more traditional players — such as the Teamsters, United Farm Workers, other labor unions, and big-box stores — and bring them along. Shouldn’t the next autonomous truck company be cofounded by technologists and truck drivers? Shouldn’t next-generation autonomous farms be cofounded by technologists and farmers? Many argue that the workers, many of whom don’t have college educations and have worked in repetitive jobs for their entire lives, will have a hard time transitioning to the innovation economy. That isn’t true. In Werner Herzog’s 2016 film Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun shared that when he opened up the enrollment of a computer science class on programming self-driving cars, the top 412 grades went to non-Stanford students — a startling fact echoed by many other technical MOOCs. While universities are very important in educating and training future entrepreneurs (and I am not advocating for entrepreneurs not attending college), we must realize that there are potentially millions of underemployed people who could make the leap if the right doors opened. There is also evidence that people who work repetitive jobs can make the transition to jobs that require completely different skill sets. For example, the nonprofit Truckers Against Trafficking engages those in the trucking industry in social entrepreneurship to help end human trafficking. Green for All and DreamCorps have helped some of America’s most vulnerable people transition into cutting-edge jobs in solar technology and coding, respectively. The Prison Entrepreneurship Program helps prisoners create business plans and relationships with business leaders, so that they can work as entrepreneurs once they leave prison. The leaders of these initiatives saw no limits to human potential and worked to create the uncommon partnerships and alliances necessary to help people succeed. As we add more technology to our lives, we must continue to invest as much, if not more, in our human potential. It’s only our imagination about what we can do that is holding us back.

22 мая, 12:05

Research: How You Feel About Individualism Is Influenced by Your Social Class

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It’s often assumed that getting a college education or professional job means that a person from a working-class or low-income background has finally “made it” and will seamlessly join the middle or upper class. The reality, however, is often quite different. As Della Mae Justice, a successful lawyer who was raised in poverty, explained to the New York Times in 2005, “My stomach’s always in knots getting ready to go to a party, wondering if I’m wearing the right thing, if I’ll know what to do.” She continued, “I’m always thinking: How does everybody else know that? How do they know how to act? Why do they all seem so at ease?” Despite Justice’s success as a lawyer, she still feels like an outsider in social settings with her colleagues. Her experience as an upwardly mobile professional is quite common. In fact, a growing body of research shows that one’s social class background — defined by the educational attainment, income, and occupation of one’s parents — continues to shape people’s experiences after they enter college and professional life. As people navigate these institutions, their backgrounds can impact the nature of their experiences and, ultimately, whether they reach their full potential. This is because social class is about more than the financial resources afforded by higher education and a prestigious occupation; having or lacking resources over time shapes people’s understandings of who they are and how they should interact with others. Our body of ongoing research shows that people from working-class backgrounds tend to understand themselves as interdependent with and highly connected to others. Parents teach their children the importance of following the rules and adjusting to the needs of others, in part because there is no economic safety net to fall back on. Common sayings include “You can’t always get what you want” and “It’s not all about you”; values such as solidarity, humility, and loyalty take precedence. In contrast, people from middle- and upper-class contexts tend to understand themselves as independent and separate from others. Parents teach kids the importance of cultivating their personal preferences, needs, and interests. Common sayings include “The world is your oyster” and “Your voice matters”; values such as uniqueness, self-expression, and influence take precedence. Although many institutions, such as school and workplaces, can benefit from a strong dose of interdependence and collaboration, they tend to prioritize independence as the cultural ideal. Cornell University encourages students to pave their own path by choosing among a wide range of courses to design their own “independent major.” Likewise, Dartmouth College’s admissions website endorses the importance of individual self-expression: “What will impress us is YOU. You, letting your application express some aspect of your own story.” Workplaces tend to recruit and reward employees who take charge, confidently express their ideas and opinions, and promote themselves. For example, on its website, the consulting firm Deloitte says: “We want all our people to develop in their own way, playing to their own strengths as they hone their leadership skills.“ At the time we conducted our 2015 research, the website for the investment bank Morgan Stanley emphasized, “This is a great environment for the self-starter, someone who relishes a lot of autonomy…. The firm will support that and reward that quality.” The mismatch between institutions’ cultural ideal of independence and the interdependent norms common among working-class individuals can reduce their opportunity to succeed. In higher education, for example, students from working-class backgrounds (i.e., students whose parents do not have four-year degrees) report wanting to help their families and give back to their communities, yet they confront a college setting that stresses paving one’s own path and exploring personal passions. This cultural mismatch is associated with earning lower grades in college. In a series of experiments we found that simply reminding students about the independent culture of college (for example, paving their own path) can increase their levels of stress, reduce their sense of fit or belonging, and undermine their performance on academic tasks. The good news is that this social class gap in experience and performance is not static. When colleges include messages about the importance of interdependence, students from working-class backgrounds benefit. In the series of experiments described above, we also showed students a college welcome message that focused on either independence or interdependence (for example, giving back to your community). In the interdependent condition, first-generation students felt just as comfortable and performed just as well on an academic task as their peers from middle- and upper-class backgrounds. Further, with doctoral student Andrea Dittmann, our analysis of archival data of college sports teams showed that people from working-class backgrounds report greater fit with the team and ability to perform up to their potential when participating in teams that prioritize interdependence. Drawing from this research, teachers and managers can use certain strategies to help their students and employees from working-class backgrounds realize their potential. One is to simply acknowledge that social class matters. Although some colleges and universities have begun to appreciate this, workplaces often ignore social class background altogether, even while they devote a great detail of attention to racial and gender diversity. As a first step toward maximizing the potential of students and employees from working-class backgrounds, institutions need to recognize social class as a form of diversity. In the same way that organizations provide affinity groups and mentoring programs for women and racial minorities, they should offer programs attuned to social class. Another strategy is to provide people with opportunities to develop their independent selves in addition to their interdependent ones. Schools and workplaces could offer training sessions in which students and employees could learn and practice the expected independent behaviors, such as asserting oneself, showing confidence, and exerting influence. In addition, college advisors and workplace mentors could be trained to better understand the needs of working-class students and employees to provide them with the structured feedback they need to become more familiar with the largely independence-based “rules of the game.” A final strategy is for institutions to meet students and employees where they are by tapping their interdependent strengths. Although most of us realize that excelling at skills like working together and adjusting to others can benefit organizations’ performance, we believe these skills are not valued as much as they should be. While many organizations talk the talk of valuing collaboration, they could do better by incorporating the value of interdependence into their everyday policies and practices, such as criteria for evaluation (i.e., hiring and promotion) and performance incentives. Hiring managers and admissions officers could be trained to look for students or employees who have demonstrated an ability to be a team player and adjust to others. In terms of performance, institutions could provide additional opportunities to work on teams, and incentives could be rewarded to teams based on their collective performance, rather than to individuals. The story of the American dream is one of being able to achieve success through hard work and perseverance while coming from a humble upbringing. Despite its obvious appeal, the American dream is out of reach for many Americans. In many Western countries, even when people work hard to get a college degree or a job at a prestigious organization, they are at a disadvantage because of prevailing institutional norms. Although our suggestions are not a panacea, they are an important first step toward ensuring that “class migrants” have an equal opportunity to succeed in schools and workplaces. The potential benefits are huge — not only for students and workers but also for schools and workplaces.

19 мая, 16:00

Being the Boss’s Favorite Is Great, Until It’s Not

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We’ve all been in situations where the boss has a favorite. It’s frustrating to feel underresourced and underrecognized while someone else is getting all the attention. Ironically, though, it can be just as challenging to realize that you’re the boss’s new “pet.” While it’s great to get extra attention and have your work recognized, there’s often a price to pay for being the favorite. You could find yourself at risk in four ways. First, your teammates can start to resent you because of your proximity to power. They may see you as an informant or interloper, stop trusting you, and cut back on the typical mutual support among colleagues, such as sharing crucial information, connections, and other resources. Related Video What Great Managers Do Exceptional managers find and capitalize on their employees' unique strengths. Learn how they do it with this 6 minute video slide deck. Download a customizable version in Subscriber Exclusives. Save Share See More Videos > See More Videos > Next, if you get too attached to your boss, your objectivity and ability to think independently may fade. You can get trapped in a version of groupthink, with a single set of shared relationships. Your joint creativity and decision making will begin to suffer from insularity, and it’s the more junior member of the duo — you — who’s most likely to be found wanting if performance lags. Plus, sooner or later, you’ll lose your special status. Bosses who play favorites almost always change to new favorites. No matter what perks you’re getting today, your boss is not your friend. As a consultant to senior leaders for more than 25 years, I’ve seen executives swap out their favorites as their own needs and loyalties shift; today’s star eventually falls, and someone new gets to experience both the benefits and the burden. Finally, being the favorite can derail your goals for professional advancement. This can happen if your boss delegates too many projects to you, leaving you with too little time to do your own work. It can also happen if your colleagues try to use you as a conduit to get their requests or concerns to the boss. Either way, you can end up without the bandwidth to seek out your own projects or skill development. Worse, if you’re too closely affiliated with your boss, you may no longer be evaluated on your own merits. Your boss’s detractors may regard you as no more than a stooge, meaning you risk further isolation and loss of influence if your boss’s stature is diminished in any way. You can’t just keep your head down and wait things out — you need to be intentional about protecting your reputation as well as your career trajectory. Here are three tactics that will help you endure your stint in the spotlight. Never oversell your clout. Preserve your role as a team player, instead of acting like the boss’s messenger or sharing confidential information you’re suddenly privy to. Don’t leak information from your boss to the team, and don’t pass along off-the-record information from the team to your boss. A VP of marketing whom I coached learned that most people don’t like to help someone who makes too big a deal of himself, particularly when he couldn’t deliver consistently once colleagues started to lean on him to speak to the boss on their behalf. The excitement this VP felt about having access to breaking news was a habit he didn’t want to give up, despite his peers’ obvious resentment. It took several difficult conversations to convince him not to stir the pot by being an unofficial source of “secret” data. Over time, he learned to share fewer indirect criticisms and to give credit where it was due, and his colleagues started treating him as a member of their team again, rather than as his boss’s errand boy. Preserve — or reinvigorate — your objectivity. Get over any work crush you have on your boss, and interact with other executives to learn from their insights and savvy. A midlevel executive I worked with had become so closely associated with his boss that he was treated as a minion with nothing to contribute in larger discussions. He felt frustrated and insulted when his opinions were ignored or distrusted as mere parroting of his boss’s views and goals, but he didn’t know how to change the situation. We looked for opportunities for him to acknowledge and incorporate others’ perspectives, initially with his boss to ensure there were no hard feelings, and subsequently in public. His boss appreciated his growing input and acumen, and over time he got more attention from his boss’s peers and his own. Protect your career options. Research what your next move could be and find ways to develop relationships with other leaders. It’s always risky to be too close to your boss, because the situation can change in an instant — from warm and welcoming to cold and distant. If you appear to be spoken for, or if you’re treated as a prized possession, other executives may assume you’re not available for developmental experiences or high-profile experiments. You could be overlooked for opportunities that are available to others at your level. One of my clients had been told not to consult with other executives by her somewhat paranoid leader. We brainstormed about how she could lay the foundations of relationships with other leaders, even if their work wasn’t directly related, and she spent time outside of her work assignments to keep her skills up to date. Now she’s been identified to participate in numerous special projects, and other senior leaders have expressed interest in having her join their projects or teams. Sometimes, though, your boss simply won’t loosen the leash. Depending on how controlling — and how dependent — your boss is, even these approaches may not work quickly enough for you. If you’re feeling forced to function too much as a trusted sidekick and not enough as a whole person, it may be time to consider looking for a new opportunity, one where you can operate more independently and succeed through your own efforts. But before you do anything drastic, talk with past recipients of your boss’s favoritism whom you trust, and learn how they managed to stick it out. If you have an active, trustworthy HR department, ask about the typical career development and growth paths for someone in your role. HR may have suggestions to help you survive being the “beneficiary” of your boss’s partiality. Apply these approaches, and you can successfully survive the mixed blessing of getting your boss’s extra attention.