Mark Ledden shares an article that explains why self-orientation is the most important component of trust.
The math of David Maister’s Trust Equation is designed to make a simple point: of the four components of trust, self-orientation is the most important.
His argument makes a certain intuitive sense. If I think you are all about getting what is best for you and not at all concerned with what is best for me, I am not likely to trust you no matter how smart, punctual, or well informed you are. That said, it is also intuitively clear that self-orientation is probably a larger and more intellectually slippery concept than simply the unbridled pursuit of what one wants.
For that reason, I would like to suggest that it may be helpful to consider some of the various ways self-orientation can express itself, particularly in the workplace, if only so that people who wish to follow Maister’s advice for building trust have a somewhat more tangible game plan than “Note to self: Stop being so selfish.” I also want to make the case that it may well be that in important ways “self-orientation” is less about the direction the “self” is focused, and more about the kind of self one brings to complicated interactions.
Unilateral problem solving
“Don’t bring me a problem. Bring me a solution.” We hear it all the time, usually from a well-intended boss or manager who wants to nurture self-sufficiency within an empowered work force. Usually, there is nothing wrong with asking people to be problem solvers. And that is why our oft-rewarded instinct to be problem solvers can be so hard to break free from in situations where it does not serve us well.
Broadly speaking, professional problem solvers consume information, process it in their enormous noggins, and then deploy solutions based on their sense of what the information means. Too long a line outside your restaurant? Raise prices. Constantly running out of gardening spades in the summer? Rethink your inventory management systems. And so on and so on. Absorb the information. Figure out what it means. Deploy a solution based on your interpretations. This is the process one uses to bring solutions instead of problems.
All well and good, until we end up trying to solve people as if they were problems. Then, the pattern looks something like this: I see that you are not doing what I think you should do, or not thinking what I think you should think, or not feeling what I think you should feel. Therefore, I decide inside my own head what I can do or say that will change your acting, thinking, or feeling from what it is to what I think it should be. I deploy a solution, which usually sounds either like criticism or reassurance. Either “cut that out!” or “don’t worry!”. If you have ever told an angry person to “calm down!” only to find that they mysteriously get more angry instead of less, you have experienced the limitations of this approach.
Key points include:
- Unilateral problem solving
- Failure to reconstruct multiple perspectives
- Lack of system awareness
Read the full article, Common denominator: Three kinds of self orientation, on KenningAssociates.com.
Joy Fairbanks shares an article that offers a few key tips for ventures to improve their pitch.
15 minutes are so over.
Founders, you have thirty seconds to explain why the venture you work on day and night is worth someone’s attention. You are innovative, your technology sizzles, and you have a talented team. You even have traction. You get so excited that you dive right into the technology. Time’s up. You didn’t clearly identify a problem, you didn’t mention how your solution is different than the competition, and you didn’t get a chance to explain who and how many would care enough to pay for this solution. The listener has no idea whether 12 people would pay for this or 12 million. Try again.
Let us be clear about one thing. It does not matter whether you have 30 seconds or 15 minutes in the spotlight. The person you are addressing will only have a mental pocket of about 30 seconds to capture the key elements of your venture. Your goal is to enable this person to convince others to get you what you want: money, customers, or strategic partners.
What is likely to get someone’s attention regardless of what industry they are in? Answer: An opportunity to make stacks of cash because a whole bunch of people have an unmet need for which you have a scalable solution. Please go on. Your prey is curious and is bound to know someone that can help you. What do you say next not to ruin the mojo you have created?
Talk about how your solution is unlike or better than competitive alternatives by features of customer choice. Very cool! Next tell your engaged listener about the stage of your company and your competitive positioning as a team. Done? Nope.
Tell the listener what you seek. Is it money, customer introductions, partnerships? If it is money, summarize how you have raised funds so far, what you have done with these funds, and how you will deploy new funds. Fundraising is based on milestones. Show them.
Key points include:
- The 30-second gate
Giving your solution insight and edge
Clarifying the ask
Read the full article, 30 Seconds of Fame: A Guide for Founders, on FairbanksVentureAdvisors.com.
Greg Acton shares a podcast where he discusses problem solving and leadership with Steve Caldwell at Manager Mojo.
While leadership entails guiding people in the direction of success, it also requires the ability to look at problems and seek solutions. How you frame those problems can have much to do with the solution arrived at.
Mark Twain once said, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” Remaining convinced that our way is the right way when in fact we might not know what we don’t know can be the stumbling block to uncovering solutions.
The “right thing” often depends on the situation and who is looking at it. As a leader, you will be required to choose when uncertain and to decide where to focus as well as where not to focus.
Here at thoughtLEADERS, I’m fortunate to work with some incredibly bright people. Greg Acton is one of them. Greg recently discussed the topic of problem solving with Steve Caldwell at Manager Mojo. They got together on his podcast to discuss how to better frame problems and generate solutions.
Access the podcast, The Importance of Challenging Assumptions When Problem Solving, on ThoughtLeadersllc.com
Xavier Lederer provides key steps on prioritization and action.
‘The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.’– Michael Porter
“I don’t have enough time in a day to work on the most important things!” I regularly hear CEOs complain. We all have a tendency to jump on the most urgent problems – because they are urgent and also because, let’s face it: we are addicted to fixing problems.
Why priorities matter – pebbles vs. rocks
The issue is: when we focus on fighting fires we don’t work on what really helps move our business forward. A year quickly goes by and we realize that we have missed some of our goals.
A key to breaking this vicious circle is to agree on 3 to 5 quarterly priorities with your leadership team. The key question is: which ones have the biggest impact on your company in order to reach your 1-year goal and move towards your 3-year goals? There are hundreds of things that you need or want to do to move your company forward. The key is to prioritize and to find the smaller number of possible activities that will make the biggest difference.
This short video with Stephen Covey is about picking what is important first. If you focus on the pebbles first (i.e. the daily fires), you will never make true progress towards your goals. It is only by putting the rocks in first, your 3-5 strategic priorities, that you can build sustainable, profitable growth. Debating annual or quarterly priorities is the opportunity for your leadership team to agree on what is important (and what your team should focus on) vs. what is urgent. By building an execution plan around your priorities and committing time to them, you can regain control over your calendar – instead of letting your inbox control your time.
Key points include:
- Defining priorities
- Results focused
Read the full article, How To Set Priorities That Move The Needle, on AmbroseGrowth.com
Anubhav Raina shares a series that presents a model for understanding how influencing works and how you can train yourself to excel at it. It combines his personal observations with the latest research in influencing.
Note this is a three-part series:
- Intro (this article)
- CIF — Core Influence Framework
- Building Trust
- Convincing people
- Using effective questioning
- Expanding the size of the pie
- Negotiation: sweetening the deal
- Using biases to your advantage
- Negotiation: When to walk away
Being able to influence someone on a key issue is the single greatest superpower you can have.
From convincing a client or boss to try out your idea, to being able to guide your family into seeing things your way.
Humans are influencing each other ALL the time, and similar to other activities –influencing is a skillset. In fact, it is one of the most useful skillsets you can learn.
Like many other behaviors, influencing too has a large evolutionary basis. We can use this knowledge to develop a gameplan for many situations that require influencing.
Building upon the work done in evolutionary sciences, psychology and management thinking, this short series sets a repeatable framework for building trust and convincing that will help you face each interaction with a solid plan of action!
How it started
I still remember the moment. I was 23 and had just found out what my division head’s year-end bonus was — a sum almost 10x my own bonus.
No one was surprised. It was expected and natural. I was told the discrepancy existed because the boss had “put in the time”, or “had taken more risk”, or “was rewarded for his expertise”, along with a number of other reasons.
But the question never stopped nagging me — what possible value-add could be worth 10x more than my own work?
Many people in my company seemed to have expertise and experience on their side. BUT they weren’t making the same money as my division head.
Could the division boss really be that much more effective at his job?
It took years (and more than a few grey hairs) of observing C-level clients, senior partners at prestigious banks, consultancies & law firms to finally figure out that the answer had to do with one thing alone — being able to influence others.
Let’s explore this thought in greater detail.
Key points include:
- Core influence framework
- Expanding the size of the pie
- Using biases to your advantage
Access the full series, Influencing others: The greatest superpower you’ll ever need, on Medium.
Believe it whether you want to or not, exercise can improve your performance as a leader. Jeffery Perry explains how in this article.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” There is arguably no greater dynamic and creative intellectual activity than personal leadership. Leaders have significant daily demands as they manage teams and engage with internal and external stakeholders. As such, leaders benefit from positive habits that can boost overall effectiveness. Incorporating physical fitness does just that—it can enhance personal leadership, especially in organizational environments fraught with disruption, uncertainty, and change.
While the link between enhanced personal leadership and physical fitness may seem logical, look no further than the general population to see that physical fitness is not universally embraced. According to Harvard Medical School research, over 50% of American adults don’t meet basic activity guidelines of at least 30 minutes most days a week, and over 25% devote no time to active pursuits. While the profile of leaders may not be as dismal, many leaders focus so much time on achieving that they neglect their physical fitness. Extensive travel, team dinners, client entertainment, long work hours, and tight deadlines are often cited as justification for physical fitness placed on the back burner.
Research from the Mayo Clinic and other sources highlight that regular exercise stimulates the body to release proteins, chemicals, and endorphins—the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters. This stimulation enhances key leadership qualities such as energy, confidence, mental sharpness, and stress management. A physical fitness regimen also requires discipline—commitment to develop a plan, follow-through even during challenging times, and accountability. Building discipline muscle (no pun intended) is a metaphor for the demands of personal leadership.
Key points include:
Building discipline muscle
The process of physical fitness
Read the full article, Physical Fitness Can Enhance Personal Leadership, on LeadMandates.com.
Dan Markovitz shares a short but insightful post and an introduction to a workshop on the importance of word choice when problem framing to ensure a positive outcome.
In 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.”
In 2017, President Trump declared a “public health emergency” to battle the opioid crisis.
These two declarations were essentially about the same thing: dealing with the financial, emotional, and social scourge of drug abuse that was destroying individuals and communities. But the framing of the problem—a “war” versus a “health emergency” makes a huge difference in the countermeasures that citizens, politicians, and communities are ready to consider.
If you’re fighting a war, you’re thinking about military action. You’re going to mobilize soldiers, deploy aircraft and other weaponry, and erect barbed wire barriers. If you’re responding to a health emergency, you’re thinking about hospitals, counselors and social workers, treatment centers, and medical interventions. The countermeasures are radically different.
This is one of the exercises I’ve used with a corporate client that’s enrolled my Conclusion Trap workshop. Based on my latest book, this workshop helps participants become better problem solvers by improving their ability to frame problems.
To the extent that anyone outside of General Motors remembers Charles Kettering, he’s most famous for saying, “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.” Which sounds great—except that he never defined what a well-stated problem is. As my students discovered (and you can see from the example above), the phrasing of the problem has enormous consequences for the kind of countermeasures you develop. This kind of exercise helped them move from weak problem statements such as, “The problem is that we’re too busy to meet the milestones set by the project manager,” or “The problem is that we don’t have enough time to write and test the necessary code.
Key points include:
- The Conclusion Trap workshop
- Consideration of countermeasures
- Defining a well-stated problem
Read the full article, PROBLEM FRAMING IS MORE CONSEQUENTIAL THAN YOU MIGHT THINK, on MarkovitzConsulting.com.
As we move towards the end of the pandemic and a surge in business, Geoff Wilson provides a post for leaders to help navigate the next economic journey.
We are in a world of opportunity and hurt. Demand is high, spirits (and prices) are up, and supply is constrained. What’s a leader to do?
When I was a young man I learned microeconomics on the back of a simple diagram with two lines…one for demand (always downward sloping) and one for supply (this one goes up).
Turns out, the microeconomists were right. Mostly.
We are living in a fever dream at the moment. It comes with the pleasure fog of rising demand for…well…everything as people regain the confidence that they can interact and transact with one another without threatening lives. It also comes with the tormenting nightmare of not being able to hire, source, or build the products and services that they need.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. The most plausible explanation is that we are simply mired in the midst of a massive supply chain bullwhip that is synchronized around the world for once. As positive and negative information trickles out across industry chains, individuals firms attempt to adjust…and they do so badly.
Add the labor-market distortions brought by extended unemployment benefits, extended school and family support organization closures, fear of the unknowns around coronavirus reoccurrence, and general inflation; and you have a multi-faceted political and commercial game that would make George R. R. Martin blush.
But all of this is couched, at least for the moment, within a massive environment of opportunity. Demand is popping for most of the economy, and poised to pop for much of the rest.
So (as I’m often wont to ask), what’s a leader to do?
Here are a few ideas.
Key points include:
- Prioritizing the opportunity
- Time to innovate
- Explore new supply chain structures and mechanisms
Read the full article, Revenge of the Microeconomist in the Real World, on WilsonGrowthPartners.com.
Aneta Key shares a 2-minute video from a series that dives into how to assess the situation.
This sequence of videos emphasizes that strategic decision-making starts with assessing the situation.
The prior video discussed “speed” as a dimension and this one focuses on another important dimension — the gravity of the decisions leaders make. This simple consideration can have a profound impact on how execs allocate their scarce leadership capacity given all the decisions they need to make.
Key points include:
- The upside and downside
- Time pressure
- Leaders’ response
Watch the full video, Sizing up the Situation – Gravity, on YouTube.
Nils Boeffel shares a post that identifies how to ask the right questions to get the information you need.
Many managers are confronted with complex decisions to make, and not enough time in which to make them. One way to help make better decisions more quickly is knowing how to ask questions that get to the core of the subject, and not just tiptoe around the edges.
Let’s look at an example. If you ask what your marketing budget is being spent on, and you get the answer “We’re spending X amount and have a market penetration of nearly 38%”, do you just have more facts to remember, or does that really help you make a decision and act on the information?
Odds are, it really doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help you understand if the money is well spent or not, and it surely doesn’t help you make any critical business decisions. So how do we ask the right questions, and how do we know when we’ve got a good and helpful answer?
A good question seeks to understand, and a good answer helps to decide.
How do you ask a good question?
Asking good questions gets you halfway to a good answer.
Don’t stop at fact-questions, ask knowledge questions: Consider the questions “What is our marketing budget” vs. “how well is our marketing budget being spent?” The first question will get you an answer, but the second will help you understand what the answer means and what is significant about it
Focus on the penetrating “why” and “how” questions instead of the simple fact-seeking “what”, “when” and “where” questions
Ask “why” five times: many people are afraid to dig deeper into an issue, and will only provide relevant information after some “digging”. You will be surprised where the answers lead when you keep digging.
Key points include:
- Ask knowledge questions
- How do you know you’ve got a good answer?
- Getting to the bottom of the real issues
Read the full article, How to Ask the Right Questions, on NilsBoeffel.com.
Rahul Bhargava shares an article that identifies the need for intrapersonal intelligence in the workplace.
It is important to determine a person’s intelligence at the early stage of life. In doing so, they can receive proper guidance to achieve success in their respective fields. To enhance the intelligence we possess, intrapersonal intelligence plays a very crucial role. A person should follow a set of guidelines in his life to increasing productivity, concentration, and a positive outlook towards life. Intrapersonal intelligence speaks all about a man’s curiosity, critical thinking, introspection, self-reflectivity about any topic that interests them. But, before delving more into the study of intrapersonal intelligence, let us start with a story.
The story of David Reynolds
They are a part of our experiences as we grow up.
Reynolds is a 24-year old junior engineer working in a petrochemical plant. He is very sincere at his job and is on good terms with his colleagues and his boss. One day his boss called him into the office and the situation went something like this.
Boss: Hey Reynolds. Please have a seat.
Reynolds: Hello sir. I heard you called me urgently.
Boss: Yes, I did. It’s been almost a year that you are working for the company. You have always been a very dedicated engineer meeting your targets before the deadline. I even remember you received the best employee of the month in the first month of your joining itself.
Reynolds: Thank you very much sir. I have always tried to give my best when it comes to my work.
Boss: Sorry to inform you Reynolds but your last quarterly report speaks otherwise. It seems like you are not able to meet your target within the deadline for the past few weeks. I have also noticed that you are entering late in office often. Is there something you are worried about or this job doesn’t interest you anymore?
Reynolds: Sir, I can assure you that I am very dedicated to this company and there is nothing that you should worry about.
Boss: Well, your lack of interest and poor performance is currently worrying me very much. I don’t want to be harsh on you but you should understand even if I work under someone as well. If you can’t meet the target deadline I am answerable to someone and I am not going to be held responsible for someone else’s incompetence. You are good employee Reynolds, don’t fail me next time. Get back to work.
Key points include:
- Time management
- The different kinds of intelligences
- Why it’s important to develop intrapersonal skills
Read the full article, How to develop strong Intrapersonal Intelligence?, on purplecrest.co.
From Jared Simmons’ company blog, a post on why motherhood is a leadership development boot camp.
Motherhood builds skills that are competitive advantages in the workplace.
“Motherhood and apple pie” are meant to evoke an image of something universally good – something everyone can agree on. But, like most things about moms, this phrase has morphed into patronizing passive aggressiveness, at its best.
When someone at work says, “That’s just motherhood and apple pie,” what they are really saying is “That is a bunch of hot air and baloney. Where’s the real substance?”
I don’t like idioms, but I particularly dislike this one. Motherhood is a lot of things, but it’s usually not sugary fruit melting into a flaky pastry crust.
Motherhood is simultaneously sweet and gross. It is both life-giving and soul-crushing. It requires you to have vision, be resilient, and communicate with empathy. Motherhood is… basically, the most effective leadership training program available.
While these skills are recognized by colleagues, they are not appropriately rewarded by leaders in the workplace. The 2019 Modern Family Index study showed that:
- 91% of working Americans agree that working moms bring unique leadership skills (i.e., diplomacy, collaboration, calm in crisis situations, and active listening) and
- 89% of working Americans believe that working moms bring out the best in employees.
Despite this awareness, working mothers are denied advancement opportunities simply because someone at home calls them “Mom.”
Key points include:
- Motherhood skills
- Battle-tested experience
- Creative problem solving
Read the full post, More than apple pie: Motherhood is a leadership development bootcamp, on outlastllc.com.
Darryl Stickel shares a candid post on executive coaching, and how working with one mid-level manager revealed the problem and the solution to becoming a more effective executive leader.
One of the primary differentiating factors between good and great leaders is the ability to understand and build trust. The more senior a leadership role we take on, the less direct control we have over outcomes. We become more and more reliant on those who report to us for our own successes. In fact, at very senior levels, all of our goals and aspirations depend on the work of others.
Research and experience have repeatedly shown that higher trust levels within an organization lead to higher levels of employee engagement, organizational citizenship behaviours, profitability, and performance. There is conclusive economic evidence that organizations with higher trust levels perform better. In short, leaders who can build trust will run organizations that perform better and are more likely to be successful.
In this article I will be reviewing the story of “Pat” (not his real name), an executive I coached through various stages of his professional development. Pat’s needs and skill sets changed over the course of his career, but elements of the need to build trust were always present.
Key points include:
- Dealing with a listless and passive team
- Learning through failure
- Giving tough feedback
Read the full Story of Pat on TrustUnlimited.com.
Priyanka Ghosh shares a case study on the steps taken to address a slump in the business cycle combined with frictions in the Leadership Team.
The Middle-Eastern unit of global energy company was facing a challenging period due to a slump in the business cycle combined with frictions in its Leadership Team. As the Middle East business had grown, the Leadership Team had expanded to reflect the broader set of service lines and increased levels of functional support. Most of the new members had joined from outside the company. They were not accustomed to the company’s culture or ways of doing things. Furthermore, they were scattered across numerous countries in the region. ProMelior was asked to uncover why the Leadership Team was not living up to its full potential and to drive a program of individual and team coaching to improve business performance.
To gain a robust picture of the leadership team, both as individuals and as a team, ProMelior conducted a thorough set of diagnostic analyses. For each executive, we conducted 360-degree feedback surveys and administered various psychometric tests. We also conducted in-depth ‘Life-line interviews’ in which we explored how the individuals had made important decisions in their lives. By triangulating the various sources of information, we built up a detailed picture of ‘what made each executive tick’ and their observed behavior patterns in business situations. We also observed the Leadership Team in action during a variety of meetings to understand how they discussed issues, managed conflict and made decisions.
Through the diagnostic analyses, ProMelior generated several important insights. First, the psychometric testing and Lifeline interviews showed clearly showed that most of the Leadership Team members were ‘amiable’ vs ‘analytical’ people. In other words, they valued being liked and maintaining harmony over analyzing issues and pursuing the ‘truth’. As a result, the Leadership Team rarely analyzed the company’s strategic challenges and tended to avoid open conflicts between team members. Over the long-term, however, these behaviors led to a growing set of unresolved issues which elevated interpersonal tensions and created operational gridlock. Second, the Leadership Team held very unstructured meetings without clear agendas or robust time management. Not surprisingly, the meetings tended to meander on detailed operational issues without addressing the key strategic or organizational challenges of the company.
Key points from this case study include:
- Presenting the insights from the diagnostic analyses
- Training sessions on the characteristics of a high-performing team
- Components of developing the Leadership Team
Read the full case study, The Executive Team Coaching & Development Program, on Promelior.co.uk
In the third post in a series on off-site leadership, Aneta Key addresses the substance dimension of event design.
I strongly believe that any event design has 3 important dimensions to consider:
Substance — This is the most important dimension of the 3. It is the “hardcore” look at the event and is what executives truly care about: What outcomes are we creating? What content are we discussing? What work are we advancing?
Structure — The second most important dimension addresses the logical and systematic approach that would allow the group to achieve its objectives. How are we breaking down and sequencing activities? How are we socially engineering alignment? How are we allocating time? How are we making decisions?
Style — If substance and structure determine what and when it needs to be done, style determines how it should be done. In general, this should be the third dimension to consider, as “form follows function” in off-site design as well. That said, the 3 dimensions are interrelated and the ‘feeling’ you want to create may impact the other 2 dimensions.
In fact, these 3 dimensions apply to speeches you give, presentations you develop, and even blog posts you publish.
Key points in this article include:
- Systems thinking applied to off-site design
- What are the desired outputs?
- What off-site modules do we need?
- What inputs do we need?
- Highlighting Design Choices
Read the full article, Leadership Off-Site 101: Part III — Substance design, on the Aedea Partners’ website.
Diane Mulcahy recently published an article on ADP.com that explains how companies can grow their contingent workforce and why they should.
Shifts in corporate supply and demand as a result of the global health event, and the halt of business travel have led to an increase in contingent workers for many companies. Independent workers give businesses more flexibility to staff up and down as the market environment changes, and to access the precise skills, expertise, and experience where and when they need it.
The need for the resiliency and flexibility that contingent workers provide is only increasing. There is still much uncertainty around the pace and stability of re-opening in this new normal. Companies that plan to “level up” and grow their contingent workforce as the economy re-opens can benefit from taking the following steps:
Concentrate Contingent Workforce Management
I was working with the senior management team of a Fortune 1000 company to implement better management practices for their independent workers. One problem they had was the “rogue” hiring of contingent workers across the company. Individual managers were hiring independent contractors for projects and tasks that fell within the budget limits they could manage without additional oversight. As a result, the senior management team had no visibility – and no way to manage, track, or control – the number of independent workers, or how much the company was spending on them.
A better approach is to concentrate oversight and management of contingent workers within your talent group. Creating a “one stop shop” for managers to access preferred workers, standard contracts and onboarding materials, and process invoices and payments makes it more efficient for hiring managers to bring on and manage contingent workers. It also allows the company to exercise control over cost and quality as well as how and where they are being deployed.
Additional steps in this article include:
- Managing your brand talent
- Mitigating risks of contingent workers
- The continuity and growth of institutional knowledge
Read the full article, Leveling Up Your Contingent Workforce, on the ADP website.
In this article for WorkMarket, Diane Mulcahy explains why gig workers may provide the solution you need to adapt to the current pandemic and changing business environment.
The world, the economic environment, and the demands placed on your company are all changing in unexpected ways. The difference between succeeding or failing to manage through a crisis can depend on your ability to add staff to critical functions, and access the exact skills and experience needed to respond to a changed business environment.
Gig workers can help your company weather this crisis by providing flexibility and resilience to your workforce. Maybe you need a skilled writer, blogger or technician to move a project forward or be “on the ground” in a specific geographic market. By using independent workers, you can respond to changing demands for specific skills, experience, or expertise, when and where you need them.
Independent workers bring other benefits to companies: they can increase the productivity of the workforce and support a high-performance culture. Companies that embrace the Gig Economy – made up of consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, and on-demand workers – will have a competitive advantage, in both good times and bad, over companies that don’t.
Points covered in this article include:
- Accessing talent
- Increasing productivity
- Supporting a high-performance culture
Read the full article, How Gig Workers Can Help Your Company Weather the Storm, on the WorkMarket website.
Diane Mulcahy explains why the current model of the office worker is difficult to change despite the evidence of increased productivity from the remote worker.
No one expected (or wanted) remote work to scale because of a virus and subsequent global pandemic. But, here we are.
The battle for remote work has been ongoing. Employees want the choice and flexibility to work outside the office at least some of the time, but many companies and even more managers resist it. Will this short-term (at minimum) and large-scale experiment in remote work change that?
It’s hard to argue any other outcome. Once companies have the processes and tools in place, and the results of weeks, or even months, of remote working, it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle.
That’s a good thing. The notion of mandatory daily employee attendance in the office is already obsolete. Not one – not one! – study suggests that working in an office eight hours a day, five days a week maximizes employee productivity, satisfaction, or performance. In fact, any data that exists on work in an office reveals that most employees aren’t engaged, waste a lot of time in the office not working, and that employee underperformance is a persistent problem, despite the omnipresence of management. Even worse, the direct costs of maintaining the traditional office-based workplace are high. CBRE estimates that the typical company in the U.S. spends upward of $12,000 per employee per year for office space. It’s hard to find a return-on-investment case for office space, and much harder still to find any company that makes a compelling one.
Included in this article:
- Links to studies on remote workers
- Key drivers of daily office attendance
- Quality of work
Read the full article, Remote Work Is The New Norm. Will It Last?, on the Forbes website.
Paul Millerd’s latest newsletter explores four questions surrounding the state of work, schools, and creativity and shares unexpected thoughts on the future of work.
The US has lost 38 million jobs. Some of those may come back. Many will not. Going into 2021, the US will likely have the highest unemployment rate in the last 100 years.
I’ve written quite a bit about the fragile labor economy and believe the gaps I’ve written about have become more visible than ever.
Here are the questions I’m thinking about for the next year.
#1. What happens when work doesn’t seem a necessary part of our lives?
In Max Weber’s famous treatise on Capitalism published in the 1800’s, he argued that a central element that enabled capitalism to emerge and succeed starting in the 1500s was the fact that so many people eventually developed a “spirit” for capitalism.
Many people incorrectly equate this spirit as greed, but as Weber points out, greed is timeless and universal not a product of capitalism. It has been seen at all times in history and in all types of economic systems. Instead Weber suggests that capitalism might have become so effective because of its ability to restrain greed:
‘Capitalism may even be identical with the restraint, or at least a rational tempering, of this irrational impulse.’
By channeling this natural human urge into work, it can theoretically benefit not only the greedy person, but society at large.
What then motivates work?
Included in this article:
- How does unstable work relate to how people think about the future?
- How will the cross-generation disconnect be resolved?
- What is the role of making stuff and our relationship to optimism and the future?
Read the full article, Four Work Questions, Alternative Path Stories, Facebook’s Deeper Game & Creativity, on the Boundless website.
Sarah Ralston Miller and Zaheera Soomar co-authored this article on how to support and strengthen company culture during the current crisis.
Through the Covid-19 pandemic, our world of work has changed almost overnight. In the past few weeks, we’ve spoken with senior leaders at organizations with whom we have been working to strengthen their ethical culture. These leaders understand that their culture is an essential resource to navigate through the current crisis, and are finding new ways to cultivate ethical culture under these radically-changed circumstances. Drawing on our conversations with leaders across business and civil society, here are a few reflections on ways to guide your own culture during this period.
Be deliberate about your remote-based culture. It is important that we understand how the shift to remote work environments impacts our organizational culture, no matter how temporary we hope it will be. Being intentional about what we put in place can enable benefits and mitigate risks. Transitioning to remote work without building a corresponding culture creates multiple risks, including loss of employee engagement and inclusion, impact to productivity, lack of connectedness between individual and overall organization goals, increased fragmentation and risks of misconduct related to changing accountabilities.
Areas covered in this article include:
- Remote-based culture
- Agility and adaptability
Read the full article, Cultivating Culture in a Crisis, on the Principia website.
As more employees work from home, it is important to establish clear guidelines and routines, this post from David Burnie’s company provides ten questions businesses should ask to ensure the switch to working remotely runs smoothly.
Establishing a work from home (WFH) program is an essential part of a business continuity plan.
In the current COVID 19 crisis, executing a work from home (WFH) policy is a top priority for organizations. A robust work from home policy will enable an organization to continue operating during a significant disruption while limiting the impact on employees and customers.
A WFH policy requires a broad set of considerations to ensure it is adequately developed, including the provision of tools (e.g., laptop, headset, increased VPN capacity) and revised processes and practices. To assist organizations in making the shift to working from home, we developed ten questions to consider to build an effective WFH policy.
Points covered in this article include:
- Tool required
- Secure access
- Tracking and managing performance
Read the full article, Work from Home Best Practices, on the Burnie Group website.
As more people get used to working remotely, Paul Millerd shares valuable advice and fourteen tips that should not be followed.
I’ve either put these tips into practice in my own life or can confirm that other people have. People rarely talk about these practices in public because there is a certain amount of shame and embarrassment about telling people you work less.
Advice on working remotely Paul shares include:
- The morning routine
- Asynchronous communication
- The bi-modal workday
- Expectations of motivation
Read the full article, Don’t Follow this Advice on Working Remotely, on the Boundless website.
Diane Mulcahy interviews Krystal Hicks to find out why some companies don’t hire remote employees, and how the Gig Economy has shifted the power balance between employers and employees.
Krystal Hicks is the founder of JOBTALK, a company that grew out of her side gig providing talent, recruiting, and job-hunting advice to companies and individuals. Before going out on her own, she managed U.S. Talent Acquisition for the Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, and was the former Director of Career Services at the University of New Hampshire.
Points they discuss include:
- Leaders lacking trust
- Managerial Darwinism
- The power balance between employers and employees
- Understanding what employees want
Read the full article, Women In The Gig Economy: Krystal Hicks On Why Companies Don’t Trust Their Employees, on the Forbes Inc. website.