External Talent Needs Management, Too

The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]

Analyze Your Firm’s Jobs and Activities

McKinsey has been investigating the future impact of automation on the workplace. The firm structures its analysis around roughly 2,000 individual work activities and assesses the requirements for each of these activities against 18 different capabilities (see below) that potentially could be automated. Analyzing your own firm’s jobs and activities with a similar framework would not only help plan for future disruptions, but also could … [ Read more ]

Ban Email

The pursuit of full transparency is behind one of GitLab’s most countercultural rules: a total ban on internal emails. For example, employees seeking information or help are required to request it through the appropriate Slack channel, which may eventually trigger changes to the employee handbook or another key document. The intent is to crystallize and capture the pooled expertise of the collective, rather than letting … [ Read more ]

The Energy Audit

Behavior changes, even those that represent clear benefits for employees, require active reinforcement — including accountability mechanisms and human champions. A management consulting team leader, worried about exhaustion on her teams, began encouraging more rest. But when the sincere urging hardly affected the entrenched behavior, she established “the energy audit.” Every workday she asked members of her team to email or text one item they were … [ Read more ]

Assign New Employees an Early Win

Consider giving new recruits a small project they can accomplish during their first month on the job. Have them all spend five minutes presenting whatever it is they did at the next All Hands following their first day. It’s an opportunity to make immediate impact and introduce themselves to everyone in a positive light. It’ll also build camaraderie between folks who started within the same … [ Read more ]

Reverse Mentoring: Putting Personal Advantage to Collective Good Use

To address inequality of opportunity, we need to acknowledge and address the systemic advantages and disadvantages that people experience daily. For leaders, recognizing their advantage blindness can help to reduce the impact of bias and create a more level playing field for everyone. Being advantaged through race and gender come with a responsibility to do something about changing a system that unfairly disadvantages others.

[…]

Use … [ Read more ]

The Company that Eats Together, Stays Together

Food is a natural bridge builder. But company dinners, especially when you grow to a certain size, can get prohibitively expensive. Not to mention, when you’re stuck at a table it can be a challenge to mix and mingle, which kind of defeats the purpose. We overcame this early on with a pot-luck style strategy that brought together the joys of eating with the thrill … [ Read more ]

Increase Motivation and Productivity by Showing Your Employees the Positive Difference Their Work Makes

When clients, customers and other end users express feedback and appreciation, employees develop stronger beliefs in the impact and value of their work. Interaction also increases empathy for customers, even when the interaction is virtual.

Action Steps:

  1. Identify groups of people who benefit from your team’s work but have never shared their feedback, such as clients, customers, suppliers, or coworkers and managers from different divisions and departments.
  2. Arrange

[ Read more ]

Quickly Build Trust and Understanding on a Team

One hurdle to people doing and saying any of these [relationship enhancing] things is that they don’t feel comfortable enough with their colleagues to even start. Scott Crabtree ran into this at Intel when his division reorganized and he suddenly had to work with people he didn’t know very well. Things got competitive and confrontational fast, and he felt his happiness and productivity drop in … [ Read more ]

Expressing Gratitude

When you say thank you, you increase your own happiness. I know of one executive who puts 10 pennies in his left pocket every morning. Every time he thanks someone or expresses gratitude, he moves a penny to his right pocket. He won’t go home until his left pocket is empty. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself to say positive things at work, … [ Read more ]

Listen to the New Hire’s “Outsider” Ideas

One important milestone during the first six months is to get your new hire’s perspective on your operation. It seems like an obvious thing to do, but getting information from someone less experienced can be annoying. They have all these ideas and they question everything: why you do what you do and why you do it the way you do it. So we fight it … [ Read more ]

Great Innovators Do Not Permit the Present to Crowd Out the Future

IBM dedicates three teams to drive the company’s innovation agenda by focusing separately on innovation strategy, technology trends, and innovation operations. To ensure an emphasis on both current and future priorities, IBM organizes business opportunities across three different time frames: short-term core business opportunities, medium-term growth opportunities, and long-term emerging opportunities. IBM made a conscious decision to maintain a set portion of funding (about 10 … [ Read more ]

The Power of Random Coffees

One of the biggest challenges in fast-growing companies is silos. Imaginary walls spring up between departments. Before you know it, the sales team and the engineering team, for instance, feel like two totally different companies. They’re not meshing socially and — just as worrying — they’re not collaborating or exchanging information on projects. This lack of coordination inevitably hurts the final product and the customer’s experience.

This is a huge … [ Read more ]

GOTE Framework for Maximize Meetings

Companies train people in their computer systems, HR policies, and more. They devote energy to optimizing production lines and supply chains. They invest in innovation workshops. Yet they seem to assume that the ability to effectively lead and participate in meetings is somehow embedded in the human genetic code. Perhaps it seems too basic a skill. However, if any organization adds up the amount of … [ Read more ]

Assess Your Organization’s Bureaucracy Mass Index (BMI)

An excess of bureaucracy costs the U.S. economy more than $3 trillion in lost economic output per year. When you look at all 32 countries in the OECD, the cost of excess bureaucracy rises to nearly $9 trillion. To dismantle bureaucracy, the first step is to be honest about how much it’s costing your organization. These costs fall into seven categories:

  1. Bloat: too many managers,

[ Read more ]

Questions to Facilitate Collaboration

Collaborating effectively requires helping others. And helping others requires compassion, which in turn means learning about who they are and what they want. So in order to help my clients, at the start of each relationship, I devote two or three hours to asking the following questions:

  • What are your proudest accomplishments and biggest disappointments?
  • Which activities energize you and which drain you?
  • How do other people

[ Read more ]

Diminishing the Influence of Rank

At Honda, employees wear white pants and white shirts with their first names embroidered in red on the upper right side. It’s the uniform that every Honda Motor Company employee, whether pipe fitter or president, wears on the job at every factory or office. This is intended to diminish the influence of rank; in the moment-to-moment give-and-take of Honda workers’ daily responsibilities, all points of … [ Read more ]

Displaying Progress Toward Organization Goals

Develop highly visible scoreboards, bulletin boards, or voice mail, electronic or printed announcements of progress toward team and organization goals and priorities.

Snowball Sampling: Identifying People with Informal Influence

Employee resistance is the most common reason executives cite for the failure of big organizational-change efforts. Companies need to develop strong change leaders employees know and respect—in other words, people with informal influence. But there’s one problem: finding them. How can company leaders identify those people beforehand to better harness their energy, creativity, and goodwill—and thereby increase the odds of success?

One way we’ve found … [ Read more ]

Switch Roles for Longer Staff Longevity

To foster staff longevity, organizations can arrange for group members to switch roles with one another. Google, for example, encourages employees to leave their positions and take on “bungee” assignments for three months to one year in different areas of the company. Employees can acquire new skills and find out whether they like a new job (or are good at it) before committing to it. … [ Read more ]