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Best content from the best source handpicked by Shyam. The source include The Harvard University, MIT, Mckinsey & Co, Wharton, Stanford,and other top educational institutions. domains include Cybersecurity, Machine learning, Deep Learning, Bigdata, Education, Information Technology, Management, others.

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    The Electromagnetic Spectrum

    As it was explained in the Introductory Article on the Electromagnetic Spectrum, electromagnetic radiation can be described as a stream of photons, each traveling in a wave-like pattern, carrying energy and moving at the speed of light. In that section, it was pointed out that the only difference betweenradio waves, visible light and gamma rays is the energy of the photons. Radio waves have photons with the lowest energies.Microwaves have a little more energy than radio waves.Infrared has still more, followed by visible, ultravioletX-raysand gamma rays.
    The amount of energy a photon has can cause it to behave more like a wave, or more like a particle. This is called the "wave-particle duality" of light. It is important to understand that we are not talking about a difference in what light is, but in how it behaves. Low energy photons (such as radio photons) behave more like waves, while higher energy photons (such as X-rays) behave more like particles.
    The electromagnetic spectrum can be expressed in terms of energy, wavelength or frequency. Each way of thinking about the EM spectrum is related to the others in a precise mathematical way. Scientists represent wavelength and frequency by the Greek letters lambda (λ) and nu (ν). Using those symbols, the relationships between energy, wavelength and frequency can be written as:
    wavelength equals the speed of light divided by the frequency
    λ = c / ν
    energy equals Planck's constant times the frequency
    E = h × ν
    • λ is the wavelength
    • ν is the frequency
    • E is the energy
    • c is the speed of light, c = 299,792,458 m/s (186,212 miles/second)
    • h is Planck's constant, h = 6.626 x 10-27 erg-seconds
    Both the speed of light and Planck's constant are constant – they never change in value.
    Illustration showing conversions between wavelength, frequency and energy
    Conversion between wavelength, frequency and energy for the electromagnetic spectrum. (Click image for a larger version.)

    Astronomy Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum

    While all light across the electromagnetic spectrum is fundamentally the same thing, the way that astronomersobserve light depends on the portion of the spectrum they wish to study.
    For example, different detectors are senstive to different wavelenths of light. In addition, not all light can get through the Earth's atmosphere, so for some wavelengths we have to use telescopes aboard satellites. Even the way we collect the light can change depending on the wavelength. Astronomers must have a number of different telescopes and detectors to study the light from celestial objects across the electromagnetic spectrum.
    illustration showing different telescopes that observe each band   of the electromagnetic spectrum
    A sample of telescopes (operating as of February 2013) operating at wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. Several of these observatories observe more than one band of the EM spectrum, and those are placed within the band of their primary instrument(s).
    The represented observatories are: HESS, Fermi and Swift for gamma-ray, NuSTAR and Chandra for X-ray, GALEX for ultraviolet, Kepler, Hubble, Keck (I and II), SALT, and Gemini (South) for visible, Spitzer, Herschel, and Sofia for infrared, Planck and CARMA for microwave, Spektr-R, Greenbank, and VLA for radio. Click here to see this image with the observatories labeled.

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    Change leader, change thyself

    Leo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, famously wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

    Tolstoy’s dictum is a useful starting point for any executive engaged in organizational change. After years of collaborating in efforts to advance the practice of leadership and cultural transformation, we’ve become convinced that organizational change is inseparable from individual change. Simply put, change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves.

    Building self-understanding and then translating it into an organizational context is easier said than done, and getting started is often the hardest part. We hope this article helps leaders who are ready to try and will intrigue those curious to learn more.

    Organizations don’t change—people do

    Many companies move quickly from setting their performance objectives to implementing a suite of change initiatives. Be it a new growth strategy or business-unit structure, the integration of a recent acquisition or the rollout of a new operational-improvement effort, such organizations focus on altering systems and structures and on creating new policies and processes.

    To achieve collective change over time, actions like these are necessary but seldom sufficient. A new strategy will fall short of its potential if it fails to address the underlying mind-sets and capabilities of the people who will execute it.

    McKinsey research and client experience suggest that half of all efforts to transform organizational performance fail either because senior managers don’t act as role models for change or because people in the organization defend the status quo. In other words, despite the stated change goals, people on the ground tend to behave as they did before. Equally, the same McKinsey research indicates that if companies can identify and address pervasive mind-sets at the outset, they are four times more likely to succeed in organizational-change efforts than are companies that overlook this stage.

    Look both inward and outward

    Companies that only look outward in the process of organizational change—marginalizing individual learning and adaptation—tend to make two common mistakes.

    The first is to focus solely on business outcomes. That means these companies direct their attention to what Alexander Grashow, Ronald Heifetz, and Marty Linsky call the “technical” aspects of a new solution, while failing to appreciate what they call “the adaptive work” people must do to implement it.

    The second common mistake, made even by companies that recognize the need for new learning, is to focus too much on developing skills. Training that only emphasizes new behavior rarely translates into profoundly different performance outside the classroom.

    In our work together with organizations undertaking leadership and cultural transformations, we’ve found that the best way to achieve an organization’s aspirations is to combine efforts that look outward with those that look inward. Linking strategic and systemic intervention to genuine self-discovery and self-development by leaders is a far better path to embracing the vision of the organization and to realizing its business goals.

    What is looking inward?

    Looking inward is a way to examine your own modes of operating to learn what makes you tick. Individuals have their own inner lives, populated by their beliefs, priorities, aspirations, values, and fears. These interior elements vary from one person to the next, directing people to take different actions.

    Interestingly, many people aren’t aware that the choices they make are extensions of the reality that operates in their hearts and minds. Indeed, you can live your whole life without understanding the inner dynamics that drive what you do and say. Yet it’s crucial that those who seek to lead powerfully and effectively look at their internal experiences, precisely because they direct how you take action, whether you know it or not. Taking accountability as a leader today includes understanding your motivations and other inner drives.

    For the purposes of this article, we focus on two dimensions of looking inward that lead to self-understanding: developing profile awareness and developing state awareness.

    Profile awareness

    An individual’s profile is a combination of his or her habits of thought, emotions, hopes, and behavior in various circumstances. Profile awareness is therefore a recognition of these common tendencies and the impact they have on others.

    We often observe a rudimentary level of profile awareness with the executives we advise. They use labels as a shorthand to describe their profile, telling us, “I’m an overachiever” or “I’m a control freak.” Others recognize emotional patterns, like “I always fear the worst,” or limiting beliefs, such as “you can’t trust anyone.” Other executives we’ve counseled divide their identity in half. They end up with a simple liking for their “good” Dr. Jekyll side and a dislike of their “bad” Mr. Hyde.

    Finding ways to describe the common internal tendencies that drive behavior is a good start. We now know, however, that successful leaders develop profile awareness at a broader and deeper level.

    State awareness

    State awareness, meanwhile, is the recognition of what’s driving you at the moment you take action. In common parlance, people use the phrase “state of mind” to describe this, but we’re using “state” to refer to more than the thoughts in your mind. State awareness involves the real-time perception of a wide range of inner experiences and their impact on your behavior. These include your current mind-set and beliefs, fears and hopes, desires and defenses, and impulses to take action.

    State awareness is harder to master than profile awareness. While many senior executives recognize their tendency to exhibit negative behavior under pressure, they often don’t realize they’re exhibiting that behavior until well after they’ve started to do so. At that point, the damage is already done.

    We believe that in the future, the best leaders will demonstrate both profile awareness and state awareness. These capacities can develop into the ability to shift one’s inner state in real time. That leads to changing behavior when you can still affect the outcome, instead of looking back later with regret. It also means not overreacting to events because they are reminiscent of something in the past or evocative of something that might occur in the future.

    Close the performance gap

    When learning to look inward in the process of organizational transformation, individuals accelerate the pace and depth of change dramatically. In the words of one executive we know, who has invested heavily in developing these skills, this kind of learning “expands your capacity to lead human change and deliver true impact by awakening the full leader within you.” In practical terms, individuals learn to align what they intend with what they actually say and do to influence others.

    Erica Ariel Fox’s recent book, Winning from Within, calls this phenomenon closing your performance gap. That gap is the disparity between what people know they should say and do to behave successfully and what they actually do in the moment. The performance gap can affect anyone at any time, from the CEO to a summer intern.

    This performance gap arises in individuals partly because of the profile that defines them and that they use to define themselves. In the West in particular, various assessments tell you your “type,” essentially the psychological clothing you wear to present yourself to the world.

    To help managers and employees understand each other, many corporate-education tools use simplified typing systems to describe each party’s makeup. These tests often classify people relatively quickly, and in easily remembered ways: team members might be red or blue, green or yellow, for example.

    There are benefits in this approach, but in our experience it does not go far enough and those using it should understand its limitations. We allpossess the full range of qualities these assessments identify. We are not one thing or the other: we are all at once, to varying degrees. 

    As renowned brain researcher Dr. Daniel Siegel explains, “we must accept our multiplicity, the fact that we can show up quite differently in our athletic, intellectual, sexual, spiritual—or many other—states. A heterogeneous collection of states is completely normal in us humans.”Putting the same point more poetically, Walt Whitman famously wrote, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”

    To close performance gaps, and thereby build your individual leadership capacity, you need a more nuanced approach that recognizes your inner complexity. Coming to terms with your full richness is challenging. But the kinds of issues involved—which are highly personal and well beyond the scope of this short management article—include:

    • What are the primary parts of my profile, and how are they balanced against each other?
    • What resources and capabilities does each part of my profile possess? What strengths and liabilities do those involve?
    • When do I tend to call on each member of my inner executive team? What are the benefits and costs of those choices?
    • Do I draw on all of the inner sources of power available to me, or do I favor one or two most of the time?
    • How can I develop the sweet spots that are currently outside of my active range

    Answering these questions starts with developing profile awareness.

    Leading yourself—and the organization

    Individuals can improve themselves in many ways and hence drive more effective organizational change. We focus here on a critical few that we’ve found to increase leadership capacity and to have a lasting organizational impact.

    1. Develop profile awareness: Map the Big Four

    While we all have myriad aspects to our inner lives, in our experience it’s best to focus your reflections on a manageable few as you seek to understand what’s driving you at different times. Fox’s Winning from Within suggests that you can move beyond labels such as “perfectionist” without drowning in unwieldy complexity, by concentrating on your Big Four, which largely govern the way individuals function every day.

     You can think of your Big Four as an inner leadership team, occupying an internal executive suite: the chief executive officer (CEO), or inspirational Dreamer; the chief financial officer (CFO), or analytical Thinker; the chief people officer (CPO), or emotional Lover; and the chief operating officer (COO), or practical Warrior (exhibit).

    Executives can achieve self-understanding, without drowning in unwieldy complexity, by concentrating on the Big Four of their ‘inner team.’

    How do these work in practice? Consider the experience of Geoff McDonough, the transformational CEO of Sobi, an emerging pioneer in the treatment of rare diseases. Many credit McDonough’s versatile leadership with successfully integrating two legacy companies and increasing market capitalization from nearly $600 million in 2011 to $3.5 billion today.

    From our perspective, his leadership success owes much to his high level of profile awareness. He also displays high profile agility: his skill at calling on the right inner executive at the right time for the right purpose. In other words, he deploys each of his Big Four intentionally and effectively to harness its specific strengths and skills to meet a situation.

    McDonough used his inner Dreamer’s imagination to envision the clinical and business impact of Sobi’s biological-development program in neonatology. He saw the possibility of improving the neurodevelopment of tiny, vulnerable newborns and thus of giving them a real chance at a healthy life.

    His inner Thinker’s assessment took an unusual perspective at the time. Others didn’t share his evaluation of the viability of integrating one company’s 35-year legacy of biologics development (Kabi Vitrum— the combined group of Swedish pharmaceutical companies Kabi and Vitrum—which merged with Pharmacia and was later acquired, forming Biovitrum in 2001) with another’s 25-year history of commercializing treatments for rare diseases (Swedish Orphan), to lead in a rare-disease market environment with very few independent midsize companies.

    Rising to a separate, if related, challenge, McDonough called on his inner Lover to build bridges between the siloed legacy companies. He focused on the people who mattered most to everyone—the patients—and promoted internal talent from both sides, demonstrating his belief that everyone, whatever his or her previous corporate affiliation, could be part of the new “one Sobi.”

    Finally, bringing Sobi to its current levels of success required McDonough to tell hard truths and take some painful steps. He called on his inner Warrior to move swiftly, adding key players from the outside to the management team, restructuring the organization, and resolutely promoting an entirely new business model.

    2. Develop state awareness: The work of your inner lookout

    Profile awareness, as we’ve said, is only the first part of what it takes to look inward when driving organizational change. The next part is state awareness.

    Leading yourself means being in tune with what’s happening on the inside, not later but right now. Think about it. People who don’t notice that they are becoming annoyed, judgmental, or defensive in the moment are not making real choices about how to behave. We all need an inner “lookout”—a part of us that notices our inner state—much as all parents are at the ready to watch for threats of harm to their young children.

    For example, a senior executive leading a large-scale transformation remarked that he would like to spend 15 minutes kicking off an important training event for change agents to signal its importance. Objectively speaking, he would probably have the opposite of the intended effect if he said how important the workshop was and then left 15 minutes into it.

    What he needed at that moment was the perception of his inner lookout. That perspective would see that he was torn between wanting to endorse the program, on the one hand, and wanting to attend to something else that was also important, on the other. 

    With that clarity, he could make a choice that was sensible and aligned: he might still speak for 15 minutes and then let people know that he wished he could stay longer but had a crucial meeting elsewhere. Equally, he might realize the negative implications of his early departure under any circumstances, decide to postpone the later meeting, and stay another couple of hours. Either way, the inner lookout’s view would lead to more effective leadership behavior.

    During a period of organizational change, it’s critical that senior executives collectively adopt the lookout role for the organization as a whole. Yet they often can’t, because they’re wearing rose-tinted glasses that blur the limitations of their leadership style, mask destructive mind-sets at lower levels of the organization, and generally distort what’s going on outside the executive suite. 

    Until we and others confronted one manager we know with the evidence, he had no idea he was interfering with, and undermining, employees through the excessively large number of e-mails he was sending on a daily basis.

    Spotting misaligned perceptions requires putting the spotlight on observable behavior and getting enough data to unearth the core issues. Note that traditional satisfaction or employee-engagement surveys—and even 360-degree feedback—often fail to get to the bottom of the problem. A McKinsey diagnostic that reached deep into the workforce—aggregating the responses of 52,240 individuals at 44 companies—demonstrated perception gaps across job levels at 70 percent of the participating organizations.

     In about two-thirds of them, the top teams were more positive about their own leadership skills than was the rest of the organization. Odds are, in other words, that rigorous organizational introspection will be eye opening for senior leaders.

    3. Translate awareness into organizational change

    Those open eyes will be better able to spot obstacles to organizational change. Consider the experience of a company that became aware, during a major earnings-improvement effort, that an absence of coaching was stifling progress. On the surface, people said they did not have the time to make coaching a priority. But an investigation of the root causes showed that one reason people weren’t coaching was that they themselves had become successful despite never having been coached.

     In fact, coaching was associated with serious development needs and seen only as a tool for documenting and firing people. Beneath the surface, managers feared that if they coached someone, others would view that person as a poor performer.

    Changing a pervasive element of corporate culture like this depends on a diverse set of interventions that will appeal to different parts of individuals and of the organization. In this case, what followed was a positive internal-communication campaign, achieved with the help of posters positioning star football players alongside their coaches and supported by commentary spelling out the impact of coaching on operating performance at other organizations. 

    At the same time, executives put “the elephant in the room” and acknowledged the negative connotations of coaching, and these confessions helped managers understand and adapt such critical norms. In the end, the actions the executives initiated served to increase the frequency and quality of coaching, with the result that the company was able to move more rapidly toward achieving its performance goals.

    4. Start with one change catalyst

    While dealing with resistance and fear is often necessary, it’s rarely enough to take an organization to the next level. To go further and initiate collective change, organizations must unleash the full potential of individuals. One person or a small group of trailblazers can provide that catalyst.

    For many years, it was widely believed that human beings could not run a mile in less than four minutes. Throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, many runners came close to the four-minute mark, but all fell short. On May 6th, 1954, in Oxford, England, Roger Bannister ran a mile in three minutes and 59 seconds. 

    Only 46 days after Bannister’s historic run, John Landy broke the record again. By 1957, 16 more runners had broken through what once was thought to be an impossible barrier. Today, well over a thousand people have run a mile in less than four minutes, including high-school athletes.

    Organizations behave in a similar manner. We often find widely held “four-minute mile” equivalents, like “unattainable growth goals” or “unachievable cost savings” or “unviable strategic changes.” Before the broader organization can start believing that the impossible is possible, one person or a small number of people must embrace a new perspective and set out to disprove the old way of thinking. Bannister, studying to be a doctor, had to overcome physiologists’ claims and popular assumptions that anyone who tried to run faster than 15 miles an hour would die.

    Learning to lead yourself requires you to question some core assumptions too, about yourself and the way things work. Like Joseph Campbell’s famous “hero’s journey,” that often means leaving your everyday environment, or going outside your comfort zone, to experience trials and adventures.8 One global company sent its senior leaders to places as far afield as the heart of Communist China and the beaches of Normandy with a view to challenging their internal assumptions about the company’s operating model. The fresh perspectives these leaders gained helped shape their internal values and leadership behavior, allowing them to cascade the lessons through the organization upon their return.

    This integration of looking both inward and outward is the most powerful formula we know for creating long-term, high-impact organizational change.

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    Four Reasons to Quit Your Job

    By Jack and Suzy Welch

    What criteria can you use to determine if you have been with the same company too long?
    A friend of ours, an investment manager at a highly regarded company in the Midwest, who drove to work one morning, parked his car in the usual spot, and then found he simply could not bring himself to get out of the car. “I guess I stayed on the farm one day too long,” he joked later. When we asked him what went wrong, he answered, “It wasn’t one thing. It was everything.” No wonder he drove home and called in his resignation.
    Obviously, most people don’t decide they’ve overstayed at their companies in such a dramatic fashion. Usually, angst about work creeps in, and then builds until it consumes you. And that can happen early or late in a career. Gone are the days when, after graduation, you took the best available job and stayed for as many years as you could possibly stand, frustration be damned. These days, it is not unusual to hear of perfectly legitimate careers built on multiple job stints.
    So, to your question, how can you tell when it’s time to move on? We wouldn’t set out specific criteria as much as offer four questions to help sort out an answer.
    The first is so simple it almost goes without saying, but the fact that a lot of people don’t confront it, including our friend who ended up stuck in his car—a Harvard MBA, by the way—suggests we should go ahead and put it out there: Do you want to go to work every morning?
    This is not a matter to be over-brained. Does the prospect of going in each day excite you or fill you with dread? Does the work feel interesting and meaningful or are you just going through motions to pull a paycheck? Are you still learning and growing?
    We know of a woman who worked in consulting for seven years. She loved her firm and had originally planned a career with it, but suddenly started noticing that she wished every weekend was five days long. “Basically, I felt like we were putting together massive books in order to make recommendations to people who knew more than we did,” she said. “Every day at the office, I felt a little bit more of a hypocrite.” She now happily works on the “front lines,” to use her phrase, in the marketing department of a retail company.
    Second, do you enjoy spending time with your coworkers or do they generally bug the living daylights out of you? We’re not saying you should only stay at your company if you want to barbecue with your team every weekend, but if you don’t sincerely enjoy and respect the people you spend 10 hours a day with, you can be sure you will eventually decide to leave your organization. Why not make the break sooner rather than later and start cultivating relationships at a company where you might actually plant roots?
    Third, does your company help you fulfill your personal mission? Essentially, this question asks whether your company jibes with your life’s goals and values. Does it require you, for instance, to travel more than you’d like, given your chosen work-life balance? Does it offer enough upward mobility, given your level of ambition? There are no right or wrong answers to such questions, only a sense of whether you are investing your time at the right or wrong company for you.
    Fourth and finally, can you picture yourself at your company in a year? We use that time frame because that’s how long it usually takes to find a new, better job once you decide to move on. So peer, as best you can, into the future, and predict where you’ll be in the organization, what work you’ll be doing, whom you will be managing, and who will be managing you. If that scenario strikes you with anything short of excitement, then you’re spinning your wheels. Or put another way, you’re just about to stay too long.
    To be clear: We’re not suggesting people quit at the first inkling of discontent. No matter where you work, at some point you will have to endure difficult times, and even a deadly dull assignment, to survive a crisis or move up. But it makes little sense to stay and stay at a company because of inertia. Unlock your door and get out.
    Jack Welch is Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University. Through its Executive MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute provides students and organizations with the proven methodologies, immediately actionable practices, and respected credentials needed to win in business.

    Suzy Welch is a best-selling author, popular television commentator, and noted business journalist. Her New York Times bestselling book, 10-10-10: A Life Transforming Idea, presents a powerful decision-making strategy for success at work and in parenting, love and friendship. Together with her husband Jack Welch, Suzy is also co-author of the #1 international bestsellerWinning, and its companion volume, Winning: The Answers. Since 2005, they have written business columns for several publications, including Business Week magazine, Thomson Reuters digital platforms, Fortune magazine, and the New York Times syndicate.

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    Riding In Cars With VCs

    Uber’s promo factory has delivered kittens, Christmas trees and ice cream. But its latest PR concoction has taken the Valley darling to a whole new level: Uber for VC meetings.

    UberPITCH will give free rides to to anyone with a startup idea, allowing them to pitch investors from the Google Ventures team. Yes, that’s right. If you’ve got a great idea for an anonymous photo sharing app that lets you swipe up to get laid, you’ve got transportation.
    This is obviously a marketing stunt, and to make it even frothier, Google Ventures is Uber’s most recent backer. While we doubt that the GV team will find the next Uber through this, anything ispossible*. In the end, there really isn’t anything more Silicon Valley than investors using a portfolio company’s product to let other wannabe founders pitch them.
    Tomorrow, anyone with a startup pitch or idea can open Uber in Palo Alto, Mountain View or Menlo Park from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Similar to the way you can choose between UberX, Black Car and SUV, these users will be able to select UberPITCH and request a ride. If connected, they will have seven minutes to pitch and seven minutes for feedback. The UberX or UberSUV car will actually roll up with a GV investor in the backseat, and the ride starts and ends back at their starting point. Rides will be free for users.
    So who will you be pitching at Google Ventures? GV’s UberPITCH team includes Uber investor David Krane, General Partner; Shanna Tellerman, Partner; Andy Wheeler, General Partner; Dave Munichiello, Partner; and Rick Klau, Product Partner. Former TechCrunch columnist and current Google Ventures partner MG Siegler will not be part of the program.
    *At least one cab investment turned out to be a good call, as Baydin makes some pretty great email tools, including the Boomerang scheduling service.

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  • 04/11/14--01:02: Facebook’s Future 04-11
  • Facebook’s Future

    Today, we follow Facebook and update friends on our doings. In the not too distant future, predicts Mikolaj Piskorski, Facebook will follow us and call half the planet customers.

    Editor's note: Now 10 years old, Facebook's growth is starting to slow. That's one reason it purchased What'sApp last month in a jaw-dropping deal valued at $19 billion. What might the next decade be like? Harvard Business School Associate Professor Misiek Piskorski, an authority on why and how people use various online social platforms, makes some predictions.
    In the first decade of its existence, Facebook, aided by the broad adoption of mobile devices and fast internet connections, emerged as a virtual Cheers bar where people share their lives with a legion of geographically dispersed friends and acquaintances and reconnect with faces from the past. First college students, then Millennials, and soon after, their parents and grandparents were drawn in by the allure of this pioneering social network that effectively shrank the world down to a portable and vibrant community.
    The company recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, and for much of that time, Facebook's stunning growth—more than 1.2 billion users worldwide—has been the story. That said, the core Facebook functionalities have remained essentially unchanged for the past several years, and so pundits wonder whether Facebook's attraction has peaked. The apparent disappearance of teenagers from the site has made these concerns even greater. I disagree with this conclusion. Teenagers will return to the site when they are older, and Facebook will continue to grow in size, particularly in India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Africa.
    But what will Facebook look like a decade from now? In 2024, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will turn 40. His creation will then undoubtedly bear little resemblance to its current look and feel. A decade of technological progress will result in major changes, and I believe the site will morph into a potent and active force in people's lives.
    Today, Facebook is a passive vehicle where users manually post pictures, status updates, and YouTube videos. And then they quietly observe what others have posted, occasionally offering a comment, but often just scrolling down through content. As such, Facebook is a retrospective medium, a place to share experiences already completed and then put them on display. But the company does little to capture information as it happens, and even less to help us organize the future.
    But this will change as Facebook becomes a prospective medium—a dynamic, real-time driver that will automatically gather current and future information that wearable devices will automatically broadcast about us, match it with what our friends are auto-broadcasting, and then deliver recommendations on what we should do socially. This will help us get off the mobile phone and actually meet up in the offline world. This way, Facebook will become less of a website to visit than an invisible conduit to the most important aspects of people's lives, a way to keep a closer eye on their children, plan social interactions, be alerted to pertinent products and services, and accelerate the value of a person's connections.
    Two trends will lead to this outcome. First, people are already sharing private information generated by their wearable devices, such as Nike FuelBand. The device is a part of a greater Nike+ ecosystem that has attracted over 18 million users who happily share their athletic achievements with others. Just do a search on #nikeplus on Twitter, and you will discover a Nike-related tweet every 10 seconds in every conceivable language. Second, many companies are already encouraging us to share private information automatically. For example, if you are using Google Maps on your iPhone, you are most likely sending information to Google about your location and speed—data the company aggregates to present us with up-to-date traffic maps. It won't be long, however, before the two trends converge, and we will start broadcasting personal information automatically as we go through our day. As soon as Facebook develops appropriate algorithms to deliver the right social information to the right people and demonstrates their utility to us, adoption will soar.
    While all this is happening, Facebook's marketing influence will accelerate dramatically, providing a growing revenue stream for the company. When Facebook first started it was no more than a mechanism to attract eyeballs for businesses. Since then it has evolved into a sophisticated marketing machine that enables marketers to serve targeted messages on the basis of our email address or mobile phone number.
    But in 2024, technology will make possible real-time marketing possible. As we auto-broadcast our social data, Facebook can respond to them immediately with targeted offers in response to what we need right now. If I walk down the street and feel hungry, for example, Facebook will suggest a set of friends who live nearby and seem available and then advertise a restaurant that we all might like. Or if my nanny suddenly becomes ill and can't pick up my four-year old from preschool, Facebook will automatically display an advertisement for a substitute nanny who has worked for four close friends and who can step in and pick up my child.
    Granted, this has the heavy feel of the movie "Minority Report" taken to its ultimate limits, and the road to 2024 will undoubtedly be bumpy and filled with controversy related to privacy. Over its first decade, Facebook has been no stranger to controversy, specifically about privacy controls, and it is to the company's credit that its growth has continued despite such concerns.
    This time, however, given the amount of information disclosed, Facebook will need to execute as flawlessly as possible. If it gets the privacy component wrong and infuriates its users, its survival is not guaranteed. Some other startup, maybe from China or maybe a US-based open source venture, will step in and grab that territory. And there is much to grab, with the world population soaring to 8 billion people by 2024. But if Facebook does get it right, it can easily grab half that population.
    Is this an optimistic scenario or a Big Brother nightmare? There are a vast number of ways that this might potentially make our lives better and happier. And there are just as many ways that Facebook can go awry. If the main driver is to use the technology for invasive and intrusive paths toward profit, Facebook's future may well be questionable. If it can incorporate a real and active impetus to do the right thing for humanity, it will be much more successful in the years ahead than it has been in the past decade.

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    Are You a Holistic or a Specific Thinker?

    It was Friday afternoon in Paris and I had spent the morning teaching a group of Chinese CEOs how to work effectively with Europeans. I asked the class: “What steps should the team leader in this case study take to manage different attitudes towards confrontation on the team?”
    Lilly Li, a bird-like woman with a pleasant smile, who had been running operations in Hungary for two years, raised her hand: “Trust has been a big challenge for us, as Hungarians do not take the same time to build personal relationships as we do in China.”
    Now I was a little confused, because the question I’d asked was about confrontation, not trust. Had she misunderstood me? I pushed the earpiece closer to my ear to make sure I was hearing the translator correctly. Lilly Li continued to talk for several minutes about trust, hierarchy, and her experiences in Hungary. The Chinese participants listened carefully.
    After several long minutes of interesting comments that had — from my perspective — absolutely zero to do with the question I’d asked, Lilly came to the point: “If the team leader had spent more time helping the team build relationships outside of the meeting, they would have been much more comfortable dealing with debate and direct confrontation.”
    All afternoon long, the participants’ answers followed a similar pattern: After taking several minutes to discuss peripheral information, they would loop back to the point.
    The behavior illustrates one of the key differences between the cultural norms of East Asia and the West. Of course each East Asian and each Western culture is different — often dramatically so. But this differentiation appears to be basic.
    Psychologists Richard E. Nisbett and Takahiko Masuda wrote about this cultural difference in a famous study. As an experiment they presented 20-second animated videos of underwater scenes to Japanese and American participants. Afterward, participants were asked what they had seen.
    While the Americans mentioned larger, faster-moving, brightly-colored objects in the foreground (such as the big fish), the Japanese spoke more about what was going on in the background (for example, the small frog bottom left). The Japanese also talked twice as often as the Americans about the interdependencies between the objects up front and the objects in the background.
    In a second study, Americans and Japanese were asked to “take a photo of a person.” The Americans (left) most frequently took a close-up, showing all facial features, while the Japanese (right) showed the person in his or her environment with the human figure quite small.
    Notice the common pattern in both studies. The Americans focus on individual items separate from their environment, while the Asians give more attention to backgrounds and to the links between these backgrounds and the central figures.
    These tendencies have been borne out in my own interviews with multi-cultural managers. While Northern Europeans and Anglo-Saxons generally follow the American thinking patterns, East Asians respond as the Japanese and Taiwanese did in Nisbett and Masuda’s research.
    Perhaps it’s not surprising. A traditional tenet of Western philosophies and religions is that you can remove an item from its environment and analyze it separately. Cultural theorists call this specific thinking.
    Chinese religions and philosophies, by contrast, have traditionally emphasized interdependencies and interconnectedness. The Ancient Chinese thought in a holistic way, believing that action always occurs in a field of forces. The terms yin and yang (literally “dark” and “light”), for example, describe how seemingly contrary forces are interdependent.
    Here’s what one of my Chinese participants said after we’d discussed the fish and photo studies: “Chinese people think from macro to micro, whereas Western people think from micro to macro. For example, when writing an address, the Chinese write in sequence of province, city, district, block, gate number. Westerners do just the opposite. In the same way, Chinese put the surname first, whereas Westerners do it the other way around. And Chinese put the year before month and date.”
    This affects the way business people view each other across the globe. As Bae Pak from the Korean motor company Kia told me: “When we work with Western colleagues, we are often taken aback by their tendency to make decisions without considering the impact on other business units, clients, and suppliers.”
    A Polish manager, Jacek Malecki, with whom I worked as part of a different assignment, shared with me an experience that illustrates this: “When I took my first trip to meet with my Japanese staff I managed the objective-setting process like I always had. I called each person on the team into my office for a meeting, where I outlined his or her individual goals. Although I noticed they asked a lot of peripheral questions during the meetings no one actually explained to me that my approach was not ideal for them, so I went back to Poland with a false sense of comfort.”
    Later Malecki saw that the team had spent a lot of time consulting with one another about what each person had been asked to do and how their individual objectives fit together to create a big picture: “The team was now making good progress but not in the way I had segmented the project.”
    In a specific culture, people usually respond well to receiving very detailed and segmented information about what is expected of each of them. If you need to give instructions to a team member from this kind of culture, focus on what that person needs to accomplish and when. Conversely, if you need to motivate, manage, or persuade someone from a holistic culture, spend time explaining the big picture and how all the pieces slot together.
    If you are leading a global team, this type of cognitive diversity can cause confusion, inefficiency, and general frustration. But we’ve known for a long time that the more diverse the team, the greater the potential for innovation. If you understand that one person sees a fish and another sees an aquarium, and you think carefully about the benefits of both the specific and holistic approach, you can learn to turn these cultural differences into your team’s greatest assets.

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    Researchers: Should You Be a Specialist?

    Stanford scholars explore how the path you take affects your career prospects.
    It’s one of the first questions John-Paul Ferguson hears from the first year students in the strategy course he teaches each year at Stanford Graduate School of Business: Is it better to have a career as a specialist, or take the path less traveled and develop a broad skill set from a range of experiences and areas?

    Ferguson and his colleague, Sharique Hasan, had their assumptions as to the answer, and it was easy to romanticize one notion over another. But the truth is, “It’s a very hard thing to know,” Ferguson says. “For most folks, we can’t tell.” There are far too many variables.

    Then the professors got excited. If they looked at the officers in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) — the bureaucratic service of the government of India and one of the most prestigious careers in the country — there was a natural data set to study. Here were talented individuals chosen for a coveted sector. And once inside, they moved positions, without their control. That was the key: These more than 4,000 individuals selected for the IAS from 1974-2008 didn’t get to pick how generalized or specialized they were in the career paths to the coveted and highly selective positions within the system.

    “The IAS can be thought of a system that sifts through the population to identify individuals with comparable high ability, assigns those individuals careers that vary in the diversity of the constituent experiences, and evaluates those individuals for a common set of rewards,” the authors write in their recent report for Administrative Science Quarterly.

     Ferguson and Hasan not only were interested in the question of specialization versus broad experience, but also they were interested in whether its importance varied at different stages of the officers’ careers. What they found was that specialization helps at all stages.

    Early in the officers’ careers, the authors conclude, specialization signals general ability. Specialized officers get promoted more, but not necessarily to do jobs in their specialization. Later, those who have specialized are rewarded for the skills they have acquired. To some extent, specialization produced a self-fulfilling prophecy, “wherein people who specialize acquire skills and thus have incentives to continue specializing.”

    Ferguson mentions that, if a person moves around from career to career, “you can’t tell if they’re good at everything or bad at everything. For most people, it makes sense to specialize.” A diverse work history, the study concludes, hurts one’s chances of promotion.

    That said, Ferguson also wants to emphasize that one of the benefits of a student’s period in business school is the chance to experiment with different career options. “That’s the time when it doesn’t hurt them,” he says. “This is the chance they have to get a little bit of experience. You want to sample as many different kinds while you’re in business school.

    Given these findings, Ferg

    uson and Hasan are now interested in taking the next step in their research. Whereas the IAS enabled them to explore a pool of employees changing jobs under one employer, the authors would next like to examine this question of specialization among candidates who change both jobs and employers.

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    Why Consumer Tech Is So Irritatingly Incremental

    In the late 1960s, Michelin introduced the radial tire into the U.S. market. This was no surprise to the top five U.S.-based bias-ply tire manufacturers (Goodyear, Firestone, Uniroyal, B.F. Goodrich, and General Tire). After all, it was hardly a new technology; the first radial tire patents had been filed more than 40 years before. And they’d all seen radial tires take over the European market.
    But even though radial tires were far superior to bias tires in terms of durability, cost per mile, and safety – and could be sold for an attractively higher price — they presented a challenge to U.S. incumbents. The process used to manufacture them was completely different from the one they used to make bias-ply tires. To produce radials, the U.S. giants basically needed to start their companies all over again — practically nothing of what they knew about producing bias-ply tires could be reused. Almost none of their patents would be useful (the tire business was the second most research-intensive industry in the U.S after chemicals). And so, even with the price premium, Michelin was the only company that had figured out how to produce radial tires profitably at scale.
    Long story short, Michelin took over 50% of the entire tire U.S. market in the first 18 months after their introduction. And the Akron Ohio-based bias-ply tire manufacturing industry, which by 1920 had produced more millionaires than Silicon Valley has produced until just recently, essentially vanished. This is the transformational and dramatic effect of a superior technology entering an industry.
    Again and again this story repeated itself in the 19th and 20th centuries. Gas lamps gave way to incandescent lamps. Refrigerators replaced ice boxes. Propeller planes yielded to jet engines. Joseph Schumpeter documented this pattern in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, coining the term entrepreneur, which he described as the person who, when successful, revolutionizes an industry through the process of “creative destruction” (creative for the superior technologies,destructive for all the established firms that would go out of business).
    Tesla, Nespresso, and Geox are current successful examples of such high-end disruptions. But how common is this phenomenon today? How often have you seen a firm revolutionize an industry by creating a superior product using a new business model? Not nearly so often.
    Superior technologies do not take over industries as frequently as they once did because consumers today are different from those of a few decades ago. In much of the 20th century, technological innovation produced products that had plenty of room for improvement, opening up opportunities for high-end disruption. This went on in most industries until about the 1980s. Before that, most cars, for instance, were notoriously unreliable, prone to rust, and unlikely to last past 100,000 miles. Television picture quality remained unsatisfactory as the technology evolved from vacuum tubes to solid state to digital to HD. As a result consumers learned to compensate. They learned to repair their cars or to recognize which brand of a particular product was currently best.
    But as established firms’ efforts to improve their products (what we call “sustaining innovations” in disruptive innovation theory), together with some occasional high-end disruptions, made products and services cumulatively better year after year, so many became so good that consumers either could not appreciate the product improvements or were simply unwilling to pay for them. And so we find that even though tire manufacturers today can produce much better tires than radials, consumers find that radials work just fine and aren’t willing to pay more for these superior technologies. As a result most of these designs end up being discontinued; a good example is the Michelin PAX tire.
    When an industry reaches this point, opportunities at the high end dwindle, and there’s far more scope for low-end disruptions – offerings that combine a technology with an new, incompatible business model to produce an offering that’s not better than the incumbent’s offer (since they don’t really need to be) but are instead radically simpler, far more convenient, or very much more affordable (the classical definition of disruptive innovation introduced by Clayton Christensen). Crest Whitestrips, for example, are radically more affordable and convenient than going to the dentist to whiten your teeth. Digital photography is far more convenient than developing film.
    So many industries have in fact reached this point that, as things stand in the 21st century, we know very little about when a high-end disruption will succeed. Recent research suggests that they would work in industries where the following criteria are met:
    1. The majority of consumers are highly dissatisfied with the current products or services. This occurs today most commonly in highly regulated industries that are hampered in some way from improving their offerings (as was the case, for example, when AT&T held a monopoly over telephony in the U.S.)
    2. The industry is fragmented, which means that even the leading firms are limited in their ability to retaliate against upstarts.
    3. The new company is fully integrated from the beginning, which means that it does not outsource critical functional departments to keep its cost structure low. Rather, it has developed an entirely new business model to profitably exploit a new, superior technology.
    4. The new entrant uses a different distribution channel from the incumbents. This is perhaps the most important criterion, since it’s relatively easy for incumbents to use their market power to bar start-ups from established distribution systems.
    The odds of meeting all of these criteria is relatively small. And so the odds of success of a new high-end disruption are correspondingly small. In fact, the rarity of a successful high-end disruption is the reason so many new and superior technologies that could do so much to help industries evolve and benefit customers never gain a market foothold.
    Most entrepreneurs still think that just because their technology is superior it will inevitably be widely adopted in the marketplace. But consumers don’t work like that. Next time you come across an engineer aiming to commercialize a superior new technology, ask if his industry meets the criteria described above. If not, he’d do much better to focus on low-end disruption by encapsulating the technology in a product that is in some way simpler, more convenient – and seriously more affordable— than anything currently on the market. After all, technologies don’t dictate how they must be commercialized, managers do.

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    Leonardo da Vinci myths, explained

    By Kandice Rawlings

    Leonardo da Vinci was born 562 years ago today, and we’re still fascinated with his life and work. It’s no real mystery why – he was an extraordinary person, a genius and a celebrity in his own lifetime. He left behind some remarkable artifacts in the form of paintings and writings and drawings on all manner of subjects. But there’s much about Leonardo we don’t know, making him susceptible to a number myths, theories, and entertaining but inaccurate representations in popular culture. The following are some of my favorites.

    Leonardo da Vinci, Presumed Self Portrait, circa 1512. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Myth #1 – Leonardo was gay.

    Leonardo’s possible homosexuality is one of the more prevalent – and more plausible – myths circulating about the artist, and has the backing of none other than Sigmund Freud. There’s no way of knowing Leonardo’s sexual orientation for sure, but he isn’t known to have had romantic relationships with any women, never married, and in 1476 was accused (but later cleared) of charges of sodomy – then a capital crime in Florence. Scholars’ opinions on the issue fall along a spectrum between “maybe” and “very probably”.
    Conclusion: Maybe true.

    Myth #2 – Leonardo wrote backward to keep his ideas secret, and his notebooks weren’t “decoded” until long after his death.

    For all his skill, Leonardo was not a prolific painter – the major part of his surviving output is in the form of his notebooks filled with theoretical and scientific writings, notes, and drawings. His strange habit of writing backward in these notebooks has been used to perpetuate the image of the artist as a mysterious, secretive person. 

    But in fact it’s much more likely that Leonardo wrote this way simply because he was left-handed, and found it easier to write across the page from right to left and in reverse. No decoding is necessary – just a mirror. Leonardo’s theoretical writings and other notes were preserved by his follower and heir Francesco Melzi, and were widely known, at least in artistic circles, during the 16th and 17th centuries. Published extracts began appearing in 1651.

    Conclusion: False.

    Myth #3 – Leonardo put “secret” codes and symbols in his works.

    I’d rather not get into all the problems with The Da Vinci Code too much, but I have to credit this 2003 book, by renowned author Dan Brown, for a lot of these theories. Aside from the fact that the book is full of factual errors (example: Leonardo’s “hundreds of Vatican commissions,” which actually number in the vicinity of zero) and twists the historical record, its readings of Leonardo’s artworks are based on some fundamentally flawed conceptions about the making, meaning, and purpose of art in the Italian Renaissance. 

    In Leonardo’s world, paintings like the Last Supper in Milan were made according to patrons’ requirements, with very specific Christian meanings to be conveyed. Despite Leonardo’s artistic innovations, the content of his religious paintings and portrayal of religious figures (with the exception of some details in an altarpiece from the 1480s) were not untraditional.

    Conclusion: False.

    Leonardo da Vinci, The Mona Lisa, between 1503-1505. Louvre. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Myth #4 – The Mona Lisa is a self-portrait/male lover in disguise/woman with high cholesterol.

    Martin Kemp has observed, “The silly season for the Mona Lisa never closes.” The ridiculous theories about this painting abound. Here’s what we can say with reasonable certainty: Leonardo started the painting, probably a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, a merchant’s wife, while in Florence around 1503. 

    For unknown reasons, he didn’t deliver it to the patron, however, and it ended up in the possession of his workshop assistant Salai (who some think was Leonardo’s lover – again, without evidence). There’s no reason to think that Leonardo recorded in this painting his own features or those of Salai, even if, as many art historians believe, he continued to work on the painting after he left Florence for Milan and then France. 

    In a theory that deviates from the usual speculation about the identity of the sitter, an Italian scientist thinks that the way Leonardo portrayed the sitter shows she had high cholesterol. Right, because Renaissance paintings are straightforward, scientific images, pretty much just like MRIs and X-rays.

    Conclusion: False.

    Myth #5 – Leonardo made the image of Christ on the Shroud of Turin.
    The Shroud of Turin is a relic purported to be the shroud that Christ’s body was buried in after the Crucifixion. According to its legend, the image of his body was miraculously transferred to the cloth when he was resurrected. The idea that Leonardo forged it depends on claims that the proportions of Christ’s face as depicted on the shroud match those in a drawing that is thought to be a self-portrait by the artist, and that Leonardo devised a photographic process that transferred the image of his face to the shroud.

    The fact that the shroud dates to at least the mid-14th century, a hundred years before Leonardo’s birth, just makes this already kooky theory even harder to buy. I’ll admit, though, that I haven’t read the whole book explaining it … and I’m not going to.

    Conclusion: False.

    Myth #6 – Leonardo was a vegetarian.

    Vegetarianism would have been pretty unthinkable in Renaissance Italy (and veganism just plain absurd); people probably ate about as much meat as they could afford. The most commonly cited quote used to back up this claim is taken from a novel (see p. 227) and often misattributed to Leonardo himself. None of Leonardo’s own writings or early biographies mentions any unconventional eating habits. 

    There’s really only one documentary source that might be relevant, a letter written by a possible acquaintance of the artist, who compares Leonardo to people in India who don’t eat meat or allow others to harm living things. Pretty tenuous, but vegetarians love to claim him.

    Conclusion: Probably false.

    Myth #7 – Leonardo invented bicycles, helicopters, submarines, and parachutes.
    It’s true that Leonardo was fascinated with mechanics, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, flight, and military engineering, which he touted in his famous letter to Ludovico Sforza seeking a position at the court of Milan. Leonardo’s notebooks contain many designs for machines and devices related to these explorations. But these were, for the most part, probably not ideas that Leonardo considered thoroughly enough to actually build and demonstrate. In the case of the bicycle, the drawing was likely made by someone else, and might even be a modern forgery.

    Conclusion: Not so much.

    Leonardo da Vinci, Design for a Flying Machine, 1488. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Myth #8 – Leonardo built robots.

    While it sounds nutty, this one’s not so far off the mark, if you consider automatons – mechanical devices that seem to move on their own – to be robots. In a plot line of the cable fantasy drama Da Vinci’s Demons, Leonardo constructs a flying mechanical bird to dazzle the crowds gathered in the Cathedral piazza for Easter. A reliable historical record instead points to a lion that Leonardo made for the King of France’s triumphal entry into Milan in 1509. One observer’s description reads:

    When the King entered Milan, besides the other entertainments, Lionardo da Vinci, the famous painter and our Florentine, devised the following intervention: he represented a lion above the gate, which, lying down, got onto its feet when the King came in, and with its paw opened up its chest and pulled out blue balls full of gold lilies, which he threw and strewed about on the ground. Afterwards he pulled out his heart and, pressing it, more gold lilies came out … Stopping beside this spectacle, [the King] liked it and took much pleasure in it.

    Conclusion: True.

    If you’re interested in learning more about Leonardo, including the current locations of his works, read his biography from the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, or, for a longer treatment, pick up the accessible but smart book by leading expert Martin Kemp.
    Kandice Rawlings is Associate Editor of Oxford Art Online and the Benezit Dictionary of Artists. She holds a PhD in art history from Rutgers University.

    Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access — and simultaneously cross-search — an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.

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    Are you ready for the resource revolution?

    Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well.

    Most cars spend more than 95 percent of their time sitting in garages or parking lots. When in use, the average occupancy per vehicle is well below two people, even though most cars have five seats. Roads are likewise extremely inefficient. Freeways can operate at peak throughput (around 2,000 cars a lane per hour) only when they are less than 10 percent covered by cars. Add more, and congestion lowers speeds and reduces throughput. Most roads reach anything like peak usage only once a day and typically in only one direction (exhibit).
    The story is similar for utilities. Just 20 to 40 percent of the transmission and distribution capacity in the United States is in use at a given time, and only about 40 percent of the capacity of power plants. The heat-rate efficiency of the average coal-fired power plant has not significantly improved in more than 50 years—an extreme version of conditions in many industries over the past century. Automotive fuel-efficiency improvement, for example, has consistently lagged behind economy-wide productivity growth.

    Stuck in neutral: cars are notoriously underutilized and inefficient.
    Underutilization and chronic inefficiency cannot be solved by financial engineering or offshoring labor. Something more fundamental is required. We see such challenges as emblematic of an unprecedented opportunity to produce and use resources far more imaginatively and efficiently, revolutionizing business and management in the process. Indeed, rather than facing a crisis of resource scarcity, the world economy will be revitalized by an array of business opportunities that will create trillions of dollars in profits.
    To put this new era in context, think back to Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (1776), which identified three primary business inputs: labor, capital, and land (defined broadly as any resource that can be produced or mined from land or disposed of as waste on it). The two industrial revolutions the world has thus far seen focused primarily on labor and capital. The first gave us factories and limited-liability corporations to drive growth at scale. The second, from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, added petroleum, the electric grid, the assembly line, cars, and skyscrapers with elevators and air-conditioning, and it created scientific management, thus enabling corporate globalization. But neither revolution focused on Smith’s third input: land and natural resources.
    Our argument is relatively simple:
    • Combining information technology, nanoscale-materials science, and biology with industrial technology yields substantial productivity increases.
    • Achieving high-productivity economic growth in the developing world to support the 2.5 billion new members of the middle class presents the largest wealth-creation opportunity in a century.
    • Capturing these opportunities will require new management approaches.
    Rather than settling for historic resource-productivity improvement rates of one to two percentage points a year, leaders must deliver productivity gains of 50 percent or so every few years.
    The outlines of this next industrial revolution are starting to come into sharper focus: resource productivity is the right area of emphasis, and the opportunities for companies are extraordinary. In this article, we’ll explore the business approaches most likely to unlock the potential and then highlight ways senior managers can integrate tomorrow’s new technologies, customers, and ways of working with the realities of today’s legacy business environment.

    Winning the revolution

    We believe the businesses that capitalize most successfully on the resource revolution will employ five distinct approaches, either individually or in some combination. We explore all five of them in our new book, Resource Revolution, but focus here on three: substitution (the replacing of costly, clunky, or scarce materials with less scarce, cheaper, and higher-performing ones); optimization (embedding software in resource-intensive industries to improve, dramatically, how companies produce and use scarce resources); and virtualization (moving processes out of the physical world). The remaining two are circularity (finding value in products after their initial use)1 and waste elimination (greater efficiency, achieved by means including the redesign of products and services). For more on the waste-elimination approach, see “Bringing lean thinking to energy.”
    Businesses that have harnessed these five models include Tesla Motors, Uber, and Zipcar (now owned by Avis) in transportation; C3 Energy, Opower, and SolarCity in power; Hampton Creek Foods and Kaiima in agriculture; and Cree, DIRTT, and Nest Labs in buildings. As we show in our book, these companies have the potential to upend traditional competitors and create previously unimagined business models. For examples of what this might look like at scale, download “Twelve companies of tomorrow” (PDF–522KB).
    The guiding principle for substitution is to consider every resource a company uses in its core products and every resource customers use or consume and then to look for higher-performing and less expensive, less risky, or less scarce materials that might work as substitutes. But don’t think of the new resources as replacements for the current bill of materials. Look instead at how substitution might deliver superior overall performance, much as electric motors are more efficient and provide better safety and acceleration than traditional internal-combustion ones. Carbon fiber, for instance, not only saves weight but allows companies to build quieter, better-performing, more efficient, more comfortable, and more beautiful cars (Tesla) or airplanes (Boeing’s Dreamliner).
    These opportunities are extraordinary because many new materials have begun to reshape industrial and consumer products. A much richer understanding of materials science at the nanoscale level, combined with advanced computer-processing power, has catalyzed a broad revolution in surface properties, absorption characteristics, and optical and electrical properties.
    For example, activated carbon, typically made of nanoparticles with custom-engineered pore sizes, is dramatically improving the efficiency of water filters, electrodes in batteries, and potentially even power-plant exhaust scrubbers. For the first time since the development of leaded crystal, centuries ago, glass is being reinvented—from high-bandwidth optical-networking fiber to Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which allows touch screens to capture the imagination in portable devices and, soon, on larger interactive screens.

     A company called View is even creating “dynamic glass,” which changes its visible- and infrared-light transmission characteristics so that windows can be programmed to block the sun on hot days but to capture sunlight in the depths of winter. That would reduce the need for heating and air-conditioning in Mediterranean climates, where cool nights mix with hot days.
    Substitution extends even to food production. Hampton Creek Foods, for instance, has developed a plant-based egg substitute for baked and processed foods. Called Beyond Eggs, it uses peas, sorghum, beans, and other plants to make a product that tastes like eggs and has the same nutritional properties. The company says its process is already nearly 20 percent less expensive than the production of eggs, and costs will fall as scale increases.

     Hampton Creek also says its product will suffer less from drought. At the moment, about 70 percent of an egg’s cost comes from corn, a crop susceptible to drought and increasingly linked to the price of oil, while Hampton Creek uses hardier crops and therefore does not compete with biofuels (or risk salmonella infections). So, Hampton Creek’s egg substitute may cut costs and risks for major food producers.
    Spotting substitution opportunities takes hard work. Apple and GE have gone through the periodic table element by element, assessing which ones pose the biggest risks for supply, costs, and regulation. These companies have developed substitution opportunities for each risky element. Similarly, we recently completed a review for a major oil company, looking at the resource risk in its supply chain, and found that the lack of available water would probably cut its growth sharply below expectations over the next decade. Looking a decade ahead gives companies a time advantage over competitors in responding to potential constraints.
    Another way for companies to boost the productivity of existing resources is to optimize their use—for instance, by integrating software into traditional industrial equipment or providing heavy equipment as a service, something most businesses can do at every level of activity.
    GE, for example, outfits its jet engines with advanced software and sensors that yield important real-time maintenance data midflight. As a result, planes can radio ahead with spare parts and servicing requirements before they land. GE often prices its maintenance per hour of flight, so anticipating and streamlining maintenance activities is critical to business profitability.
    Komatsu, the industrial-equipment manufacturer, goes even further, optimizing the use of its equipment essentially by creating a market that lets customers rent to and from each other. Need a $300,000 earth mover for just a few days? Komatsu will help find one that would otherwise be sitting idle. Have unused equipment? Komatsu will help find a company to rent it.
    Some methods of optimization are surprisingly straightforward. UPS reduced fuel consumption and improved safety and speed by rerouting its trucks to avoid left turns. We helped a large utility shave 30 percent off its meter-reading costs just by restructuring service routes to reflect new traffic conditions and customer-use patterns. And the US Air Force is optimizing fuel consumption by having some of its planes fly in convoys. 

    The new patterns, which copy the way geese “vortex surf” in V-formation, save up to 20 percent on fuel—a huge amount for one of the world’s largest fuel consumers. Implementing the new configuration was not expensive. Maintaining the precise separations between planes required nothing more than changing a few lines of code in the autopilot. Pilots also needed some training not to override it manually.
    As companies consider which opportunities have the most potential, the guiding principles should be these: What expensive assets could be integrated with software and sensors? Which pieces of equipment are used only for a small portion of the time? What energy-intensive equipment is active without performing a function? This could be construction equipment, shipping containers that go back empty, or simply planes circling airports waiting for congestion to clear. All lend themselves to IT solutions that optimize routing, timing, loading, or sharing.
    As a thought experiment, create a list of physical objects or products that you no longer own or use, even though they were an everyday part of your life just five or ten years ago. For many people, that list might well include traditional calculators, paper calendars, cameras, alarm clocks, or photo albums. All of these have been rendered virtual by smartphone technology.
    Virtualization means moving activities out of the physical world or simply not doing things, because they’ve been automated—and both challenge business models. Companies struggle to embrace virtualization because they don’t want people to stop doing things that generate revenue, which always seems to drop more than costs do when activities move into the virtual realm. Look at newspapers, which get from a digital ad just 16 percent of the revenues they got from a comparable print ad.
    Likewise, car companies don’t want people to drive less, but that’s what’s happening in developed countries. Miles driven per capita peaked in 2004 in the United States and have declined steadily since. The reasons aren’t entirely clear yet: the decline started before the recent recession and has continued even as the economy rebounded. Higher gas prices are surely a factor, but probably more important is the fact that many people are doing things virtually that they used to do by hopping into cars. For example, the recent holiday shopping season demonstrated how much Americans now rely on online purchases. 

    Even US teenagers have shown a declining interest in driving, according to statistics on the age when Americans get their first license (the ability to connect via social media being a possible reason). Skype and other video-chat applications further reduce the need to drive somewhere to see someone. Work, too, is becoming more virtual as people increasingly use online media and virtual private networks to connect productively without needing an office. Virtualization will happen whether companies want it or not, so they need to prepare themselves.
    Nest Labs, a start-up purchased by Google, has already shown what’s possible. The company took a traditional, boring, analog piece of equipment—the thermostat—and turned it into a digital platform that provides dynamic energy and security services (and could one day deliver entertainment, health care, security, and communication services to homes). Several years ago, it would have been hard to imagine ordinary alarm clocks going virtual.
    What’s next? Could everyday items like eyeglasses, keys, money, and wallets soon disappear in the same way? Do cars and trucks need drivers? Should drones deliver packages? Can IBM’s Watson and other expert systems provide better and safer maintenance advice in industrial settings?

    The integration challenge

    Making the most of any of these models represents a huge change to the way companies operate, organize, and behave. The influence of big technological changes, among them the rise of big data and the Internet of Things,2 guarantees that for most companies, the biggest initial challenge will be systems integration: embedding software in traditional industrial equipment. Building and running these systems represents one of the biggest managerial challenges of the 21st century.
    Going far beyond the current networks of phones, roads, and the like, the most complicated and powerful network yet is now being built. In it, devices embedded in power lines, household appliances, industrial equipment, and vehicles will increasingly talk to one another without the need for any human involvement. For example, by the end of the decade, cars will communicate directly with each other about speeds, direction, and road conditions.
    The reach of these integration capabilities will go far beyond infrastructure and manufacturing. Today, for example, clinicians diagnose depression through a lengthy assessment. But simply matching call patterns and GPS signals on a phone to determine whether someone has become a hermit is a more accurate diagnostic approach, not to mention a better early-warning signal.3 To make the most of such opportunities, health-care companies must figure out how to integrate systems far beyond the hospital.
    Systems integration has been a discipline for a long time, but, frankly, most companies aren’t very good at it. This is especially true in resource-intensive areas where technologies have been in place for decades or longer (the electric transformer outside your house, for example, was invented in the 1880s). One reason is that the problems are intrinsically hard, often involving billions more data permutations and combinations. Systems integration is more like trying to manage an ever-evolving ecosystem than solving the sort of finance problem one encounters in business school.
    Despite the challenges, companies can do three things to increase the odds of success greatly: create simple software building blocks, expand frontline analytical talent, and apply computational-modeling techniques whenever possible—then test, test, test to learn and refine.
    Recognize the scope
    Simply realizing that systems are subtle and that lots of variables are interacting simultaneously will give any company a head start. Starting with a few simple software building blocks lays the foundation for success. The case of US power distribution is instructive.
    The build-out of the US electric grid has been called the 20th century’s greatest engineering achievement, but the grid’s basic technology has changed little since the time of Edison and Westinghouse. The average circuit is 40 years old, and some have been around for more than a century. The grid is showing its age.
    This translates into declining reliability and increasing costs and risks for utilities and their customers. The average utility generally learns about problems with its power lines when customers call in to complain rather than by receiving information on the problems directly. Issues at substations often have to be addressed by sending maintenance workers into the field to flip a switch, not by having someone in a central control room make the change—or, better yet, having the grid sense the problem and either fix it automatically or route electricity around it.
    Utilities have to overcome their own inefficiencies and adapt to the rapidly shifting contemporary environment. Homeowners, for instance, are putting solar panels on their roofs, depriving utilities of many of their most profitable customers. Utilities will now have to figure out how to integrate into the grid the power these homes sometimes make available.
    Once electric vehicles are deployed in large numbers, utilities will have to get used to the power equivalent of a commercial building unplugging, moving, and plugging back in somewhere else. Utilities must develop capabilities for integrating—in real time—not only what they are doing but also what all the related interconnected players are doing.
    The era of big data will also have a huge effect. At the moment, the average utility collects about 60 million data points each year—five million customers and a dozen monthly bills. When smart meters, distributed generation, and electric vehicles come into widespread use, the average utility may have to handle five billion data points each day. The grid will almost need to be redesigned from scratch to get the full benefit of the new types of solid-state transformers, as well as the ability to sense problems and solve them automatically and, essentially, to have little power plants on millions of rooftops as solar prices keep coming down.
    Expand frontline analytical capabilities
    Mastering the building blocks of the resource revolution will also require intelligent organizational design and excellent talent management. In some cases, the specialized knowledge and know-how won’t be at hand, because companies are dealing with new problems, but each manager will need to find any expertise available. Software skills, specialized engineering, nanotechnology, and ultralow-cost manufacturing are just four of the many areas where talent will be scarce. In some instances, it will make sense for companies to form partnerships with businesses in other industries to gain access to specialized expertise.
    In other cases, companies will have to develop new management skills from scratch. Some of the need will occur at the top of organizations, among leaders. The leadership skills required to deliver 10 to 15 percent annual productivity gains for a decade or more are a far cry from the incremental-improvement skills that marked the generation of leaders after World War II. Business-model innovation will no longer be just for start-ups or technology companies.
    Frontline workers too will have to learn how to use massive amounts of analytical data to perform heavy industrial tasks. These frontline workers will need to be educated, whether by schools, the government, or employers, to undertake this technical work. For example, resource productivity requires frontline gas-leak detection teams to make sophisticated decisions based on big data and advanced analytics, leveraging technology to find and fix leaks rather than just walking the block with the technological equivalent of a divining rod. Many traditional frontline workers need a knowledge worker’s skills, such as the ability to analyze data, evaluate statistics, identify the root causes of problems, set parameters on machines, update algorithms, and collaborate globally.
    The good news is that while the search for new organizational models and new talent in new places will be extraordinarily taxing, just about all of the competition will face the same problems. The sooner management starts confronting the gaps a company is facing, the sooner it is likely to close them—and gain an edge on the ones that don’t.
    Model, then test

    Because systems are so complex, the only way to know for sure whether a process works is to test it. But, these days, a company can do an awful lot of that testing through computer models. For instance, the US national labs—notably Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia—have maintained the nation’s nuclear capabilities without testing live warheads for decades, by using advanced computational methods. 
    Now companies can deploy these same techniques to accelerate product development. One defense contractor used computer modeling to test thousands of potential new materials at the atomic level to find a few superlight, high-performance, and very reliable composites for next-generation jet engines. The best manufacturers of batteries can test their performance for thousands of hours, across an extremely broad range of operating conditions, in the Argonne National Laboratory battery-testing facility outside Chicago, dramatically accelerating product innovation.
    For example, when ATMI, a materials-technology company, went looking for a better way to extract gold from electronic waste than traditional smelting methods or baths of toxic acids, it resorted to computational modeling of combinatorial chemistries. The resulting eVOLV process uses a water-based solution that’s safe to drink and is dramatically cheaper than the traditional methods. Moreover, the process allows the collected computer chips to be reused, since they are never exposed to high temperatures or acids (the toxic solder is collected as a by-product). The equipment can even be placed on a truck for processing e-waste at collection sites. This is what we mean when we say a resource revolution will open up solutions that are not only cheaper and more efficient but also better.

    The resource revolution represents the biggest business opportunity in a century. However, success requires new approaches to management. Companies that try to stick to the old “2 percent solution” (just improve performance by 2 percent annually and you will be fine) are going to become obsolete quickly. Businesses that can deliver dramatic resource-productivity improvements at scale will become the great companies of the 21st century.

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    Shyam's reply.

    एक अनोखा नजरिया......  ,

    ना तख़्त रहे हैं ना रहें हैं ताज,
    न रहीं  विक्टोरिया,ना ही मुमताज़।
    जिस के साम्राज्य में सूरज कभी न ढलता था
    प्रकाश की भीख,वे ही मांग रहे हैं, मानो चन्द्रमा से आज।  

    Ashok Chakradhar's poem,

    सूरज जब एकदम नीचे जाकर
    समंदर में मिक्स हो जाएगा,
    चंद्रमा का बल्ब
    मुंबई की विक्टोरिया के लैंप में
    फिक्स हो जाएगा।

    (मुंबई में आज सायं सात बजे)
    Ashok Chakradhar's photo.
    Ashok Chakradhar's photo.101

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    Odd Tilts Could Make More Worlds Habitable

    Pivoting planets that lean one way and then change orientation within a short geological time period might be surprisingly habitable, according to new modeling by NASA and university scientists affiliated with the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
    The climate effects generated on these wobbling worlds could prevent them from turning into glacier-covered ice lockers, even if those planets are somewhat far from their stars. And with some water remaining liquid on the surface long-term, such planets could maintain favorable conditions for life.
    "Planets like these are far enough from their stars that it would be easy to write them off as frozen, and poor targets for exploration, but in fact, they might be well-suited to supporting life," said Shawn Domagal-Goldman, an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This could expand our idea of what a habitable planet looks like and where habitable planets might be found."
    graphical depiction of planet orbits
    Tilted orbits might make some planets wobble like a top that's almost done spinning, an effect that could maintain liquid water on the surface.
    Image Credit: 
    NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
    The new modeling considers planets that have the same mass as Earth, orbit a sun-like star and have one or two gas giants orbiting nearby. In some cases, gravitational pulls from those massive planets could change the orientation of the terrestrial world's axis of rotation within tens to hundreds of thousands of years – a blink of an eye in geologic terms.
    Though it might seem far-fetched for a world to experience such see-sawing action, scientists have already spotted an arrangement of planets where this could happen, in orbit around the star Upsilon Andromedae. There, the orbits of two enormous planets were found to be inclined at an angle of 30 degrees relative to each other. (One planet was, as usual, farther from the star than the other planet.)
    Compared to our solar system, that arrangement looks extreme. The orbits of Earth and its seven neighboring planets differ by 7 degrees at most. Even the tilted orbit of the dwarf planet Pluto, which really stands out, is offset by a relatively modest 17 degrees.
    "Knowing that this kind of planetary system existed raised the question of whether a world could be habitable under such conditions," said Rory Barnes, a scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was part of the team that studied the orbits of the two Andromedae planets.
    The habitability concept is explored in a paper published in the April 2014 issue of Astrobiology and available online now. John Armstrong of Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, led the team, which includes Barnes, Domagal-Goldman, and other colleagues.
    The team ran thousands of simulations for planets in 17 varieties of simplified planetary systems. The models the researchers built allowed them to adjust the tilt of the planetary orbits, the lean in the axes of rotation, and the ability of the terrestrial planet's atmosphere to let in light.
    In some cases, tilted orbits can cause a planet to wobble like a top that's almost done spinning – and that wobbling should have a big impact on the planet's glaciers and climate. Earth's history indicates that the amount of sunlight glaciers receive strongly affects how much they grow and melt. Extreme wobbling, like that seen in some models in this study, would cause the poles to point directly at the sun from time to time, melting the glaciers. As a result, some planets would be able to maintain liquid water on the surface despite being located nearly twice as far from their stars as Earth is from the sun.
    "In those cases, the habitable zone could be extended much farther from the star than we normally expect," said Armstrong, the lead author of the paper. "Rather than working against habitability, the rapid changes in the orientation of the planet could turn out be a real boon sometimes."

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    Listen to how most people talk in everyday conversation, and you'll find that they often use the words "management" and "leadership" interchangeably. If they do make a distinction in meaning, it is usually in reference to levels in a hierarchy. People at the very top provide "leadership"—whatever that is—or at least they are supposed to. People in the middle do the "management," again with little clarity about what that means. This way of thinking is inaccurate and increasingly troublesome.
    Management is a set of well-known processes that help organizations produce reliable, efficient, and predictable results. Really good management helps us do well what we more or less know how to do regardless of the size, complexity, or geographic reach of an enterprise. These processes include planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, giving people time-tested policies and procedures to guide their actions, measuring their results, and problem solving when results do not fit the plan.
    Management as we know it today is almost entirely a later-twentieth-century invention. Although it has roots that go back centuries (as in running the Roman Empire), what we see today is a very modern phenomenon. Management now requires great skill. And both what it is and what it can achieve would have been difficult for even a well-educated person in the year 1900 to fully grasp. Our sophisticated modern-day management processes did not exist in or prior to the nineteenth century because they simply weren't needed. After the Civil War in the United States, for example, there were only a few hundred organizations with over a hundred employees. 
    Today the number of US organizations with over a hundred employees is well over a hundred thousand. In the year 1900, the number of firms that did business around the world, on all continents, was very close to zero. Today the number is so large it is hard to calculate. Without competent management, the organizations that we have created in the last century, and that we continue to create today, could not function. Without management, chaos would reign. Enterprises would fall apart and go out of business quickly. Management is an incredibly important invention, yet the average person-even the average manager-has no real appreciation of what a marvel it is.
    But management is not leadership.
    Leadership is about setting a direction. It's about creating a vision, empowering and inspiring people to want to achieve the vision, and enabling them to do so with energy and speed through an effective strategy. In its most basic sense, leadership is about mobilizing a group of people to jump into a better future.
    In many people's minds, great leadership tends to be associated with grand, larger-than-life figures- Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria-who mobilize their countrymen to take on some great cause and succeed beyond imagination. It is easy to think that such imposing and rare figures shape history through the power of their leadership, and only their leadership. But that was never the whole story, and we know for sure that this is most certainly not the way life works now.
    Today you can find all sorts of people in all sorts of situations helping to provide at least some degree of leadership. A project engineer might take some initiative. Because of his or her leadership, a small group of people is mobilized to find and execute something new, creating results which others in the organization would have thought nearly impossible. You can find leadership coming from people who are officially called middle managers. And, conversely, you can sometimes find very little leadership in the actions of those near the top of a hierarchy.
    More than anything, both today and throughout history, leadership has been associated with change. It's not about mobilizing a group to act the same way they have always acted. It has to do with changing people and their organizations so they can leap into a different and better future, no matter the threats or barriers or shifting circumstances.
    In businesses today, leadership is the central force mobilizing people to create something that did not previously exist. That is, leadership creates an enterprise in the first place. And leadership takes existing enterprises and finds new opportunities, makes changes to capitalize on those opportunities, and moves firms into a future where they can grow and prosper.
    Without sufficient leadership in a rapidly changing world, organizations become static and eventually fail. And by sufficient leadership, in organizations of any size, I do not mean a grand CEO or executive committee. There is no way that a single figure or a small team at the top of the hierarchy can provide all the leadership that is needed. A superman or -woman-even one supervising an exceptional group of managers, who in turn supervise highly talented individual contributors- can no longer do the job.
    So which is more important? Management or leadership? To begin to answer that question, we need to look again at what role each plays. Management ensures the stability and efficiency necessary to run today's enterprise reliably. Leadership creates needed change to take advantage of new opportunities, to avoid serious threats, and to create and execute new strategies. The point is that management and leadership are very different, and when organizations are of any size and exist in environments which are volatile, both are essential to helping them win.
    This takes us to possibly the most fundamental problem that organizations of all sorts are now facing. Any successful organization older than ten years and with more than thirty employees tends to have many people attending to the managerial chores and doing so at least adequately. It has to do so unless it has no short-term performance demands placed on it. Otherwise it can die, and rather quickly. But in most cases-especially when we are talking about more mature and larger organizations-sufficient leadership just isn't there. There is a substantial volume of research that draws this conclusion, and there is no credible research that I know of that supports the opposite conclusion.
    As long as the world is not changing much, the competition is not too fierce, and the strategic challenges are limited, you can survive with this reality. Performance measures may look very good. But: A world that is not very turbulent? A context in which competition for customers or budgets is not very fierce? This world is fast disappearing on us.

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    Difficulties for Women Bridging Racial, Generational, and Global Divides

    A symposium at Harvard Business School delved into "intersectionality"—the seemingly obvious yet complex idea that gender interacts with other axes of inequality such as race, age, class, and ethnicity.

    In the months leading up to the 2008 presidential election, CNN ran a story titled "Gender or Race: Black Women Voters Face Tough Choices in South Carolina." The "tough choice" in question: should they vote according to race (Barack Obama) or gender (Hillary Clinton)? Scores of readers chastised the news network for suggesting that black females would cast votes based on gender or race rather on candidates' political platforms.
    During that same period, Oprah Winfrey endorsed Obama for president, angering many of her female fans. For example, "She's choosing her race over her gender," wrote one reader in the comments section of "Oprah—you should be ashamed of yourself!"
    Among scholars, it's called "intersectionality"—the obvious yet complex idea that gender interacts with other axes of inequality such as race, age, class, and ethnicity. This was the theme of the second annual Gender and Work Symposium, Relationships Among Women: Bridging Racial, Generational, and Global Divides, held April 3 and 4 at Harvard Business School. Participants included more than 100 academics and business practitioners from across the United States; about 90 percent of them were women.
    "I wanted to…make it clear that we really are taking an intersectional approach to gender," said Robin Ely, Diane Doerge Wilson Professor of Business Administration at HBS, who co-organized the event with HBS Associate Professor Amy Cuddy. Introducing the symposium, Ely talked about how intersectionality can complicate workplace and societal support systems among women. Would-be support systems often focus solely on the fact that women are women, ignoring the differences among them.
    Conversations across gender and race lines can be difficult, Ely said. "We often judge or we feel we are being judged. But when we're in those places it's very difficult to learn. There needs to be a space between being perfect and being racist, classist, et cetera." Instead, she said, "Let's replace our judgment and our fears with curiosity."
    Ely posed several questions to the participants: What gets in the way of women supporting women? How am I part of the problem? How can I be part of the solution? What perspective am I missing?


    The symposium's keynote speaker was Paula Giddings, E. A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College. In a talk titled "An Historical Perspective on Feminism," she discussed the intersection of the abolitionist and women's rights movements—and how attitudes of the nineteenth century mirrored those surrounding the 2008 presidential election. Pinning race against gender is historically commonplace, she said, but it's a false dichotomy because "we are all raced, and we are all gendered."
    Giddings talked of "racist, classist vitriol" in writings by renowned nineteenth-century feminists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. For example, she referred to a piece in which Stanton wondered whether freed male slaves might hamper feminism. "It becomes a serious question whether we had better step aside and see 'Sambo' walk into the kingdom first," Giddings read, quoting Stanton. (Stanton went on to write, "This is the negro's hour. Are we sure that he, once entrenched in his inalienable rights, may not be an added power to hold us at bay?")
    The rhetoric surrounding Obama vs. Clinton was reminiscent of that dynamic, Giddings said. "We keep falling into the same trap again and again."
    Giddings also pointed out that initiatives to help disenfranchised groups often focus on either race or gender. For example, Obama last year launched My Brother's Keeper, an initiative to create opportunities for boys and young men of color. There is no equivalent initiative for girls of color. "How can we miss the fact that girls have trouble, too?" Giddings asked.
    In a Q&A after Giddings' talk, a black participant acknowledged her personal struggle with the race/gender divide. "I still feel I have to choose between working for white women and working for black men," she said.


    Sessions at the symposium focused on bridging race, bridging generations, bridging the global divide among women, and ways in which gender imbalance can fuel dysfunctional relationships among women in the workplace. In each, experts presented the findings of extensive studies.
    Ely discussed a line of research in which she interviewed women at several law firms, noting both positive and negative interactions among peers and supervisors. In terms of positivity versus negativity, the consistent mediating factor was whether the women considered their gender to be a detriment to success. In short, women who didn't feel hindered by their gender at work tended to have healthier workplace relationships with each other than those who did.
    Other presenters challenged the common notion that organizations can fuel gender equality by placing a few token women in the top ranks—assuming they will reach out to help other women break through the glass ceiling. "If this solution is working, it's moving at a glacial pace," said Michelle Duguid, an assistant professor at Washington University's Olin Business School who conducted research with Denise Lewin Lloyd, an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    The team's research suggested the contrary: that the higher a woman rose to power, the less likely she might be to help other women do the same. According to their studies, female tokens in "high-prestige workgroups" showed less of a preference for female job candidates than did female tokens in "low-prestige workgroups."
    The findings indicated that tokenism can produce perceptions of threat among token women in power: value threat (the concern that the token woman is not a valued member of the group); competitive threat (the concern that another woman will be valued more); and favoritism threat (the concern that supporting another woman will be seen as illegitimate favoritism).
    But if women comprised the majority of a high-prestige workgroup, they were much more likely to support and hire other women, the study showed.
    "Depending heavily on token women could be problematic," Duguid said, adding that organizations can foster gender equality by making it an organization-wide issue, rather than leaving the problem up to the women.
    On that note, Leah Sheppard, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia, discussed the widespread notion that women are obligated to take care of each other in the workplace—more so than men are obligated to take care of female employees. Anecdotally, she noted the public outcry when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer disallowed employees from working at home, undoubtedly making life harder for many working mothers. But Best Buy adopted a no-telecommuting policy a month after Yahoo! did, and male CEO Hubert Joly faced significantly less media coverage for the move.
    Sheppard presented findings from several experiments exploring the perception that women are cattier than men. In one experiment, participants were divided into groups and asked to assess a series of hypothetical workplace conflicts between two managers.
    Each group reviewed identical situations—except for the names of the arguing characters: Adam and Steven (two men), Adam and Sarah (a man and a woman), or Sarah and Anna (two women). All else being equal, the participants offered the most negative assessments for the conflicts involving Sarah and Anna—both in terms of the likelihood that they could repair their relationship, and the likelihood that their argument would hurt workplace morale and productivity.
    Sheppard noted the preponderance of negative female relationship stereotypes in the public lexicon. Indeed, when two men argue, nobody refers to the discussion as a catfight.
    "Some of these stereotypes could be dangerous and could create self-fulfilling prophecies," she said.

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    Congratulations to Vijay Seshadri for winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Read his poem “Interview,” 

    Vijay Seshadri
    That was a pretty roundabout answer to what
    I would have to say
    was one of the more straightforward of my questions.
    But to come back to this thing
    you call your near-death experience.
    In the accounts I’ve read, whose credibility,
    or lack thereof,
    we’ve already talked about—
    that is, their lack thereof—
    you say you saw the universe from the outside in, as,
    you say, a dense web
    of capillaries through which pulsed
    corpuscles of light.
    (A nice touch, those corpuscles.)
    Guy wires, infinite in extension,
    were holding down your will,
    but—surprise! surprise!—you still had a wall
    and a body, too.
    How can I breathe, without air? you asked yourself.
    (I’m wondering about that, too.)
    You also say . . . well, you say a lot of things, don’t you. . . .
    You say and say and say.
    When the paramedics revive you,
    you say, Okay,
    so I’m not God. But neither is God.
    To the literally thronging media in the hospital pressroom,
    some of them famous themselves and so
    not to be sneezed at,
    with a relieved, grateful nation literally hanging
    on your every word, you say,
    I wish I could shimmy
    like my sister Kate.
    She shimmies like jelly
    on a plate.
    Well, I mean, really . . .
    excuse me for living, but . . .
    and it makes a difference, makes a world of difference . . .
    Also, I happened to talk, while preparing
    for this broadcast, to your ex, and she said,
    and I quote,
    Bastard. He could never get enough.
    And that cameraman you slugged
    outside the Royal Sheraton on your worldwide, and quite
    lecture tour? He’s
    a family man and a friend of mine,
    and a nicer guy you couldn’t hope to meet.

    Read at the original source

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    What MBAs Expect To Learn In Business School

    What do prospective students who want to go to business school expect to learn in a graduate management program?
    It's a good question, partly because so much emphasis is put on jobs and salaries in MBA programs that often times what is actually learned gets too little attention.
    This week, the Graduate Management Admission Council published the answer to the question in its 2014 Prospective Students Survey, which included responses from more than 12,000 individuals between October of 2012 and September of 2013.
    The actual question: “Thinking about your ideal business school curriculum, what do you expect to learn during a graduate management program?”
    Interestingly enough, none of the traditional core subjects came out first. Not finance, marketing or accounting, which were second, third and fourth, respectively. The single biggest answer? Leadership.
    “Leadership” and “Finance” were mentioned 2,784 and 1,797 times, respectively, while “Build” appeared only 19 times in comments (see above word cloud).
    The good news is that in recent years, business schools have made major progress in adding leadership to the standard MBA curriculum. Many schools, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, now put students through self-assessments and then into one-on-one coaching sessions to work on their leadership skills.
    At Harvard Business School, MBA students are now required to take two leadership-focused courses in their first year, Leadership and Organizational Behavior as well as Leadership and Corporate Accountability. In the second year, there are as many as eight different electives that range from Authentic Leadership Development to Power & Influence.
    The Wharton Executive Feedback and Coaching Program requires that students incorporate feedback and self-assessments on extracurricular leadership, work experience pre-Wharton, and summer internships. Based on those individual assessments, Wharton provides one-on-one executive coaching, engaging students in what the school calls "self-directed, individualized leadership development through targeted interventions and regularly scheduled coaching support."
    That's a far cry from the years when leadership used to get relegated to a brief session during orientation or one or two elective courses. What it tells you is that business schools, often criticized for the ethical and leadership lapses of the Corporate Elite, are doing a pretty good job of serving their customers these days.

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    8 Characteristics That Distinguish Companies Who Thrive on Change

    Change is opportunity to more people than it threatens. Yet, for many companies, change is akin to falling off a cliff.
    Change can come in many forms. Sony failed to adapt the Walkman to new technology until the iPod dominated the market for MP3 players. For Fidelity, it was financial deregulation that spurred change. For Dell, it was changing distribution channels, though the company has been slow to move with the next phase of change as, with the shift from desk-tops to lap-tops, consumers want to buy computers from retail stores once more. In the face of technological change Microsoft used Internet Explorer to leapfrog its competitors. So, while for a few companies, change and is an enormous opportunity, for others, it spells out potential doom.
    Are there differences in how the companies behave which lead to these results? The answer is very much “yes.”
    Some of the key characteristics which distinguish companies which thrive from change are:
    1. They seek to not only embrace and welcome change, but drive it. The principle is that the more the rules (regulations, technology, or market situations) change, the more the most adaptable companies will change to be successful.
    2. They never reject an idea, however dumb it seems, without investigating and working to make it better. Few ideas are good when first initiated; many can be improved and made strong.
    3. They have a strong customer/consumer focus, not only as a reaction to change, but in “getting ahead” of changes. They do this by understanding their customers’ needs at a deep level so that the company can meet them before the customers consciously acknowledge having them. While most companies carry out market research, it frequently does not meet the needs of discontinuity planning.
    4. They boast an internal culture and capability to take advantage of change, whether it is through technology, regulatory or channels of distributions.
    5. There’s a real understanding of the existing business model. In most companies much is assumed, and an external perspective from someone who is not afraid to ask the “dumb questions,” can strongly benefit even those within the company who challenge the existing order.
    6. They encourage people to “stray from their own lanes.” While uncomfortable for many, companies where roles are indistinct tend to be more adaptable, even if they are sometimes less efficient.
    7. They encourage and reward curiosity. The desire to understand and to explore new ways to do things is essential if a company is to profit from change.
    8. There is an assumption that everything a company does can be changed, and much of it should be. “Received wisdom” is dangerous. Doing anything because “that’s the way we have always done it,” or even, “we developed the perfect process a couple of years ago,” is an enormous barrier to improvement.
    Online Social networking is a great example of how change has been both positive and negative. Along the path to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare many networks have died or almost so, from Friendster to Tribe, Ryze to eCademy. Technology alone is not enough to survive, as Twine/Evri has found. Yet, niche sites continue to prosper alongside the mass ones and in the future, we will probably give up more and more privacy to be better connected.
    Few companies have managed to maintain leadership positions for longer than five years or so. Continuous re-invention is even hard to do consistently. Many of the companies which are held up as shining examples of managing through discontinuity have done it once, but fail to do it a second time.
    While Microsoft adapted rapidly to the growth of the Internet with the introduction of Internet Explorer, which met and beat back the threat from Netscape, it has been slow to meet more recent challenges, from search engines to smart phones.
    Dell created a system to keep down costs and provide a more up to date system by requiring all customers to custom order, but as laptops have gained share from desktop systems, consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer where they can see and try out the machines.
    Enron was a master at dealing with the discontinuity of energy deregulation, but lost sight of core values and went much too far in trying to manipulate change.
    Apple, which contributed to the creation of the future in 1984, lost its way, but found it again, and for the past twelve years has continued to innovate and create discontinuity to its own advantage. As Alan Kay said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”
    While corporate culture is critical, and very hard to change, understanding the consumer/ customer is as hard. Most companies carry out traditional market research, which tends to reinforce existing business models, even as it fine-tunes them because the questions asked are in context. Even most qualitative research makes assumptions going in.
    The key is to carry out exploration of consumer and customer attitudes, which is completely independent of framework. A major client in the health industry recently carried out such work, and discovered that it was operating under mistaken assumptions for reform. It had previously identified 7 key issues in reform. It discovered that in total, those 7 issues represented only 20% of the issues in the marketplace, and only 5 of them were in the top 20! So, it had been developing plans that were based on false assumptions. This was largely because the executives were using “received wisdom,” where they had so much experience in the industry that they relied on the stuff which “everybody knows.” It is critical to question all assumptions, yet few do.
    Dee Hock, the original force behind Visa, believes that our knowledge may be a hindrance as much as a help. “Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture.”
    One of the simplest ways to find new processes and products is to look outside the industry or country. The “transfer of success” is a technique which has often, though not always, been very successful.
    When the energy industry was deregulated in the late 1990s, US energy companies spent a lot of time looking at how other countries dealt with deregulation. While the processes were often different, that look resulted in some very successful new business models. In financial services, the ATM was first adopted by Barclay’s bank in the UK, but adopted soon after by US banks. In healthcare, there are companies which make money in each country, but they may have to adopt a very different business model in countries where the system is different. How can an insurance company make money in a system where it has to provide basic health insurance on a non-profit basis? Well, in a regulated US industry, where profits are regulated, how can they grow profits while revenues remain steady? They certainly do – by understanding how to adapt to the system.
    A very few people can look at the world they live in with eyes that see clearly how it can be changed and improved. This is the opposite of pessimism, but a sort of active optimism, wherein they know that for good things to happen they have to make the changes. So, a Steve Jobs, or a Dee Hock can make changes which build businesses.
    My experience with change dates back to extending Mars’ candy brand names to ice-cream, and includes among many others, putting the “Perdue” name on added value products, introducing the first consumer high-speed data service (for which I first used the descriptor “broadband’), the first IP telephony, and digital video. I took Reliant energy, already a large company, to a market leading position when energy deregulation occurred. The lesson being that it is possible to consistently take advantage of change to a business’ benefit. It is not simply a matter of being lucky. Those who consistently do this shape the world to suit their own needs.

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    Gillette’s New Razor Is Everything That’s Wrong With American Innovation

    Come on. That's all you got?
    The Wall Street Journal obtained the marketing materials for Gillette's new razor, the ProGlide FlexBall. It's a men's razor that does what every other men's razor since time immemorial has done – removes hair from your face – but with "a swiveling ball-hinge" that the company says will make it easier to get a clean shave. It will retail for $11.49 and $12.59, depending on whether you want the battery-powered version or not, and Gillette is planning to sell $188 million worth of the things in the next year alone.
    I won't mince words: ProGlide FlexBall is a bad idea. A really bad idea. In fact, the razor represents everything terrible about America's innovation economy.
    By now, everyone knows how razor companies make their money. They sell you cheap razor handles, then burn you later with expensive cartridge refills. On top of that business model, Gillette and other market leaders introduced an arms-race component to the industry – going from two blades to three, then to four and five and six. Each new blade adds only a smidgen of extra utility, but it convinced gullible customers that they needed to upgrade their models every few years to stay current.
    These twin strategies created a $3.7 billion industry, with Gillette controlling more than 65 percent of the market. A few years ago, though, something happened that threatened Gillette's dominance. Upstarts like the Dollar Shave Club began exploiting the obvious – namely, that it shouldn't cost $20 for a pack of razor cartridge refills – and began to shave away (sorry) some of Gillette's competitive edge by selling razors for cheaper over the internet. The shaving industry, as they say in Silicon Valley, had been disrupted.
    Procter & Gamble, Gillette's parent company, had a few options for responding to the disruption. It could have lowered Gillette's prices, and accepted that its profit margins would take a hit in exchange for preserving its market share. 
    It could have thrown more money into research and development for a completely new, whiz-bang product – an affordable home laser hair-removal system, for example, that would eliminate the need for razors altogether. It could even have copied the upstarts and introduced a mail-order razor club of its own while it figured out the next big thing.
    Instead, Procter & Gamble – a company whose scientists once led the way on American innovation, coming up with revolutionary products like laundry detergent – decided to go with a glorified marketing gimmick. According to the Journal, Gillette plans to spend $200 million promoting the ProGlide FlexBall, with a campaign that centers on telling people that"the blades miss 20% fewer hairs with each pass and that it can cut each whisker 23 microns shorter — about a quarter of the width of a strand of human hair."
    Even if the new razor is more effective than old ones (which I doubt), a swivel ball that gets facial hair 23 microns shorter isn't a "moonshot." It's not even an across-the-street-shot. It's a dumb novelty that is meant to trick customers into believing that their old, swivel-free razors are outmoded, and that they should pony up for the new model. And what's worse is that it will probably work.
    To Procter & Gamble's credit, the company does still produce real innovations from time to time, like a new plastic packaging process, patented last year, that allows for much thinner containers. But the cruel reality of the bottom line means that for every genius engineer trying to revolutionize an industry with something totally new, there are dozens of Ph.D.'s coming up with swivel-balls for razors.
     P&G spending its multi-billion-dollar R&D budget on gimmicks is the Fortune 500 equivalent of Peter Thiel's "we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters." And it's the same market-driven myopia that explains why Silicon Valley is full of copycat start-ups chasing the same dumb concepts (Uber for laundry!) instead of churning out real, creative products.
    There are still important innovations happening in America. (Here, for example, is a story about a new, MIT-developed gadget that will make it possible for the blind to read printed text.) But too often, because of both investor pressure and their own short-termism, start-ups and corporations opt for the easy, lucrative advancement over the hard, structural change. Meanwhile, China is 3-D printing houses.
    Luckily, you can protest Procter & Gamble's latest absurdity pretty easily. Just do what I do – buy cheapo razors from an internet wholesaler. They're as good as Gillette's razors, for a fraction of the price. Alternately, you could just grow a beard.

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    The Big Reason to Hire Superstar Employees Isn’t the Work They Do

    Most companies will tell you they want to hire and retain “A players”, and why not? It’s hard to object to building a company around the best possible talent. But what is it about superstar talent that actually improves performance? 

    A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research examines this question by looking at academic departments, where productivity can be measured in terms of papers published and citations from other researchers. Superstars were defined as academics who ranked above the 90th percentile based on citation-weighted publications. 
    The paper points to three different ways that superstars can improve an organization, and measures the magnitude of each in the context of academic evolutionary biology departments. The first, and most obvious, is the direct increase in output that a superstar can have. Hire someone who can get a lot of great work done quickly and your organization will by definition be producing more great work. But, perhaps surprisingly, this represents only a small fraction of the change that superstars have on output. The authors write:
    On average, department-level output increases by 54% after the arrival of a star. A significant fraction of the star effect is indirect: after removing the direct contribution of the star, department level output still increases by 48%.
    Some of that remaining increase stems from the fact that departments hiring superstars tend to be growing. Even so, output per researcher also increases substantially, well beyond the added output that the superstar adds herself. So if the superstar isn’t responsible for the organization’s increase in productivity directly, what is? The paper looked at two different explanations: that the superstar makes her colleagues more productive, and that she helps the organization recruit better talent going forward.
    The researchers found that the superstar’s impact on recruiting was far and away the more significant driver of improved organizational productivity. 
    Starting just one year after the superstar joins the department, the average quality of those who join the department at all levels increases significantly. As for the impact of a superstar on existing colleagues, the findings are more mixed. Incumbents who work on topics related to those the superstar focused on saw their output increase, but incumbents whose work was unrelated became slightly less productive. (This latter effect was too small to be statistically significant, and the authors posit that allocation of resources toward the areas the superstar works on could explain it.)
    “Additional research is required to have confidence in generalizations, but there are reasons to suspect that the broad findings are not unique to academic science,” said Ajay Agrawal, professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto and one of the paper’s authors. He pointed to the research on clustering, whereby the geographic concentration of talented individuals and firms in a sector increases the productivity of those participants, as consistent with the idea that talented workers can have measurable indirect effects on those around them.
    Nonetheless, he suggested, the effect of superstars likely varies across and even within industries, and previous research has demonstrated that superstars do vary in how much they help their colleagues.
    While generalizing these results to a particular industry or firm is unwise, the research nonetheless provides a framework for firms to think about hiring top talent. The direct benefits of a superstar can be substantial, but it’s also important to consider how the hire will effect other employees’ productivity. 
    Not all superstars are equal in this regard, so look for someone who’s likely to up the game of those around her. Finally, it’s critical to consider the impact the hire might have on recruitment. In at least some cases, the biggest effect of hiring a superstar is who it allows you to hire next.

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  • 04/19/14--03:54: Blue Ocean Leadership 04-19

  • Blue Ocean Leadership 

    Artwork: Mark Dorf, //_path/untitled 13, 2013, archival pigment print

    It’s a sad truth about the workplace: Just 30% of employees are actively committed to doing a good job. According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report, 50% of employees merely put their time in, while the remaining 20% act out their discontent in counterproductive ways, negatively influencing their coworkers, missing days on the job, and driving customers away through poor service. Gallup estimates that the 20% group alone costs the U.S. economy around half a trillion dollars each year.
    What’s the reason for the widespread employee disengagement? According to Gallup, poor leadership is a key cause.
    Most executives—not just those in America—recognize that one of their biggest challenges is closing the vast gulf between the potential and the realized talent and energy of the people they lead. As one CEO put it, “We have a large workforce that has an appetite to do a good job up and down the ranks. If we can transform them—tap into them through effective leadership—there will be an awful lot of people out there doing an awful lot of good.”
    Of course, managers don’t intend to be poor leaders. The problem is that they lack a clear understanding of just what changes it would take to bring out the best in everyone and achieve high impact. We believe that leaders can obtain this understanding through an approach we call “blue ocean leadership.” It draws on our research on blue ocean strategy, our model for creating new market space by converting noncustomers into customers, and applies its concepts and analytic frameworks to help leaders release the blue ocean of unexploited talent and energy in their organizations—rapidly and at low cost.
    The underlying insight is that leadership, in essence, can be thought of as a service that people in an organization “buy” or “don’t buy.” Every leader in that sense has customers: the bosses to whom the leader must deliver performance, and the followers who need the leader’s guidance and support to achieve. When people value your leadership practices, they in effect buy your leadership. They’re inspired to excel and act with commitment. But when employees don’t buy your leadership, they disengage, becoming noncustomers of your leadership. Once we started thinking about leadership in this way, we began to see that the concepts and frameworks we were developing to create new demand by converting noncustomers into customers could be adapted to help leaders convert disengaged employees into engaged ones.
    Over the past 10 years we and Gavin Fraser, a Blue Ocean Strategy Network expert, have interviewed hundreds of people in organizations to understand where leadership was falling short and how it could be transformed while conserving leaders’ most precious resource: time. In this article we present the results of our research.
    Key Differences from Conventional Leadership Approaches
    Blue ocean leadership rapidly brings about a step change in leadership strength. It’s distinct from traditional leadership development approaches in several overarching ways. Here are the three most salient:
    Focus on acts and activities. Over many years a great deal of research has generated insights into the values, qualities, and behavioral styles that make for good leadership, and these have formed the basis of development programs and executive coaching. The implicit assumption is that changes in values, qualities, and behavioral styles ultimately translate into high performance.
    But when people look back on these programs, many struggle to find evidence of notable change. As one executive put it, “Without years of dedicated efforts, how can you transform a person’s character or behavioral traits? And can you really measure and assess whether leaders are embracing and internalizing these personal traits and styles? In theory, yes, but in reality it’s hard at best.”
    Blue ocean leadership, by contrast, focuses on what acts and activities leaders need to undertaketo boost their teams’ motivation and business results, not on who leaders need to be. This difference in emphasis is important. It is markedly easier to change people’s acts and activities than their values, qualities, and behavioral traits. Of course, altering a leader’s activities is not a complete solution, and having the right values, qualities, and behavioral traits matters. But activities are something that any individual can change, given the right feedback and guidance.
    Connect closely to market realities. Traditional leadership development programs tend to be quite generic and are often detached from what firms stand for in the eyes of customers and from the market results people are expected to achieve. In contrast, under blue ocean leadership, the people who face market realities are asked for their direct input on how their leaders hold them back and what those leaders could do to help them best serve customers and other key stakeholders. And when people are engaged in defining the leadership practices that will enable them to thrive, andthose practices are connected to the market realities against which they need to perform, they’re highly motivated to create the best possible profile for leaders and to make the new solutions work. Their willing cooperation maximizes the acceptance of new profiles for leadership while minimizing implementation costs.
    Distribute leadership across all management levels. Most leadership programs focus on executives and their potential for impact now and in the future. But the key to a successful organization is having empowered leaders at every level, because outstanding organizational performance often comes down to the motivation and actions of middle and frontline leaders, who are in closer contact with the market. As one senior executive put it, “The truth is that we, the top management, are not in the field to fully appreciate the middle and frontline actions. We need effective leaders at every level to maximize corporate performance.”
    Blue ocean leadership is designed to be applied across the three distinct management levels: top, middle, and frontline. It calls for profiles for leaders that are tailored to the very different tasks, degrees of power, and environments you find at each level. Extending leadership capabilities deep into the front line unleashes the latent talent and drive of a critical mass of employees, and creating strong distributed leadership significantly enhances performance across the organization.
    The Four Steps of Blue Ocean Leadership
    Now let’s walk through how to put blue ocean leadership into practice. It involves four steps:
    1. See your leadership reality. A common mistake organizations make is to discuss changes in leadership before resolving differences of opinion over what leaders are actually doing. Without a common understanding of where leadership stands and is falling short, a forceful case for change cannot be made.
    Achieving this understanding is the objective of the first step. It takes the form of what we call as-is Leadership Canvases, analytic visuals that show just how managers at each level invest their time and effort, as perceived by the customers of their leadership. An organization begins the process by creating a canvas for each of its three management levels.
    A team of 12 to 15 senior managers is typically selected to carry out this project. The people chosen should cut across functions and be recognized as good leaders in the company so that the team has immediate credibility. The team is then broken into three smaller subteams, each focused on one level and charged with interviewing its relevant leadership customers—both bosses and subordinates—and ensuring that a representative number of each are included.
    The aim is to uncover how people experience current leadership and to start a companywide conversation about what leaders do and should do at each level. The customers of leaders are asked which acts and activities—good and bad—their leaders spend most of their time on, and which are key to motivation and performance but are neglected by their leaders. Getting at the specifics is important; the as-is canvases must be grounded in acts and activities that reflect each level’s specific market reality and performance goals. This involves a certain amount of probing.
    At a company we’ll call British Retail Group (BRG), many interviewees commented that middle managers spent much of their time playing politics. The subteam focused on that level pushed for clarification and discovered that two acts principally accounted for this judgment. One was that the leaders tended to divide responsibility among people, which created uncertainty about accountability—and some internal competitiveness. The result was a lot of finger-pointing and the perception that the leaders were playing people against one another. The subteam also found that the leaders spent much of their time in meetings with senior management. This led subordinates to conclude that their leaders were more interested in maximizing political “face time” and spinning news than in being present to support them.
    After four to six weeks of interviews, subteam members come together to create as-is Leadership Profiles by pooling their findings and determining, based on frequency of citation, the dominant leadership acts and activities at each level. To help the subteams focus on what really matters, we typically ask for no more than 10 to 15 leadership acts and activities per level. These get registered on the horizontal axis of the as-is canvas, and the extent to which leaders do them is registered on the vertical axis. The cap of 10 to 15 prevents the canvas from becoming a statement of everything and nothing.
    The result is almost always eye-opening. It’s not uncommon to find that 20% to 40% of the acts and activities of leaders at all three levels provide only questionable value to those above and below them. It’s also not uncommon to find that leaders are underinvesting in 20% to 40% of the acts and activities that interviewees at their level cite as important.
    At BRG, the canvas for senior managers revealed that their customers thought they spent most of their time on essentially middle-management acts and activities, while the canvas of middle managers indicated that they seemed to be absorbed in protecting bureaucratic procedures. Frontline leaders were seen to be focused on trying to keep their bosses happy by doing things like deferring customer queries to them, which satisfied their desire to be in control. When we asked team members to describe each canvas in a tagline, an exercise that’s part of the process, they labeled the frontline Leadership Profile “Please the Boss,” the middle-manager profile “Control and Play Safe,” and the senior manager profile “Focus on the Day-to-Day.” (For an example, see the exhibit “What Middle Managers Actually Do.”)
    The implications were depressing. The biggest “aha” for the subteams was that senior managers appeared to have scarcely any time to do the real job of top management—thinking, probing, identifying opportunities on the horizon, and gearing up the organization to capitalize on them. Faced with firsthand, repeated evidence of the shortcomings of leadership practices, the subteams could not defend the current Leadership Profiles. The canvases made a strong case for change at all three levels; it was clear that people throughout the organization wished for it.
    2. Develop alternative Leadership Profiles. At this point the subteams are usually eager to explore what effective Leadership Profiles would look like at each level. To achieve this, they go back to their interviewees with two sets of questions.
    The first set is aimed at pinpointing the extent to which each act and activity on the canvas is either a cold spot (absorbing leaders’ time but adding little or no value) or a hot spot (energizing employees and inspiring them to apply their talents, but currently underinvested in by leaders or not addressed at all).
    The second set prompts interviewees to think beyond the bounds of the company and focus on effective leadership acts they’ve observed outside the organization, in particular those that could have a strong impact if adopted by internal leaders at their level. Here fresh ideas emerge about what leaders could be doing but aren’t. This is not, however, about benchmarking against corporate icons; employees’ personal experiences are more likely to produce insights. Most of us have come across people in our lives who have had a disproportionately positive influence on us. It might be a sports coach, a schoolteacher, a scoutmaster, a grandparent, or a former boss. Whoever those role models are, it’s important to get interviewees to detail which acts and activities they believe would add real value for them if undertaken by their current leaders.
    To process the findings from the second round of interviews, the subteams apply an analytic tool we call the Blue Ocean Leadership Grid (see the exhibit by the same name). For each leadership level the interview results get incorporated into this grid. Typically, we start with the cold-spot acts and activities, which go into the Eliminate or Reduce quadrants depending on how negatively interviewees judge them. This energizes the subteams right away, because people immediately perceive the benefits of stopping leaders from doing things that add little or no value. Cutting back on those activities also gives leaders the time and space they need to raise their game. Without that breathing room, a step change in leadership strength would remain largely wishful thinking, given leaders’ already full plates. From the cold spots we move to the hot spots, which go into the Raise quadrant if they involve current acts and activities or Create for those not currently performed at all by leaders.
    With this input, the subteams draft two to four “to-be” canvases for each leadership level. These analytic visuals illustrate Leadership Profiles that can lift individual and organizational performance, and juxtapose them against the as-is leadership profiles. The subteams produce a range of leadership models, rather than stop at one set of possibilities, to thoroughly explore new leadership space.
    3. Select to-be Leadership Profiles. After two to three weeks of drawing and redrawing their Leadership Canvases, the subteams present them at what we call a “leadership fair.” Fair attendees include board members and top, middle, and frontline managers.
    The event starts with members of the original senior team behind the effort describing the process and presenting the three as-is canvases. With those three visuals, the team establishes why change is necessary, confirms that comments from interviewees at all levels were taken into account, and sets the context against which the to-be Leadership Profiles can be understood and appreciated. Although the as-is canvases often present a sobering reality, as they did at BRG, the Leadership Profiles are shown and discussed only at the aggregate level. That makes individual leaders more open to change, because they feel that everyone is in the same boat.
    With the stage set, the subteams present the to-be profiles, hanging their canvases on the walls so that the audience can easily see them. Typically, the subteam that focused on frontline leaders will go first. After the presentation, the attendees are each given three Post-it notes and told to put one next to their favorite Leadership Profile. And if they find that canvas especially compelling, they can put up to three Post-its on it.
    After all the votes are in, the company’s senior executives probe the attendees about why they voted as they did. The same process is then repeated for the two other leadership levels. (We find it easier to deal with each level separately and sequentially, and that doing so increases voters’ recall of the discussion.)
    After about four hours everyone in attendance has a clear picture of the current Leadership Profile of each level, the completed Blue Ocean Leadership Grids, and a selection of to-be Leadership Profiles that could create a significant change in leadership performance. Armed with this information and the votes and comments of attendees, the top managers convene outside the fair room and decide which to-be Leadership Profile to move forward on at each level. Then they return and explain their decisions to the fair’s participants.
    At BRG, more than 125 people voted on the profiles, and fair attendees greeted the three that were selected with enthusiasm. The tagline for frontline leaders’ to-be profile (above) was “Cut Through the Crap.” (Sadly, this was later refined to “Cut Through to Serve Customers.”) In this profile, frontline leaders did not defer the vast majority of customer queries to middle management and spent less time jumping through procedural hoops. Their time was directed to training frontline personnel to deliver on company promises on the spot, resolve customer problems, quickly help customers in distress, and make meaningful cross-sales—leadership acts and activities that fired up the frontline workers, were sure to excite customers, and would have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
    “Liberate, Coach, and Empower” was the tagline for middle management’s to-be profile (above). Here leaders’ time and attention shifted from controlling to supporting employees. This involved eliminating and reducing a range of oversight activities—such as requiring weekly reports on customer calls received and funds spent on office supplies—that sapped people’s energy and kept frontline leaders at their desks. The profile also included new actions aimed at managing, disseminating, and integrating the knowledge of frontline leaders and their staff. In practical terms, this meant spending much more time providing face-to-face coaching and feedback.
    The tagline for the to-be profile of senior management (above) was “Delegate and Chart the Company’s Future.” With the acts and activities of frontline and middle managers reset, senior managers would be freed up to devote a significant portion of their time to thinking about the big picture—the changes in the industry and their implications for strategy and the organization. They would spend less time putting out fires.
    The board members who attended the leadership fair felt strongly that the to-be Leadership Profiles supported the interests of customers as well as shareholders’ profit and growth objectives. The frontline leaders were energized and ready to charge ahead. Senior managers went from feeling towed under the waves by all the middle-management duties they had to coordinate and attend to, to feeling as if they could finally get their heads above water and see the beauty of the ocean they had to chart.
    The trickiest to-be Leadership Profile was middle management’s. Letting go of control and empowering the people below them can be tough for folks in this organizational tier. But the to-be Leadership Profiles of both frontline and senior management helped clear the path to change at this level.
    4. Institutionalize new leadership practices. After the fair is over, the original subteam members communicate the results to the people they interviewed who were not at the fair.
    Organizations then distribute the agreed-on to-be profiles to the leaders at each level. The subteam members hold meetings with leaders to walk them through their canvases, explaining what should be eliminated, reduced, raised, and created. This step reinforces the buy-in that the initiative has been building by briefing leaders throughout the organization on key findings at each step of the process and tapping many of them for input. And because every leader is in effect the buyer of another level of leadership, all managers will be working to change, knowing that their bosses will be doing the same thing on the basis of input they directly provided.
    The leaders are then charged with passing the message along to their direct reports and explaining to them how the new Leadership Profiles will allow them to be more effective. To keep the new profiles top of mind, the to-be canvases are pinned up prominently in the offices of both the leaders and their reports. Leaders are tasked with holding regular monthly meetings at which they gather their direct reports’ feedback on how well they’re making the transition to the new profiles. All comments must be illustrated with specific examples. Has the leader cut back on the acts and activities that were to be eliminated and reduced in the new Leadership Profile? If yes, how? If not, in what instances was she still engaging in them? Likewise, is she focusing more on what does add value and doing the new activities in her profile? Though the meetings can be unnerving at first—both for employees who have to critique the boss and for the bosses whose actions are being exposed to scrutiny—it doesn’t take long before a team spirit and mutual respect take hold, as all people see how the changes in leadership are positively influencing their performance.
    Through the changes highlighted by the to-be profiles, BRG was able to deepen its leadership strength and achieve high impact at lower cost. Consider the results produced just at the frontline level: Turnover of BRG’s 10,000-plus frontline employees dropped from about 40% to 11% in the first year, reducing both recruitment and training costs by some 50%. The total savings, including those from decreased absenteeism, amounted to more than $50 million that year. On top of that, BRG’s customer satisfaction scores climbed by over 30%, and leaders at all levels reported feeling less stressed, more energized by their ability to act, and more confident that they were making a greater contribution to the company, customers, and their own personal development.
    Execution Is Built into the Four Steps
    Any change initiative faces skepticism. Think of it as the “bend over—here it comes again” syndrome. While blue ocean leadership also meets such a reaction initially, it counters it by building good execution into the process. The four steps are founded on the principles of fair process: engagement, explanation, and expectation clarity. The power of these principles cannot be overstated, and we have written extensively about their impact on the quality of execution for over 20 years. (See, for example, our article “Fair Process: Managing in the Knowledge Economy,” HBR July–August 1997.)
    In the leadership development context, the application of fair process achieves buy-in and ownership of the to-be Leadership Profiles and builds trust, preparing the ground for implementation. The principles are applied in a number of ways, with the most important practices being:
    • Respected senior managers spearhead the process. Their engagement is not ceremonial; they conduct interviews and draw the canvases. This strongly signals the importance of the initiative, which makes people at all levels feel respected and gives senior managers a visceral sense of what actions are needed to create a step change in leadership performance. Here’s a typical employee reaction: “At first, I thought this was just one of those initiatives where management loves to talk about the need for change but then essentially goes back to doing what they’ve always done. But when I saw that leading senior managers were driving the process and rolling up their sleeves to push the change, I thought to myself, ‘Hmm...they may just finally mean it.’”
    • People are engaged in defining what leaders should do. Since the to-be profiles are generated with the employees’ own input, people have confidence in the changes made. The process also makes them feel more deeply engaged with their leaders, because they have greater ownership of what their leaders are doing. Here’s what people told us: “Senior management said they were going to come and talk to people at all levels to understand what we need our leaders to do and not do, so we could thrive. And I thought, ‘I’ll believe it when someone comes knocking on my door.’ And then they knocked.”
    • People at all levels have a say in the final decision. A slice of the organization across the three management levels gets to vote in selecting the new Leadership Profiles. Though the top managers have the final say on the to-be profiles and may not choose those with the most votes, they are required to provide a clear, sound explanation for their decisions in front of all attendees. Here’s some typical feedback: “The doubts we had that our comments were just paid lip service to were dispelled when we saw how our inputs were figured into the to-be profiles. We realized then that our voices were heard.”
    • It’s easy to assess whether expectations are being met. Clarity about what needs to change to move from the as-is to the to-be Leadership Profiles makes it simple to monitor progress. The monthly review meetings between leaders and their direct reports help the organization check whether it’s making headway. We’ve found that those meetings keep leaders honest, motivate them to continue with change, and build confidence in both the process and the sincerity of the leaders. By collecting feedback from those meetings, top management can assess how rapidly leaders are making the shift from their as-is to their to-be Leadership Profiles, which becomes a key input in annual performance evaluations. This is what people say: “With the one-page visual of our old and new Leadership Profiles, we can easily track the progress in moving from the old to the new. In it, everyone can see with clarity precisely where we are in closing the gap.”
    Essentially, the gift that fair process confers is trust and, hence, voluntary cooperation, a quality vital to the leader-follower relationship. Anyone who has ever worked in an organization understands how important trust is. If you trust the process and the people you work for, you’re willing to go the extra mile and give your best. If you don’t trust them, you’ll stick to the letter of the law that binds your contract with the organization and devote your energy to protecting your position and fighting over turf rather than to winning customers and creating value. Not only will your abilities be wasted, but they will often work against your organization’s performance.
    Becoming a Blue Ocean Leader
    We never cease to be amazed by the talent and energy we see in the organizations we study. Sadly, we are equally amazed by how much of it is squandered by poor leadership. Blue ocean leadership can help put an end to that.
    The Leadership Canvases give people a concrete, visual framework in which they can surface and discuss the improvements leaders need to make. The fairness of the process makes the implementation and monitoring of those changes far easier than in traditional top-down approaches. Moreover, blue ocean leadership achieves a transformation with less time and effort, because leaders are not trying to alter who they are and break the habits of a lifetime. They are simply changing the tasks they carry out. Better yet, one of the strengths of blue ocean leadership is its scalability. You don’t have to wait for your company’s top leadership to launch this process. Whatever management level you belong to, you can awaken the sleeping potential of your people by taking them through the four steps.
    Are you ready to be a blue ocean leader?

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