Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog

Channel Description:

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.

older | 1 | .... | 42 | 43 | (Page 44) | 45 | 46 | .... | 82 | newer

    0 0

    The Lovers, the Haters and How They Helped Drive Innovation at Kraft

    Barry Calpino on what drives innovation at Kraft
    Like many food companies, Kraft Foods has had to deal with the rising costs for commodities, as well as the changing wants and needs of consumers. Several years ago, the company — which has annual revenues of more than $18 billion and a 27-brand portfolio that includes Velveeta, Jell-O and Kool-Aid — was launching new products at a rapid rate, but it wasn’t really investing in any of them. In recent interview on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111, Barry Calpino, Kraft’s vice president for breakthrough innovation, discussed how Kraft rethought its strategy and reaped the rewards of a multi-year, multi-channel mindset to marketing.
    Listen to the full interview above and read edited excerpts from the conversation below.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Could you describe the concept of breakthrough innovation?
    Barry Calpino: There’s a lot of definitions around it, but there is also an intention behind the term and the title. It’s really to push our organization and our innovation teams to shoot for bigger opportunities, more incremental white space, new categories and new usage occasions. We have teams that work on some of the closer-in extensions of current brands. But my charge and my push is to really encourage the organization and lead, making sure that we deliver on big, big, big innovations that help not just grow our brands here at Kraft, but also grow the categories that we’re in.
    Knowledge@Wharton: What kind of examples are you talking about?
    Calpino: I guess the poster child, the one that we use here internally to teach everyone the concept, is that we launched a brand called Mio about three years ago. Mio started out as a really close-in idea. It started out as a liquid version of our Crystal Light powder and it was going to be marketed that way.
    And via a lot of changes we had made in the company in terms of how we were thinking about and approaching innovation, we made it one of these big, big bets and big breakthrough projects with our beverage division. We decided rather than just make it a close-in extension of the current business, [we would] conceptually launch Mio as a totally new category idea — liquid water enhancers — and go after all the water usage occasions there are in the U.S., both tap water and bottled water, and look at Mio as an opportunity to accompany all those occasions, rather than only targeting people who currently buy powdered mix-ins for their liquids….
    We launched Mio as a new idea, a new brand, a new category. And it’s won almost every imaginable innovation award you could win. But more importantly for us as a company and for the retailers we work with, it’s created literally a new category. You walk into the store today, and there is a whole section of these liquid water enhancers. And I think it’s a more than $800 million total category worldwide three years into it. And most of that has come from going after incremental usage occasions. So it’s been a big win for everybody who’s been involved. And that’s the concept of breakthrough innovation — thinking bigger and thinking broader and moving aggressively.
    Kraft spent more than $50 million launching Mio, the most we had ever spent on a launch. But more importantly, we continued to invest the second year, the third year and now the fourth year because these big ideas don’t just happen overnight. You have to stick with them and you have to invest in them.
    “These big ideas don’t just happen overnight. You have to stick with them and you have to invest in them.”
    Knowledge@Wharton: How do you continue to build on those innovations after several years have passed?
    Calpino: I’ve been in the innovation game one way or another in consumer products almost 20 years. And the number-one consistent cause of failure is not investing in a good idea beyond just the launch period. You have to stay with it. The ones I’ve been part of that have been big wins have been [instances] where we’ve stuck with it, we’ve invested behind it, and we realized that to get something new to stick, it doesn’t just happen quickly — you have to have staying power.
    Knowledge@Wharton: Kraft was started in 1903, but remade in 2012. Can you describe that process?
    Calpino: The company split. The international business and what was our Nabisco business and our chewing gum business was split off as a separate company called Mondelez. And what was left behind was the traditional Kraft brands that many consumers would know. And it’s a U.S. company.
    We decided to not just treat the de-merging as a transaction for Wall Street, [but rather] to really make a big deal about this for our company culture and our employees. I talk a lot about how important culture is to innovation and your performance as a company. And so we decided in 2012 when we made the split to celebrate it, and we had signs up that are still everywhere in our company about we were remade in 2012. We’ve tried to really encourage a fresh mindset among our employees to say, “Look, we have these tremendous old brands, but we need to think fresh every day to make them current and relevant.” As you know, consumers are constantly evolving and changing, and your brands have to keep up with that.
    Knowledge@Wharton: There’s an interesting video I saw of an interview that you did, and you brought up the concept of that one of the most important things to understand is what your customers hate about your products.
    Calpino: Yes. It’s one of my favorite topics, and it’s the one that gets the strongest reaction. I think it’s human nature that you want to focus on what people love about you, and it’s painful sometimes to get that negative feedback. But I’ve studied this. I have a whole presentation on innovations that were born out of companies willing to be open about asking, “Where is the pain in the experience of our product? What do you hate about our category? What do you hate about [the product]?” And then that becomes the fodder for great innovation.
    The two classic examples I always throw out is that Campbell’s soup did a big study in the 1970s, literally a quantitative study of what do people hate about soup. And the number-one complaint was that the pieces [of meat in the soup] were too small. So they launched this brand [of] chunky soup, which is still on the market 40 years later. Very few new products stick around for 40 years.
    I used to work at the Wrigley company, and we did the same research in the 1980s. The number-one complaint was that the flavor [of the gum] didn’t last long enough. We literally created the brand Extra gum out of that research. And Extra was the number-one brand of chewing gum for about 25 years in the U.S.
    My favorite [example] that I use all the time today is Uber and the Uber app. The story behind it [is that there were] two guys who just hated the taxicab experience in San Francisco…. Their hate led to their innovation. And you think of all the things you hate about a taxicab experience, Uber literally flips every one of them over. So being open to it can be a tremendous source of innovation ideas.
    Knowledge@Wharton: The numbers so far in terms of sales tied to new product innovation are pretty good for Kraft. The number I read was about 13% of all the revenue?
    Calpino: Yes, we were 6% to 6.5% five years ago. We got over 13%. We’ve doubled our sales from new products…. When we were around 6%, we made a decision as a company that the current way we’re doing things today isn’t working, and we’re going to look at innovation and approach it very, very differently. And the results so far have borne out that the new approach we’ve taken has really made a big impact on our innovation results.
    We feel like we’ve still got an incredible amount of room to grow and to get better at this. But we did change our approach, and that’s been a big driver of getting from where we were to where we are.
    Knowledge@Wharton: How is that new strategy borne out on a daily basis?
    Calpino: The hardest thing for anyone who works in innovation is that for the big ideas like Mio, a lot of the seed effort and work happens two to three years ahead of time. And a lot of that work is not glamorous. And the results don’t come instantly. The teams that work on those projects, their work is what leads to the big launches two to three years out. So a big part of my job is to make sure across the whole organization that we’re continuously filling what we call our funnel and the pipeline of new ideas — and that we’re constantly working on the next thing, so that we don’t wake up one day and say, “You know what, we don’t have anything.”
    A lot of us who work in consumer products have had those moments where our management [says], “We need a new product,” and you don’t have anything, or you don’t have anything exciting. And then you scramble. And then you launch small ideas. It’s about being proactive and filling the pipeline and making sure that while we have teams in the company that are launching new products, we also have teams that are building the future. Because for every great idea we launch now, some team did great work two to three years ago up to now.
    Knowledge@Wharton: How is your experience at Kraft different than a tech company like Apple?
    Calpino: What we have in common is that what you come out with has to be great for the consumer. But in our case, tastes and what people are looking for in food constantly evolve. For our innovations to hit home, we have to be really, really well attuned to what is happening and what changes are going on. We spend a lot of time and energy on making sure that all of our innovation teams are up to speed on food trends, culinary trends and what consumers are looking for — whether it’s a cleaner ingredient line, fresher, less processed food, things like gluten-free. The things that consumers want in food change all the time. And you just have to be on it. You have to try to be ahead of it, too, which is one of the hardest things to do.
    Knowledge@Wharton: How does that impact the corporate responsibility and other programs that you have as well?
    Calpino: It has a big effect on where we invest in new technology and where we place our bets on which brands to invest in. One of our pride and joys this year is the renovation and re-launch of Philadelphia cream cheese. We’ve added a lot more real fruit to the products and real vegetables. And we have a whole story to the consumer about it going from farm to fridge in just a few days. Consumers today care so much about that. And we felt like the Philly team just was so attuned with today’s consumer….
    Knowledge@Wharton: You talked about the successes you’ve had with a new product like Mio, but like Philly cream cheese, there are a lot of brands that you have that have been around for decades, that are staples with consumers. What are the challenges of making changes to products that people have loved and used for so many years?
    Calpino: That’s the art of what we call renovation. In fact, one of our best points of emphasis now at Kraft is renovating our current brands while we innovate at the same time. When you renovate a brand it’s exactly what you said: Everybody has studied the famous new Coke case. Nobody wants to be the next [failed re-launch] in the Wharton case study. What the Philly team did beautifully was to make the product more relevant and more current, but deliver what people expect and love and care about. And you also have to make sure that for everything you do, you run it by your consumers who love your brand.
    One of the things that we teach all of our teams is, when you mess with a current brand, mess with it to make it better among the people who love it first. Because if they give you the vote of confidence, then you’re going to bring new people back to the franchise, but you don’t want to lose the people who love you. It’s one of the trickiest parts of what we do. People will tell you that when they try to renovate and update an iconic brand like Philadelphia cream cheese or Kraft Singles, it can be really tricky.
    Knowledge@Wharton: You mentioned the successes with Mio. What is the number two on your list in terms of innovations that you’re most proud of?
    Calpino: I would say in addition to Mio, it’s probably a tie between Oscar Mayer Selects and Velveeta Cheesy Skillets…. They were both $100 million launches. But what they both have in common is they’re what people would call old brands. And they were brands that some people would say had lost touch with today’s consumer. But the teams behind them were totally committed to making them relevant, and never accepting that the brand is irrelevant.
    Our CEO’s favorite phrase, one of his favorite phrases, is that there is no such thing as a tired brand, only tired marketers. And one of my favorite expressions from Good to Great is facing the brutal facts. The Oscar Mayer team made a call across all their whole business that we were going to make Oscar Mayer products more real. And so Oscar Mayer Selects took almost every element of their product line and [changed it]. They launched products with no artificial preservatives and cleaner ingredients. And it was a monster success, and it’s changed how people perceive an old brand like Oscar Mayer.
    Velveeta was a brand that people used to make fun of. And people asked “Hey, does Kraft still make Velveeta?” It’s now one of our fastest-growing businesses because of the team behind it. I mentioned the importance of talking to people who love your brand; I’m a big believer in love and hate driving innovation. The haters give you ideas. But then the lovers also give you inspiration. What we found is that Velveeta lovers really love the brand, and there was a lot about the brand that we weren’t leveraging. The whole skillet dinner line — which was, again, a $100 million award winner — was all grounded in what people loved about it. We had this tagline, “liquid gold.” And liquid gold is literally how Velveeta lovers describe it. And it delivered a great dinner experience; it really delivered for a family, a strapped family from an economic standpoint, the ability to feed your family at a low price, with great taste and a great experience.
    People love to talk about the Apple iPhone. Mio was kind of like that for us. But it’s just as rewarding, and sometimes more rewarding, when you can have really big innovation on brands that you’ve had for, say, 100 years.
    Knowledge@Wharton: What segment of Kraft’s business do you think has the greatest potential growth opportunities in terms of innovation over the next 10 years?
    Calpino: That’s a good question. I get asked that a lot inside the company, and sometimes that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you say you’re a high innovation brand, you’re a low innovation brand. I work across all the brands here, and I will tell you that I walk out of every single review and there are three or four things that I’m incredibly excited about. There are categories that I may say in my head, “This doesn’t have a lot of potential.” And then the team shows me three or four great ideas. It’s that mindset that got us to where, with Velveeta, we weren’t innovating. So it’s a tough one.
    Our beverage business has had some huge wins. But then I can show you the [success of the] Skillets and the Selects. There is a lot of potential in our portfolio because we’re in categories that are in all parts of consumers’ lives. One of our favorite expressions at Kraft, which we try to emphasize to all of our employees, is that we have to earn our place in your life. We don’t just get in your house because we have all these brands; you have to choose our brands, and we have to keep earning it. Just because you bought us 20 years ago doesn’t mean you’re going to buy us today. That mindset tries to avoid the “Hey, we’re just going to milk this because it doesn’t have the potential.”
    Knowledge@Wharton: How do you ensure employee buy-in for your innovation strategy?
    Calpino: You can have the greatest processes in the world, but usually when you break down companies that are successful in innovation, and innovations that are successful on their own, when you do the postmortem analysis, usually the talent and the team are at the top of the list. We have teams, talent and culture all over Kraft that are thinking about what’s possible for these brands. They’re not thinking what’s not possible…. We’re not going to accept the fact that this is an old brand. We are going to constantly look for ideas.
    When you have that mindset all throughout your company, that’s when you’ve really hit your stride. You know that you never have to lie awake at night worrying about [whether you] are going to have enough good ideas, because you know that there are really talented people all over the place who are trying to create the future and fill the pipeline. By far, the most rewarding part of my job is when I get to see that energy, because that energy is contagious and it creates momentum. And momentum can go negative, it can go positive. Innovation is so hard that that aspect really does matter.
    Knowledge@Wharton: So it’s not a case of where even an established company like Kraft can rest on its laurels?
    Calpino: Right. Everybody’s trying to connect with the same consumer. The business is out there. We’re all competing for flat to 1% growth, and we want more than our fair share of it. We all want to grow more than the market. And the one who innovates best usually is the one who wins.
    You know, we just won the [Nielsen] Breakthrough Award for Gevalia [coffee]. And at the Nielsen conference, they told us that there were 3,426 new products launched. Seventy hit $50 million in sales. And then the 14 breakthrough winners, of which we were one of them, from that field of 3,400, were the new products that were successful for the first two years. So that tells you — 14 out of 3,400, that’s what you’re shooting for. So it isn’t easy. But when you hit it, nothing’s better for your company, for your business, for your category.

    0 0

    Learning From Japan’s Remarkable Disaster Recovery

    It's common in Harvard Business School classrooms to discuss the "pivot," the moment an enterprise changes direction to pursue a new strategy. On a visit to eastern Japan, MBA students talked to Masamichi Ono, CEO of chrysanthemum grower Ono Kashoen, which shifted strategy after a massive earthquake killed thousands of area residents.
    "He talked about dozens of families walking from farmer to farmer, asking to find chrysanthemum flowers used for funerals," student Kazumasa Mukae (HBS MBA '14) recalls. "His understanding of his business was redefined from a simple chrysanthemum producer to a provider of closures for families who have lost their loved ones. It was memorable to hear him talk about how his mission in life was developed and how he had redefined his business."
    Each winter, 900 HBS students dispatch around the world to see businesses up close, learn what they can about how they are run, and share their own knowledge with the leaders of a wide variety of enterprises, from mom-and-pop shops to megacorporations.
    One of these programs, called the Immersion Experience Program (IXP), each year sends 30 or so potential MBAs to Japan, where they receive a unique education made possible by one of the most lethal disasters in modern history.
    On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-on-the-Richter-scale earthquake unleashed a tsunami that ravaged the Tohoku region of Honshu, the largest and most populous island in Japan. Some 16,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands displaced, and 383,000 buildings damaged-including the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power facility, which suffered a meltdown of three reactors.
    Business management students are learning the lessons of Japan's
    continuing recovery from the double-disaster earthquake and tsunami.Photo: iStockPhoto


    Devastated but rebuilding, the Tohoku region is a fertile teaching ground, allowing students to learn how local businesses exercised disaster preparedness and recovery, and how entrepreneurs are finding opportunities for economic revival.
    "Post-disaster settings provide opportunities to examine the effectiveness of leadership in mobilizing people and resources in highly dynamic situations," says Hirotaka Takeuchi, a professor of management practice who leads the annual excursion. He tells students that the course "focuses on the links between strategy and innovation that prove useful in rebuilding a region post disaster."
    Over the last three years, program participants have visited with executives at dozens of organizations—Google and Yahoo!, health care organizations, even a knitting business in a fishing village. They've talked with public officials in Japan and the staff of the US Embassy, and undertaken service projects as part of their international experiential learning.
    As the disaster recedes into the past, the students are shifting focus. During trips in earlier years, they studied the emergency response and rebuilding of companies. Now the emphasis is transitioning from business recovery to business creation, so students are concentrating on stories told by entrepreneurs.
    In January, for instance, students met with the Anzai family, whose orchard produces apples, pears, and peaches in Fukushima. The students listened to a family member explain how the business was rebuilt, and provided their own suggestions, says Takeuchi.
    Another unique aspect of the program is that participants write up their own case studies—an opportunity usually reserved for faculty.
    Some of the 18 cases published or in development in the "The Great East Japan Earthquake" series include reports on Google Japan and Yahoo!; Oisix, an online natural food retailer; You Home Clinic, a provider of medical services; Fast Retailing Group, which owns a chain of apparel stores; and Lawson's, which operates more than 40,000 convenience stores.
    The cases underscore disaster recovery challenges that are both universal and particularly local. A case on clothing retailer UNIQLO, for example, begins with a store manager's shifting of work schedules to increase profitability. The manager is quickly pulled aside by his regional manager and told, "UNIQLO's mission in Kesennuma is to create jobs. It is not about profitability."
    Japanese students at HBS came up with the idea to write their own cases, and Takeuchi readily agreed. He works with the small teams doing the work. "This allows HBS to make a difference by leaving best practices for future generations to study when disasters hit."


    The experience of immersing herself into the lives and business of real people had a profound effect on Mukae, now a manager at Mitsui & Co.
    "When we interviewed many Japanese CEOs, it was interesting to see how Japanese society doesn't reward people who stick out—worse, they criticize and hammer down the nail that sticks out," Mukae says. "Yet, for the CEOs who are succeeding, they care less about how they are perceived in society; they have the courage to pursue their mission no matter the adversary.
    "This was a learning specific to the context of Japanese business, and to actually hear and talk to the CEOs made a foundational difference in the way I want to pursue my career in Japan."

    0 0

    The next generation of data integration technology for the changing cloud market

    Data integration becomes a much more important issue with the use of both public and private cloud-based platforms. Information that was once stored locally may now be spread across several public cloud providers, and that information needs to be shared with most, if not all, enterprise systems that exist locally or within public clouds.
    These days, most cloud computing-related data integration focuses on the simple process of replicating data from a public cloud to an on-premise system, as well as cloud-to-cloud. This typically uses data integration technology as a way to synchronize enterprise data between traditional on-premise systems, to those that have relocated to the cloud. Examples include sales data that resides in a SaaS-delivered CRM, and perhaps delivery systems that reside within the enterprise data center. The data integration software works to make sure that the sales data, and other information, matches in both systems.
    What’s most interesting about the path of data integration and the rapidly growing cloud computing space? The traditional approach to data integration, meaning simple data replication and mediation, will become an outdated concept over the next 10 years or so. Data integration technology will make rapid moves in new directions, in light of the needs and the value of cloud computing, which will provide the enterprise with new capabilities, as well as largely disrupt the existing data integration marketplace. Also keep in mind that some data integration technologies will reach their 20th birthday in the next few years.
    What you think you know and understand about data integration could quickly go out the window, as technology providers try to match the capabilities of newer cloud-based platforms with newer data integration strategies, approaches, and technologies. Reconsider what you understand about data integration and cloud to provide an emerging path to success for existing and new data integration technology providers.

    Data integration evolves

    The evolution of data integration largely began in the middle 90s with the Enterprise Application Integration movement. This architectural pattern was in response to the number of enterprise systems, such as SAP and Peoplesoft, that bgan to appear in data centers, and thus the need to synchronize that information with other systems within the enterprise.
    The older patterns of data and application integration were fairly simple to understand. Information was extracted from the source system(s), it was then changed in structure and content (typically), and placed in the target system(s). This usually occurred around events such as adding a new customer in the accounting system, or updating the current status of inventory.
    Players in the traditional data and application integration market, which still exists today, includes Tibco, IBM, Software AG, Pervasive/Actian, and Informatica. Most have modernized their integration offerings, including cloud-based sources and targets, as well as adding some as-a-service capabilities (cloud delivered). This is not to say that the more mature companies provide better approaches to cloud-based data integration; they have just been around longer.
    Somewhat newer players include WSO2, Red Hat, Jitterbit, Boomi/Dell, Composite/Cisco, Castiron/IBM, Liaison Technologies, Scribe, and many others. These technologies came in the form of a second wave of data integration technologies that were designed to address the changing needs of enterprise data integration. This wave includes some newer approaches such as data virtualization or abstraction (such as Red Hat, WSO2, and Informatica, and Composite/Cisco.), or systems that operate exclusively on-demand (such as Boomi).
    As seen in Figure 1, the focus now (2010 – 2014) is on leveraging existing integration technology, traditional and not, that largely provides some, if not all of the capabilities that include: Data replication, semantic mediation, data cleansing, and mass data migration. These capabilities provide enterprises with the ability to move data from cloud-to-cloud, cloud-to-enterprise, or intra-enterprise, as needed, to support the core business processes. They have evolved in the last several years around the trends in hybrid and multi-cloud architectures, as well as the rise of much larger data sets (big data).
    Figure 1: As cloud technology matures, data integration will take on new forms, new roles, and will deliver new value.
    Figure 1

    Common features include the ability to account for the differences in the ways that the cloud or non-cloud systems store data, and the ability to change both the structure and the content on the fly, thus making the target system think it’s receiving native data. Mass data migration deals with the ETL (extract – translate – load) capabilities and includes the ability to migrate large amounts of data at specified times of the day or week, also changing the content and structure to meet the needs of the target system, such as a data warehouse in the cloud or on-premise.
    The use of data cleansing technology means that the data integration solution can deal with data issues, which include removing or correcting corrupt or inaccurate data sets. This is done along with the other data integration operations, typically while information moves from system to system, such as from an existing on-premise inventory control system to a cloud-based database.

    Things need to change

    Referring again to Figure 1, as cloud computing becomes a larger part of enterprise platforms, the world of data integration will need to evolve as well. This includes adding or expanding some data integration capabilities, such as:
    • Intelligent Data Service Discovery
    • Data Virtualization
    • Data Orchestration
    • Data Identity
    Intelligent data service discovery refers to data integration technology that can automatically find and define data services that become the primary mechanism to consume and produce data from existing cloud and non-cloud systems. This means that we can discover and re-discover which data services exist within the enterprise, and, more importantly, which data services exist in public clouds, noting where they are, what they do, and how to access them. Enterprises will leverage this catalogue as a means to understand all available data assets, and thus leverage the most meaningful data assets to support core business processes, owned or rented.
    Data virtualization, which is really not new, will grow in popularity as enterprises attempt to redefine existing databases using new virtual structures, and externalize these databases as well-defined data services. A new virtual database structure can be placed over existing database(s), and thus redefine how the database is made visible and consumed by other systems. There is no need to rebuild the back-end databases to meet the new needs of cloud-based systems, which removes risk and cost.
    Data orchestration refers to the ability to define how the data interacts together to form and reform solutions. Much like service orchestration, this means defining composite data points, perhaps combining sales and customers, to form new data services that can be leveraged inside or outside of the enterprise. Those who leverage the data will have a greater degree of control over what the data means for each application view, keeping the physical structure and data content intact.
    Data identity refers to the ability to link data, both structure and data instances, to humans or machines. This controls who or what can consume the data, and see the contents. This makes it easier to live up to ever changing and expanding regulations, and even internal data security policies. The data containers control access to the data, and the data identity rules that are set within the data. This becomes a common mechanism that spans enterprises, and public cloud providers.
    Consider the rise of shared enterprise business services that will likely emerge, given the number of business systems that will exist on public cloud-based platforms. The ease with which these services can be share will also see the rise of the ability to reuse data. This will create the ability to repurpose any data sets, including structure and content, for use in new and existing systems, without having to create a new database or data service instance. An example would be the ability to integrate an historical sales database, perhaps from another enterprise that makes it available, to understand patterns of fraud for a newly built system. You don’t need to understand anything about the reused data set; it self-defines within your new use case.
    Much like data identity, credential-based identity and centralized trust is the next generation that will allow data to define access credentials within the data. This just takes data identity to the next level by providing a centralized location that can validate both the data (structure and content), as well as humans and machines that would like to view or manipulate the data. This mechanism means that we’ll understand where all data exists, and match those authorized with the authorized data, down to the database, object, and instance. Again, this assumes a universal standard.
    Of course, predictions are not a perfect science. However, looking at the clear and emerging patterns of cloud-based migration and development, as well as the trajectory of data management and data integration, these are pretty easy calls.
    Data integration providers will need to keep up with the evolving requirements, and I’m sure that the data integration technology space will look very different in just 5 years time. Those who prepare for the changes will survive and thrive. Those who do not prepare will find themselves yet another victim of the changes that cloud computing brought to the world.

    0 0

    Partnering to “Fuel the Future” of STEM Education

    Today’s students need a great education in science, technology, engineering, and math—known as STEM—to succeed. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that 15 of the 20 fastest growing careers in 2014 will require math or science skills.
    That’s why we’re so excited that Chevron, our single most generous corporate partner, is tackling STEM projects on Through their Fuel Your School initiative, Chevron has provided over $3.5 million in funding to STEM projects reaching more than 570,000 students. Every time a Chevron customer filled up their gas tank, $1 helped provide microscopes, textbooks, technology and other supplies requested by nearly 5,000 teachers.
    To show the impact of each dollar contributed, Chevron used the API to build maps of the projects they funded. For example, check out the projects funded in Sacramento — and think of the future architects, scientists, astronauts and engineers who now have the resources they need for a great education.
    Below are a few of those students opening up their newly funded STEM projects in Contra Costa County, CA.

    0 0

    Physicists ask photons 'Where have you been?'

    An artist's impression of the double-slit experiment

    A new version of the famous double-slit experiment has allowed physicists in Israel to measure a phenomenon that is bizarre even by the counterintuitive standards of quantum mechanics. By placing a double-slit experiment along one path of a larger double-slit experiment, the researchers have shown that photons traverse a section of the apparatus that they neither enter nor exit. The effect, the team argues, is best understood by invoking a little-used interpretation of quantum mechanics that was first proposed in 1964.
    Perhaps the simplest and starkest demonstration of wave–particle duality is the famous double-slit experiment. Particles such as photons or electrons that are emitted discretely behave as waves when they pass through two slits and build-up an interference pattern when detected individually on a screen.
    In this latest version of the experiment, Lev Vaidman and colleagues at Tel-Aviv University used Mach–Zehnder interferometers as double slits and photons as particles. The optical interferometer uses a beamsplitter to divide the photon beam into two separate paths that are then recombined and sent to a detector. A difference in the lengths of the two paths dictates how the beams interfere when recombined, which affects the intensity measured by the detector.

    Three possible paths

    In the Tel Aviv experiment, an inner Mach–Zehnder interferometer is placed in one path of an outer interferometer so that the recombined beam continues its journey through the outer device and on to a detector (see figure below). This means that a photon has three possible paths from source to detector. The goal of the experiment is to find out which paths are taken by at least some photons arriving at the detector. This is called a weak measurement, and is consistent with the laws of quantum mechanics because it does not involve measuring the path of any specific photon.

    Diagram showing the two-interferometer experiment

    Vibrating mirrors bring the two-state vector formalism into focus

    To make their measurements, the researchers set all the mirrors in the interferometer vibrating slightly, each at a different frequency. As a mirror vibrates, it alters the pathlength of any light reflecting from that mirror. This alters the phase difference when the beam is recombined, changing the intensity at the detector. As every mirror is vibrating at a unique frequency, oscillations in the detected intensity at a particular frequency indicated that photons have touched a specific mirror.
    The researchers arranged the two pathlengths through the inner interferometer so that the two paths interfered destructively when they recombined. Therefore, no light could leave the inner interferometer. One might expect, therefore, that the only oscillation in the detected intensity would come from the mirror bypassing the inner interferometer, but this was not what the researchers found.

    Bizarre conclusion

    The detected intensity did indeed oscillate at the frequency of this bypass mirror, but it also oscillated at the frequencies of the mirrors in the inner interferometer. It did not, however, oscillate at the frequencies of the mirrors directing light into or out of this inner interferometer. This leads to the bizarre conclusion that some photons received by the detector had passed through the inner inteferometer, but had never entered it and never left it.
    The researchers believe that this validates an unconventional interpretation of quantum theory called the two-state vector formalism. It was first proposed in 1964 by Yakir Aharonov, Peter Bergmann and Joel Lebowitz. Here, the probability of finding a particle in a particular place is the product of two vectors: one evolving forwards in time from the source and one evolving backwards in time from the detector.
    A photon can touch a mirror if and only if both waves are non-zero at that point. The inner interferometer causes any wave leaving it to be identically zero. The forward-evolving wave is zero on the way out, and so no photons can be found here. The backward-evolving wave travels backwards through the interferometer and is therefore zero on the way in, so no photons can be found here either. Within the inner interferometer, however, both forward- and backward-evolving waves are non-zero, and so photons pass through both arms (see figure).

    Intuitions and explanations

    Vaidman stresses that the two-state vector formalism does not actually make different predictions from the conventional wave-mechanics approach devised by Erwin Schrödinger in the 1920s. However, the results of this experiment seem highly counterintuitive and are difficult to rationalize using the traditional method. "You can define constants and you can have intuitions about what is going on using the two-state vector formalism," says Vaidman, "But it's not something that standard quantum mechanics cannot explain in the end."
    Onur Hosten of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved in the experiment, says that whether you consider the experiment using the two-state vector formalism or using the conventional wave-mechanics approach, the effect is generated by the fact that performing a weak measurement inevitably perturbs the system. Oscillating the mirrors does itself change the pathlengths, thereby destroying the perfect destructive interference between the two paths of the inner interferometer and allowing the wavefunction to leak out. The probability of a photon leaking out is effectively zero, however, because the probability is proportional to the square of the wavefunction, which tends to zero much faster than the wavefunction itself. "From my perspective, it's really interesting to understand why you get the results you do," says Hosten, adding "but it's also interesting that a weak measurement gives you some disconcerting answers."
    The results are to be published in Physical Review Letters. A preprint is available on arXiv.
    • Weak measurements are explained in detail in the article "In praise of weakness" by Aephraim Steinberg, Amir Feizpour, Lee Rozema, Dylan Mahler and Alex Hayat of the University of Toronto.

    0 0

    Unpredictable Work Hours Are Stressing Too Many People Out

    In the modern workforce, control over your time is a valuable form of currency: for many, it’s an equal aspiration to getting rich (if it’s any proof ,“control your time” has almost 200,000,000 more mentions on Google than “make more money”). And yet as jobs become ever more dependent on online connectivity and technology, more of us are losing control over our time.

    Workers at the top and bottom of the economic spectrum feel the loss of control dearly, and technology is often the culprit. Whether it’s a buzzing smartphone or software that tracks our whereabouts, the more hard to predict our schedules become, the less real flexibility many of us have.
    Researchers, company executives, and advocates fought for decades to increase workplace flexibility. I remember my own initial experience of it: my Blackberry and VPN didn’t yet feel like a yoke, but rather a truly empowering instrument that allowed me freedom to work on my terms. Now, the fight for flexibility feels like a red herring, masking the huge erosion of agency over our own time, whether at work or not. What if it’s not about flex, but about helping managers and workers set good boundaries, so that we all feel a reasonable level of control over our lives? What if the problem isn’t one of flexibility, but variability?
    Today, workplace flexibility is the goal for many firms and its implementation is increasing across the board. But we can no longer kid ourselves that increased “flexibility” is enough to cope with increasing work variability. Here are two powerful examples, from opposite ends of the income spectrum.
    Retail workers are often forced to work hours that may seem flexible but in truth are just highly variable. Software that helps retailers optimize staffing against levels of store traffic creates chaos for working families, as New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor so vividly illustrated in a recent story featuring days in the life of a Starbucks barista, Jannette Navarro. Kantor writes, “in interviews with current and recent workers at 17 Starbucks outlets around the country, only two said they received a week’s notice of their hours; some got as little as one day.”
    From a corporate perspective, scheduling software takes a time-consuming task away from store supervisors and does it much more efficiently. Using analytics to schedule workers on an as-needed basis saves labor costs and also ensures adequate staffing during peak periods. But are the upsides enough to compensate for the havoc wreaked on workers’ lives? Starbucks quickly promised to revise its scheduling practices so that work hours must be posted at least one week in advance.
    While the problem is vastly more challenging for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, those who work in well-paid, white collar jobs also feel the effects of variability. Employees at Boston Consulting Group, one of the most elite workplaces there is, suffered the stress created by lack of control over their work hours. Deborah Lovich, a BCG Partner who engaged Harvard Business School Professor Leslie Perlow, writes: “The big problem wasn’t so much the long hours and incessant travel. Our consultants expected that when they joined BCG. Rather, Perlow discovered, it was the complete lack of predictability or control they had over their daily lives.”
    “When consultants woke up in the morning, they literally had no idea how many hours they would be putting in that day. When Perlow asked them in the morning how long they expected to work that day, they underestimated by up to 30 percent. For data-driven people like us, those numbers really hit us.” Lovich worked with Perlow to offer BCG employees predictable time off. Simple interventions, such giving team members more control over how they define their schedule, raised productivity and intent to stay with the company.
    Whether we are low-paid hourly workers or highly-salaried professionals, we are witnessing a shift: What was originally a case for greater flexibility has morphed into a need to control increasing variability.
    In the end, it’s control over your day that empowers people and gives satisfaction at work. We all must have control over our time in order to function and create solid families and normal lives. Jannette Navarro’s lack of control over her shift schedule helped cripple any sense of routine for her son, and made basic steps towards gaining a leg up, such as getting a driver’s license or finish her education, impossible. Leslie Perlow’s work with consultant teams found lack of control over one’s schedule drives dissatisfaction and turnover.
    Those who have been influential in demanding workplaces with greater flexibility need to think holistically about what happens next. Leaders in work redesign not only have to make work more flexible, but make work hours more predictable.

    View at the original source

    0 0

    Discovering Your Authentic Leadership

    During the past 50 years, leadership scholars have conducted more than 1,000 studies in an attempt to determine the definitive styles, characteristics, or personality traits of great leaders. None of these studies has produced a clear profile of the ideal leader. Thank goodness. If scholars had produced a cookie-cutter leadership style, individuals would be forever trying to imitate it. They would make themselves into personae, not people, and others would see through them immediately.
    No one can be authentic by trying to imitate someone else. You can learn from others’ experiences, but there is no way you can be successful when you are trying to be like them. People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not a replica of someone else. Amgen CEO and president Kevin Sharer, who gained priceless experience working as Jack Welch’s assistant in the 1980s, saw the downside of GE’s cult of personality in those days. “Everyone wanted to be like Jack,” he explains. “Leadership has many voices. You need to be who you are, not try to emulate somebody else.”
    Over the past five years, people have developed a deep distrust of leaders. It is increasingly evident that we need a new kind of business leader in the twenty-first century. In 2003, Bill George’s book,Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, challenged a new generation to lead authentically. Authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. They establish long-term, meaningful relationships and have the self-discipline to get results. They know who they are.
    Many readers of Authentic Leadership, including several CEOs, indicated that they had a tremendous desire to become authentic leaders and wanted to know how. As a result, our research team set out to answer the question, “How can people become and remain authentic leaders?” We interviewed 125 leaders to learn how they developed their leadership abilities. These interviews constitute the largest in-depth study of leadership development ever undertaken. Our interviewees discussed openly and honestly how they realized their potential and candidly shared their life stories, personal struggles, failures, and triumphs.
    The people we talked with ranged in age from 23 to 93, with no fewer than 15 per decade. They were chosen based on their reputations for authenticity and effectiveness as leaders, as well as our personal knowledge of them. We also solicited recommendations from other leaders and academics. The resulting group includes women and men from a diverse array of racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds and nationalities. Half of them are CEOs, and the other half comprises a range of profit and nonprofit leaders, midcareer leaders, and young leaders just starting on their journeys.
    After interviewing these individuals, we believe we understand why more than 1,000 studies have not produced a profile of an ideal leader. Analyzing 3,000 pages of transcripts, our team was startled to see that these people did not identify any universal characteristics, traits, skills, or styles that led to their success. Rather, their leadership emerged from their life stories. Consciously and subconsciously, they were constantly testing themselves through real-world experiences and reframing their life stories to understand who they were at their core. In doing so, they discovered the purpose of their leadership and learned that being authentic made them more effective.
    These findings are extremely encouraging: You do not have to be born with specific characteristics or traits of a leader. You do not have to wait for a tap on the shoulder. You do not have to be at the top of your organization. Instead, you can discover your potential right now. As one of our interviewees, Young & Rubicam chairman and CEO Ann Fudge, said, “All of us have the spark of leadership in us, whether it is in business, in government, or as a nonprofit volunteer. The challenge is to understand ourselves well enough to discover where we can use our leadership gifts to serve others.”
    Discovering your authentic leadership requires a commitment to developing yourself. Like musicians and athletes, you must devote yourself to a lifetime of realizing your potential. Most people Kroger CEO David Dillon has seen become good leaders were self-taught. Dillon said, “The advice I give to individuals in our company is not to expect the company to hand you a development plan. You need to take responsibility for developing yourself.”

    In the following pages, we draw upon lessons from our interviews to describe how people become authentic leaders. First and most important, they frame their life stories in ways that allow them to see themselves not as passive observers of their lives but rather as individuals who can develop self-awareness from their experiences. Authentic leaders act on that awareness by practicing their values and principles, sometimes at substantial risk to themselves. They are careful to balance their motivations so that they are driven by these inner values as much as by a desire for external rewards or recognition. Authentic leaders also keep a strong support team around them, ensuring that they live integrated, grounded lives.
    Learning from Your Life Story
    The journey to authentic leadership begins with understanding the story of your life. Your life story provides the context for your experiences, and through it, you can find the inspiration to make an impact in the world. As the novelist John Barth once wrote, “The story of your life is not your life. It is your story.” In other words, it is your personal narrative that matters, not the mere facts of your life. Your life narrative is like a permanent recording playing in your head. Over and over, you replay the events and personal interactions that are important to your life, attempting to make sense of them to find your place in the world.
    While the life stories of authentic leaders cover the full spectrum of experiences—including the positive impact of parents, athletic coaches, teachers, and mentors—many leaders reported that their motivation came from a difficult experience in their lives. They described the transformative effects of the loss of a job; personal illness; the untimely death of a close friend or relative; and feelings of being excluded, discriminated against, and rejected by peers. Rather than seeing themselves as victims, though, authentic leaders used these formative experiences to give meaning to their lives. They reframed these events to rise above their challenges and to discover their passion to lead.
    Let’s focus now on one leader in particular, Novartis chairman and CEO Daniel Vasella, whose life story was one of the most difficult of all the people we interviewed. He emerged from extreme challenges in his youth to reach the pinnacle of the global pharmaceutical industry, a trajectory that illustrates the trials many leaders have to go through on their journeys to authentic leadership.
    Vasella was born in 1953 to a modest family in Fribourg, Switzerland. His early years were filled with medical problems that stoked his passion to become a physician. His first recollections were of a hospital where he was admitted at age four when he suffered from food poisoning. Falling ill with asthma at age five, he was sent alone to the mountains of eastern Switzerland for two summers. He found the four-month separations from his parents especially difficult because his caretaker had an alcohol problem and was unresponsive to his needs.
    At age eight, Vasella had tuberculosis, followed by meningitis, and was sent to a sanatorium for a year. Lonely and homesick, he suffered a great deal that year, as his parents rarely visited him. He still remembers the pain and fear when the nurses held him down during the lumbar punctures so that he would not move. One day, a new physician arrived and took time to explain each step of the procedure. Vasella asked the doctor if he could hold a nurse’s hand rather than being held down. “The amazing thing is that this time the procedure didn’t hurt,” Vasella recalls. “Afterward, the doctor asked me, ‘How was that?’ I reached up and gave him a big hug. These human gestures of forgiveness, caring, and compassion made a deep impression on me and on the kind of person I wanted to become.”
    Throughout his early years, Vasella’s life continued to be unsettled. When he was ten, his 18-year-old sister passed away after suffering from cancer for two years. Three years later, his father died in surgery. To support the family, his mother went to work in a distant town and came home only once every three weeks. Left to himself, he and his friends held beer parties and got into frequent fights. This lasted for three years until he met his first girlfriend, whose affection changed his life.
    At 20, Vasella entered medical school, later graduating with honors. During medical school, he sought out psychotherapy so he could come to terms with his early experiences and not feel like a victim. Through analysis, he reframed his life story and realized that he wanted to help a wider range of people than he could as an individual practitioner. Upon completion of his residency, he applied to become chief physician at the University of Zurich; however, the search committee considered him too young for the position.
    Disappointed but not surprised, Vasella decided to use his abilities to increase his impact on medicine. At that time, he had a growing fascination with finance and business. He talked with the head of the pharmaceutical division of Sandoz, who offered him the opportunity to join the company’s U.S. affiliate. In his five years in the United States, Vasella flourished in the stimulating environment, first as a sales representative and later as a product manager, and advanced rapidly through the Sandoz marketing organization.
    When Sandoz merged with Ciba-Geigy in 1996, Vasella was named CEO of the combined companies, now called Novartis, despite his young age and limited experience. Once in the CEO’s role, Vasella blossomed as a leader. He envisioned the opportunity to build a great global health care company that could help people through lifesaving new drugs, such as Gleevec, which has proved to be highly effective for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. Drawing on the physician role models of his youth, he built an entirely new Novartis culture centered on compassion, competence, and competition. These moves established Novartis as a giant in the industry and Vasella as a compassionate leader.
    Vasella’s experience is just one of dozens provided by authentic leaders who traced their inspiration directly from their life stories. Asked what empowered them to lead, these leaders consistently replied that they found their strength through transformative experiences. Those experiences enabled them to understand the deeper purpose of their leadership.
    Knowing Your Authentic Self
    When the 75 members of Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Advisory Council were asked to recommend the most important capability for leaders to develop, their answer was nearly unanimous: self-awareness. Yet many leaders, especially those early in their careers, are trying so hard to establish themselves in the world that they leave little time for self-exploration. They strive to achieve success in tangible ways that are recognized in the external world—money, fame, power, status, or a rising stock price. Often their drive enables them to be professionally successful for a while, but they are unable to sustain that success. As they age, they may find something is missing in their lives and realize they are holding back from being the person they want to be. Knowing their authentic selves requires the courage and honesty to open up and examine their experiences. As they do so, leaders become more humane and willing to be vulnerable.
    Of all the leaders we interviewed, David Pottruck, former CEO of Charles Schwab, had one of the most persistent journeys to self-awareness. An all-league football player in high school, Pottruck became MVP of his college team at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his MBA at Wharton and a stint with Citigroup, he joined Charles Schwab as head of marketing, moving from New York to San Francisco. An extremely hard worker, Pottruck could not understand why his new colleagues resented the long hours he put in and his aggressiveness in pushing for results. “I thought my accomplishments would speak for themselves,” he said. “It never occurred to me that my level of energy would intimidate and offend other people, because in my mind I was trying to help the company.”
    Pottruck was shocked when his boss told him, “Dave, your colleagues do not trust you.” As he recalled, “That feedback was like a dagger to my heart. I was in denial, as I didn’t see myself as others saw me. I became a lightning rod for friction, but I had no idea how self-serving I looked to other people. Still, somewhere in my inner core the feedback resonated as true.” Pottruck realized that he could not succeed unless he identified and overcame his blind spots.
    Denial can be the greatest hurdle that leaders face in becoming self-aware. They all have egos that need to be stroked, insecurities that need to be smoothed, fears that need to be allayed. Authentic leaders realize that they have to be willing to listen to feedback—especially the kind they don’t want to hear. It was only after his second divorce that Pottruck finally was able to acknowledge that he still had large blind spots: “After my second marriage fell apart, I thought I had a wife-selection problem.” Then he worked with a counselor who delivered some hard truths: “The good news is you do not have a wife-selection problem; the bad news is you have a husband-behavior problem.” Pottruck then made a determined effort to change. As he described it, “I was like a guy who has had three heart attacks and finally realizes he has to quit smoking and lose some weight.”
    These days Pottruck is happily remarried and listens carefully when his wife offers constructive feedback. He acknowledges that he falls back on his old habits at times, particularly in high stress situations, but now he has developed ways of coping with stress. “I have had enough success in life to have that foundation of self-respect, so I can take the criticism and not deny it. I have finally learned to tolerate my failures and disappointments and not beat myself up.”
    Practicing Your Values and Principles
    The values that form the basis for authentic leadership are derived from your beliefs and convictions, but you will not know what your true values are until they are tested under pressure. It is relatively easy to list your values and to live by them when things are going well. When your success, your career, or even your life hangs in the balance, you learn what is most important, what you are prepared to sacrifice, and what trade-offs you are willing to make.
    Leadership principles are values translated into action. Having a solid base of values and testing them under fire enables you to develop the principles you will use in leading. For example, a value such as “concern for others” might be translated into a leadership principle such as “create a work environment where people are respected for their contributions, provided job security, and allowed to fulfill their potential.”
    Consider Jon Huntsman, the founder and chairman of Huntsman Corporation. His moral values were deeply challenged when he worked for the Nixon administration in 1972, shortly before Watergate. After a brief stint in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), he took a job under H.R. Haldeman, President Nixon’s powerful chief of staff. Huntsman said he found the experience of taking orders from Haldeman “very mixed. I wasn’t geared to take orders, irrespective of whether they were ethically or morally right.” He explained, “We had a few clashes, as plenty of things that Haldeman wanted to do were questionable. An amoral atmosphere permeated the White House.”
    One day, Haldeman directed Huntsman to help him entrap a California congressman who had been opposing a White House initiative. The congressman was part owner of a plant that reportedly employed undocumented workers. To gather information to embarrass the congressman, Haldeman told Huntsman to get the plant manager of a company Huntsman owned to place some undocumented workers at the congressman’s plant in an undercover operation.
    “There are times when we react too quickly and fail to realize immediately what is right and wrong,” Huntsman recalled. “This was one of those times when I didn’t think it through. I knew instinctively it was wrong, but it took a few minutes for the notion to percolate. After 15 minutes, my inner moral compass made itself noticed and enabled me to recognize this wasn’t the right thing to do. Values that had accompanied me since childhood kicked in. Halfway through my conversation with our plant manager, I said to him, ‘Let’s not do this. I don’t want to play this game. Forget that I called.’”
    Huntsman told Haldeman that he would not use his employees in this way. “Here I was saying no to the second most powerful person in the country. He didn’t appreciate responses like that, as he viewed them as signs of disloyalty. I might as well have been saying farewell. So be it. I left within the next six months.”
    Balancing Your Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations
    Because authentic leaders need to sustain high levels of motivation and keep their lives in balance, it is critically important for them to understand what drives them. There are two types of motivations—extrinsic and intrinsic. Although they are reluctant to admit it, many leaders are propelled to achieve by measuring their success against the outside world’s parameters. They enjoy the recognition and status that come with promotions and financial rewards. Intrinsic motivations, on the other hand, are derived from their sense of the meaning of their life. They are closely linked to one’s life story and the way one frames it. Examples include personal growth, helping other people develop, taking on social causes, and making a difference in the world. The key is to find a balance between your desires for external validation and the intrinsic motivations that provide fulfillment in your work.
    Many interviewees advised aspiring leaders to be wary of getting caught up in social, peer, or parental expectations. Debra Dunn, who has worked in Silicon Valley for decades as a Hewlett-Packard executive, acknowledged the constant pressures from external sources: “The path of accumulating material possessions is clearly laid out. You know how to measure it. If you don’t pursue that path, people wonder what is wrong with you. The only way to avoid getting caught up in materialism is to understand where you find happiness and fulfillment.”
    Moving away from the external validation of personal achievement is not always easy. Achievement-oriented leaders grow so accustomed to successive accomplishments throughout their early years that it takes courage to pursue their intrinsic motivations. But at some point, most leaders recognize that they need to address more difficult questions in order to pursue truly meaningful success. McKinsey’s Alice Woodwark, who at 29 has already achieved notable success, reflected: “My version of achievement was pretty naive, born of things I learned early in life about praise and being valued. But if you’re just chasing the rabbit around the course, you’re not running toward anything meaningful.”
    Intrinsic motivations are congruent with your values and are more fulfilling than extrinsic motivations. John Thain, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, said, “I am motivated by doing a really good job at whatever I am doing, but I prefer to multiply my impact on society through a group of people.” Or as Ann Moore, chairman and CEO of Time, put it, “I came here 25 years ago solely because I loved magazines and the publishing world.” Moore had a dozen job offers after business school but took the lowest-paying one with Time because of her passion for publishing.
    Building Your Support Team
    Leaders cannot succeed on their own; even the most outwardly confident executives need support and advice. Without strong relationships to provide perspective, it is very easy to lose your way.
    Authentic leaders build extraordinary support teams to help them stay on course. Those teams counsel them in times of uncertainty, help them in times of difficulty, and celebrate with them in times of success. After their hardest days, leaders find comfort in being with people on whom they can rely so they can be open and vulnerable. During the low points, they cherish the friends who appreciate them for who they are, not what they are. Authentic leaders find that their support teams provide affirmation, advice, perspective, and calls for course corrections when needed.
    How do you go about building your support team? Most authentic leaders have a multifaceted support structure that includes their spouses or significant others, families, mentors, close friends, and colleagues. They build their networks over time, as the experiences, shared histories, and openness with people close to them create the trust and confidence they need in times of trial and uncertainty. Leaders must give as much to their supporters as they get from them so that mutually beneficial relationships can develop.
    It starts with having at least one person in your life with whom you can be completely yourself, warts and all, and still be accepted unconditionally. Often that person is the only one who can tell you the honest truth. Most leaders have their closest relationships with their spouses, although some develop these bonds with another family member, a close friend, or a trusted mentor. When leaders can rely on unconditional support, they are more likely to accept themselves for who they really are.
    Many relationships grow over time through an expression of shared values and a common purpose. Randy Komisar of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said his marriage to Hewlett-Packard’s Debra Dunn is lasting because it is rooted in similar values. “Debra and I are very independent but extremely harmonious in terms of our personal aspirations, values, and principles. We have a strong resonance around questions like, ‘What is your legacy in this world?’ It is important to be in sync about what we do with our lives.”
    Many leaders have had a mentor who changed their lives. The best mentoring interactions spark mutual learning, exploration of similar values, and shared enjoyment. If people are only looking for a leg up from their mentors, instead of being interested in their mentors’ lives as well, the relationships will not last for long. It is the two-way nature of the connection that sustains it.
    Personal and professional support groups can take many forms. Piper Jaffray’s Tad Piper is a member of an Alcoholics Anonymous group. He noted, “These are not CEOs. They are just a group of nice, hard-working people who are trying to stay sober, lead good lives, and work with each other about being open, honest, and vulnerable. We reinforce each other’s behavior by talking about our chemical dependency in a disciplined way as we go through the 12 steps. I feel blessed to be surrounded by people who are thinking about those kinds of issues and actually doing something, not just talking about them.”
    Bill George’s experiences echo Piper’s: In 1974, he joined a men’s group that formed after a weekend retreat. More than 30 years later, the group is still meeting every Wednesday morning. After an opening period of catching up on each other’s lives and dealing with any particular difficulty someone may be facing, one of the group’s eight members leads a discussion on a topic he has selected. These discussions are open, probing, and often profound. The key to their success is that people say what they really believe without fear of judgment, criticism, or reprisal. All the members consider the group to be one of the most important aspects of their lives, enabling them to clarify their beliefs, values, and understanding of vital issues, as well as serving as a source of honest feedback when they need it most.
    Integrating Your Life by Staying Grounded
    Integrating their lives is one of the greatest challenges leaders face. To lead a balanced life, you need to bring together all of its constituent elements—work, family, community, and friends—so that you can be the same person in each environment. Think of your life as a house, with a bedroom for your personal life, a study for your professional life, a family room for your family, and a living room to share with your friends. Can you knock down the walls between these rooms and be the same person in each of them?
    As John Donahoe, president of eBay Marketplaces and former worldwide managing director of Bain, stressed, being authentic means maintaining a sense of self no matter where you are. He warned, “The world can shape you if you let it. To have a sense of yourself as you live, you must make conscious choices. Sometimes the choices are really hard, and you make a lot of mistakes.”
    Authentic leaders have a steady and confident presence. They do not show up as one person one day and another person the next. Integration takes discipline, particularly during stressful times when it is easy to become reactive and slip back into bad habits. Donahoe feels strongly that integrating his life has enabled him to become a more effective leader. “There is no nirvana,” he said. “The struggle is constant, as the trade-offs don’t get any easier as you get older.” But for authentic leaders, personal and professional lives are not a zero-sum game. As Donahoe said, “I have no doubt today that my children have made me a far more effective leader in the workplace. Having a strong personal life has made the difference.”
    Leading is high-stress work. There is no way to avoid stress when you are responsible for people, organizations, outcomes, and managing the constant uncertainties of the environment. The higher you go, the greater your freedom to control your destiny but also the higher the degree of stress. The question is not whether you can avoid stress but how you can control it to maintain your own sense of equilibrium.
    Authentic leaders are constantly aware of the importance of staying grounded. Besides spending time with their families and close friends, authentic leaders get physical exercise, engage in spiritual practices, do community service, and return to the places where they grew up. All are essential to their effectiveness as leaders, enabling them to sustain their authenticity.
    Empowering People to Lead
    Now that we have discussed the process of discovering your authentic leadership, let’s look at how authentic leaders empower people in their organizations to achieve superior long-term results, which is the bottom line for all leaders.
    Authentic leaders recognize that leadership is not about their success or about getting loyal subordinates to follow them. They know the key to a successful organization is having empowered leaders at all levels, including those who have no direct reports. They not only inspire those around them, they empower those individuals to step up and lead.
    A reputation for building relationships and empowering people was instrumental in chairman and CEO Anne Mulcahy’s stunning turnaround of Xerox. When Mulcahy was asked to take the company’s reins from her failed predecessor, Xerox had $18 billion in debt, and all credit lines were exhausted. With the share price in free fall, morale was at an all-time low. To make matters worse, the SEC was investigating the company’s revenue recognition practices.
    Mulcahy’s appointment came as a surprise to everyone—including Mulcahy herself. A Xerox veteran, she had worked in field sales and on the corporate staff for 25 years, but not in finance, R&D, or manufacturing. How could Mulcahy cope with this crisis when she had had no financial experience? She brought to the CEO role the relationships she had built over 25 years, an impeccable understanding of the organization, and, above all, her credibility as an authentic leader. She bled for Xerox, and everyone knew it. Because of that, they were willing to go the extra mile for her.
    After her appointment, Mulcahy met personally with the company’s top 100 executives to ask them if they would stay with the company despite the challenges ahead. “I knew there were people who weren’t supportive of me,” she said. “So I confronted a couple of them and said, ‘This is about the company.’” The first two people Mulcahy talked with, both of whom ran big operating units, decided to leave, but the remaining 98 committed to stay.
    Throughout the crisis, people in Xerox were empowered by Mulcahy to step up and lead in order to restore the company to its former greatness. In the end, her leadership enabled Xerox to avoid bankruptcy as she paid back $10 billion in debt and restored revenue growth and profitability with a combination of cost savings and innovative new products. The stock price tripled as a result.
    • • •
    Like Mulcahy, all leaders have to deliver bottom-line results. By creating a virtuous circle in which the results reinforce the effectiveness of their leadership, authentic leaders are able to sustain those results through good times and bad. Their success enables them to attract talented people and align employees’ activities with shared goals, as they empower others on their team to lead by taking on greater challenges. Indeed, superior results over a sustained period of time is the ultimate mark of an authentic leader. It may be possible to drive short-term outcomes without being authentic, but authentic leadership is the only way we know to create sustainable long-term results.
    For authentic leaders, there are special rewards. No individual achievement can equal the pleasure of leading a group of people to achieve a worthy goal. When you cross the finish line together, all the pain and suffering you may have experienced quickly vanishes. It is replaced by a deep inner satisfaction that you have empowered others and thus made the world a better place. That’s the challenge and the fulfillment of authentic leadership.

    0 0

    Better Knowledge for Better Business Management

    The most outstanding research of the 2013/14 academic yearExplore
    If you want to get better at something, doing your research is a must. IESE professors know this only too well and dedicate a large portion of their time to studying topics related to business management. Some of their research is published in books, some appears in academic journals and some is presented at international conferences.
    During the 2013/2014 academic year, faculty members published over 65 academic articles and 10 books. The school also organized symposiums and participated in numerous international research projects. The following is a rundown of some of the most significant research of the past year, grouped by topic.

    Good governance, transparency and strong relationships between businesses and their stakeholders
    The financial and accounting scandals of recent years have been the subject of research for our professors for some time now. Fernando Peñalva, Professor of Accounting and Control at IESE, has studied the impact of such scandals on accounting practices in companies. In his latest article "Information Consequences of Accounting Conservatism", published in the European Accounting Review, he turns to the benefits of recording losses as soon as they are discovered and waiting to record gains until they are verified. Accounting conservatism, he argues, is not only good for debt-holders but good for equity holders, too, because the information on financial statements is more reliable and transparent.
    Looking at corporate governance and stakeholder theories, one article worthy of mention is "Maximizing Stakeholders' Interests: An Empirical Analysis of the Stakeholder Approach to Corporate Governance" (see summary) published in Business & Society. Professors Roberto García Castro and Miguel Angel Ariño contributed to the paper, which analyzes two relevant dimensions for corporate governance: the advisory role played by a firm’s corporate and social responsibility (CSR) function and the level of stakeholder participation. Another article, "Proxy Advisory Firms and Stock Option Repricing" (see summary), published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics and written by IESE'sGaizka Ormazabal, together with David Larcker and Allan McCall from Stanford, explores the value of taking advice from voting advisors or proxy advisors alongside the real benefits to shareholders.

    New leadership dimensions: global, adaptable and digital
    As would be expected, IESE has continued to research leadership requirements in the current business climate. Jordi Canals, Dean of IESE and Professor of Economics and General Management, published an article in the Journal of Management Developmententitled "Global Leadership Development, Strategic Alignment and CEOs Commitment." He outlines the problems many companies face when searching for global leaders. The article suggests that training tomorrow’s global leaders should focus on four key competencies: acquiring knowledge, including an understanding of different economic and sociopolitical systems; honing the ability to analyze situations and make complex decisions; developing interpersonal skills; and developing the attitudes or personal traits based on classical virtues such as humility.
    One challenge for global leadership is managing cultural differences. In "Multicultural Validation of a Three-Dimensional Framework of Managerial Competencies: A Comparative Analysis of its Application in Asian Versus Non-Asian Countries" (see summary), published in Asian Business and Management, Professor Yih-teen Lee and co-authors offer an opinion on the comparative weight which key management and leadership skills have in different Asiatic and non-Asiatic countries. While Lee's study presents convincing empirical evidence that there are management skills which function well across borders, it also signals cultural differences between regions.
    For executives in the modern world, adaptability is also considered a key competency to develop. In "Too Much or Too Little? A Study of the Impact of Career Complexity on Executive Adaptability" (see summary), published in Career International Development journal, Professor Mireia Las Heras analyzes how executives acquire the ability to adapt in their careers.
    Looking at technological advances, "Five Skills Every Leader Needs to Succeed in the Digital World" are identified by Professors Evgeny KáganerSandra Sieber and Javier Zamora (scientific collaborator). In this article, published in the IESE Insight magazine (see summary), they pick out the most important requirements for those at the helm of their companies’ digital transformations.

    Digitalization and customer empowerment
    Digital transformation and the empowerment of the consumer via new technologies and social networks have been the subject of a great deal of the research carried out by professors in IESE’s Marketing, Information Systems and Digital Strategy Departments.
    In this area, the big news is IESE’s new Indra Chair for Digital Strategy, which will be held by professor Josep Valor. Valor is generating new ideas about the digital transformation at work, taking into account mobility and 24x7 connectivity. Valor also works on innovation and stimulating productivity in businesses by means of digital technology.
    To investigate some of the impact of social networks, Professor Massimo Maoret has obtained a Marie Curie grant from the European Union for his project "SocialiseME: Evaluating the impact of socialization tactics, social networks and demographic similarity on newcomers’ organizational socialization and performance in a longitudinal cross-industry data sample."
    The digital transformation of the health industry has been analyzed this year by Stefan Stremersch, resulting in his article "The Effect of Customer Empowerment and Adherence to Expert Advice" (see summary). The piece, which was published in theInternational Journal of Research in Marketing, was co-authored by Nuno Camacho and Martijn G. De Jong.
    In the urban planning arena, and specifically in relation to the creation of "smart cities", the latest IESE Cities in Motion (ICIM) index cannot go without mention. The initiative was run by the IESE Center for Globalization and Strategy, led by professors Joan Enric Ricartand Pascual Berrone.

    Ethical rearmament and the social impact of managers and companies
    Since its creation in 1958, IESE professors have studied the impact of managerial decisions on companies and on society. In recent years, following the financial crisis, ethical questions in business have gained prominence.
    The 18th annual Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society brought together high-caliber international speakers who discussed the need for an ethical rearmament of banking, as well as transparent accounting practices and responsible investing (read article).
    Research carried out by Miguel Angel Ariño and David Pastoriza in this field merits special mention. They found empirical evidence that ethical leadership builds up the social capital of a company. In their article "Does the Ethical Leadership of Supervisors Generate Internal Social Capital?" (see summary), published in the Journal of Business Ethics, the authors demonstrate that supervisors’ concern for the well-being of employees increases their identification with the firm while ethical leadership also increases levels of trust and the willingness to share at work.
    Professor Josep María Rosanas and Natalia Cugueró-Escofet examined how to introduce justice into management control systems in their article "The Just Design and Use of Management Control Systems as Requirements for Goal Congruence", published inManagement Accounting Research.
    Finally, this year the IESE Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform was unveiled. It is a platform designed for research but also to help publicize work on social entrepreneurship conducted inside and outside of IESE.

    Innovation: management models and relations
    A major event in the academic year 2013/2014 was the publication of the book "The Innovation Paradox: Why Good Businesses Kill Breakthroughs and How They Can Change" (see summary), co-authored by IESE's professor Antonio Dávila and Marc J. Epstein from Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. The authors identify management models for companies looking for breakthrough innovations while also identifying obstacles that well-run corporations may face along the way. The book offers tools and frameworks to build what the authors call "start-up corporations."
    Interpersonal networks matter to innovation, research at IESE found. In his article "The Social Underpinnings of Absorptive Capacity" (see summary), published in the Strategic Management Journal, Professor Marco Tortoriello finds that people with wider social networks at work were more likely to come up with innovative ideas.

    Sectors under change
    As well as researching management concepts, IESE professors are also analyzing those business sectors undergoing rapid change. Three key sectors have caught professors’ attention during this academic year: banking and finance, trade and distribution, and health care.
    • Banking and the financial sector
    The global effects of the financial crisis and the wave of reforms which have ensued have triggered research and academic debate. One such example is "Good for One, Bad for All: Determinants of Individual Versus Systemic Risk" (see summary) published in theJournal of Financial Stability. In this work, Miguel Antón and Christopher Polk investigate how measures which might strengthen an individual bank could actually weaken the financial system as a whole. In "Connected Stocks" (see summary), published in theJournal of Finance, the same authors study the correlations between stocks with shared ownership by mutual funds.
    Professor Xavier Vives has written an article entitled "Strategic Complementarity, Fragility, and Regulation", which is to be published in the Review of Financial Studies. It is the fruit of his research on the fragility of the financial system and the various options for using regulation as a way to avoid another crisis.
    • Distribution and trade
    Professor of marketing José Luís Nueno published a book and a study in the academic year; both describe changes in the retail industry, the surge in multichannel distribution and the beginnings of a recovery in retail sales. His book is entitled "The Return of the Consumer" (see summary), published by AECOC. Nueno's study "The Decline of Main Street, the Rise of Multichannel Retail" (see summary) outlines the direction in which he sees the retail business heading.
    • Healthcare sector
    As the 2013/2014 year ended, two important initiatives were underway in health care. First is the Jaime Grego Chair in Health Care Management, which is to be held by Professor Núria Mas. Her focus is on health economics and health care systems. The chair will look to creating new frameworks for innovation within the health sector.
    Second is IESE’s participation in the ALFRED program, an ambitious project financed by the European Union. Its main goal is to develop an "interactive personal assistant to help independent and active living for the elderly." The academic heads of IESE’s Center for Research into Managing Innovation in the Healthcare Sector (CRHIM)Magda Rosenmoller and Jaume Ribera, are instrumental in this collaboration.

    0 0

    0 0

    Facebook's Social Experiment: A Marketer's Perspective

    Facebook's social experiment has angered many. But the social network may have learnt a thing or two about better customer segmentation and targeting.

    Image: Shutterstock

    Facebook’s social experiment , where about 700,000 users’ news feeds were secretly controlled to prioritize “sad” or “happy” status updates, is viewed by many as an unethical—and potentially illegal—manipulation. While Sheryl Sandberg, the social network’s second most powerful executive, did apologize for the “poorly communicated” research, there are so far no indications that Facebook will shy away from running similar experiments in the future.

    But why do Facebook’s data scientists want to understand how positive or negative status updates influence users’ emotions? Why are they interested in knowing how families communicate on social networks, or what are the causes of loneliness?

    The answers lie within Facebook’s business model: the company makes money primarily by hosting advertisements. According to its most recent earnings report, about 93% of the Menlo Park-based firm’s quarterly revenue of $2.9 billion came from advertising.

    Compared to traditional advertising platforms, Facebook, which possesses a massive amount of data generated by its 1.32 billion monthly active users, is in a unique position to be able to pinpoint customers that companies want to reach. And “the amount of money they can then charge the advertiser would depend upon how well they were able to match the needs of the advertiser with the customers that the particular advertiser is interested in,” says Pradeep K. Chintagunta, the Joseph T. and Bernice S. Lewis Distinguished Service Professor of Marketing at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business,an expert on household purchase behaviors.

    In this interview with CKGSB Knowledge, Chintagunta explains why consumers’ behaviors may change in different scenarios and at different points in time, and how firms like Facebook could translate those micro differences into effective marketing approaches.

    Q. Why would companies like Facebook be interested in deeper understanding of user’s mood or behaviors?

     As a marketer, in some sense [your] fundamental responsibility is to actually try to figure out what it is that your target customers want. Facebook is in a special situation. It is a platform, and the platform essentially brings in both the end consumer, who is the consumer of products, as well as companies, who actually want to reach these customers. So playing that role of bringing together both the advertiser as well as the consumer is something they would like to do. In some sense, the amount of money they can then charge the advertiser would depend upon how well they were able to match the needs of the advertiser with the interests of the customers. So, facilitating that match is important. In order to facilitate that match, they need to understand what it is that these customers really want. I think a lot of what you see them do is trying to actually get a deeper understanding, so they can facilitate that match.

    Q. The idea of segmentation and targeting is marketing 1.1. But it seems that we are taking this 10 steps ahead and slicing the audience into even thinner and thinner slivers. To what extent is this going to be feasible?

    A. In terms of feasibility, I think that’s not too much a challenge these days with the technology available. I think where companies will start running into problems is when there is push-back from the customer and the customer says, ‘You know, it’s great that I’m on Facebook and I’m interacting with my friends and colleagues, etc. But for you to now come in and try to understand—or even worse—manipulate the way I might be feeling’, that’s where they would potentially run into problems. They have to be very careful about it.

    The way I think about it though is that what they are trying to do now is go through the earlier phase where they are trying to understand how customers are going to behave based on these experiments. Once they have done these experiments and gotten a good understanding, potentially at that point, there might be less a need for them to engage in these kinds of activities than they are. By that time they have a better understanding. maybe that would be sufficient information for the advertiser to come in and do what they’d like to do.

    At some level, the issue is what’s the most micro level at which you want to target. I think it is the case that all humans are very complex. We have different moods, we have different social groups, different kinds of interactions with people and we tend to behave differently at those times. For example, I’m now sitting in front of a camera and my behavior might be very different from the way I would behave with a group of friends at a bar drinking a beer. The issue is does understanding the differences in such behavior empower marketers better add value for the customer. And the answer to that is yes.

     I think understanding and then engaging in that level of targeting is actually a potentially a worthwhile exercise, because at the end, it’s making the customer get more out of the interaction as well. It’s not just the firm.

    View at the original source

    0 0

    Social Power of The Republic of India

    Facebook and Twitter have helped us harness the true power of our opinions. Ignored customers now have a platform to air their grievances and take on big companies
    Once upon a time, big business and big government monopolised any communication there was. They had the reach, the resources — and yes, the impact — to command media coverage or to buy exposure through advertising. That hasn’t changed.

    But social media has made it possible for us, as individuals, to do more than just tell the world what we had for breakfast; popular services like Facebook and Twitter have helped us truly harness the power of our opinions. 

    Our grievances and scorn, and our approval and support, have become weapons that we wield in the here and now, in hours and days, not months (or the years between elections). We, the people, can make behemoths stop and think. 

    ‘Team Anna’, for instance, didn’t just skillfully manage the media; they also assiduously built a following using social media. They were a prominent example of how social media can be a force-multiplier for word-of-mouth, but they were not the only ones. 

    Wrong Number: Corporates Can’t Control Communication

    Mumbai resident and journalist Dhaval Valia had switched phone providers, to Vodafone, because he wanted to use its 3G services. But he discovered that he didn’t seem to be getting much. 

    Over weeks of sometimes acrimonious conversations, escalating from customer care to senior executives, Valia established that Vodafone had enabled 3G services in only half the cell tower sites in Mumbai. 

    Cornered, Vodafone’s marketing head offered Valia two months of free 3G.

    Then, in May 2011, Valia posted his experiences on Facebook. Somehow, Vodafone found out, and sent him a legal notice. Valia sent them one in return. 

    From there, it snowballed, becoming front page news in major newspapers and a raging thread on Twitter. Thousands of people were soon accusing Vodafone of Big Brother tactics and all the telco could do was listen to a conversation over which it had no control. 

    In the end, Vodafone simply withdrew its case against Valia. 

    Rites of Admission: PR Disasters Can Be Turned Around

    There is a famous — but, alas, apocryphal — story that Tata group founder Jamsetji Tata decided to build the Taj Mahal hotel as a way of getting back at discriminatory practices that did not allow ‘Indians and dogs’ into posh hotels. Over 100 years after the iconic hotel was built, another posh property — The Leela, in Bangalore — made a faux pas: Its security guards turned away a customer because he was riding a bicycle which the guards said could not be parked inside.

    Perhaps, they hadn’t realised that cycling was no longer limited to those who couldn’t afford the expensive vehicles their driveway was accustomed to and that bikes were a style and health statement in the SEC A crowd.

    At any rate, the issue travelled, from cycling enthusiasts’ bulletin board, to the Leela’s Facebook page, to newspaper articles and, finally, Twitter. 

    On March 27, a bunch of cyclists demonstrated in front of the hotel. The management saw the light pretty quickly and, within a month, The Leela had a bicycle stand in its parking lot. 

    Social Capital: Little Organisations Can Cast Large Shadows

    As India’s chances in the ICC World Cup were getting hotter, Nachiket Mor (@nachiketmor on Twitter), a former board member of ICICI Bank, now working on a healthcare project in rural Tamil Nadu, tweeted: “I have caught the World Cup fever. Have pledged to invest Rs. 10,000 for every wicket that Zaheer Khan takes in the finals!” 

    Nagesh Kukunoor (@nkukunoor), film director, pledged Rs. 10,000 to the same organisation if India won against Pakistan, and added: “My small pitch during this cricket madness — pl make a pledge on social investing does change lives”. 

    They weren’t the only ones. All sorts of people were placing all sorts of ‘bets’, with Rang De as the recipient of their pledges. At the end of the season, Rang De had collected Rs. 10 lakh. 

    These funds were destined to be disbursed as micro loans; Rang De lends at an affordable 6-10 percent, raising funds from ‘social investors’ who can give as little as Rs. 100. So far, it has raised Rs. 5.4 crore, and given loans to over 10,000 small borrowers identified by its partners. 

    Rang De launched its Web site ( ) in early 2008, around when Facebook and Twitter use began to accelerate sharply, and social media was part of its strategy from day one. 

    Word has spread through referrals from friends. N.K. Ramakrishna, co-founder, says nothing beats that. After all, “That’s what it finally comes down to: Trust.”

    The Voice of the People: Mashing Up Phones and the Net

    The Internet is a huge enabler. But in countries like India, its reach is hampered by three factors: Low PC numbers, lack of electricity and low literacy. Does that mean hundreds of millions of poor Indians should wait for things to change?

    No, say three interesting start-ups that are harnessing the reliability, ease-of-use and ubiquity of mobile phones to create a voice-driven Internet.

    CGNet Swara ( ) uses a voice-based platform to help tribal communities make their voices heard. They can call in and report what is happening and listen to stories of local interest. Journalists moderate the recordings, which are then made available online or over the phone.

    Awaz Otalo (which subsequently gave birth to Awaz De — ) is a similar project in Gujarat, which lets farmers call in and pose questions around agricultural practices, which then get routed to other farmers who can provide answers. 

    Labor Voices ( ) allows migrant construction workers to rate their employers on various parameters like working hours, salaries and working conditions. 

    I Saw It On the Telephone: Corporates Can’t Hide Uncomfortable Truths

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Today, we ask, “If companies do ugly things, but consumers don’t hear of them, are the companies still guilty?”

    Two startups are collating and channelling supply chain and labour practices information from around the world and putting it right into your hands. 

    Good Guide ( ) reveals the story behind the creation of over 120,000 everyday consumer products ranging from packaged foods to cars to cellphones, tracking and analysing the supply chains used to manufacture these products, assigning scores around multiple environmental, societal and ingredient factors. Using it is as simple as scanning the barcode of a product using your phone at a store.

    Free2Work (by ) is a listing of many well known companies such as Nestle, Fisher-Price, Adidas and Levi-Strauss. Each of them is assigned a grading based on the way they treat their employees. A revelation made by the app is Amazon’s abysmal “D” grade, based in turn on the way its Kindle contract manufacturer in China allegedly ill-treats its workers. 

    0 0

    BUSINESS NEWS | Cornell Named Top Ivy For Entrepreneurship

    Cornell has recently been named the nation’s “Silicon Ivy” by Forbes Magazine due to its focus on student entrepreneurship.
    As a result of the University’s “entrepreneurial tradition,” Cornell received fourth place — the highest of any Ivy League institution — and the Silicon Ivy title in Forbes’ Aug. 18 ranking of the country’s most entrepreneurial colleges.
    Student entrepreneurs from a variety of fields use University resources such as eLab and POPSHOP to pursue their ventures. (Dani Neuharth-Keusch)
    Student entrepreneurs from a variety of fields use University resources such as eLab and POPSHOP to pursue their ventures. (Dani Neuharth-Keusch)
    Student entrepreneurs at Cornell have access to a large network of resources, including eLab, Cornell’s startup accelerator and POPSHOP, a collaborative student-run workplace, the article noted.
    eLab was established in 2008 by Entrepreneurship at Cornell due to a “growing need” to support Cornell entrepreneurs with their ventures, according to Peter Cortle, eLab’s program manager.
    “Nearly 150 students have participated in the program,” Cortle said. “eLab largely provides students with guidance and mentorship — the program is designed to provide students with lessons they can apply right away to accelerate their growth.”
    According to Cortle, eLab takes place over eight months during both semesters and gives students the opportunity to earn 5.5 credits while “pushing forward their venture.”
    Cortle added that eLab seeks to recruit any student who has a strong passion for entrepreneurship and is not focused on any particular type of startup.
    “[We are] focused on working with the right teams with amazing passion for their concept,” he said “With each [year,] you typically see a good mix of teams ranging from software to consumer products and everything in between.”
    Students involved in startups also have access to the Student Agencies Foundation, the nation’s oldest student-run company and Life Changing Labs a Cornell-based startup network, among other resources.
    POPSHOP, for example, serves as an “ideation lab” for Cornell, according to Jake Reisch ’15, a member of the organization’s steering committee.
    “It’s a total catalyst for the university and offers a place for students to ‘do’ entrepreneurship rather than just learn about it,” said Reisch, who is also CEO of Party Headphones, a Cornell startup that provides headphones for silent discos.
    Additionally, Reisch said he believes Cornell students have extremely diverse startups, reflecting the wide range of academic disciplines at the University.
    “Cornell has a unique convergence of world-class schools in not only engineering, but also agriculture, hospitality and business — this leads to businesses in a range of areas,” Reisch said. “Our company designs and develops audio technology for group listening.”
    Resich added that eLab was a “huge help” in launching Party Headphones, as he was able to earn academic credit for working on his startup.
    Pujaa Rajan ’17, co-president of Life Changing Labs, said the company has given her the opportunity to “explore and experience” entrepreneurship.
    “I find it hard to tell you what we do here at Life Changing Labs because we do so much,” she said. “[We] help Cornell’s best entrepreneurs and startups grow and develop from just a big fantasy to a bigger and better reality.”
    Next Tuesday, Life Changing Labs will host Cornell’s first-ever Entrepreneurship Kickoff, featuring an open house, startup showcase and pitch competition with over $1,500 in prizes, according to the event’s Facebook page.
    Like Rajan and Reisch, Rahul Shah ’16 said he has utilized Cornell’s resources to develop his entrepreneurial interests.
    In 2013, Shah founded Speare, a company that he says uses data analytics to help news and media sites “engage” their audiences.
    “We applied to eLab for a grant,” he said “They really helped us [grow] from a bunch of computer scientists with technology to identifying a business need in a news media space and apply that technology to learn and grow.”
    The team currently consists of 13 Cornell students, according to Shah. He added that he thinks the most useful part of eLab is the opportunity to “take lessons” from other student entrepreneurs.
    “The ability for me to have an active set of mentors on campus to help and guide me through obstacles and motivate me to go further is useful,” he said. “But, the most important thing about eLab … is seeing 15 other startups around you pull it off.”
    The support from the Cornell entrepreneurial community has been a crucial factor in Speare’s success, according to Shah.
    “I think that support network is the reason we still exist,” he said.

    0 0

    You Don’t Know @Jack: Twitter’s Co-Founder Talks Entrepreneurship

    Do you agree with Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, about entrepreneurship? Listen to the full interview with Jack and tag someone you know in the comments below who would appreciate a Cinderella startup story!

    Twitter’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey, talks about the history of Twitter, the founding of Square, and how he made the transition from programmer to CEO.
    The Business is a Harvard Business School podcast. Twice a month during the academic year, host Brian Kenny will bring you a new take on the business world through unexpected stories, and conversations with business leaders, entrepreneurs and faculty members. Subscribe on iTunesU.


    Brian Kenny: Our guest today is Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square. He’s joining us from the Bay Area, where he goes by the handle @Jack. I guess that’s one of the benefits of creating the platform Jack, is that none of the handles are taken yet, and you get to pick whatever you want, right?
    Jack Dorsey: Yeah, I’ve never been so lucky with my name, which is a pretty common one.
    BK: We’re going to cover a lot of ground today. I’d like to talk about Twitter and Square, but I think our listeners would also love to hear your insights about entrepreneurship, the challenges of leading a startup, and the kind of things that you’ve learned along the way and we’ll try to do it all in 15 minutes to be consistent and concise, which is your philosophy as I understand it.
    JD: It is.
    BK: So, in March of 1876, Alexander Bell made the first phone call, and he said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Then 130 years later, in March, also of 2006, you sent the first Tweet, “Just setting up my Twitter.” And both of those have now become pretty famous entries, right? Do you think about that at all as you sent your first Twitter?
    JD: You know, I haven’t always made the connection, but it was a magic moment at the company when you—we were working on the system for about two weeks, and when you first get to use it, and you first get to feel it, it just feels like electricity, and it’s something that kind of makes all the hard work worth it in an instant.
    BK: You got involved in IT at a really young age, right? You started at 13. Is that when you wrote your first program?
    JD: My father was an engineer. We had a lot of solder irons and circuit boards around our house, and I was always pretty interested in taking things apart. We got our first computer when I was ten, an IBM PCjr and a Macintosh, and I was enthralled by both of them, mainly the ability to just change what they do. So I learned how to program in BASIC, and I played with HyperCard, and little by little I got better and better at newer programming languages like C.
    BK: Where did the idea for Twitter come from? I’m sure you’ve told this story a thousand times, but I think people are still not really certain where the idea originated.
    JD: For my part, I was always obsessed and interested in maps and how cities work. I used to study them when I was a kid, and just look at them and wonder what was happening in a particular part of a city, or a region, or around the block. What if you could actually see that live? My parents had a CB radio and a police scanner, and you would actually hear what was happening in the city from taxi cabs to fire trucks to police cars, ambulances, and they would always report where they were and what they were doing, so you could actually listen to a police car saying that something is happening at 5th and Broadway. We’re investigating. We’re going over to 6th and John, and we’ll be there in 15 minutes. If you take those two end points, you could actually plot them. You could point all the activity in a map that’s actually happening in the city, and I just thought that idea was so fascinating. I taught myself as much programming as necessary to actually make that work on my computer. Little by little, I got more of these visualizations of the city, and I got into dispatch when I was about 17, and eventually moved to New York and worked for the biggest dispatch firm in the world.
    BK: Bike dispatching; is that right?
    JD: Bike dispatch and black cars and general delivery. Little by little, I had all this information about what was actually happening in New York City, which was an amazing feeling just to see the city unfold live right before my eyes. It took a while to realize that I was missing a big part of the city, which were the people. Where were they? What were they doing? What if you could build a technology to actually enable them to just simply report where they were and what they were doing, what’s happening around them? I tried to make that system in 2001 with my first Blackberry, which was a Blackberry 950 e-mail pager, and it just wasn’t the right time, not the right technology. In 2006, SMS started getting really big in the United States. I had a great team around me. I was working at a company called Odeo, which was a podcasting company. Twitter was never started as a company. It was started as an idea that grew out of a failed company, a failed startup. We built the system that allowed people just to report what they were doing and what was happening around them from their mobile phone, from SMS. We built it in two weeks and then sent that first tweet, and it took off.
    BK: That’s amazing. Did you ever imagine that it would evolve the way that it has?
    BK: What’s been, in your experience, the most amazing thing that somebody has done with Twitter that surprised you the most?
    JD: I mean it really surprises me every day from—you know, I think the first real catalyzing moment for me was when I was in the office on a Saturday, and my phone buzzed, and it was a tweet, and it said simply, “Earthquake.” Immediately after that I actually felt the tremors in San Francisco. The phone kept buzzing, and there was earthquake, earthquake, earthquake. I think it’s epicentered out of Berkeley. I think it’s epicentered out of Richmond. I think it’s a 4.7. Then very, very quickly, that speculation and just that shared experience went down to fact when the USGS reported that it was a 3.7 epicentered out of Richmond. What was amazing about that is I was experiencing something in the world, and immediately I felt comforted, because it was obvious that other people were experiencing the same thing. I thought, wow, the world is so small. You can actually—just by having that shared sensation that shared experience, you all feel like you’re all in this together.
    BK: Tell us a little bit about Square. What’s the sort of backstory to Square, and what are you hoping its impact will be?
    JD: Well, Square is seen as a little tiny “dongle” that you plug into a mobile phone to enable you to accept credit cards, and a lot of people just stop there when they consider what we’re doing. What was interesting about what we did five years ago when we built the company and built the product was my cofounder Jim McKelvey is a glass artist, and he was trying to sell a piece of glass, and someone wanted to us their credit card to pay for it, and he couldn’t accept it. He never went to the bank to get a merchant account. It was just too expensive and too complicated to even think about. He just wanted to sell his piece of glass art. What we recognized was there was this real opportunity in the fact that people were losing sales because they couldn’t accept a device that more and more people had in their pocket, which was a plastic card, whether it be a credit card, a debit card, or a prepaid card. The most critical thing we did immediately was just enable them to accept every sale. As we’ve grown and as we’ve watched our sellers over the past five years, we’ve realized it’s not just important to be able to accept that form of payment, but actually account for one’s entire business, actually build tools to make the running of the business even easier. Little by little we’ve added more features and services that address any business’s top three issues, no matter how big you are. You could be a Facebook or a Twitter, or even a flower cart, which is just operated by one person. You need three things fundamentally. Number one is access to capital. You need to have money to grow your business and to start your business. Number two is you need to find customers, and number three is you need to retain those customers. That’s it. So we see our mission and our role as providing solutions for all three of those, and we’ve launched products over the five years to do just that.
    BK: Both of these ideas sprung out of your observations, and your cofounder’s observations of a felt need, something that you could provide that didn’t exist that would help people. At what point in that process does the idea of how are we going to make money off this come into it?
    JD: It’s extremely important because money and revenue is the oxygen to actually continue growing the business, and you need that oxygen to live. It’s not something that we think about every single day. I don’t think about all the times that I’m breathing. I know that it’s necessary to survival. I know it’s necessary to sustaining what I want to do in the world, so we see making money and revenue in the same way. But at the same time, we’re making a bet constantly with ourselves that in order to have an opportunity to really grow and sustain, we need to build the network. You take investment in order to have the time to make that bet, to hold your breath a little bit while you build that network out, and then that oxygen comes in to sustain the company.
    BK: How did you sort of make the journey from being a programmer to being a manager to being a leader? What was that journey like for you?
    JD: The interesting thing about entrepreneurship to me is a lot of people think about that word, and they assume that it means to start a business. The definition of entrepreneurship is actually taking on significant risk, usually financial, in order to build something. That means that anyone can really take on an entrepreneurial attitude. An entrepreneur does not necessarily create a business. It’s just a very—it’s a very bold attitude of taking on risk because you really want to see something in the world. What that means is that when you have a clear vision of what you want to see in the world and what you want to use in the world, you do whatever it takes to make it real, right? For me, to make that idea real of being able to see the city around me through police cars and ambulances and taxi cabs, I had to learn how to program. The next step around that was encouraging and attracting other programmers to help me. Suddenly you have a team, and you need to coordinate that team. Then someone has to actually be accountable to the decisions the team makes, and that leads into more leadership, and that leads into what we call management. So little by little, you attack the next most critical thing, and you learn the next most critical thing to make the idea thrive and to sustain what you’re building. It’s something that—you know, I didn’t wake up thinking I really want to build a business. I really want to be a CEO. I really want to found companies or be a leader. I woke up thinking I want to see this in the world, and what do I need to learn, and what do I need to do to make it real? And not just make it real, to make it thrive and make it something that everyone in the world could potentially use. That requires scale, and that requires thinking about teams. The most efficient means of doing that today, in our day and age, is building a company around it, so that’s what I learned how to do.
    BK: Are there things that you’re doing differently at Square than you did at Twitter just based on your experiences there? There were some management challenges at Twitter; those have been written about. Has that sort of changed your approach in how you manage things at Square?
    JD: I mean it goes back to learning around the decisions you make, but absolutely. When we started Square, one of the first things I built and wrote in the company was around analytics, instrumentation. I wrote some code to actually show everything that was happening with our service and more in the company. The reason why is because in the early days of Twitter we just did not put an emphasis on that. We were flying blind, and we were flying the system blind. When you don’t know how fast you’re going or how high you are, you will crash. We saw so many crashes in the early days of Twitter, because we just did not have instrumentation, and it led to a lot of speculation around what the problem was and how to fix it. That led to a lot of arguments and a lot of miscommunication, and a lot of contention. Just by showing what we’re doing constantly and pointing back to the data and pointing back to how things are going, it eases communication, and it eases the work environment, and that’s been critical within Square, given that we are moving people’s money around. If we go down, if we’re not available, if we’re confusing, we’re losing their money, and we’re losing them business, and we just won’t allow ourselves to do that.
    BK: Technology is advancing so fast these days that it’s in many ways outpacing the ability of governments to think about policy around technology. Certainly when you think about data security, that’s an issue that everybody is grappling with. How do you think about the role of government and how involved it should or shouldn’t be in sort of managing and putting policy around technology and how we use technology?
    JD: Technology—and that’s a word that becomes this very abstract concept. Ultimately to me it means a tool, a very simple tool that saves people time and allows them to work more efficiently and gives them time back to focus on what’s most meaningful. I think the majority of technologies today, and the majority of tools, point to a world that wants to be more global and more unified, and closer and faster. We see it in communication, and we see it in commerce. I think it’s the role of government to make sure that we’re balancing those desires with the practicalities of the day and encouraging more positive motion forward.
    BK: I saw that you tweeted to the president of Iran when he first signed onto Twitter asking him whether or not people in his country could read his tweets. Did he respond to you?
    JD: He did, and it was another one of those magic moments when the boundaries that we’ve put up in the world just eroded. I was thrilled and humbled to be able to even ask that question, and to get a response. He said he’s working on it. There’s a lot to untie there, and there’s a lot to move, but that is the intention. It’s up to the people of his nation and the world to hold him accountable to moving that forward.
    BK: Jack Dorsey, thanks so much for joining us today. We hope you’ll tweet about this.
    JD: I will. Thank you.

    0 0

    Four Ways to Spot a Great Teacher

    Parents should seek out educators who have outside intellectual lives, follow the data and ask terrific questions.

    Real-life versions of the inspiring teacher played by the late Robin Williams in 'Dead Poets Society' often speak passionately about their favorite philosopher or poet. Touchstone Pictures/Everett Collection

    I recently caught up with my downstairs neighbors, an attorney and a college professor, who have been consumed by the process of enrolling their adorable 5-year-old son in kindergarten.
    Our apartment building in brownstone Brooklyn sits between two public schools—one known for resisting standardized-test prep, the other known for a more back-to-basics approach. On a tour of the first school, the principal boasted so effusively about its art program that my neighbors wondered whether their son would learn enough math and reading. At the second school, the central office was disorganized, and my neighbors left bewildered and without much information. In the end, they enrolled their son in a private school.
    As students trundle back to the classroom, many parents will recognize my neighbors' frustration—and the anxiety that comes from trying to give your child the best possible education (especially if you can't afford to send them to private school). But in a landmark book this year, two sociologists, Angel L. Harris of Duke and Keith Robinson of the University of Texas at Austin, found that many things parents obsess over—checking homework nightly, volunteering at their kids' schools—have no measurable impact on student achievement.
    Instead, what seems to matter most is getting one's child inside the classroom of an effective teacher. Parents who do so see their children's test scores rise by as much as 8% in reading and math, the study found.
    Many schools ban parents from requesting specific teachers, which protects children whose parents are less involved. But most public schools, unhelpfully, also prevent parents of prospective students from spending unstructured time observing classrooms, where they could get a better feel for how teachers actually work with children. When parents like my neighbors visit schools, their impressions are often based more on gut instinct than on careful observation of what really makes a school great: how many skilled teachers it has.
    So how can a parent identify superb teaching? Clearly, great teachers begin by loving children. But beyond that, a growing body of research points to some basic tenets of top-notch instruction—including these four actions and mind-sets parents can look and listen for when they visit a classroom, meet an educator or review their children's schoolwork.
    Great teachers:
    • Have active intellectual lives outside their classrooms. 

    Economists have discovered that teachers with high SAT scores or perfect college GPAs are generally no better for their students than teachers with less impressive credentials. But teachers with large vocabularies are better at their jobs because this trait is associated with being intelligent, well-read and curious.
    In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois, who once taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Tennessee, wrote that teachers must "be broad-minded, cultured men and women" able to "scatter civilization" among the next generation. The best teachers often love to travel, have fascinating hobbies or speak passionately about their favorite philosopher or poet.
    Believe intelligence is achievable, not inborn.

    Effective educators reject the idea that smarts are something that only some students have; they expect all children to perform at high levels, even those who are unruly, learning disabled or struggling with English.
    How can you tell if a teacher has high expectations? Ask your child if he or she has learned anything new today. Research suggests that most students already know almost half of what is taught in most classes. Lame teachers—like one I watched spend a full 10 minutes explaining to a class in a Colorado Springs middle school that "denominator" refers to the bottom half of a fraction—spend too much time reviewing basic facts and too little time introducing deeper concepts.
    • Are data-driven. 

    Effective teachers assess students at the beginning of new units to identify their strengths and weaknesses, then quiz students again when units end to determine whether concepts and skills have sunk in. Research from the cognitive psychologists Andrew Butler and Henry Roediger confirms that students score higher on end-of-year exams when they have been quizzed by their teacher along the way.
    • Ask great questions. 

    According to the scholar John Hattie, when teachers focus lessons on concepts that are broader than those on multiple-choice tests, children's scores on higher-level assessments—like those that require writing—increase. How can you identify a high-quality question in your child's schoolwork? It tests for conceptual, not factual, understanding—not "When did the Great Depression occur?" but "What economic, social and political factors led to the Great Depression?"
    Parents shouldn't be the only ones looking for these four traits. Principals and policy makers should focus less on standardized test scores than on these more sophisticated measures of excellence. Together, we can create a groundswell of demand for great teaching in every classroom.

    0 0

    Photography: altrospazio, Roma Artwork: Tomás Saraceno, Cloudy Dunes. When Friedman meets Bucky on Air-Port-City, 2006

    What’s Your Language Strategy?

    Language pervades every aspect of organizational life. It touches everything. Yet remarkably, leaders of global organizations, whose employees speak a multitude of languages, often pay too little attention to it in their approach to talent management. As we have observed in countless organizations, unrestricted multilingualism creates inefficiency in even the most dedicated and talented workforces. It can lead to friction in cross-border interactions, lost sales, and a host of other serious problems that may jeopardize competitiveness (see also “Global Business Speaks English,”by Tsedal Neeley, HBR May 2012). Developing a comprehensive strategy for managing language can help transform that vulnerability into a source of competitive advantage.
    Choosing a lingua franca, or common language, can dramatically improve how employees collaborate across borders—even though it also introduces new challenges. For one thing, the decision to adopt a lingua franca must be balanced with the need to speak local languages and adapt to local cultures. For another, individuals’ proficiency (or lack thereof) in the common language can cloud leaders’ judgment about how suitable those people are for specific assignments and promotions. Decision makers may undervalue or overvalue language skills and therefore misjudge talent.
    We have learned through more than a decade of Tsedal Neeley’s research on language in global organizations and teams, and more than 20 years of Robert Kaplan’s leadership of global organizations, that language strategy is critical for global talent management. As a leader, you can factor language and cultural skills more deliberately into the hiring, training, assessment, and promotion of talent—and into the management of global teams—whether or not your company adopts a shared language. Of course, in a global firm, choices and tactics will vary somewhat according to the needs of each unit and region. But those differences must exist within a cohesive system that allows employees to function effectively across the organization and achieve key strategic priorities.
    Indeed, your language strategy must fit with your firm’s value proposition to customers if you hope to penetrate various markets and coordinate among them. You need to consider how to infuse language into your core talent practices in order to deliver that value.
    Hiring and Training

    When seeking superb job candidates, recruiters at global companies must be aware of potential blind spots regarding language. First, they may allow fluency (either in a lingua franca or in a local language) to overshadow their assessments of a candidate’s skills, growth potential, and knowledge of markets and cultures. To ensure that you are hiring the best people, you may need to accept some limitations on language capabilities and be prepared to provide training to meet both global and local language needs.
    For example, although IBM long ago adopted English as its lingua franca, the company has identified eight other languages as important to serving local markets. IBM hires global professionals with the expectation of strengthening their language skills through immersive training, private coaching, or online learning. Further, employees know that certain international assignments carry with them a language-training requirement.
    Another blind spot is a tendency to overrely on external lateral hires with a certain degree of language skill to fill midlevel roles rather than hiring and grooming outstanding junior candidates with the capacity and motivation to learn new languages. While the latter approach may initially take more time, companies often find that entry-level hires ultimately become their best leaders, because they have been trained from an early stage in company culture and practices. Defaulting to lateral hires can make it more difficult to build a cohesive culture—those recruits have been trained elsewhere and may have trouble assimilating. Excessive churn can be another issue: As months or years go by, companies may discover that lateral hires lack other critical competencies, even if their language skills are strong.
    For those reasons, many global companies have improved their entry-level hiring capabilities and beefed up their language training. (See the sidebar “Making It Easier to Acquire Language Skills.”) That approach may require more patience, but it may actually help you build a cohesive global business much more quickly, because you’re not continually rehiring.
    Evaluating Talent Accurately
    Once you have improved your ability to hire and train global talent, you will need to keep language in perspective when evaluating employees’ performance and making promotion decisions. Language agility does not necessarily spell high performance. As a result, it is important to assess skills and various attributes through 360-degree evaluations, which solicit feedback from subordinates, peers, supervisors, and (when appropriate) clients. The process allows managers to look beyond verbal agility when gauging performance. It’s a reality check, a way to make sure that you and other leaders are not unduly swayed by fluency.
    Jim, the head of a global bank’s Japan subsidiary, learned firsthand what can happen when leaders make promotion decisions without proper evaluation tools, such as a 360-degree review process. He had decided to promote Hiroshi Kato to a key leadership role in the unit. Having previously lived in the United States for more than 10 years, Kato was fluent in English as well as Japanese, which made it easy for Jim to communicate with him. Kato appeared to be well versed in Japanese culture and society. And Jim believed that Kato had good relationships with his colleagues and his clients.
    Because Jim had been sent to Japan with the mission of building an indigenous team in order to develop a sustainable business, he was thrilled to be able to promote a Japanese professional. Initial reactions to the promotion seemed positive. But during a dinner with a senior Japanese employee, Jim discovered that he had judged people’s responses too quickly. The employee commented, “Kato’s peers don’t respect him. He is weaker than others in terms of job performance and relationships with clients. There were several other choices you could have made among Japanese staff that would have been much better. People can’t believe you made this decision.”
    After digging deeper, Jim realized that he had conflated Kato’s fluency in English with high-level management and client skills. After thinking through how to avoid similar mistakes in the future, he introduced a 360-degree evaluation process. This new tool allowed Jim to consider much broader and deeper assessments of employees’ performance instead of relying on his impressions, which were strongly influenced by language proficiency and his own ability to relate to an employee.
    Many companies send seasoned professionals to lead business units outside their home countries. Although expatriates may not be familiar with the local language, culture, and business practices, they can bring knowledge of organizational culture along with an understanding of the company’s products, processes, and systems. But hiring, training, and succession planning must be an important part of their assignments. In particular, they need to focus on developing local talent and ensuring that indigenous professionals begin to play leadership roles in the local businesses.
    Consider the following example. The CEO of a major financial institution grew frustrated with its struggle to establish a strong presence in Asia. The company couldn’t seem to build a cadre of local leaders in the region, even though it continually sent in expatriates in an effort to do so. Each assignment lasted three to five years. Knowing that the current region head would soon return home to the United States, the CEO debriefed him on his experience. The expatriate proudly described his efforts to call on leading clients in the region and explained that he was looking forward to having another expatriate take his place. When the CEO asked him to discuss the top 10 indigenous professionals in the region, it quickly became clear that the expatriate hadn’t made local talent development a high priority. He never actively mentored or coached local lieutenants, nor did he try to improve entry-level hiring. There was no career development committee for high potentials. Even though the expatriate had been trained in Mandarin by the firm, when critical assignments came up he tended to give them to other expats who spoke fluent English and were therefore easier to relate to.
    Alarmed, the CEO immediately changed his approach with expatriates. He met with the next region head to clarify performance expectations before the assignment began. “I expect you to develop and train local leaders,” he said. “I don’t want you covering any client without a local partner. I will evaluate you not on how much business you bring in but on how well you develop this office so that we’ve built something sustainable after you’ve returned to headquarters.” The CEO also encouraged the expatriate to take six months of intensive Mandarin classes, which would at least provide him with a minimal level of fluency. This expatriate, realizing that he was sent to Asia to be a leader and manager, not just a producer, did a much better job than his predecessor.
    In addition to clarifying the role of expatriates, think about the people you’re choosing to send abroad. To build a strong team of local leaders, it’s critical to give expatriate assignments to your best people—not just to solid contributors who happen to have the right language skills and are more easily dispensed with at home. Otherwise, you may find that your firm’s global offices fail to attract, develop, and retain the strong indigenous talent they need for high performance.
    The CEO of a highly successful global industrial firm learned that lesson after many years of sending expatriates to head up non-U.S. offices, with mixed results. A friend who ran a global consumer goods company suggested, “These overseas assignments are really tough. You have to do more to build an indigenous team, cultivate successors, deal with an unfamiliar market and culture, and probably wrestle with a lower market share than you have in your home market.” While this trusted peer acknowledged that the highest performers were “never available,” his advice was to “make them available” by turning the overseas roles into high-status jobs. “In our company,” he said, “it is widely known that only the very best get these assignments. If you want to be promoted in our company, you probably need to have done at least one.”
    Upon hearing this advice, the CEO compiled a list of his 50 most talented leaders and rising stars. When he asked someone near the top of the list to take the next overseas opening, that person’s manager complained vociferously that the employee couldn’t be spared. The CEO realized that this was exactly the caliber of expatriate the firm needed in order to improve its overseas operations. The company then launched a program in which only the very best performers were given expatriate assignments.
    The CEO reflected, “Our best people are better able to adapt to local cultures....They are less likely to let language differences shade their assessments of performance. They are willing to adapt their own leadership styles to fit the situation and develop local talent. They are confident enough to play the role we need them to play.” Once employees perceived the overseas offices as plum assignments, they began to volunteer for them. Performance radically improved as measured by market share, talent development, and profitability. The company truly began to cultivate strong indigenous successors—a step that was critical to building a global enterprise.
    Managing Communication on Global Teams
    When organizations with globally dispersed teams adopt a lingua franca or require proficiency in local languages, tensions inevitably arise. Our recent studies at a wide variety of global companies reveal, for instance, that managers often unwittingly position native speakers of a lingua franca as “winners” within the firm; consequently, nonnative speakers experience a substantial loss of power and status. If companies don’t take such issues into account, they can cause otherwise talented and engaged professionals to underperform and even withdraw.
    Take Renée, who works for a $25 billion high-tech multinational headquartered in France that chose English as its main language. Renée, whose English fluency is low, describes her experience this way: “When we have a meeting or conference call to discuss an issue or to make decisions, I often feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, I must confess, my solution is to get away with not attending meetings that include English coworkers. It’s just too frustrating and embarrassing because of my limited English language skills.”
    Yvette, one of Renée’s colleagues, is a highly fluent but nonnative English speaker. She participates in conference calls with her San Francisco counterparts twice a week. Despite her strong language skills, she finds those calls stressful and frustrating. As she explains, “We need to be extra cautious, because the Americans’ mastery of the language may lead them to take advantage of us and try to fool us.” Her coworkers voice similar fears.
    A German multinational has experienced similar friction between native and nonnative colleagues. Local employees often invite only German-speaking team members to meetings or schedule calls for the middle of the night U.S. time, so that their American counterparts won’t be able to attend. “If we are going to extend the meeting to a larger forum and we have to talk in English, then I say ‘No! No, I don’t want to do this,’” a German employee admits.
    When employees struggle to express themselves in meetings or get excluded because they aren’t fluent in the chosen language, communication can become wholly unpleasant. Global managers must deal directly with such issues to promote productive global cooperation. They must be sensitive to how employees of varying language proficiency are interacting. The goal is to make it easier for native and nonnative speakers to establish trust and communicate effectively. Managers’ observations should include the following: Who attends meetings? Who speaks up? Are the best employees contributing, or is language getting in the way? It’s then important to facilitate meetings and calls so that nonnative and native speakers get equal airtime. Often this means coaching primary-language people to speak less and second-language people to speak more. It also involves setting clear agendas up front, considering the mode of communication, and thinking through meeting choreography in advance.
    Wajid Jalaldin, an experienced global team leader at Oracle, is a master of that kind of orchestration. His current team members, spread across 14 countries, must work closely together to build and maintain customized software systems for clients around the world. Wajid routinely manages meeting airtime to improve the effectiveness of team members with varying levels of English fluency. He models and evaluates inclusive meeting behaviors, such as asking open-ended questions, using silence as a tool to give colleagues an opportunity to speak, and directly addressing team members who haven’t yet participated. Most important, Wajid praises less-fluent team members for their contributions, which instills confidence.
    Building Cultural Awareness
    As we’ve discussed, language training is an important investment in employees. But language fluency does not equal cultural fluency—for either global leaders or their subordinates. Too often leaders underperform because they fail to adapt their management styles and practices to fit a multicultural environment. For them, understanding the cultural background of each team member, the role of the company, its products and services, and the customers it serves within various cultural and regional contexts is as essential as learning to conjugate new verbs.
    The same can be said for employees at all levels: Even when team members are fluent in the lingua franca, a lack of cultural awareness can cause significant misunderstandings and disagreements; it can lead to divergent group norms, practices, and expectations. To prevent such rifts, cross-cultural training must be embedded in language training. This training should focus on the types of negotiations employees might undertake, the decisions they will face, the social events in which they might participate—and the wide variation in behaviors and preferences across cultures.
    The CEO of a global technology company adopted English as its lingua franca for cross-border contact, although employees spoke their local languages within their home countries. Despite their great efforts to communicate in the shared language with international colleagues, the CEO received numerous reports of friction between offices. He realized that much of the problem stemmed from insensitivity to cultural differences and intolerance on the part of managers. For example, one leader said he found it frustrating that he could never get a clear “yes” or “no” when talking by telephone to a peer in Indonesia. He failed to take into account the importance of building a relationship, the value of face-to-face communication, and the impact of cultural differences. Lacking that awareness, he projected his home-country norms onto his peer.
    After numerous reports of similar issues, the CEO decided to integrate cultural training into language development programs for senior leaders. In each training session, the company did a mini-tutorial relating to cultural norms associated with specific countries and languages. For example, Portuguese language training included a mini-tutorial on cultural norms in Brazil. This approach was so effective that the CEO began to use his global senior leadership conferences as an opportunity to help team members learn more about the cultural aspects of their various country counterparts. He also began to emphasize cross-border cultural sensitivity in both year-end reviews and interim coaching sessions. These efforts, he found, improved coordination and reduced friction.
    That example highlights an important point: Managers must be trained and held accountable for ensuring that language and cultural skills are developed throughout their organizations. Progress should not be solely the responsibility of the HR department and individual managers. Senior executives need to model the behaviors they’re trying to cultivate in their people. In assessing their performance, year-end evaluations should address issues such as respect for others and cultural differences, the ability to foster such respect in subordinates, and the ability to adapt management styles to fit diverse cultural contexts and interact with employees who have varying degrees of fluency.
    Ultimately, this diversity of language and cultural background should be reflected in the composition of the organization’s senior leadership team.
    Language is a vital link to your talent management strategy. Even if your company decides not to adopt a lingua franca, you can’t neglect language. In fact, it should touch every talent decision you make as a global leader. By managing it carefully, you can acquire and develop the very best employees, close gaps between native and nonnative speakers as they collaborate to meet strategic goals, and strengthen your company’s footing in local markets. In short, you can turn language into a source of competitiveness.

    0 0

    Learn languages to boost your MBA

    Fluency in languages will complement your MBA and help you in your business career

    MBA students at the London Business School campus in Dubai

    In the increasingly globalised world of work, multinational companies are looking to hire business high-flyers who can communicate in several different languages.
    Europe’s top business schools are responding to this need; courses at Insead, IESE, HEC, and London Business School incorporate a language requirement as well as the opportunity to learn and practise another language. Insead teaches Mandarin at Fontainbleu and in Singapore.
    For some schools, a language component is a compulsory part of the MBA. The Insead MBA is taught exclusively in English, so fluency in the language is a pre-requisite, but in addition to that, another language at a practical level is also required for entry – and students are expected to add a third language by the time they finish their MBA. “At Insead we believe strongly in the importance of an international outlook and the ability to work effectively in multiple cultures,” says admissions director Pejay Belland.
    London Business School (LBS) has no language entry requirement, but students cannot graduate unless they have reached ILR level 2 (limited working proficiency) in a second language. “We expect all of our MBAs to be able to do business in another language and understand that country’s cultural subtleties,” says admissions director for the MBA, David Simpson. Taught over 15-21 months, the LBS MBA incorporates sufficient time for intensive language study and overseas internships, which put students’ language skills to the test.
    Seven core languages – Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian – are taught by visiting faculty from Kings College London’s languages department. Besides this, courses in other languages may be offered if there is sufficient demand.
    At HEC business school in Paris, the language entry requirement is more relaxed. “You might have lived outside your home country for a period, attended school abroad, or be working for an international company mixing with people from different nationalities,” says admissions director Philippe Oster.
    Although classes are taught in English, proficiency in French is required. “French language for non-natives is compulsory and credit bearing. MBA students spend at least four hours a week for eight months learning French,” says Oster.
    Masters in management degrees, taught over two years and regarded by many as the equivalent of an MBA, typically include study in several different countries and languages. Sylvie Glandier, head of marketing for UK Trade and Investment in Brussels, is an alumna of ESCP (Europe) and fluent in French, English and German. “I work with British embassies across Europe organising trade fairs and liaising with local suppliers,” she says. “I get the best deals and the best service by negotiating with people in their own language.”

    0 0

    Fact or fiction? Five myths that surround the student world

    Are students always boozing? Does Oxford prefer posh applicants? And is student finance run by lizards from Zorg? We get to the bottom of it

    Is student finance really run by lizards from Zorg? Illustration: Sophie Wolfson
    Welcome to a myth-busting special of Students by numbers, designed to take the assumptions your naive noggin had made about the world of students and replace them with cold, hard facts. 
    Whether on TV shows like Fresh Meat and Freshers, in the papers, or round the table at the pub; student life is constantly being stereotyped, pigeon-holed and pushed into boxes. 
    But is it unfair to be quite so reductive? And does the person on the street really know as much about university as he likes to think? (spoiler: no, and they are also really annoying)
    I’ve found the stats behind some of the most commonly held views about the world of students, and now I can tell you if they’re firmly-founded facts or crudely-constructed concoctions. 

    1. Students are always getting drunk (and spend all their money on booze)

    Let’s start with a classic. “No wonder students never have any money,” says the cynical older generation, “they spend it all on drinking!”
    Well, you shouldn’t believe everything (anything) you read in the Daily Mail. 
    Did you know that a third of students don’t even drink ? And that the average student spends an average of just £9.80 a week on booze ? Of course you didn’t, you doltish dunce.
    Verdict: Fiction

    2. Most students live in halls

    No, no, no. Wrong again, you witless wally. Hesa data shows that only 41.5% of students live in either halls or properties maintained by their unis. 
    The majority of students opt to live in cold houses with damp, mice and landlords who will take them for every penny they can while making their lives a complete misery. Still, on the bright side, at least it’s not halls.
    Verdict: Fiction

    3. Students are having loads of sex

    This one is so obvious that only the most simple-minded of morons would need to be told. Let’s put it to bed for good. I can’t vouch for the quality, but the physical act of love is definitely happening a lot at British universities. 

    According to a survey by Student Beans, the average student claims they have had sexy-time with between 2.57 and 10.29 partners, depending on which university they are studying at. Don’t worry if you think you might have been the .57 or the .29. We all have off-nights.
    Verdict: Fact

    4. Oxford and Cambridge prefer students from posh backgrounds

    It’s a mystery to me why such a blockheaded buffoon would be interested in the country’s top universities, but I will humour you once more. 
    Some think Oxford and Cambridge favour candidates from private schools, but others maintain that the universities simply want the best students – who just happen to be created at private schools. So which is it?
    Well, the most recent numbers for Oxford admissions show that private school students were 9% more likely to have been offered a place than state school kids with the same grades. And it’s now widely acknowledged by brainy people that state school students are under-represented at both Cambridge and Oxford universities. Classy stuff, Oxbridge.
    Verdict: Fact

    5. Student finance is run by lizards from the planet Zorg

    What? You’ve never heard this one? No, of course you haven’t, you hopeless halfwit.
    Well, if you were just a little more on the ball, you would know there is a common belief among students who have used the student finance system that it must be being run by alien lifeforms, such is its lack of empathy towards their needs.
    Weirdly there are no stats available on this, which frankly screamsconspiracy. However one anonymous source – let’s call him “D. Icke” – believes the evidence is beyond question.
    “Open your eyes!” says Icke. “Student finance never answer the phone. Lizards can’t answer phones. Student finance seem to spend all summer out of the office enjoying the sunshine. Lizards also love sunshine. Student finance couldn’t organise a student loan if their lives depended on it – and neither could lizards!

    0 0

    LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner Says These Are The 3 Qualities Of A Great Employee

    Hiring an employee who is great at his or her job is a definite win. Hiring one who also helps you enjoy coming into work every day is an absolute home run. What's the first step to identifying these precious unicorns of the start-up hiring world? According to Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, the first step to bagging yourself this sort of dream employee is identifying exactly what traits you're looking for.
    So what's the equivalent of a flash of white in the forest that might be a tell you've spotted one of these unicorn-type candidates? On social media recently Weiner shared a simple Venn diagram of three interlocking qualities he personally looks for when trying to spot potential employees who will be a complete pleasure to work with:

    It became his most shared update ever. To the rest of us, that's a clear indication of just how sought after this sort of effective and enjoyable employee is. To Weiner it was a signal that there was a definite desire out there in the Interwebs for him to delve more deeply into his hiring philosophy. The result of this outpouring of interest was a recent LinkedIn post offering three key attributes of the employees Weiner most enjoys working with.

    The ability to dream big ...

    "My favorite exchanges are with people who are naturally predisposed to think at truly massive scale and without limitations. When well reasoned, that kind of vision can be highly inspirational, change the way teams solve for a specific opportunity or challenge, and ultimately, transform the trajectory of a company," he offers as his first most desired trait.

    ... but also execute

    However, it's not enough simply to be able to talk a good game when it comes to truly massive ideas. The best employees can also break that huge vision down into its constituent parts, overcome objections and execute on the idea. Weiner colloquially calls this the ability to "get sh*t done."
    "If a goal is truly visionary, it's going to be confronted by doubters, skeptics, and those threatened by its realization. As a result, there will always be walls put up on the way to achieving the objective. Some of the most capable people I've worked with know how to go over, around, or straight through those walls by virtue of their resourcefulness and sheer force of will. In other words, they just 'get sh*t done,'" Weiner writes.

    And have fun doing it

    Both of the above traits could theoretically be found in a jerk who managed amazing things while making the office miserable. To have the complete trifecta for Weiner, you need to not only accomplish audacious goals, you also have to promote general happiness while you do it. "I've reached a point in my career where I want to be surrounded by people who not only share a vision, but a genuine commitment to upholding their company's culture and values. They are team players, don't take themselves too seriously, and know how to have fun," he concludes.

    Got all three? Then congratulations, you are officially great to work with. Found an employee with this trio of traits? Congratulations again! You're in for some good times ahead as colleagues.

    0 0

    Princeton Maintains No. 1 Spot in College Rankings

    Which are the top universities in the U.S.? A new ranking may bring surprises. WSJ's Doug Belkin reveals the rankings on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: AP
    Princeton is No. 1, Dartmouth fell out of the top 10 (to number 11) and the three best public liberal arts colleges in America are all military academies.
    So says the 2015 U.S. News & World Report college rankings, the closely watched annual barometer of academic prestige and achievement that college presidents publicly revile and privately covet.
    This year's list comes amid a proliferation of rankings and ratings, as parents and students more closely scrutinize the value of college in the face of rising student debt and a wobbly job market for recent graduates. This fall, the Obama administration is expected to release a draft of a ratings system that may eventually be tied to department of education funding.
    Meanwhile, Forbes magazine, the Princeton Review, Washington Monthly Magazine and Kiplinger's Personal Finance are filling the vacuum. Each has jumped into the fray to offer their takes on what makes a school a good deal. U.S. News, the granddaddy of the lists, has responded by adding metrics tracking value, ethnic and economic diversity and a special pullout for the best college for veterans.
    Blair Hall on the campus of Princeton University. LightRocket via Getty Images
    According to whom you read, Babson College is the best school in America (Money Magazine); or it could be Harvey Mudd (Payscale College ROI Report) or the University of California San Diego (Washington Monthly). Each uses different methodology to come up with their grades.
    U.S. News's 30-year-old rankings sort through reams of data for 1,800 schools, ostensibly to help parents and students evaluate their options. University administrators complain the system has warped priorities across higher education as schools jockey to gain favor on the list that can heavily influence the number and quality of applications they receive.
    The methodology that makes up the rankings is tweaked year to year. This year, student selectivity counts for 12.5% of a school's total score; faculty resources—including class size and faculty salary—account for 20%; and graduation rates and peer assessment are 22.5% each. A combination of spending on instruction and alumni giving, among others, round out the factors.
    Harvard ranked first in the best value category, followed by Princeton and Yale. Among private liberal arts colleges, Williams held on to the No. 1 ranking for the 12th year, followed by Amherst, Swarthmore, Wellesley and Bowdoin.
    U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges Rankings
    Best National Universities
    1. Princeton University (NJ)
    2. Harvard University (MA)
    3. Yale University (CT)
    4. Columbia University (NY)
    4. Stanford University (CA)
    4. University of Chicago (IL)
    7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    8. Duke University (NC)
    8. University of Pennsylvania
    10. California Institute of Technology
    Best National Liberal Arts Colleges
    1. Williams College (MA)
    2. Amherst College (MA)
    3. Swarthmore College (PA)
    4. Wellesley College (MA)
    5. Bowdoin College (ME)
    5. Pomona College (CA)
    7. Middlebury College (VT)
    8. Carleton College (MN)
    8. Claremont McKenna College (CA)
    8. Haverford College (PA)
    Best Public Schools: National Universities
    1. University of California-Berkeley
    2. University of California-Los Angeles
    2. University of Virginia
    4. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    5. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    Best Public Schools: Liberal Arts Colleges
    1. United States Naval Academy (MD)
    2. United States Military Academy (NY)
    3. United States Air Force Academy (CO)
    4. Virginia Military Institute
    5. New College of Florida
    Best Value Schools: National Universities
    1. Harvard University (MA)
    2. Princeton University (NJ)
    3. Yale University (CT)
    4. Stanford University (CA)
    5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Best Value Schools: Liberal Arts Colleges
    1. Amherst College (MA)
    2. Williams College (MA)
    3. Pomona College (CA)
    4. Wellesley College (MA)
    5. Soka University of America (CA)

    0 0

    Mark Cuban Talks His Drive To Build Companies, And How He Wants To Destroy Silicon Valley

    Dear Silicon Valley: Mark Cuban wants to kick your ass. At Disrupt SF today, the noted investor and bon vivant talked about his drive to build companies and his feelings about San Francisco.
    “F@$k y’all. I want to win,” he said, talking about his drive to found companies.
    TechCrunch Senior Editor Matt Burns asked him how many companies he’s founded. Mark didn’t know. “Well over 30,” he said.
    Even with his obvious love of basketball, he views business as the ultimate sport. “There is no sport as competitive as business. It’s 24 by 7 by 365 by forever and there are all these young kids out here trying to kick your ass,” he said, adding, “I just love to kick your ass.”
    Yet, despite this non-stop drive to start and fund companies, he isn’t based in Silicon Valley. And he has found that living and working out of Dallas hasn’t stopped him from finding talent for his companies. “There are just as many smart people and business opportunities outside the Valley as there are inside,” he said.
    Mark explained that he has found a lot of success investing outside of the Valley and selling inside.
    Earlier, Mark explained the genesis of his latest company, CyberDust, saying he founded it after, according to him, the FTC took snippets of his communication out of context and used it against him.

    Backstage Interview

older | 1 | .... | 42 | 43 | (Page 44) | 45 | 46 | .... | 82 | newer