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Diversity in the workplace can increase conflict. But research also suggests that if teams lack diversity, they will be more susceptible to making flawed decisions.
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Once bastions of command-and-control management style, U.S. military institutions have moved to the forefront of organizational and leadership agility. Today’s military leadership emphasizes efficient movement through four decision cycles — observe, orient, decide, and act — to speed up its response to external threats. It’s also investing significant resources to become more agile and experimenting with innovative solutions.
Large projects can succumb to a “cycle of doubt” — when support for the project wanes and delivery is imperiled in a self-perpetuating negative spiral. Here’s how to spot the warning signs of stakeholder doubts — before they derail your project.
To successfully lead major organizational transformations, executives need to align purpose, performance, and principles within their companies. Doing so isn’t easy — and requires mastery of a wide range of leadership skills.
Large-scale, long-term projects are notoriously difficult to manage. But recent research on megaprojects — defined as projects costing more than $1 billion — reveals five lessons that can help executives manage any big, complex project more effectively.
Many executives don’t understand how to craft a compelling vision for change that will gain widespread commitment within their organization. Leaders should start by asking themselves: What will people see, hear, and feel once the changes have been achieved?
“Getting performance management right is an old challenge,” according to Nik Kinley and Shlomo Ben-Hur, authors of the article “The Missing Piece in Employee Development.” The key element isn’t measuring performance but the interactions and conversations that individuals have with their managers.
What does it take to keep pace in today’s environment, one in which we are expected to pivot repeatedly toward new ways of working? I think of the challenge along three dimensions, each of which can be captured as a personal trait: will, skill, and velocity.
Like pottery, entrepreneurship is a craft that blends both science and art. Both pottery and entrepreneurship are accessible to anyone, learnable, built on fundamental concepts — and best learned through on-the-job training. To inspire today’s generation of company builders, entrepreneurship education needs a common language to ground students in fundamental concepts, and it needs to offer apprenticeship opportunities.
In the first half of 2017, MIT SMR website visitors showed high interest in articles about how artificial intelligence will affect the job market and organizations. In fact, three of the 10 most-read pieces of new MIT SMR editorial content during that period address some aspect of that question. But the other seven most popular new articles cover a wide range of topics — from dealing with negative emotions in the workplace to exploring the organizational implications of blockchain technology.
Differentiating between things that are complex versus those that are merely complicated may sound like an exercise in semantics, but it is an essential first step in solving difficult problems. Solutions for complicated issues rarely work for problems that are complex.
Many executives believe they are good at identifying leadership talent. However, when asked how they make their decisions, they often cite intuition or “gut” instincts. Social science research, on the other hand, suggests that individuals are often prone to cognitive biases in such decisions. Rather than just relying on the subjective opinions of executives, some companies are using assessment tools to identify high-potential talent.
In recent years, organizations have begun to prioritize processes for improving future performance over evaluating employees’ past efforts. Yearly development objectives and annual reviews are being replaced by real-time feedback delivered directly by line managers. Although this shift holds much promise, it risks bumping up against some hard realities — namely, the ability of line managers to help employees develop. In reality, many managers aren’t confident they can change employee behavior.
Gone are the days of centralized control of information and decision-making within organizations. With information now widely distributed among employees, Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson says today’s executives face a critical question: “How do I charge up the organization so that we’re maximizing the intellects of all of our people?”
Many western multinationals have a tough time finding local talent in East Asia — a problem that global companies originating in East Asia don’t seem to face. One problem: The cultural values and expectations of those doing the hiring and those seeking the jobs are at odds.
Any approach to leadership development that tries to reduce the complexities of leadership to a series of standard boxes to be ticked or traits to be emulated will have little enduring impact.
Companies today work with an incredibly diverse array of people. To thrive, these organizations need culturally neutral, globally coherent leadership standards. These standards should promote needed outcomes without prescribing behaviors, since some behaviors are outside of the cultural norms in some countries. Inevitably, significant advantage will accrue to companies that ready their people for truly global leadership.
As busy as they are, leaders need to find ways to observe fundamental work processes in their organizations. When they do, they usually discover that there are gaps between theory and reality in how works get done. Michael Morales’ experience — in which identifying and addressing such gaps led to his company saving $50,000 in just 60 days — is a case in point.
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