Talent Management

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What the Military Can Teach Organizations About Agility

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

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.

Putting an End to Leaders’ Self-Serving Behavior

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  • Column
  • Read Time: 5 min 

Business leaders are often selfish. They honestly think they are entitled to more resources than anyone else, and that they have earned the right to take more. Their self-serving behavior is usually enabled by their organizations. But three strategies can help: Organizations can choose leaders who tilt away from self-serving frameworks; create systems that reinforce fairer evaluations; and recognize the added complexities that arise on the global stage.

Leading Analytics Teams in Changing Times

Analytics teams are often underfunded, misunderstood, and starved for talent. Extracting business value from data depends on nurturing the development and effectiveness of these teams — not just in terms of finding talent, but also in terms of getting leaders up to speed on how to use the insights analytics teams produce.

Five Management Strategies for Getting the Most From AI

A global survey by the McKinsey Global Institute finds that AI is delivering real value to companies that use it across operations. C-level executives report that when they adopt AI at scale — meaning they deploy AI across technology groups, use AI in the most core parts of their value chains, and have the full support of their executive leadership — they are finding not just cost-cutting opportunities, but new potential for business growth, too.

Who’s Building the Infrastructure for Lifelong Learning?

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  • Read Time: 7 min 

Current trends in both human longevity and technological innovation raise the possibility of people living until 100 and working until they are 80. It’s clear that much will have to change — both in how people understand and anticipate the evolving nature of work, and how they then respond. Providing access to lifelong learning demands a complex system involving stakeholders in education, government, and the corporate world.

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Four Habits of Highly Effective Virtual Teams

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Employers thinking about allowing employees to work remotely are often conflicted. On the one hand, employees are hungry for this valuable work/life option. On the other, a number of prominent companies that once embraced the virtual work option have pulled back, citing the desire for more immediacy and opportunities for serendipity. But for managers who are looking to get the most out of a remote policy, there are best practices to help their organizations succeed.

The Upside of Being a Woman Among ‘Bros’

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

“Bro” culture in business and the institutional sexism it can breed are hot topics these days. But could there be situations where there is an advantage to being a woman in a workplace full of bros — men who form tight, in-group ties? New research on gender and leadership in the workplace looked at the willingness of managers to accept advice and feedback from subordinates. The findings: In certain circumstances, managers are actually more responsive to suggestions from the opposite gender.

When Jobs Become Commodities

Most of us view our jobs as specialized or somehow differentiated, but the world of business and management increasingly feels otherwise. For many organizations today, the next big driver of job commoditization is automation driven by smart machines. Simply put, if a job is viewed as a commodity, it won’t be long before it’s automated. The key for workers whose jobs have traditionally seemed safe: Highlight the tasks that require a human touch.

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The Fatal Flaw of AI Implementation

Many managers are excited about smart machines but are struggling to apply machines’ limited intelligence. Indeed, computers can process data just fine, but to generate competitive advantage from machine learning applications, organizations must upgrade their employees’ skills. Companies will also need to redesign employee accountabilities to empower and motivate them to deploy smart machines when doing so will enhance outcomes.

Entrepreneurship Is a Craft and Here’s Why That’s Important

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

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.

I Come to Praise the Annual Performance Conversation, Not Further Bury It

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

As many experts have noted, the annual performance review is rife with faults. It emphasizes what has already happened rather than shaping what is yet to come. It can feel punitive or at least judgmental. It is reductive and, in some cases, forces ridiculous formulaic comparisons between employees. It fails to emphasize the kind of timely feedback that can make a real difference in performance. And yet I have just scheduled year-end performance conversations with each of my direct reports.

A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying Future Leaders

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.

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The Missing Piece in Employee Development

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.

Rethinking the East Asian Leadership Gap

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.

The Importance of Structured Management Practices

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 4 min 

New research suggests that a particular set of management practices, which the authors call structured management, is tightly linked to performance and success. For instance, consistent hiring, performance review, and incentive practices are as important to productivity as research and development investments, and more than twice as important as IT implementation. The research shows that manufacturing plants using more structured management practices have higher productivity and profitability.

Retaining Today’s Young Managers

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

It was 20 years ago that the movie “Jerry Maguire” created a mantra for our time: “Show me the money!” Today’s young professionals most definitely absorbed that message, but money’s not the only way to stop them from packing. A 2015 article from MIT Sloan Management Review explores strategies for retaining talented young managers who always have an eye on the job market and one foot creeping toward the door.

The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create

A new global study finds several new categories of human jobs emerging. These roles are not replacing old ones. They are brand-new positions that complement the tasks performed by AI machines and will require skills and training that have never before been needed.

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