Tag Archives: management

Holacracy — Different Management Concept: Imagine– No Titles, No Managers, No Hierarchy, No Boss… Fad or Future

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Holacracy® is a management concept that ditches all traditional ways we look at ‘work’– no job titles, no managers, no organization hierarchy, even no boss… Holacracy® is a total transformation for structuring, governing, running… an organization… and a new way of achieving control by distributing power… it replaces traditional top-down management… According to Brian Robertson; Holacracy® is management based on the tasks a company needs to accomplish, rather than a standard reporting structure… It’s sort of like a game, e.g.; there are rules, workers are responsible for their own tasks, and there is no micro-management… also, no one has to be stuck doing the same task all the time… it generates organizational clarity… it’s adaptable, quick changing both for work that needs to be done, as well as, how work is being fulfilled… For some Holacracy® spells end of traditional management, as we know it. But for others, the concept is complete insanity…

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According to Martin Newman; I struggle to see this as a panacea. I see how balance needs to be struck between formal and informal leadership, and greater use of distributed leadership. But, much of Holacracy does not make sense… good managers and leaders know that they simply must talk to people and not defer to a management model that says, they don’t exist. Clearly traditional leaders must adopt and change from managing people to empowering people… But, leaders (how every defined) are still needed to be responsible for the entire company… also, the role of an enlightened leader is not to dictate; how, when, where… people do their work… but to distribute the power of leadership… It’s a huge cultural shift and it relies on trust– delegating power, joint decision-making, shared sense of purpose… these are the things we’re seeing and discussed more in the workplace… Seen this way, then Holacracy type management does makes a lot more sense…

Who’s in Charge? Is Holacracy® workable model for organizations– The idea of self-directed or self-managed teams is not new… In the mid 80s, a number of manufacturing companies instituted a similar flat hierarchy under belief that workers would be more productive if they were empowered through greater autonomy. A number of large, multi-national companies, such as; Shell, Cummins… adopted the method for a short time, but it failed… The adoption of a Holacracy type concept saw an exodus of many senior management talents, and companies soon realized that experienced managers would rather leave the company than lose their titles. In fact, according to Jan Klein; the experiment was doomed from the start… people just don’t self-regulate as well as the companies had hoped… Teams are not good at self-disciplining themselves… Only one company made Holocracy last long-term; it was a small, rural factory where everyone knew everyone. It was, in essence, an extended family business model supported by a strong community foundation… There is something intriguing about the notion of truly democratic business culture. But, hard to imagine corporate leadership embracing an idea that essentially eliminate their authority…

According to Sanjay Srivastava; people are social animals who travel in packs and care about two things: First, who is dominant? Second, who likes them? They say humans subconsciously rely on visible cues like attractive physical features or extroverted personalities to assign status in a group, which has no labels to indicate otherwise… In a company devoid of bosses, these perceptions of status will take hold to establish a pecking order… Add, the fact that people naturally strive to attain higher status in the form of admiration, respect… from peers and those perceived as more powerful. In Holacracy®, people’s instinctive inclination to climb up the ranks at work finds no reward when there is no boss to offer feedback or pat on the back… That’s because status is as important to us as breathing… Research shows that perceptions of social status– of ourselves and others– and our overall standing in social hierarchies affect how we make decisions, how altruistic we are, as well as, our overall mental and physical health…  Some workers will therefore naturally converge around a perceived leader, leaving others feeling insecure. Since our brains are hardwired to tune in to threats over rewards, people tend to act more defensively when they feel their status is at stake… In Holacracy® the titles disappear, but human dynamics won’t. In an environment where everyone is leader, some other mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure that everyone can maintain and optimize the tenets of fairness, trust, transparency… so the entire organization can move forward…

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In the article Should Your Business Embrace Holacracy®? by openview writes: What is Holacracy, exactly? And, is it right for your company? Imagine walking in to work one day to discover that you no longer had a boss or manager to report to. Instead, you are your own boss, and you work in self-organized teams– rather than hierarchy squad of managers, executives… in addition, now you are also responsible for influencing the company’s purpose… Sound a little far-fetched or utopic? At Zappos, a company that employs about 1,500 people, this management approach is reality and it’s got a name; Holacracy®. According to John Bunch; one of the core principles of Holacracy® is people taking accountability for their work, and it’s not leaderless– there are people who hold a bigger scope of purpose for the organization than others– but, leadership is distributed into each role– everyone is expected to lead and be an entrepreneur in their own roles…

At a high level, Holacracy® is about authority, leadership… In a holacratic environment, no one has the power to tell anyone else what to do, and there are no organization chart that dictates specific responsibilities for each role in the company… Instead, authority is distributed among all members and meetings are held to establish responsibilities and focus on company’s key issues… Although while stripping a company of all management structure might sound like perfect way to induce uncontrollable chaos; Holacracy’s  supporters suggest that it often has opposite effect… Ultimately, there are a few key arguments in favor of holacratic structure, e.g.; gives everyone a voice… brings clarity… highly adjustable, adaptable… Yes, there are plenty of potential pitfalls, for example; without any one person, i.e., the boss, truly in charge of the organization… how exactly will a growing company deal with the inevitable business challenges, e.g.; scaling, risk, hiring, firing, corporate governance, financial matters… According to William Tincup; Holacracy has a few potential issues with that might prevent it from being effective in large organizations, e.g.; size and complexity… retaining talent… corporate governance… transition from hierarchic to holacratic… While Holacracy has been around for a few years, there are good reasons why few large corporations have adopted it… The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to determine with certainty whether Holacracy® will work in a company until you actually try it. And while it might be a wildly successful transition that makes the company significantly more streamlined, innovative, and efficient, it could also send the company down a slippery slope…

In the article Making Sense Of Holacracy by Steve Denning writes: Holacracy® is essentially a set of inward-looking hierarchical mechanisms… Each is required to be run democratic and open, with exhaustively detailed procedures on how things like– meetings are to be managed, how decisions are to be made… But more important, the word ‘customer’ or a reference to any feedback mechanism from customers don’t appear even once in the Holacracy® Constitution… In addition, there may be no one person with the formal title of ‘manager’, but certainly there are ‘roles’ that are in every respect– managers, except for the formal title of ‘manager’. The fact that the accountability of the role is changed in accordance with governing rules, does not make him or her any less of a manager, in the normal sense of that word… In fact the responsibility of the ‘core roles’ are spelled out in exhaustive detail…  And, to suggest that there are no managers is absurd… Notice that in the media the hue and cry  about Holacracy is: Whatever happened to the managers? But, the more pertinent question should be: Whatever happened to the customer?

There are no explicit feedback mechanisms from the customer, i.e. the people for whom the work is being done… When so much time and effort is spent on the micro-details of the internal decision-making mechanisms and absolutely no attention given to external feedback mechanisms, one could easily get the idea that internal mechanisms are supremely important, while the customer is irrelevant. Unless and until this ‘gap’ is rectified, Holacracy® risks being a distraction from the central business challenge, namely– how to make organizations better able to add value to customers through continuous innovation... Nevertheless, even in firms having intense, even obsessive, focus on adding value to customers, something along lines of Holacracy® has possibilities… Holacracy offers one approach to revolutionizing the process of management– it’s democratic, but it’s heavy… For most organizations, particularly large organizations, the important issues are growth, profitability… delighting customers through  innovation… and not, in most cases, its internal administrivia… Hence, Holacracy® in current form is not very helpful; but, this is not to say that it cannot evolve to become more useful…

In the article Holes in Holacracy® by The Economist writes: Every so often a company emerges from the herd to be lauded as embodiment of leading-edge management thinking: Think of Toyota and its lean manufacturing system, or GE and its Six Sigma excellence… The latest candidate for apotheosis is Zappos (owned by Amazon) that believes that happy workers breed happy customers. Tony Hsieh, its boss, said that he is turning the company into a Holacracy… and replacing its current hierarchy with more democratic system of overlapping, self-organizing teams. Until Zappos embraced it, no large company had taken Holacracy seriously… The idea was invented in 2007 by Brian Robertson who was inspired in part by a description of Holarchy in a 1967 book, The Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler… Koestler argued that the brain is made up of holons that are autonomous and self-determining yet also fundamentally dependent on the brain as a whole. In a similar spirit, Mr. Robertson says that the whole that is a firm should consist of overlapping ‘circles’, each a team of employees who have come together spontaneously around a specific task… Will Zappos success help Holacracy thrive in the brutally competitive market for management ideas? There is good reason to be skeptical…

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According to Julian Birkinshaw; nine-tenths of the approximately 100 branded management ideas I’ve studied lost their popularity within a decade or so… Among the latest cast-offs, it seems, is– Google’s much admired– 20% time, in which workers got a day a week to work on their own projects; the company is reported to be quietly side-lining it… Other, generally more timid, forms of democratic decision-making are being tried at long-established technology companies, whose bosses worry that their rigid hierarchies put them at a disadvantage to nimbler, less regimented young rivals, e.g.; IBM is experimenting with ‘agile management’, in which self-governing teams have regular ‘scrums’ to decide the next ‘sprint’, or stage, of the project… GE is rolling out ‘FastWorks’, a system inspired by Silicon Valley’s ‘lean startup’ movement, itself inspired by agile management… Haier, a Chinese appliance-maker, last year split its workforce into 2,000 self-managed teams that perform different roles…

Some management experts regard the whole idea of stripping away hierarchy as wishful thinking… According to Jeffrey Pfeffer; hierarchy is a fundamental principle of all organisational systems… According to Evan Williams; it’s not about discarding hierarchy altogether as making it more fluid… This type of management seems to work fine for smaller companies, e.g.; companies that relatively small, fast-growing, full of creative people who shun a more conformist workplace. According to some experts, Holacracy® might be good fit for Zappos, which has already shown a pronounced proclivity to go its own way. However, there is less confident about its suitability for more conventional firms. For these, they says–main thing to remember with any new management concept is; first, do no harm…

Holacracy® is a new management for structuring, governing and running organizations… and the bottom line for organizations that run with Holacracy is ‘purpose’, that is– purpose of the company, purpose of the work, purpose of the individual doing the work… Holacracy® is a new way of thinking about management and it challenges tradition to consider how work and people are organized. According to Stephanie Taylor Christensen; the goal of Holacracy is to produce results through complete transparency and realistic alignment of roles and responsibilities. For small-businesses owners, making everyone on the payroll accountable for the company’s success may in fact be the structure’s most appealing aspect… Because employees can hold varying degrees of responsibility in any number of circles in Holacracy– and those circles change, evolve with business needs at any given time– Holacracy may be the answer to maximizing the productivity of teams, particularly as business needs ebb and flow…

However, people must be willing to share power, this management style leaves no room for an- I’m the boss- mentality, despite the fact that they may be the most financially vested person in the business… every employee is essentially an owner of the business, and they are empowered to make real contributions to the business. Because they’re encouraged to put their creativity and skills to use to solve problems and seek ways to constantly improve existing processes (even beyond scope of what they were technically ‘hired’ to do), as well as finding greater fulfillment in their jobs… But is Holacracy® really worth the total disruption of an organization? Well, it just depends…

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Evidence-Based Management– Fact-Based Decision-Making: Forget Folklore, Fads, What You Think is True: Get the Facts

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Evidence-based management is a way of thinking, looking, acting… at the world. The mind-set rests on two disciplines: 1.) a willingness to put aside belief and conventional wisdom– the dangerous half-truths that many embrace– and instead hear and act on the facts; 2.) an unrelenting commitment to gather the facts and information necessary to make more informed, intelligent decisions and to keep pace with new evidence… and use the new facts to update practices… According to Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton; if doctors practiced medicine the way many companies practice management, then there would be far more sick, dead patients and more doctors would be in jail… managers are seduced by far too many half-truths; ideas that are partly right but also partly wrong and that damages companies over and over again. Yet, managers routinely ignore or reject solid evidence… Evidence-based management (EBM) is a process that explicitly uses current, best available evidence in management decision-making. Its roots are in evidence-based medicine– a movement that applies scientific method to improve medical practice, and the essence is–get the facts about what works… that’s the whole idea behind evidence-based management… In traditional management we fall back on basic methods, for example; come up with an idea, try it out, test it, measure it, modify it, based on what you learn… And, evidence-based management can help with this process by looking for risks, drawbacks… in what people recommend; which may avoid making decisions just based on untested, strongly held beliefs… rather than the facts. This is all fine and good but it’s simply not reasonable to expect managers in today’s fast-moving, competitive business environment to slog through masses of research data, studies… On the other hand, making decisions based on often unverified, incomplete information is one of the things that makes management an art…

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However, at end of day, managers have to pull together information, recommendations… as best they can and make their own decisions… According to Stephen Gill; my immediate reaction to evidence-based management was; Duh! What have companies been doing for the past hundred years of modern management… managing by the-seat-of-their-pants? I suppose the answer is, ‘Yes’…  If you ask corporate leaders if they use research to make their decisions; most if not all, would say– of course I do’. Most leaders already believe that they practice evidence-based management, but they tend to look for data that confirms what they already believe to be true and disregard the rest of the data that might say otherwise… The issue is not that leaders choose to ignore evidence; it’s that they, like most humans, suffer from a ‘confirmation bias’ and a ‘illusion of cause’ (i.e., action causes outcome)… The challenge is to help managers become more aware of bias, and overcome their flawed way of thinking…

In the article Evidence-Based Management by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton write: A bold new way of thinking has taken the medical establishment by storm in the past decade; the idea that decisions in medical care should be based on the latest and best knowledge of what actually works… According to Dr. David Sackett, he is the individual most associated with evidence-based medicine; defines it as the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients… If may sound laughable, after all; What else besides evidence would guide medical decisions? If you believe that then you are woefully naive about how doctors have traditionally plied their trade: Yes, the research is out there– thousands of studies are conducted on medical practices and products every year… but unfortunately, physicians don’t use much of it. Recent studies show that only about 15% of doctors’ decisions are evidence based… Instead, very often doctors rely on old common practices, for example; obsolete knowledge gained in medical school… long-standing but never proven medical traditions… methods gleaned from experience that they believe in and are most skilled at applying… information from hordes of vendors with products, services to sell… The same behavior holds true for business managers looking to cure their organizational ills. Indeed, we would argue that business managers are actually much more ignorant than doctors about the most appropriate business cure, prescription… and, they’re less eager to find out. If doctors practiced medicine like many companies practice management, there would be more unnecessarily sick, dead patients… and more doctors in jail or suffering other penalties for malpractice…

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Many experts say, it’s time to start an evidence-based movement in the ranks of business managers. Admittedly, the challenge may be much greater in business than in medicine… Simon and Garfunkel were right when they sang; man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest… It’s hard to remain devoted to the task of building full proof, evidence-based cases for action when it’s clear that good storytelling often carries the day. Indeed, often we reject the notion that only quantitative data should qualify as evidence. As Einstein put it; not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted… When used correctly; stories, cases studies… are powerful tools for use in building management knowledge, but there are limits beyond which they are ineffective… According to Gordon MacKenzie; good stories have a place in an evidence-based world, e.g.; in suggesting hypotheses, augmenting other (often quantitative) research, rallying people who are affected by change… As with medicine, management is and will likely always be a craft that can be learned only through practice, experience… Yet, we believe that managers (like doctors) can practice their craft more effectively if they are routinely guided by logic, facts, evidence… and they must relentlessly seek new insight knowledge, wisdom from both inside and outside their companies, and keep updating their assumptions, knowledge, skills…

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In the article Evidence-Based Management Can Make Business Competitive by Chris Malcolm writes: Evidence-based management is a process in business management that emphasizes planning, problem-solving… based on careful research, analysis… rather than intuition, ideology… Popularized by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, it emerged from research into clinical practice in medicine, and its principles may help businesses approach their operations more rationally, and even improve their competitiveness in the marketplace.

  • Evidence-Based Decision-Making: Encourages business leaders to go beyond their personal experiences, avoid management fads and treat their own ideological beliefs with skepticism… When managers check their beliefs against real-world data, they will be less likely to make costly mistakes based on misleading impressions…
  • Experimentation and Learning from Mistakes: Test assumptions through experimentation, testing… before approving expensive, large-scale projects… Even failures provide reliable evidence on which to base future decisions… Mistakes learned can cut wasted time, resources… and affect a company’s bottom line…
  • Seeking New Information: Seek new knowledge, insight… from both inside and outside the company… Managerial, organizational openness to new ideas can help a company improve its market position. By systematically exploring alternatives to its normal ways of doing business, a company can discover more efficient ways to operate, and even develop entirely new business models…
  • Potential Problems with Evidence-Based Management in Business: The fact is that relatively few business managers practice it… To put EBM principles into practice, managers must wade through mountains of information-evidence, much of it incomplete, misleading or only partly relevant to particular business. In addition, EBM may diminish personal authority of business leaders by elevating facts over intangibles, such as; experience, business savvy…

Evidence-based management is a simple but not new idea… It just means finding the best evidence, facing the facts, acting on facts… rather than doing what everyone else does, or what you have always done, or what you thought was true… According to Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton; leaders must have the courage to act on the best facts they have right now, and the humility to change what they do, as better information is found… Yet surprisingly few leaders actually do it. Decision-making is the essence of management, which explains why so much attention continues to be focused on how to do it better. In recent years, much is written about evidence-based, or fact-based, decision-making. The core idea is simply that decisions are supported by hard facts, sound analysis… and these decisions are more likely to be better than decisions made on the basis of instinct, folklore, informal anecdotal evidence… Many organizations are heeding the call and are investing heavily in big data infrastructures, analytic tools… assuming that evidence-based decisions will result in better over all decision-making… However, there is a downside; the primary risk of making decisions by relying exclusively on hard evidence-just the facts is that the algorithms, models… used to transform evidence into a decision can provide an incomplete, misleading representation of reality…

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According to Bret L. Simmons; I am strong advocate of evidence-based management. But, it can be very difficult to implement, for example; when doing research for evidence to support management decision– I often, after reading an article in an important journal or study… have one of three reactions when I think of how I would explain the relevance of the research to practicing managers: 1.) Huh? What the heck did they say? 2.) Ok: I get it, but what am I supposed to do with it? 3.) Is that it? There is really nothing radically new or different with it… Even more challenging– the best researchers-experts often disagree about the meaning of the same evidence… According to William Kelvin; EBM changes how managers– think, act… It’s a way of seeing things differently, and to manage in ‘reality’ without emotion or bias… EBM uses only hard facts, it discards opinions rejects it as total nonsense… There is no room for dictatorial, opinionated, discriminate thinkers… who often feel they already know all the answers… In many cases, managers pay little or no attention to quality-source of evidence that they rely on to make decisions. As a result, decisions are mostly based on so-called ‘best practice’, which may include; unreliable, non-relevant sources of information, e.g., experiences, stories, success, failure… Whereas, an evidence-based decision seeks to guide managers in thinking in terms of; clear logic, key facts, unbias data… and validated sources, which all supports the best possible decision-making… According to Richard Feynman; first key principle is not to fool yourself when making decisions when, in fact, you are the easiest person to fool

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Leadership Vs. Management– Distinction is Absurd, Superficial: Shift Emphasis to– Creating, Building, Teaming, Doing…

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Leadership Vs. Management; kill the word ‘manager’… kick it, shoot it, just be done with it. One of the oldest running myths in the business world is that leaders and managers are somehow different, but in fact– leaders are managers, and managers are leaders… According to Ronald E. Riggio; leadership and management are fundamentally different, well sort of… while we may be able to divide tasks into those that require ‘management’ (i.e., decision-making, record keeping…) and the more abstract aspects of ‘leadership’ (i.e., creating vision, inspiring followers…) the truth is that anyone who supervises others needs to be both manager and leader, to be effective... According to Peter Drucker; the excesses of modern corporations are directly related to bloated concept of leadership… businesses have more than enough leaders; what they really need are more competent managers who can do the hard work of– decision-making, planning, coaching… The typical business leader is like the leader of a marching band– they wave a stick while other people do all the work… According to Greg Schinkel; have we shifted reasoning too far towards developing leaders instead of developing effective managers? Differentiating management and leadership typically involves labeling managers as perpetuating status quo, while leaders blaze new trails and inspire employees to follow them towards grand vision. In reality, we need solid management and supervisory skills to actually get work done and deliver value to customers and results to the bottom line…

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It was once believed that leaders were ‘born not made’, this has given way to a widespread assumption that leadership is something that can be learned and therefore taught… Since the 1970s an industry has grown up to meet that demand, one that is valued at $50 billion by Forbes. There are nearly 400 accredited business schools in U.S. alone and many more around the world, teaching a curriculum driven by thousands of leadership experts who make a very decent living writing, speaking, teaching the fundamentals of this relatively new topic… According to Henry Mintzberg; we have an obsession with leadership, by focusing on a single person– leadership becomes part of the syndrome of individuality– that is undermining many organizations… and, by the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else… In business, there is surprisingly little evidence that directly links leaders to performance of many organizations. According to James Meindl; research found that the actions of many leaders, CEOs, accounted for just 15% of the variation in a company’s performance… According to Krystyn Tully; leadership is important, for sure; but, so is management… If you’re trying to do something important, then the idea of leadership is a distraction: It’s irrelevant… Just put your head down and do the best you can… History can decide if you were a true leader, manager, or whatever… you’ve got more important things to think about…

In the article Leadership vs. Management: Dangerous Distinction? by Bob Sutton writes: Thousands of books are written on leadership and management– and there are several academic journals devoted entirely to the subject… In the process of reviewing much of the literature– I’ve been bumping into an old and popular distinction that has always bugged me, i.e.; ‘leading vs. managing’… According to Warren Bennis; there is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important: To ‘manage’ means– to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct… Whereas, ‘leading’ is influencing, guiding in a direction, actions, opinions… The distinction is crucial… Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing… Also, as I continue to re-read the leadership literature, it suggest that some leaders see their job as just coming up with big, vague ideas, and then treat the details of implementation as mere management work for other workers to do…

I am all for grand visions, strategies… but, the people (leaders) who seem to have the most success are those that have a deep understanding of the details required to make them work– or if they don’t, they have wisdom to surround themselves with people (managers) who can offset their weaknesses, and who have the courage to argue with them when there is no clear path between their dreams and reality… I am not rejecting the distinction between leadership and management, but the best leaders do something that might be most properly called– a mixture of leadership and management, or at least lead in a way that constantly takes into account importance of management… Some of the worst senior executives use distinctions between leadership and management as an excuse to avoid learning-knowing details so they can more clearly understand– the risk, rewards… and select the right strategies… According to Bennis; to do the right thing, a leader needs to understand what it takes to do things right…

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In the article Leadership is Overrated by wally writes: The great cry of management literature for the last twenty years has been: We must have more leaders! We must have more leaders! It’s nonsense… Pick up the dictionary and look up ‘leader’…  It will probably be something like this; leader: one who leads. .. Note, that we are talking about a leader as being defined by what they do… The fact is anyone who is responsible for performance of a group is a leader, because people follow the leader’s example; that’s what leaders do, they set the example, the direction… If people follow you, then you’re a leader… You can lead well or you can lead poorly, but you’re leading and that’s about defining, implementing the group’s– purpose, direction, culture… When you’re making those kinds of decisions, when you’re setting the example which defines culture, or when you’re talking to people about– why and what they do is important… then you’re doing leadership work, and you are a leader… Whereas when you are managing, which involves setting, implement priorities… that isn’t any more or any less noble than leadership work… Both must be done and done well… So, don’t be misled by the jargon and hype; If you are responsible for a– company, group, team… then– you are doing leadership, you are doing management, you are doing supervision…

In the article Underrated Managers, Overrated Leaders by Harvey Schachter writes: In many organizations ‘leadership’ is considered the high-level, which is distinct and far more important than ‘management’… According to Henry Mintzberg; leaders who separate leadership from management are a danger to the organization… Too many leaders are disconnected from what is going on in their organization… He points to the late Steve Jobs, celebrated as a leader and visionary, who changed the world with his innovations… Mr. Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., was hailed as the ultimate leader. And, his lack of people skills has been viewed as evidence he was a terrible manager. His success seems to prove the point that strong leadership trumps management: If you’re a great leader, you can be a crappy manager and still succeed…

But Prof. Mintzberg has a different view: Steve Jobs was truly extraordinary. I am not sure that you would call him a leader, other than perhaps in a tech sense… He was not a natural leader of  people. That happened through his intricate knowledge, management of the product of the organization… Also, according to Prof. Mintzberg; Jack Welch, who has been called the best executive of the past century, but he didn’t leave any legacy other than a better-managed corporation than the one he inherited when he took the helm at G. E. There are no special products that he developed, no new industries or even segments of industries he created. He was a manager– highly gifted one– and because of that he was very successful… So, why are so many executives (leaders) disconnected with their organization? It’s because they bought into the going notion they would rather be leader than manager, thus they need not know– any of the nuts and bolts… but just provide vision…

In the article Manager as Leader by mike writes: The false dichotomy between leaders and managers stems from the absurd notion that organizations need ‘leaders’ at the top, and staff of ‘managers’ at all other levels below them– it’s a modern form of Plato’s class distinction between ‘kings/philosophers’ (leaders), ‘guardians’ (managers), and ‘workers/ slaves’… It’s early form of Taylorism… According to J. Adair; leadership vs. management is one of those topics that re-appears over and over again. I have fallen victim to many long discussions where both parties were so assured of their correctness they just keep repeating clichés, such as– ‘leaders’ lead people, ‘managers’ manage tasks… there is a difference; but, difference is not all that great because– managers are leaders, just as leaders are managers…

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We must all stop looking, waiting, anticipating… for the emergence of better leaders and, instead, take responsibility for the quality of our own organizations! It’s common practice, no matter at what level people are in the organization (i.e., employee, supervisor, manager, VP…); they all chant the same mantra; if only we had better leadership we would not be in position we are today! Variations on this theme include; When upper management get their act together; I’ll be able to do my job correctly! Another favorite; It’s got to start from the top! Surely, every organization needs a person who will remind them of– what the organization is trying to achieve, and why it’s important… but, leadership must come from all levels within an organization… and, not just from one person designated as the ‘leader’. According to Colleen Sharen; importance of leadership is vastly over-rated, leaders are not the silver bullet solution for most problems, issues… According to Henry Mintzberg; emphasis on leadership has led to emphasis on style over substance, and ‘leader’ over ‘follower’… By the excessive promotion of leadership we, in fact, demote everyone else. We create clusters of followers who must be driven to perform, instead of leveraging the natural propensity of people to cooperate, collaborate… in groups…

However, by all indications the general public, businesses, academics… are convinced we need leadership… Maybe because we need to believe that someone knows what to do in these crazy, complex, confusing times… Perhaps we need to jettison the platonic ideal of the one perfect leader… According to Mintzberg; suggests that there are few effective managers, and maybe we need to ditch the idea of– leaders, managers, followers... What could be more natural than to see organizations not as mystical hierarchies of authority, but as communities of engagement, where every member is respected and so returns that respect… We’re told how important it is to be a leader. Every college in U.S. claims to be ‘creating tomorrow’s leaders’… We’re told to ‘develop our leadership skills’ if we want a good job or to get ahead in life… Leaders are important, we’re told… but, too many leaders and not enough followers is a problem. Nothing gets done if everyone is in charge… Leaders without followers are useless… When Henry Mintzberg was asked; What type of leadership would you recommend for the 21st century? he answered without delay: Less leadership and more people who actually do stuff…

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Comparing Management Styles– Search for Best Most Effective Style of Management: U.S., Europe, Asia, India, Brazil, Russia…

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Management style is a method of leadership that’s employed for running a business, organization, project… it’s methodology for managing people, resources, expectations… and for achieving business goals, objectives… its getting employees to work together in harmony on a common platform and achieving the very best performance, productivity… it’s an approach for making decisions that relates to the organization, managers, and subordinates… Management styles must be adaptable, such that they are consistent with the culture of the organization, nature of the task, nature of the workforce, and personality and skills of leadership. Every style has its own unique characteristics and strong points, shortcomings, methods for getting work done… According to Jack Welch; my main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds from time to time too… According to Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. Schmidt; the style of management is dependent upon the prevailing circumstance; leaders should exercise a range of management styles and should deploy them as appropriate… According to bhattathiri; the Western idea of management centers on making the worker (and the manager) more efficient and more productive…but it has failed in ensuring betterment of individual life and social welfare. It has remained by and large a soulless edifice and an oasis of plenty for a few in the midst of poor quality of life for many. There is an urgent need to re-examine prevailing management disciplines – their objectives, scope and content. Management should be redefined to underline the development of the worker as a person, as a human being, and not as a mere wage-earner. With this changed perspective, management can become an instrument in the process of social and indeed national development. According to Björn Stansvik; there is no blanket answer to the question: What is the best management style? Different styles are called for at different times in different situations with different colleagues… There is no one style which suits all people and all situations. The most effective managers and leaders must find ways to adapt their individual styles– it’s often said of Sir Alex Ferguson; he knows which players need an arm round the shoulder and which ones need a kick up the backside...

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In the article U.S. and European Management Styles by James Heskett Baker writes; there are marked differences in the social environment for management in Europe and U. S. In some parts of Europe, they foster management policies that may encourage more balance in a manager’s life, between work and private activities and risk and stability; whether this will produce sustained economic superiority or a model to be emulated in the U.S. is debatable… According to Antonio De Luca; if one has to generalize, it’s fair to say that U.S. pursue risk, and Europeans seek stability– (leading) to fewer opportunities with more limited financial rewards, but possibly more balance for Europeans. The solution, as usual, is a sensible convergence of these two nuanced cultural approaches… According to Roy Bingham; points out that U.S. management style seems to work best when the key needs are– speed, aggression, last-minute genius, take-chance, inspiring leadership. In boom times when it’s expansion at all costs–pick U.S. style. At other times the more deliberate, consultative European approach is your ally… According to Jose Pedro Goncalves; I take issue that there is a European style of management, pointing out that there is no one style. In some parts of Europe (as a manager)– I’m a human being. In other parts; I’m just a number. In general we (Europeans) are more human, but less flexible… According to Dr. B.V. Krishnamurthy; the search for that elusive concept of the ‘best management style’ continues, although one could argue from lessons learned that there may not be a ‘best’ style, for example; centralization and decentralization can go together, flex-time and tele-working are meant to improve productivity, and many of the ‘either/or’ concepts can be treated as complementary, to be used with discretion…

India management styleaccording to Gunasekar C Raharatnam; I doubt if there is clear approach that can be described today. Some might point towards the many family owned and managed business organizations in India, some of these are large corporate entities and leaders in their industry but most are small tightly controlled family businesses. Even such family businesses are increasingly being controlled by the recent generations of well-educated inheritors. The management ‘styles’ are changing and perhaps shifting more towards Western styles that are being pushed by management schools… India is an enormously hierarchical society and this, obviously, has an impact on management style. It’s imperative that there is a boss and that the manager acts like a boss. The position of manager demands a certain amount of role-playing from the boss and a certain amount of deferential behavior from his subordinates… Managing people in India requires a level of micro-management which many western business people feel extremely uncomfortable with but, which is likely to bring the best results…

Brazil management style considers a manager’s personal style to be of great significance and it could almost be said that his or her vision/bearing is viewed as of great an importance as their technical abilities… Relationships are of key importance in this Latin culture and the boss and subordinates work hard to foster a relationship based on trust and respect for personal dignity. First and foremost, managers are expected to manage. The boss is expected to give direct instructions and it is expected that these instructions will be carried out without too much discussion or debate (if there is debate it should be done in private to avoid showing public disrespect to the hierarchy)… Decision-making in Brazil is often reserved for the most senior people. Taking the time to build the proper working relationship is crucial to success. Coming in as an outsider is often difficult, so it is advisable to have a third-party introduction… Often the people you negotiate with will not have decision-making authority. Decisions are made by the highest-ranking person.

China management style tends to follow Confucian philosophy: Relationships are deemed to be unequal and ethical behavior demands that these inequalities are respected: Older person should automatically receive respect from the younger and the senior from the subordinate. This is the cornerstone of all the China management thinking and issues such as empowerment and open access to all information are viewed by the Chinese as, at best, bizarre Western notions… Management is the directive, with the senior manager giving instructions to their direct reports who in turn pass on the instructions down the line. Subordinates do not question the decisions of superiors – that would be to show disrespect and be the direct cause of loss of face (mianzi) for all concerned… Although Western type management styles are beginning to have some influence with the younger generations…

Japan management style emphasis the need for information flow from the bottom of the company to the top: Senior management is largely a supervisory rather than ‘hands-on’ approach. Policy is often originated at the middle-levels of a company before being passed upwards for ratification. The strength of this approach is obviously that those tasked with the implementation of decisions have been actively involved in the shaping of policy… The higher a Japanese manager rises within an organization, the more important it is that he appears unassuming and not ambitious. Individual personality and forcefulness are not seen as the prerequisites for effective leadership. The key task for a Japanese manager is to provide the environment in which the group can flourish. In order to achieve this he must be accessible at all times and willing to share knowledge within the group. Manager is seen as a type of father figure who expects and receives loyalty and obedience from colleagues. In return, the manager is expected to take a holistic interest in the well-being of those colleagues: It is a mutually beneficial two-way relationship…

Russian management style tends to be centralized and directive. The boss, especially the ‘big boss’, is expected to issue direct instructions for subordinates to follow. There is little consultation with people lower down company hierarchy. Indeed too much consultation from a senior manager could be seen as a sign of weakness and lack of decisiveness. Middle managers have little power over strategy or input in significant strategic decisions. The most powerful middle managers are the ones who have the most immediate entrée to the decision-maker at the top of the organization. There is little point in wasting time debating with middle managers who do not have an easy access to the top. The most significant reason for delay in reaching a decision in Russia is that the decision has not been put in front of the real decision-maker…

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Several Observations About Management Styles by Noted Experts: Management ‘Theory Z’ is a name applied to three distinctly different psychological theories. One was developed by Abraham H. Maslow in his paper Theory-Z and another is Dr. William Ouchi’s so-called Japanese management style popularized during the Asian economic boom of the 1980s. The third was developed by W. J. Reddin in Managerial Effectiveness… Abraham Maslow, a psychologist and the first theorist to develop a theory of motivation based upon human needs produced a theory that had three assumptions: First, human needs are never completely satisfied. Second, human behavior is purposeful and is motivated by need for satisfaction. Third, these needs can be classified according to a hierarchical structure of importance from the lowest to highest… Maslow’s Theory-Z in contrast to Theory-X, which stated that workers inherently dislike and avoid work and must be driven to it, and Theory-Y, which stated that work is natural and can be a source of satisfaction when aimed at higher order human psychological needs… The original Theory-X and Theory-Y were both written by Douglas McGregor, a social psychologist who is considered to be one of the top business thinkers of all time… According to Dr. William Ouchi; Theory-Z must increase employee loyalty to the company by providing a job for life with a strong focus on the well-being of the employee, both on and off the job… The secret to Japanese success, according to Ouchi, is not technology, but a special way of managing people. This is a managing style that focuses on a strong company philosophy, a distinct corporate culture, long-range staff development, and consensus decision-making…

According to Brian Tracy; perhaps the most important single factor in what makes an environment a ‘great place to work’ is trust. Trust exists when you can say; I can make a mistake at work without being criticized or fired. When people feel free to try new things in order to do the job more effectively, increase quality, and improve customer service, all of their time, attention, and energy is focused outward, toward getting the job done better. An inspiring leader is the most important person in any organization. The ‘leader sets the tone’ by the way he talks, behaves, responds to others, and treats people every day: When the leader treats people with courtesy and respect, everyone follows the lead and treats coworkers, and most important customers with the same courtesy and respect… The biggest job of a manager is to drive out fear and, in fact, one of the best measures of a high performance workplace is the degree to which people feel free to question the boss and disagree with his ideas or decision… The greater freedom that people have to speak up and express themselves, without fear, the more positive and powerful the work environment becomes… According to Lee Polevoion; successful business leaders must first understand their own management style, then they must be flexible enough to adapt-modify their style, as necessary, in order to motivate-cultivate the most productive work environment possible…

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Blended Management Styles– Changing, Adapting–Take Best of Each: Create a Hybrid That Works for Your Organization…

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Management style is an organization’s philosophy about managing people and resources, which reflects its values, beliefs, culture… Management style is about people and levels of trust, priorities, competitiveness… However in today’s globalize organizations, it’s time to move beyond the traditional thinking of management styles, such as; Theory X, Theory Y… Choices today are considerably more complex than merely deciding between management philosophies/styles, and instead it more about creating, adapting… hybrid, blended styles of management, for example; taking bits-pieces of different styles and combining them into one methodology that works most effective for your organization. According to Susan M. Heathfield; management styles reflect the relationship between management and employees and the degree in which management decides to involve employees in decision-making process. The style of management is fundamental in determining the relative competitiveness of the organization and as such, management style repertoires must be continually reviewed and improved so as to create better decision-making and a more successful work environment… According to Tannenbaum; there’s an evolving continuum between management and employees, and includes– increasing role for employees and decreasing role of management in decision-making process. The continuum incorporates the traditional styles of management, they include: Tellautocratic management style; represents top down–dictatorial decision-making with little employee input… Sellsell management style; management makes decisions, then tries to persuade the employees that their decision is correct… Consultconsultative management style; management solicits input from employees for decision-making, but retains the authority to make the final decision– key for success with consultative style is informing employees up-front that their input is important, but that management will make the final decision… Joinjoin management style; management invites employees to join in making decisions, and management and employees are equal partners in decision-making process… Delegatedelegate management style; management turns much of the decision-making over to employees, however, management requires critical path feedback for decisions along designated points in the process… According to Amanda Webster; the ‘right’ management style must meet the needs of customers, employees, stakeholders… The management style must be fluid and adaptable to change for most given situations… Over the last decade, styles of management have seen an evolution of sorts due to globalization and dynamism of corporations as entities… Also, the basic mission of management is evolving from focus just on profitability to also include; employee satisfaction, social responsibility… Bottom-line; the perfect blend of any management style must promote– humanity, best practices, innovation, and profitability for an organization…

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In the article How Management Styles are Changing by drjustinbarclay writes: The methods used by management to perform organization activities are questions of style, and management styles have evolved. This evolution in style – and the proliferation of additional nuanced styles – is a result of a combination of advances in technology, forms of organizations, as well as shifts in the prevailing workforce demographic… Technology has changed the way management works… technology is seen as an enabler that links global and diverse organizations and provides tightly linked transparency that furthers management objectives. Those objectives are no longer just driven by a desire to simply control aggregated activity and profit, but also driven by ‘purpose’. These trends have given way to written works such as: Hamel’s–The Future of Management; Benko & Anderson’s–The Corporate Lattice; Hallowell’s–Shine; as well as, Pascale, Sternin, & Sternin’s–The Power of Positive Deviance; just to name a few. While these texts describe very different facets of organizational life, they share the common thread of management doing all that’s possible to identify; what’s working in organizations, how best practice can be both identified and spread throughout the organization, and places the focus on the potential of the workforce, rather than upon controlling its activities. Management styles have thus changed from choosing between varying levels of commanding-controlling resources, to instead choosing between varying levels of interaction with the value chain of an organization and resources associated with that value chain. In essence, management style is now most impacted by considerations for epitasis, where the critical question is how management will choose to leverage their unique talents to influence organization’s ecosystem. Rather than simply asking– what are the organization’s responsibilities? Now instead, management is asking– what are the organization’s ‘knowledge’ and ‘influence networks’? Since knowledge and responsibility are being widely interspersed through-out the organization…

In the article How to Change Your Management Style by Lou Dubois writes: Assessing an organization’s management style and determining that its time for a change is not an easy task… There is no one size fits all style of management that works, as each organization is different– a management style, more or less, defines an approach to managing people…  According to Jon Picoult; The most effective way to figure out if a change is needed is to solicit feedback from people you’re managing or partnering with and the environment the business is operating in…One of the defining qualities of good management is that they have professional knowledge– they have self-knowledge, in other words, they can look inward to examine their own strengths and weaknesses, and they’re also willing and happy to listen to outside input on how they can grow and change for the better… A good management style adapts to its environment, and changes when they’re needed… But, the big challenge is actually effectively changing people’s behavior… The key element is being self-aware: If you’ve taken the first step to recognize that there must be something different–a better way, then that’s a huge first step. But you also must be really objective; step outside yourself and take a candid look at what you’re doing today and understand what you need to differently. So it’s not an easy task, and it requires somebody who is good at making calculated and informed decisions, without an ego. Once you do that, just follow that path… In making a management style-organization shift; it’s important to take top-down approach with transparency from a leadership perspective. If you are changing your management style, you must first assess and make changes within yourself… According to Heineman; internally–within organization, it’s always been about clarity, alignment, focus… creating team culture, environment where employees are highly incentivized to come up with ideas, try new things, whether they fail or succeed, empower employees to be upwardly mobile… Externally–outside organization, when changing management styles, it’s important to be up-front and candid with customers, partners, stakeholders…

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In the article New International Style of Management by Garry Emmons writes: There is an ever increasingly international style of management… According to John Quelch; the international management style is an amalgam that’s built atop Western models, which have been borrowed freely from others around the world… the Western models can be very ecumenical, flexible, and open to new ideas and people: It learns from best practices in other countries and adapts accordingly… over time this kind of cross-pollination of a global management style will look less like its Western origin and more like something completely multinational... According to Rohit Deshpandé; more multinationals strive to achieve certain types of management characteristics and best practice, in order to make themselves globally competitive, even if those desired traits are not necessarily found in, or may be contrary to, the native business culture of the company’s home country. Thus, while the average companies in France, Germany, Japan… may all appear to be quite different from each other, all of these countries’ best-performing multinationals look quite similar… These findings suggest that excellence in global corporate competition demands certain success enabling management characteristics and best practices, which for top multinationals means that the corporate culture may need to trump the national culture… According to Irina Gaida; in a multicultural environment, management must strive to strike a balance between their own national cultural and being open to other value systems, management styles, and decision-making processes… many companies are finding that management and employees are willing to adjust their behavior to facilitate teamwork… This mutual adjustment eventually becomes the norm within an organization...

Management style is one of those phrases bandied about in all workplaces, and it’s a catch-all; when we say it, we have to clarify and add more to better convey what we mean. Our management style can be seen in a good light, for example: He’s very compassionate, and fiercely protective of his team… Or, it can be negatively perceived, for example: She’s a micro-manager and just can’t keep her nose out of my work. The good is often said in gratitude, and the not-so-good as grumbled whisper. So: What’s your management style like? But, more important question: Would your team agree with you, or say something different? Much of what is important in management at a particular moment has less to do with what you do, than what you have done. The culture you’ve created, the training that you’ve given, the motivation you’ve encouraged and the people who you’ve hired have all laid the groundwork to the response of your team at any given time… To achieve the level of innovation required for competitive advantage today, we must achieve a better balance of power throughout organizations. Employees need to be more fully engaged in making strategic decisions, and in planning and organizing more of their own work. To break the stranglehold of ‘organization-as-person metaphor’, employees must share in strategic thinking. Such ownership is the only way to achieve deep engagement; and as a result, management must do less telling and more facilitating, which means doing more asking, as in– What do you think?

 

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Mentors, Mentees, Mentoring, Mentorship in Business: Measure Impact, Value, Outcome– The Promise of Mentorship Matters

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Mentors and mentoring relationships can be powerful and life-changing: If you examine successful people they typically have one thing in common: A Mentor. Nearly every successful person in history had someone who they could confide in and learn from when times were tough… They leverage knowledge and experience– guide and focus attention on things that matter, shorten learning curve and speed success… According to Catherine A. Hansman; perhaps the most acknowledged root of ideas and definitions surrounding the concept of mentors is the well-known story from Greek mythology: The original Mentor is a character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus, King of Ithaca went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor who served as teacher and overseer of Odysseuss’ son, Telemachus. The concept of Mentor   has continued through the centuries and reflected in the many definitions of mentors and in the expectations of mentoring relationships. Just uttering the word mentor brings to mind images of supportive people in the past or present who have assisted us and continue to sustain us in our professional and personal lives… But, according to Patricia Cross; mentoring is a slippery concept indeed, a search through the mountains of literature and research concerning mentoring reveals differing definitions for the term. For example, Levinson et al. defined a mentor as teacher, advisor, or sponsor, leaving the term open to personal or professional connotation… Others choose to define mentors as helping more with professional life describing mentors– as people with advanced experiences and knowledge that are willing to provide upward mobility and support to the protégé (i.e., mentees) career development. Others add the idea of nurturing to their definition of a mentor, e.g., professional guide who nurtures and promotes the learning and success of his or her mentee… The differing definitions of mentors reflect various characteristics that seem to define informal and formal mentoring relationships. Informal mentoring are psychosocial mentoring relationships for enhancing mentees’ self-esteem and building confidence through interpersonal dynamics, emotional bonds, mutual common interests, and relationship building. Formal mentoring, in contrast, are generally organized and sponsored by workplaces or professional organizations; a formal process that matches mentors and mentees for the purpose of building careers… Different techniques may be used by mentors according to the situation and the mindset of the mentee… According to Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner; mentors should look for ‘teachable moments’ in order to expand or realize the potentialities of the people in the organizations they lead, and they underline that personal credibility is an essential for quality mentoring… However, despite some of the positive benefits that have been linked to mentoring, some research has found that mentoring can have negative consequences, for example; jealousy, over-dependence, and feelings of failure… However, mentoring does matter– especially in the workplace– with the recognizing that such relationships require vigilance to prevent potential abuses…

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In the article Business Mentoring: What It Is Why It Matters by Chris Wallace writes: While it can be challenging to always quantify whether a mentoring relationship is successful (e.g. how do you measure things like increased confidence?) some studies and statistics do exist and are encouraging. Many in the mentoring field often point to a study conducted in 2006: The study compared the career progress of 1000 employees over a 5-year period and the results showed that those who participated in a mentoring program experienced many more benefits than those who did not. An article in Forbes that talks about the study noted; both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get a raise than people who did not participate in the mentoring program and 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors received a raise versus only 5% of managers who were not mentors. Mentoring can also help reduce employee turnover, as an article in the Harvard Business Review noted: One of the most critical elements in retaining great people is effective mentoring. By investing in mentoring, you empower senior-level employees (who serve as mentors) and bolster junior-level employees who typically welcome (and thrive from) the increased guidance, support, and insight that mentoring provides. The keys to a successful mentoring program include; oversight, training and guidance, and embracing of a mentoring spirit throughout the organization. A company that invests in its people often ends up having happier, more loyal and more productive employees as a result, which can only help a company’s bottom line… Various mentoring models exist. Formal one-to-one programs match a mentor and mentee, while group mentoring involves having one mentor for a small group of mentees. Self-directed mentoring is an informal mentoring model where a gung-ho mentee who understands the benefits of mentoring goes out and finds a mentor on his or her own (either within or outside of the company). As business landscape changes, other mentoring models form to adapt to these changes. Reverse mentoring is one such model that’s growing in popularity, especially with millennial… An article in The Wall Street Journal noted; in an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring

In the article Business Mentoring by Mike Morrison writes: According to a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Survey; 87% of businesses in the UK utilize mentoring; mentoring in a business sense is a vehicle for self-development. Having a formal relationship with a respected senior within an industry or organization is valuable to both the mentee and mentor; it’s an effective people development strategy and one that can support succession plans… Mentoring is in essence the sharing of experience and learning from one person to another… It’s interesting to observe that often in education, mentoring is used for those that are under performing whilst in business, mentoring is used for those with potential– the high fliers in organizations and support of people starting their own business. There are in essence two basic approaches to mentoring and they can be portrayed as– American and European methods or sponsoring (informal) and developmental (formal), respectively. In the informal process, it tends to occur naturally and involves individual choice like sponsoring… Whereas, the formal is structured with a formal facilitated process that can be managed and monitored… The informal approach is more associated with the roots of mentoring, and emphasizes the need of a more senior experienced and wiser person, the mentor, to pass down their skills, knowledge and experience to a younger individual appropriately named as a protégé rather than a mentee. The relationship between mentor and mentee is naturally developed often by choice of how and whom the mentor wishes to take under their wing. The pace of the relationship is controlled by the mentor and consists of a more authoritarian and influential approach…

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In the article Mentors Make a Business Better by Emily Keller writes: It’s never too late to have a mentor. If there’s an area in your career or personal life you want to improve, don’t think it’s too late. For workers who are seeking to change direction in their industry, climb to the next level or adjust to a merger or structural change at their company, management experts say finding a mentor could be their best transitional tool. Successful mentorship can be in any number of forms: online or in-person, formal or informal, temporary or long-term, or between individuals or in groups: What experts say are the essentials– direction, dedication, and openness… To be sure that your time as a mentee is fruitful, experts recommend setting specific goals at the outset and revisiting them along the way, as well as looking for a mentor who has traveled the career path you seek and has the skills you need, instead of seeking out a mentor whom you like for personal reasons. According to Lois Zachary; people put too much weight on personal chemistry-likeability, but they are not a prerequisite for learning. So what makes a good mentor? Ask the right questions are the key but receiving all the answers is not always expected. Your mentors shouldn’t tell you what your goals are; they should just ask you what your goals are… The benefits are far-reaching: In addition to improving managerial skills, company mentorship programs may also aid in recruitment: More and more people are attracted to organizations that help them grow and learn… For the whole purpose of talent attraction and talent retention today, mentoring is a vital part… Yet mentors and mentees must be dedicated to skill-building for the relationships to work. Mentees should avoid seeking relationships for political or nebulous reasons, like trying to get a promotion and mentors should avoid making promises they can’t keep…

Research confirms what we already know– anecdotally or intuitively– mentoring works… To be successful in life it’s very important to have a mentor, a coach, someone with more experience than you, someone who is in a position in life that you desire to be in future. Most people underestimate the value of a mentor: A mentor offers valuable insight to things that only experience can teach… A good mentor will motivate you with a simple statement that affirms that you are on the right track, even when things do not seem to be going well… A mentor will help you prevent mistakes that you otherwise would have no way of avoiding… There are only two ways to gain wisdom in life; making your own mistakes or learning from others mistakes… According to Elizabeth Alleman and Diana Clarke; the first step in developing a business mentoring program is to answer three questions: 1) What business issues are you trying to address (e.g., turnover, recruitment cost, productivity or some other problem)? 2) Why is addressing this issue important? Companies address issues that have a financial impact or affect the quality of the products and/or services. 3) How will the organization be different as a result of the program? When business issues involving the effectiveness of employees have been identified, the next two questions arise: 4) Who do you want to change or develop? (i.e., who will be the mentee? and 5) How will those people be different? Answering these questions establishes program objectives. These objectives must be specific, measurable, and realistic and they must have an appropriate time frame… While the intangibles benefits of such programs are often the most important outcomes; it’s also very desirable, if possible, to simply convert one of the intangibles into a significant tangible benefit; e.g., personal productivity into a monetary value which shows an ROI for the program. This type of quantifiable result allows the proponents of the program to speak in the language of business and possibly influence upper management on the value of the program... We live in constantly changing world and mentoring programs are increasingly important in the workplace; but perhaps its greatest benefit is as a way to offer some kind of security in insecure times…

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Manage Business Strategy Like an Investment, Not Like ATM: Build Value, Create Wealth, Grow Assets, Make Investments

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Manage your business like a prudent investment and it will pay large dividends, or treat your business like an open ATM (automatic teller machine) and it can cost you– big time, like a faulty cash dispenser. Believe in your business enough to invest in it: Invest money, invest time, and invest resources… a real business must be based on a prudent investment plan with an expected return for the investment. Business success does not just magically happen; you must have skin in the game, and you must be fully committed to making the business work– make it a real business by applying the mind-set of an investor. According to Chia-Li Chien; managing a business must be viewed as more than a means for just improving your lifestyle; it must be viewed as an assemblage of investment assets that are used for generating wealth and serving the community… When the business is viewed from an  investor’s perspective, then you will actually expect and demand an annual investment return, as well as, growth and appreciation in the value of the business, over time. Let me elaborate, for example; managing a business can be viewed as a job (e.g., pay the mortgage…) or for improving lifestyle (e.g., vacation in Fuji…) or for the creation of wealth (e.g., establish an endowment fund…). According to Jason Fisher and Eric Goldstein; if you’re looking to build a multi-million dollar business, then you must start treating the business like an investment– and start, right Now! And, if you don’t do it, right Now! Then it won’t ever happen… Treat your business like an investment, and it will pay you a generous return for your investment, as well as, growth in equity value and wealth… Prudent investments– financial instruments– are structured and managed for financial growth and income, and similarly, for a business to be successful– productive and effective– it must be structure and managed for growth and income, and a generous return for your investment… But, most important, like financial investments, business investments must be transparent– you must know what’s working and what’s not working, and the only way you can do that is by tracking results. And, tracking results is like looking in the mirror; where results are reflection of the investments and if afraid or unwilling to make prudent investments, then you must rethink the objectives and goals for the business…

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In the article How to Run Your Business Like an Investment by Michael Batton Kaput writes: The investors with the most staying power treat their stock portfolios with reverence. They know their investing philosophy that prizes long-term growth over short-term profits, and partners with others to get the most out of their money. Business management could learn a lot from successful stock market players. Treating a business like an investment, rather than like a money-making tool that’s discarded after it has outlived its usefulness… managing a business like an investment can generate long-term returns and financial security for all the stakeholders. Consider these steps:

  • Step 1: Put yourself on the line. Any investment you make has material consequences for you and your net worth. With your own money on the line, you tend to take investing seriously. The same goes for a business. A substantial portion of your own assets and net worth should be tied to your business.  That gives you a stake in succeeding, as opposed to cashing in quickly and hanging your employees out to dry.
  • Step 2: Create a strategy for tough times. Too many businesses are blindsided when bad economic times or tough markets rear their heads. Financial investors, however, try to plan for the worst by hedging their risk and having plans in place to deal with difficult economic conditions. Businesses should do the same. While material success is the goal, it doesn’t always come easy. Draft strategies that the business will use to survive, and even capitalize, on tough times.
  • Step 3: Establish and maintain trust with your employees. Treating a business as an investment means treating your employees like one, too. Retaining workers and keeping them happy leads to better productivity and results. Avoid micromanagement where possible. Give employees the training and the tools to make decisions for themselves. Autonomy in the workplace generates trust between management and employees, while fostering a culture of hard work and innovation.
  • Step 4: Formulate and emphasize your business culture. When management takes the time to examine the company’s core values and priorities, then corporate culture stops being a set of buzzwords. A strong corporate culture, and adherence to it at every level of the company, is an investment in your company and the people who work for it. Just like investors know what their investing philosophy is, so should management know what their business philosophy is.
  • Step 5: Treat your business as a partnership, not a set of top-down directives. While investors may tell their stock brokers which shares to buy and sell, the smart ones solicit feedback from their brokers and take their advice under consideration. It should be the same with management and their employees. When everyone feels like they have a stake in the company and its success, this enhances the idea of a business as an investment, rather than a way to simply make money and move on to another venture.

In the article Treating your Company like an Investment by Craig Castelli writes: What is the difference between an investment and a career? The two words are rarely compared, but perhaps we should pay closer attention to their meaning. The best way to compare the two is this: you retire from a career, but you exit an investment. This distinction sums up the difference in approaches– retirement is a highly personal and emotional decision, whereas exiting an investment is a highly rational and non-emotional, business decision. Unfortunately for many businesses, when it comes to exit strategy it’s tough to separate the emotional from the rational. Therefore, an exit is typically linked to retirement rather than the real factors that drive exit timing. I draw the distinction between investments and careers because I know far too many business owners treat their companies like careers… The focus is short-term with primary concern being to make as much money this year as they did last year, in order to fund their lifestyle. Rarely, if ever, do business owners contemplate the bigger picture, including an exit strategy. Creating a strong exit strategy requires a shift in mindset; it requires thinking of your business as an investment, rather than as a career. To this end, your business is no different from a stock or a piece of real estate, but unlike stocks or real estate, however, you have a lot of control over many aspects of the business… Business owners that treat their business like an investment rather than careers embrace this mindset. Begin thinking about your exit… View your business as an investment, so that you can understand its actual fair market value… Take an investor’s perspective and view your business through their eyes…

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In the article How Do You Treat The Business: Investment or Gamble? by Frederick Lam writes: There are two mind-sets for how you treat your business: Investor or Gambler. Think about it: Gamblers are taking chances– taking a lucky shot. They think that if you throw enough money at it, then it will grow-prosper. These are people who invest in technology stocks and pray that it will become an overnight success or they buy lottery tickets religiously… The gambler mind-set is of hope, not of investment. In a sense, a gambler is living on prayer-hope, and banking on the idea that they will hit it big and get a 100x return… The problem is that it’s not business: Gambling is game of chance-high risk. For every one person that hits the jackpot, there are countless people who do not: In contrast, having a mind-set that treats the business like a true investment is the real key to business success… When you invest instead of gamble you take ownership, which means that you have a different mind-set. You no longer live on chance but you have a plan, manage risk, make things happen… You don’t chase fantasies, but rather you invest in success. A gambler looks for an easy way out; whereas, an investor does their homework, researches… and finds a way to create a unique or untapped niche to leverage… When you treat your business like an investment; you are not searching for get rich quick schemes– business success is a process, and not a one-time event. So, manage your business like an investment; change your mind-set, change your attitude, change your actions, and change the business results…

You can significantly increase your net wealth by simply changing the way you look at your business… According to Tim McDaniel; typical business owners have more than 60% of their net worth tied up in their business. That’s a huge piece of their nest egg. Yet, most business owners don’t treat their business as an investment, i.e., as something they need to watch, nurture and care for just as they do their 401(k), and other investments. Your business is every bit of an investment as stocks, bonds, mutual funds… Treating your business like an investment is the key to increasing value and building wealth. There are five steps you can follow that will help you develop an investment mind-set, they are: Know the value of your business. Develop an investment mindset toward your business. Set a growth goal for your business investment. Protect your business from value detractors. Determine your exit strategy... According to Gregg Hamilton-Piercy; while you are working hard to make the business profitable and to develop new strategies that will help it thrive; how often do you step back and view the business the way an outside investor might? Consider the fact that most of us have investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds… Why then wouldn’t you consider taking a similar approach when it comes to managing what is potentially the most important piece of your illiquid personal wealth– your business? The core idea is that, on top of running your business, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye toward ultimately moving it to market-ready status. Whether or not you are actively looking for a buyer, it’s certainly prudent to take steps that will prepare your business for situations where investors come to your door, so to speak… According to Alex Tabatabai; it’s wise to treat the business like an investment fund; i.e., think of the business as an investment fund that’s 100% invested in the business… also, view the role of management as a capital allocators, on behalf of shareholders, and in effect a fund manager of the business… According to Rosie Bank; the first rule of being in business is to take the business very seriously and view it as an investment… The second rule is to get in the game, stay in the game… create and execute a game plan that positions the business as a successful investment opportunity…

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Inspiration Leadership and Aspiration Management Drives Business Success: Motivation Shifts– Inspire, Aspire, Achieve

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Inspiration leadership is often seen as the key to creating a successful business; however, businesses that are led by aspiration management are also notably successful. Hence, although inspiration leadership and aspiration leadership may have different drivers, they can both deliver positive results… According to Kate Tojeiro; organizations that are based on inspiration style leadership have a clear vision of what they should stand for and where they are going. This leadership is inclusive by nature and it connects well with employees and is able to articulate its vision in a way that is compelling to those around them. These companies tend to be driven by innovation and creativity and tend not to be risk-averse, for example; Apple, Google, Amazon… Whereas the aspiration style of leadership is driven by a different set of rules, for example; size, influence, market share, geographic spread… and these factors tend to be more important than innovation or creativity… These companies are often more hierarchical than those that are inspiration led, for example; businesses in media, banking, pharma, telecom… are typical of those with an aspiration management. Although clearly different in their styles, there are definite cross-over between these two types of organization… an ideal organization is structured with a mix of both inspiration and aspiration leadership styles

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In the article Business Motivation by Nancy Wurtzel writes: Motivation is a complicated subject that is studied by many and understood by few. Virtually every aspect of human life– from the mundane to the life-changing– is guided, swayed and altered by motivating factors… Motivation is one of the most powerful driving forces in the workplace. It can mean the difference between tremendous success and failure. Motivation stems from two sources. The first part of motivation is external or extrinsic (outside the person) sources. Other motivating factors come from internal forces, which are mainly people’s thoughts, patterns and collective experiences. However, humans are unique; what motivates one person will not necessarily motivate another. You– and only you– will be able to determine what works for you. Take the time to examine what internal and external factors are motivating you as a business person. Here are a few keys for motivation that may prove helpful.

  • Inspiration: Inspiration is critical to getting and staying  motivated. If you are not interested in your business, your motivation level will never be high and you won’t be able to sustain interest for very long.
  • Setting Goals: Short and long-term goal setting is vital… If you didn’t set goals, you would be adrift with nothing to strive for and no charted course to follow.
  • Networking: Network with other business people. One person can’t move a huge mountain but when a number of people work together the mountain is suddenly only a small hill– these are simply challenges waiting to be surmounted.
  • Reward Yourself: All work and no play is a huge mistake. Your motivation will soon begin to fall if you never take any time away from the demands of business. So, plan frequent rewards for yourself.
  • Exercise: There is a powerful connection between the mind and the body. It’s vital to take breaks and exercise, everyday. If your body isn’t healthy; your mind, concentration, and motivation will certainly suffer.
  • Organize: Organization is critical to motivation; vision, strategy, plan, structure, focus, effective time management…

In the article Brand Shift for 2013: From Aspiration To Inspiration by Alan Snitow writes: Great brands, those brands most in touch in with consumer sentiment, have evolved their message from one of aspiration to one of inspiration. They are focused less on what they can give, and more on what consumers themselves can achieve. In those very same aspiration prone categories, quintessentially U.S. companies are calling on consumers to make a better world for themselves, by themselves. These brands have realized their role is not to be the solution, but to be the motivation for one. The call to action isn’t merely to buy something, but to build something. Of course, some brands have always acted thusly, particularly in categories predicated on personal achievement, like sporting goods. What’s interesting is how badge brands, whether of style, wealth, wisdom, or popularity, have taken the same tack… And perhaps, brands will continue to benefit from the lessons of these last few years and remember that inspiration can be as powerful a proposition as aspiration...

In the article How To Succeed–Or Keep On Trying by biglittlewolf writes: I read not only to learn but to be informed, entertained… but most important, for inspiration. I recognize that both aspiration and inspiration can generate motivation. And, I am clear on the difference: The definition of aspiration is a strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectual aspirations; a goal or objective desired… The definition of inspiration is imparting inspiration (stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings to a special act of creativity; person or idea that causes this state) I am keenly aware that I may aspire to a way of life and never attain it… Our aspirations form part of who we are, what we seek to accomplish, how we look, how we feel, how we live, what we define as success. There is much to be enjoyed and learned from aspiration magazines, books, films… as long as we don’t presume that we must inhabit the entirety of this posed and painted picture of perfection, that anything less is failure, that anything less is lacking in value, that if we don’t arrive at the desired state it’s because we are lacking in value… As for inspiration, it’s a different matter: It stimulates the mind, it engages the most profound emotions; it stirs us to action whether to chase after our own dreams, or to help others pursue theirs. Some of us need aspiration; others need inspiration. I know that I rely on a reasonable dose of both; they may overlap and coexist and they do generate motivation...

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In the article Inspiration or Aspiration by Kate Tojeiro writes: Most businesses today, particularly large multinationals (the most noticeable and easiest to scrutinize), are driven by two distinct styles of management; inspiration led and aspiration led styles… Developing a leadership style to address the changing needs of business will ultimately involve everyone in the organization, not just those at senior management levels. It’s certainly accepted that– what has worked well in buoyant times is unlikely to be as effective in difficult economic times. Traditional ways of thinking and operating will need to be challenged if companies are to remain strong and competitive. To quote Mark Twain; if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got… It’s about being prepared to change, then driving that change forward, both on an individual and corporate level… Great leaders are those who concentrate their energies on the things they are good at, and totally acknowledge the things they are not good at. Irrespective of whether their style is inspiration led or aspiration led, they are comfortable with the fact that they alone cannot achieve everything, so they surround themselves with good people who have skills to achieve what they cannot… These leaders are able to inspire others, in their organization, to achieve greatness… Both inspiration and aspiration styles of leadership can be effective even when an economic collapse threatens the very existence of a business. Where there is a desire or a need to change an existing leadership style, business leaders should choose from the attributes of existing styles and nurture an approach that best suits them. The overriding objective, however, is not to create a style that becomes formulaic, but a style that is sustainable and repeatable…

In the article Get Motivated in Your Business by Dennis L. Prince writes: One of the top causes of waning motivation is unclear goals. If you don’t have a clear plan to reach your goals, it’s not surprising that you lose motivation… goal-setting is directly related to how you define the start of the journey and how finely you chart the key milestones you need to achieve it. Setting milestones can empirically define what success along the way looks like. When you see and attain it, you will stay motivated knowing you are on the right path… Milestones are crucial to staying motivated… A key benefit of setting milestones, besides ensuring you’re staying on the right track, is to reassure yourself that you are making good progress. When you reach a milestone, celebrate it… Much of what keeps business people charged up is taking the excitement and confidence gained from a goal you’ve reached, and eagerly pouring that into their next quest. That’s the core of motivation– it fuels your inspiration and aspiration for moving your business ahead, year after year…

Achievement, accomplishment, prosperity… all of these words is a synonym for success… According to Reckless; we live in an aspiration society… Aspiration refers to material things you can possess, whereas inspiration refers to immaterial things you– wish to be. When you choose– ‘to have’ versus ‘to be’– you set yourself up for disappointment and frustration… A strong desire can help you get inspired and aspire… However: What comes first, inspiration or aspiration? Many sources of inspiration can help you in achieving success in life. But, arguing about which comes first whether inspiration or aspiration is not one of them. The important thing is to find your true source of inspiration and to remain focused in the achievement of your goals… If the vision of a CEO is aspiration, then the team must be inspired to works towards actualizing it. It tells the team ‘what’ to achieve; it’s inspirational, and hence motivates the team to make the vision a reality… Aligning people to the business vision or goal alignment in aspiration management context is about creating the right balance between the business and individual aspirations and goals… Motivation plays a critical role in influencing workplace behavior and performance. There are many theories of motivation and including; Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, Alderfer’s ERG theory, Goal-setting theory, Models of behavior change, Theory X and Theory Y… However, the basic objective in motivation is to strike the right balance between the organizational growth opportunities (business aspirations) and personal growth opportunities (career aspirations)… Motivation is what moves us forward in our personal and business lives… So, take the time to examine your motivating factors, improve your focus, renew your enthusiasm, and keep on track… and, the motivational momentum of your inspirations and aspirations will carry you forward…

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Datafication– Reflects the Past and Drives the Future: A Revolution That is Changing How We Live, Work, Think…

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Datafication is the transformation of our entire world into oceans of data that can be explored– and providing a new perspective on reality. Datafication takes all aspects of life, and transforms it into a data format that makes it quantified; for example, Twitter datafies stray thoughts, LinkedIn datafies professional networks… Once things are datafied, we can transform their purpose and turn the data into new forms of value… Ultimately, datafication marks the moment when our information society finally fulfills the promise implied by its name… Data are center stage: All those digital bits that have been gathered can now be harnessed in novel ways to serve new purposes and unlock new forms of value. But it requires a new way of thinking; datafication is a resource and a tool and it’s meant to inform, rather than explain it points toward understanding but it can still lead to misunderstanding, depending on how well it’s wielded… So how is datafication being used to shape our business activities and create new forms of values? Collecting data is not enough; it depends on how data is used to unlock its values, not only its primary use but also its reuse– its option value. In other words, quantifying things that we didn’t previously think to quantify. One way that we are probably being datafied right now is by location: Smartphone applications draw upon our real-time geographic coordinates to recommend– restaurants, events… Social media also lends an interesting perspective on how society is now datafied… These online interactions can shed much light into our social dynamics and cultural future. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, showing that datafication can apply to just about anything. Even though datafication holds enormous opportunity and value, there are negative impacts on privacy and sense of freedom… We didn’t used to look at our friends and view them as a rich source for data, but Facebook changed that by datafying friends… Similarly, we never used to think of our whispers, stray thoughts, professional networks as data-producing entities. Yet, according to Kenneth Cukier; Twitter, LinkedIn… changed that too. In short, we are datifying many aspects of our lives that we never actually thought as being informational before… and we’re just at the outset of the datafication era… consider all the potential uses of datafication as we move forward into the future…

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In the article New Buzzword: Datafication by Jeff Bertolucci writes: Just when you thought you had mastered all the data-riffic buzzwords out there, another rears its trendy head. We’re talking about datafication; the notion that organizations today are dependent upon data to operate properly– and perhaps even to function at all. According to Andrew Waitman; datafication is a different concept– what’s happening in the world of data is that more businesses are fundamentally data businesses. Even if you think of– online retail, online grocery stores… they don’t operate without data infrastructure. According to Waitman; you could argue that no online business could be operating without their backend data infrastructure… As trends go, datafication is not new: Many multinational corporations have processed and analyzed massive data sets for decades, but with little fanfare. For example, financial, energy, retail… were early adopters of data-style analysis… Walmart and Target have been doing large data analysis for years– storing large volumes of customer data– and than later going back and doing post-analysis of that data. Google has done big data analysis since it started for optimizing their search engines… The ubiquity of powerful and personalized computing devices combined with– store everything mentality– has made it easier for organizations to analyze huge data sets. Decades ago, people had to make decisions on the metrics they needed and the specific data type that they were going to store in the mainframe computers. But now you store everything, and do a post-facto query. In today’s big data world, organizations typically capture and store all information, even if they’re not sure what insights the data will provide…

In the article Rise of Big Data, Big Brother by Cathy O’Neil writes: Datafication is an interesting concept: We are being datafied or rather our actions are and when we ‘like’ someone or something online, we are intending to be datafied or at least we should expect to be. But when we merely browse the web, we are unintentionally or at least passively being datafied through cookies that we might or might not be aware. And when we walk around in stores or even on streets, we are being datafied in completely unintentional way… This spectrum of intentionality ranges from us gleefully taking part in a social media experiment we are proud of to all-out surveillance and stalking. But it’s all datafication. Our intentions may run the gambit, but the results don’t… Once we datafy things, we can transform their purpose and turn the information into new forms of value. But, who is ‘we’ and what kind of value? If you assumed that ‘we’ means– the people– then, you might re-think it, since ‘we’ really means– companies, governments… and they are becoming more efficient with datafication. According to Cukier-Mayer-Schoenberger; the datafication revolution consists of three things: 1. Collecting and using a lot of data rather than small samples. 2. Accepting messiness in your data. 3. Giving up on knowing the causes. They describe these steps in rather grand fashion by claiming that datafication doesn’t need to understand causes because the data is so enormous. It doesn’t need to worry about sampling error because it’s literally keeping track of the truth– it’s all really about understanding what we can do with data and the potential behind it…

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In the article Datafication: Lens of How We See Ourselves by Lyndsay Grant writes: Datafication is both backward-facing, representing what has happened so far and also forward-facing, driving future behavior… Yet the way that datafication informs future action is not always straightforward… While providing an illusion of certainty and control, the data itself only provides a starting point for asking more questions… Facebook is a prime example of how datafication attempts to influence our behavior, for example; displaying numbers of our– likes, shares, comments, friends… Facebook encourages its users to spend more time on the site creating and sharing content, which will increase our numbers and that provides more valuable data about us, which makes it easier for marketers to effectively target us with advertisements… The use of data to drive online behavior does not stop at Facebook. By using cookies to track interaction across multiple sites and then aggregating this information, marketers get an even more accurate and nuanced picture of who you are, and therefore the advertisements you are more likely to respond to… The effects of datafication also arguably extend to our offline behavior, and influence how we see ourselves and the world around us. If numbers of our– friends, likes, comments… are what drives our interaction online, then particular attitudes and perspectives are being cultivated that we may carry offline… While datafication may give the illusion of more certainty about us and our world, it does not in itself provide final answers. If data is to open up opportunities for thinking and acting differently in the future, it can only ever really succeed in posing more questions… According to Dawn Nafus; this is the more-and-yet-less quality of data. Measuring data gives more information, but only succeeds in posing more questions about what data really means…

Datafication exposes variability and enhances value: Companies use data to create better products, airlines use data to plan flights at times… Datafication leads also to improved decision-making, e.g., companies like Proctor and Gamble use their data to plan expansions into new markets… According to an MIT Sloan study; companies that utilize data driven decision-making have seen 5-6% greater output and productivity than what was expected… A recent McKinsey report says; the next frontier for innovation is in healthcare, and if data is used creatively and effectively it will drive efficiency and quality, which could create more than $300 billion in value every year… According to Viktor Mayer Schönberger-Kenneth Cukier; the scale of datafication allows us to extract new insights and create new forms of value in ways that will fundamentally change how we interact with one another. These new insights can be used for good or for ill, but that’s true of any new piece of knowledge, but what is most disconcerting about datafication– it’s on a direct collision course with our traditional privacy paradigms… The fear is that well-meaning organizations may become so fixated on the data and so obsessed with the power and promise it offers that they will fail to appreciate its limitations… According to Kate Crawford; datafication is full of hidden biases… data and data sets are not objective, they are creations of human design… Organizations and individuals must become more aware of the biases and assumptions that underlie the datafied world. According to Jules Polonetsky and Omer Tene; organizations must disclose the logic underlying their decision-making processes, as best as possible, without compromising their algorithmic– secret sauce. This information has two key benefits: it allows us to monitor how data is used and it also allows individuals to become more active participants in how their data is used… According to Paul Vallée; while many organizations are coming to grips with the brute impact of the data explosion, others are already starting to experience some of its deeper consequences… Businesses create trillions of bytes of data each day. People share more than 30 billion pieces of content a month on Facebook… Passive devices like sensors in cars, computers, smartphones, energy meters… log trillions of bytes… Datafication is a resource and a tool. It is meant to inform, rather than explain; it points toward understanding but it can still lead to misunderstanding, depending on how well it is wielded. And, however dazzling the power of datafication may appear, we must not be blinded by its inherent imperfections… Rather, we must adopt the technology with an appreciation not just of its power, but also of its limitations…

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Winners–Losers: It’s All About Having Real Grit, Superior Passion vs. Just Let It Happen– Don’t Get Bitter, Get Better

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Winners–Losers: Passion and perseverance may be more important to success (i.e., winners), than mere talent. In a world of instant gratification, ‘grit’ may yield the biggest payoff of all. Grit is defined as ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals’, and it may  be at least as good a gauge of future success as talent itself… According to Angela Duckworth; individuals that are deemed winners (i.e., more successful), typically possess traits that are above normal ‘ability’ but more important, they also possess– ‘zeal and persistence’ of motive and effort; or, in other words, high in ‘grit’. Grit is conceptualized as a stable trait that does not require immediate positive feedback. Individuals high in ‘grit’ are able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods despite experiences with failure and adversity. Their passion and commitment towards the long-term objective is the overriding factor that provides the stamina required to ‘stay the course’ amid challenges and set-backs. Essentially, the ‘grittier’ person is focused on winning the marathon, not the sprint… Winning is important– that’s why we compete– When we play, we play to win… According to Ned Hardy; the difference between winners and losers are:

  • Winner is always part of the answer; Loser is always part of the problem.
  • Winner always has a program; Loser always has an excuse.
  • Winner says; Let me do it for you; Loser says; That is not my job.
  • Winner sees an answer for every problem; Loser sees a problem for every answer.
  • Winner says; It may be difficult but it is possible; Loser says, It may be possible but it is too difficult.
  • Winner makes commitments; A Loser makes promises.
  • Winners have dreams; Losers have schemes.
  • Winners say; I must do something; Losers say; Something must be done.
  • Winners are a part of the team; Losers are apart from the team.
  • Winners see the gain; Losers see the pain.
  • Winners see possibilities; Losers see problems.
  • Winners believe in win-win; Losers believe for them to win someone has to lose.
  • Winners see the potential; Losers see the past.
  • Winners are like a thermostat; Losers are like thermometers.
  • Winners choose what they say; Losers say what they choose.
  • Winners use hard arguments but soft words; Losers use soft arguments but hard words.
  • Winners stand firm on values but compromise on petty things; Losers stand firm on petty things but compromise on values.
  • Winners follow the philosophy of empathy: Don’t do to others what you would not want them to do to you; Losers follow the philosophy: Do it to others before they do it to you.
  • Winners make it happen; Losers let it happen.
  • Winners plan and prepare to win. The key word is preparation.

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In the article Winning Is a Losing Concept by Wim Rampen writes: Winning in sports is easy… that is, it’s an easy concept… Winning in business is not… The concept of winning requires someone else to lose… Not a problem in sports, it’s a game. Losing is not a concept that works well in business though. Even negotiation works best if the outcome is beneficial for both parties to the table… Winning in business should be about creating nothing but winners, because even if both you and your competitors grow, this means that you are growing the total ‘pie’ (i.e., market)… And growth of the market means customers are winning as well… Winning in business is not about outperforming the competition. Winning in business is about co-creating superior value with all stakeholders, and for all stakeholders. It’s about building an ecosystem that is so unique, it becomes a market, or category, in itself. Being a winner in business is all about finding your spot in the ecosystem, where you can best help others be winners too…

In the article Winning–Losing: Out-Played or Out-Talented by Wayne GoldSmith writes: In high performance sports you have a relatively simple equation to evaluate performance – you either win or lose. When you lose, it is natural to look for the reasons ‘why’.  A critical aspect in understanding the ‘losing process’ is to find the answer to the following question: Were you outplayed or out-talented? What does it mean to be out-played? Being outplayed means– your opponent planned and prepared better than you did. Being out-talented means– you were beaten by someone who possessed a superior talent… What’s the difference? The difference between being ‘out-talented and out-played’ is that being out-played is totally your own fault and you had complete control and responsibility over your own preparation. The most important principle in any competition is that you must out-prepare… excuses do not count… blame does not improve performance. It’s pointless blaming losing on having ‘less talent’ than your opposition, unless you know with absolute certainty that you have prepared better in every other aspect than the competition…

In the book ‘Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing’ by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman write: We examined the science of winning and losing, and why a lucky few are top dogs and the rest of us aren’t. When the stakes are high, when it’s all on the line, some people rise to the occasion, others don’t… Forget about the power of positive thinking. When it comes to competing you need focus, intensity, and readiness to face expected obstacles and adversity. A bit of insecurity and self-doubt motivates you to try harder. Instead, positive thinking makes you mellow and takes success for granted without being aware of the needed effort to actually succeed… Many studies have confirmed that positive thinking is not associated with superior performance: What matters is not ‘positive vs. negative thinking’, its ‘additive vs. subtractive thinking’… Additive thinking is reviewing your performance and uncovering opportunities for improvement. Subtractive thinking is regretting you did not do this or that without thinking of the necessary skill improvement needed to move forward… Teamwork is way overrated, and people underestimate how much time is wasted in teamwork… A conflict free team means no one is bringing anything to the table that might engender controversy; and from a performance standpoint, that’s bad… How one interprets stress is a key… Stress can also be interpreted as a challenge associated with a gain-oriented mode (i.e., seeking opportunities, risk taking, maximizing gains…); playing not to lose vs. playing to win…

In the article Winners and Losers by Gary Lockwood writes:  We frequently hear people being labeled as winners or losers. We seem to instinctively know the difference. In this article, we explore the essence of character that distinguishes the winners from the losers. She’s a winner! He’s a real loser. We frequently hear people labeled as winners or losers. We seem to instinctively know the difference. Many years ago, I read a poem that discusses the difference between winners and losers. I don’t know who wrote it, but I tip my hat to her/him, because the poem captures the essence of character that distinguishes winners from losers. I’ll share it with you now– with my thoughts:

                BE A WINNER! Right here in the title is an acknowledgment of what most people want: To be a winner, and to feel like a winner. With all the talk of win-win thinking, we still want to be a winner and to enjoy the positive emotions that accompany being a winner.

Winners make commitments. Losers make promises: While some people do treat their promises as commitments, many make empty promises knowing that they may not actually perform. The meaning of this stanza is clear: When winners make a commitment, they see it through to completion. You can count on a winner to come through.

Winners go through a problem. Losers go around it, never get past it: This little-known secret of winners is powerful. When encountering a problem, don’t just work around it this one time. Solve the problem then keep going to solve the source of the problem. Fix it for good, not just for now.

Winners say: Let’s find out. Losers say: Nobody knows: An insatiable curiosity allows winners to explore the source of opportunities as well as the source of problems. This makes it more likely that the winner will develop even more opportunities while solving the source of recurring problems. It also turns out that genuine curiosity about other people is one of the secrets to increasing sales, improving customer service and strengthening relationships.

Winners always have a plan. Losers always have an excuse: Have you noticed that successful people seem to know where they’re going and what they want? It’s no coincidence that winners have a plan. The process of thinking through the issue of what’s important, allows the winners to keep a clear vision of the future and outline a path to get there. They routinely examine their mission by asking: Where am I going with this? How will I accomplish my goals?

Winners say: There’s a better way. Losers say: It’s the way it’s always been done: Continuous  improvement is one of the hallmarks of successful people. Their motto is: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing better. Losers just keep on doing the same old things yet they expect different results.

Winners are always involved in the answer. Losers are always part of the problem: Winners are not whiners. Instead of complaining about a problem (or just sitting there being part of the problem), winners jump in looking for a solution. No blame, no pointing fingers, no belly-aching. Just fix it and move on.

Winners know there is still much to learn. Losers want to be considered an expert before knowing how little is known: We’ve all encountered people who want to be ‘the expert’, even though their expertise is out-of-date, incomplete, or overestimated. Winners understand that knowledge has a short shelf-life. Winners also appreciate that, to be valuable to clients, they must constantly explore the limits of their knowledge.

Winners learn from their mistakes. Losers learn only not to make mistakes by not trying anything different:
 Winners are opportunistic about learning from daily experiences. All of us have hundreds of experiences each day that could be valuable learning opportunities. Losers ignore them and surf the shallow surface of their knowledge. Winners understand that learning in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing environment can’t be left to chance. Successful people make a conscious effort to actively seek new ideas, innovation and growth.

There you have it. To me, the poem addresses the fundamental qualities of being a winner. It captures the spirit of open-mindedness, strength, and compassion that makes winners and winning attractive… Be a winner!

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