Getting to the Top: Five C-CRETS to be Sponsor-Ready

This week’s article is provided by Ricky Robinson, Keith Powell, and Jenelle Jack of C-Crets.  It is a companion to Ricky and Keith’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Career Sponsorship and Being Sponsor Ready that aired on Tuesday, August 17th.

 

What if connecting with just one person could turn your career around?

It’s more than possible. Corporate executives find success all the time, doing exactly that. A chance meeting or invitation for a drink can lead to a key introduction, or even an offer for a higher position.

Many people see finding a good mentor as critical to their professional advancement when perhaps they’d be better off establishing a relationship with a sponsor—a senior-level advocate who can provide the support needed to move your career forward.

A mentor gives you advice and encouragement on your professional journey, and is typically useful in terms of your technical growth. They typically work in the background, answer your questions and share their personal experiences to help guide you on.

Sponsors, however, have the real power to propel your career. In the corporate world, they speak and advocate on your behalf, and provide a link to the people on the path ahead. Having a sponsor in your corner is often the difference between slowly scaling the corporate ladder and grabbing a seat on the fast track to upper management. Effectively, the sponsor is in front helping to lead you forward.

Sponsorship can impact your wallet. According to a study by Payscale, there is a “sponsorship premium,” which boosts the salaries of their protégés. For example, Hispanic women with a sponsor earn 6.1% more than Hispanic women without one, while African-American women with a sponsor earn 5.1% more than their counterparts.

 

So, what are some key characteristics of a sponsor?

First, sponsors are willing to share valuable resources with their protégés. These are the same resources that they themselves use, whether it’s marketing collateral, network access, or the contact information of their executive coach.

Another important quality of sponsors is that they will put their professional credibility on the line by advocating for you even when you’re not in the room for stretch assignments, promotional opportunities, and/or inclusion on succession plans.

They will invite you to important meetings so that you can get a first-hand view of leadership and are positioned to gain insights from the discussion. You may also be invited to social outings that give you access to persons you wouldn’t connect with otherwise.

Further, sponsors have no problem giving you high visibility projects, along with the credit for their successful execution.

A sponsor might ask you to represent the company on public platforms, whether it’s at a function for a nonprofit organization, a conference, or a media event. The aim is to support your career advancement.

To benefit from the support they can give, you should first be able to identify a potentially good sponsor. Look at the leader’s willingness to share resources, whether they’re interested in connecting subordinates with others, assign tasks that enable professional growth, and publicly praise subordinates.

But before you can gain access to a sponsor who can liaise with others on your behalf, you’ll have to position yourself.

 

Five C-CRETS To Be Sponsor-Ready

Connect Intentionally

This may mean accepting the new team project that will require extra hours of work because you know a senior manager is overseeing it and your visibility will increase with the team’s success.

Taking on additional responsibility and participating in work-related projects can support your desire to connect directly with a potential sponsor. It’ll also allow you to showcase your leadership skills and demonstrate the value that you bring to the company.

Be a Thought Leader

Share your opinions, take action and encourage other colleagues to be proactive too. When you share your thoughts with others, they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to contribute. These are the types of employees who get invited to speaking events, participate in board meetings, and lead webinars and other work functions. Sponsors want to see that you can clearly articulate information.

Move Beyond Being Average

The employee who exceeds expectations and who puts points on the board that benefits the company will be seen by a potential protege. At the end of the day, a leader is risking his or her reputation by advocating on your behalf. Therefore, you must not only perform well in your role or simply do what’s expected, but you must also demonstrate excellence.

Advocate for Yourself

The high-value employee not only adds value to the company, but can articulate their specific skill sets and how they continue to contribute to the company. Having the ability to vocalize your value proposition is important and eliminates any doubts a potential sponsor may have about your abilities. Sometimes, especially in larger organizations, it’s harder to spot good work unless the employee speaks out. By sharing your wins, you can create more opportunities for yourself.

Get Comfortable with Discomfort

Many people only want to do what is expected of them at work, but it’s discomfort that’s often the catalyst for growth. For an employee this might mean working longer hours than usual to complete a task, being asked to prepare and present on a topic at an upcoming meeting, or being placed on a project you don’t quite feel qualified to take on. Any diversion from a comfortable routine is often seen as an obstacle, but discomfort will also give you an opportunity to expand your horizons. Be willing to endure temporary discomfort and you’ll stand out even more among your colleagues.

Part of finding a sponsor is being prepared for one when they show up.

You can increase your chances of finding a sponsor, as opposed to just a mentor, by implementing the five strategic tips outlined above. This will take additional effort on your part, but it’s worth every penny of the payoff you’ll earn in terms of professional growth, networking opportunities, and career advancement.

 

Recommended Resources:

Sponsors: Valuable Allies Not Everyone Has – Compensation Research (payscale.com)

C-CRETS Podcast: Season 3, Episode 1 – Are you Sponsor Ready?

C-CRETS Podcast: Season 1, Episode 6 – Over Mentored and Under Sponsored…Why Sponsorship is the C-CRET to Reaching the C-Suite

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Authors
Ricky Robinson is a Vice President of Human Resources for a $35B leader in the Medical Device industry. His 20+ year career has afforded him leadership roles in Human Resources for some best in class global organizations spanning industries from commercial goods, retail, smart home industries and med tech. Ricky is extremely familiar with being the “Sole Brother” on the Executive Leadership Team quite often challenging diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias issues within Corporate America, as an advocate and sponsor for underrepresented groups. Having spent his career as a mentor and coach, he continues to share the tips and tricks that help underrepresented employees reach their full potential as a co-founder of C-CRETS (www.c-crets.com), which is a career advice platform offering career coaching services, online courses and topical content through blogs and a podcast.

Keith Powell is a Chief Operating Officer in private education with over 20 years corporate experience in the U.S. and Canada. Most of his career, Keith led global Finance and Operations functions for Fortune 1000 companies in the automotive, chemical, consumer and commercial goods, e-commerce, and smart home industries. Keith was the “first” or the “only” quite often climbing the corporate ladder. Having mentored and coached hundreds throughout his career, he continues to share practical, digestible advice to underrepresented employees as a co-founder of C-CRETS (www.c-crets.com), which is a career advice platform offering career coaching services, online courses and topical content through blogs and a podcast.

Jenelle Jack is a Trinidad-born, Maryland-raised content writer and book coach who supports business owners and professionals in building their business by creating relevant content that can stand the test of time. Jenelle is passionate about helping people create impact, grow their platform and maximize their message to reach more of their intended community.

Photo by Lagos Techie on Unsplash

 

We Must Get Workers Ready for the Post-pandemic Economy

This week’s article is provided by William Bonvillian and Sanjay Sarma, authors of a new book from MIT Press, Workforce Education – A New Roadmap. It is a companion to their interview Workforce Education: A New Roadmap on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled that aired on Tuesday, July 13th

 

The pandemic has forced the American workforce into a massive resorting.  Significant numbers of workers were forced to leave sectors like hospitality, retail and travel, and those jobs will not be waiting for them when the pandemic fades. They will have to learn new skills for jobs in the post-pandemic economy. Workforce education must be part of our economic recovery.

The dimensions of the jobs lost during the pandemic are staggering. Restaurants lost 5.5 million jobs in April 2020, then re-openings that summer let the industry regain some jobs, only to lose jobs again with the fall spike in infections. They are picking up now with re-openings but many restaurants will stay closed. Similarly, in April, retail lost 2.3 million store jobs, rebounded by a million jobs by June 2020, but in-person retail will not go back to prior job levels. In travel and tourism, 35% of the jobs were lost after February 2020 and unemployment was at 15% in December, with recovery taking more time than hoped.  Manufacturing is still over a half million jobs short of where it was pre-pandemic.  These aren’t the only hard-hit sectors but they are big ones. Retail has been hit by massive store closings and mall shutdowns, and with the shift to online commerce, in-store jobs won’t be recovered. Bankruptcies in restaurants and tourism are pervasive—many of these firms won’t come back either.

A McKinsey study suggests that perhaps 17 million U.S. workers—28% more than pre-pandemic research had forecast—may need to change occupations by 2030. This means not just changing jobs but changing occupations, which takes longer, is more disruptive, and requires more reskilling. This shift means that the share of employment in low-wage occupations may decline by 2030, while higher-wage occupations in healthcare and STEM professions expand.

Many workers in these hard-hit sectors are going to be stranded.  This will make American economic inequality problems even worse than they were before the pandemic. Workers from these sectors will need quality jobs. Healthcare is embracing suites of new technologies that will require skilled technologists at good pay. Manufacturing and utilities have aging workforces and will require millions of new workers in coming years, but for increasingly skilled jobs.  How can our worker pool reskill?

Unlike many European nations, the U.S. never built a real workforce education system. Americans know what our high school and college systems look like, but if you ask what our workforce education system looks like you will get a blank stare. Although there are parts of a system here and there, we need a robust system now.

Employers, high schools and universities will all have new roles. But we already have a cornerstone of the new system: community colleges.  These colleges, in turn, will need new building blocks:

  • Form Short programs – people who have been in the workforce won’t be able to take time off for two- and four-year degrees; they have families to support and obligations to meet. They need short programs of 10 to 20 weeks with focused programs for technical skills.
  • Embrace credentialing – we need certificates for these programs for specific groups of related skills, based on demonstrated competencies. Since college degrees and credits remain the most recognized credentials, these should be stacked toward degrees. Certificate programs can provide workforce education opportunities for students with limited time availability, as well as meet specific skill requirements for particular employers.
  • Support competency-based education – today’s education is based on an agricultural calendar and pre-determined seat times (time to complete) for credentials. Instead, organize workforce education around demonstrated skills are broken down into particular competencies. If students show skill competency they get the certificate, regardless of how long they have spent in the program. This can cut time in school, student costs and reward practical experience.
  • Bring on online education – online education can’t replace effective instructors or hands-on work with actual equipment, but it can be quite good in conveying and assessing the foundational information behind the skills. Bring blended learning into the system—let online do what it does best, and let instructors do what they do best. Online modules will be critical if workforce education is going to scale up to meet the post-pandemic need.
  • Break down the work/learn barrier – schools have been too disconnected from the workplace; they too need to be deeply linked. Link-programs—apprenticeships, internships, coops—are needed to get students into the workplace earning money while they build skills. This lets them see very directly the link between the competencies they must learn in school programs and job opportunities.
  • Improve completion rates – at too many community colleges only a third of students complete their programs. Workforce education would significantly improve if we make that completion 70%. One of the biggest problems is that many students never get to college courses because they get frustrated with required remedial prep courses. Instead, integrate the remedial course work into students’ study program for career skills so they can clearly see how the remedial work is relevant to their career opportunities.
  • Embed industry-recognized credentials into educational programs – Academic credentials are not enough. Many employers want the assurance of skill knowledge that an industry-approved and accepted credential provides. It creates an additional and parallel pathway to help students toward employment. It also ensures that academic programs are relevant to actual industry needs.

Is creating a workforce education system that follows these new models a mission impossible? We have many studies that tell us what we need to do. States, with backing from federal education funds, need to step up their game and get on board with implementation; fortunately, some states and their community colleges have begun to embrace these steps. After World War II, 16 million veterans returned from overseas while we were shutting down our defense economy.  Congress passed the GI Bill and sent them to school to build their skills. It was perhaps the most successful social legislation our government passed and laid the foundation for a postwar boom.  Recently, researchers and companies created new vaccines in eight months that will save countless lives around the world.  We can create a workforce education system that reskills 17 million. This should be a critical goal.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Sanjay Sarma is a professor and vice president of MIT Open Learning, leading online education development.  William Bonvillian is an MIT lecturer leading research projects on workforce education. They are authors of a new book from MIT Press, Workforce Education – A New Roadmap, that sets out the new policies needed for a true workforce system.

 

Pick up the Radio and Call for Help!

This week’s article is provided by Jeff Wald, founder of Work Market. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers & Agile Companies that aired on Tuesday, June 15th.

 

Some people lead with their heart, some with their head.  Some leaders are “my way or the highway”, some are “we all move forward together”.  Every leader has their own style and as long as people follow, they are leaders.

I tend to use vulnerability as a core part of my leadership style.  I do that as it’s authentic, I have a lot of vulnerabilities.  I learned to embrace this vulnerability from an unlikely source; the New York City Police Department.

I spent the better part of ten years as a volunteer officer in the NYPD.  It was here I learned that asking for help was not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of shared strength. But first, some background on volunteer officers of the NYPD.

The volunteers, or Auxiliary Officers, get about 100 hours of training at the Police Academy.  Training includes basic self-defense, arrest procedures, radio usage, first aid, and many other lessons one needs to serve.  The Auxiliary Units are designed to provide an extra set of eyes and ears out on the streets.  They are not supposed to respond to an active situation unless specifically instructed by a regular NYPD Officer.  They are not trained or authorized to use a firearm.  They carry a baton, a small stick about eighteen inches long.  They are told time and time again that their radio is the most important item on their person.

I reflect on the lessons I learned during my time as an Auxiliary Officer and how they apply to my leadership and my life.  There is always one that stands out: Never hesitate to pick up the radio and call for help.

I remember my first serious encounter as an officer.  There was an assault in progress right near where my partner and I were standing.  We knew we were not supposed to approach an active crime unless specifically asked.  However, being the invulnerable young men, we believed ourselves to be, we walked over anyway.

As we turned the corner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I saw two men kicking and one man hitting with a baseball bat, a prone figure on the ground.  Real police officers were less than a minute away.  My partner took out his baton and yelled “Stop! Police!” and ran in.  I actually panicked for a second and froze, but the sight of my partner running in spurred me to action.  My action, aside from beginning to run after my partner, was to grab my radio.  The bad guys had started to run away when my partner yelled, so I called into central dispatch (and thus was heard by the approaching real officers), “three male suspects running south on First Avenue”.

They were caught and arrested, the person being attacked was injured but would be ok.

While we were not in any danger (although there were three of them and two of us, they had a baseball bat and we had batons, and I knew we didn’t have a gun but they might have!), I reached for my radio.  The radio’s primary purpose in this encounter was to inform the other officer, but its primary purpose to me was to inform the rest of the 19th Precinct that two very scared Auxiliary Officers were encountering suspects.  Implicitly the call was, “Send some real cops here now and HELP!”.

Ask any police officer anywhere in the world what is their most powerful weapon and you will get one consistent answer, the radio.  Every officer has one, and at the other end of that device is help; serious help.  When they make that call other officers will immediately be on the way.  There is no officer that would hesitate for a moment to call for help, to call for backup.  Think about that for a second.  These are some of the bravest people in the world.  They put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.  Yet, at the slightest inkling of trouble, they ask for help.

If police officers do that, why don’t the rest of us?

As leaders, we may sometimes fall into the dangerous and self-defeating trap of thinking we need to have all the answers.  Maybe it’s driven by insecurity, maybe by imposter syndrome, maybe by the need to prove our intellect and strength.  For some leaders that may work just fine, but not for me.

I ask for help when I need it and my team responds.

I do need help, we all do.  I cannot do it alone.  No one is that strong, or smart, or well-connected that they don’t need the talents of their team.

Far from being a sign of weakness, asking for help is a powerful sign of strength.  It tells everyone that you are confident enough to ask for help when you need it.  Smart enough to know you don’t have all the answers.  Brave enough to rely on the intellect, creativity, and networks of others.  To me, this is what leadership looks like and it’s worked well.

So be brave like police officers all over the world and pick up your radio when you need help.  For leaders, it can be your most powerful weapon.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jeff Wald is the Founder of Work Market, an enterprise software platform that enables companies to manage freelancers. It was acquired by ADP. Jeff began his career in finance, serving as Managing Director at activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group, a Vice President at venture capital firm GlenRock and various roles at JP Morgan.

Jeff is an active angel investor and startup advisor, as well as serving on numerous public and private Boards of Directors. He also formerly served as an officer in the Auxiliary Unit of the New York Police Department. Jeff holds an MBA from Harvard University and an MS and BS from Cornell University.

How to Help Midlevel Leaders Grow and Develop

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The following blog is provided by Liz Kislik. It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Defining Organizational Problems: Beyond Personal Experience that aired on May 26th, 2020.

 

Midlevel leaders are absolutely crucial to managing the guts of an organization and accomplishing its business. Unfortunately, even competent, up-and-coming leaders can languish if they don’t get appropriate developmental attention from their senior leaders, but those senior leaders sometimes expect junior leaders to develop on their own.

In an interview I did with Amir Ghannad for The Transformative Leader podcast, we talked about how senior leaders can provide the right input to middle managers to ensure they’re achieving their own successes and supporting the organization’s continued growth.

Be Intentionally, Persistently Curious

Leaders often think of middle managers in terms of their roles and responsibilities and form monolithic assumptions about how middle managers are expected to think and what their considerations are. But every individual takes action based on what seems best to them at the time. If their choices seem wrong, probe to find out their reasons.

When leaders think, “Oh, that’s trivial. That’s dumb. I’ll just tell them to knock it off,” they’re actually undercutting their subordinates’ autonomy and ability to adjust and perform better. If you ask what prompted middle managers’ actions or comments instead of making assumptions, you can approach them in a more open, less judgmental way and you’ll seem less like a know-it-all. You’re also more likely to take their opinions and concerns more seriously.

During our conversation, Amir told me about two skillful, productive people who had been in conflict for 12 years based on a single mistaken impression. Once the mistake came to light, the relationship improved dramatically, but it took months of probing to uncover the original misapprehension. Amir’s story demonstrates that no directive to behave differently can effectively cut through someone’s deeply held pain (even if that pain is unnecessary) — and how finally getting to the bottom of a long-held conflict is a true relief.

Partner on Problems and Perspectives

Say you do figure out where your midlevel leader is coming from. You can’t do an improvement to them. You may be able to see what needs to change, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to hear it. So, after finding out what they’re thinking, go to wherever the other person is mentally, and take their perspective rather than dictating to them from on high.

Unless it’s a true emergency, try to ignore your own reaction and the intensity of your beliefs about what would work better. Suppress your impulse to impose solutions, because when you slice through difficulties like the proverbial hot knife through butter, subordinates may not feel ownership for the situation. They may follow your directions but neglect to think broadly about costs and benefits, sequencing, or other operational details — even if they know more about operations than you do — and mistakes are more likely to be made.

Don’t Give Leaders Solutions; Teach Them How to Develop Solutions

The old saw, “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions!” is a common complaint among leaders who believe that their people don’t think and want to be spoon fed. Risk-averse middle managers may be comfortable having you act decisively and save them time and effort by telling them what to do. But in the long run, you build better solutions when more people contribute to them. And why create unnecessary dependency that slows down implementation and turns you into a bottleneck?

You may need to teach the people involved new ways of thinking and interacting if they’ve developed the habit of expecting you to call the shots. This kind of development requires coaching rather than directing. So, ask middle managers what factors lie under the scenarios they present, and to be explicit about pros and cons — not just as a general list, but as detailed, second-order potential consequences. Encourage them to hypothesize about why negative patterns recur and speculate about multiple potential alternatives.

As midlevel leaders begin to see you being consistently curious, open to their views, willing to partner, and supportive of their decision-making, not only will they be better partners for you but they also may start exhibiting those behaviors with their subordinates as well. That’ll help develop your next cadre of up-and-coming managers, and strengthen your organization from the bottom up.

Onward and upward —

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Liz Kislik is a management consultant and executive coach, and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Her specialty is developing high performing leaders and workforces, and she helps family-run businesses, national nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies like American Express, Girl Scouts, Staples, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Highlights for Children solve their thorniest problems. Her TEDx talk, “Why There’s So Much Conflict at Work and What You Can Do to Fix It,” has been viewed over 160,000 times. Liz received her BA from Yale University and earned an MBA in Management from NYU.

Photo by Christina Morillo

Tips to Succeed at America’s Toughest Interviews

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is part of the extra blog series we are doing as encouragement in these uncertain times.  Unfortunately, many have seen jobs disappear or cutback. This post is guidance on potential job interview questions. It is a chance to hone your skills and be prepared when the right job opens up. A companion interview to listen to is Employee Confidence, the New Rule of Engagement with Karen J. Hewitt.

 

Spending time inside while quarantined gives you the opportunity to focus on professional development and self-improvement. It’s a chance to hone in on your long-term career goals and sharpen up your interview skills. If you ever must leave your current position and re-enter the competitive job market, you will want to be prepared.

Has it been years since you have practiced for an interview? By taking a look at the interview processes of America’s top tech companies, you can refresh your memory and learn key strategies. After all, it is not only the big tech companies that use these techniques during interviews. Nowadays, businesses across industries follow the same best practices for interviewing job candidates.

When you understand how to answer the types of questions asked by interviewers at Google, Facebook, and Twitter, you will feel ready for anything. Let’s outline some of these interview questions and tips on how to respond below. Plus, check out a helpful graphic from the experts at LiveCareer below, which nicely illustrates this interview advice.

Any company that dedicates itself to investing in quality talent will not have an easy interview process. There will never be a foolproof way to set yourself up for success in an interview.  Google probably would not have such a tough interview process if it was not a top company that receives millions of applications a year. Once you have already spent time and energy perfecting your resume and landing the interview, you want to maximize your chances of acing the interview. Let’s hope you can use these takeaways to aid in your job search.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Gabrielle Gardiner is an NYC-based content creator who enjoys writing helpful articles about professional development for companies like LiveCareer. She’s passionate about sharing her insights to empower people to succeed in their careers.

 

People, People Everywhere And Not A Person To Hire… Part 2

 

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This is the second of a two-part blog is provided by Dave DuBose and Will O’Brien from True North Growth Partners, as a companion to their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Lasting Solutions for Distribution Center Labor Shortages aired on 9/10/19.

For manufacturing and warehouse operators the shortage of workers, particularly during peak periods, is a major struggle. In the first blog of this two-part series we discussed the historically low unemployment and the pressure this creates as the demand for DC labor continues to escalate. Ecommerce further amplifies this dynamic as this channel requires 4X the labor compared to retail and wholesale fulfillment.

Three strategies underpin a winning playbook to deal with labor shortages:

  1. Reduce the Work Content
  2. Be a “Sticky Employer” – Barriers to Employee Turnover
  3. Get the Most Out of Your Workforce

Previously we addressed how to reduce the work content of a facility. In this blog we reveal what it means to be a “sticky employer” and how to get the most out of your workforce.

STRATEGY 2: BE A “STICKY EMPLOYER” – BARRIERS TO EMPLOYEE TURNOVER

How would you design an experience for your workforce that would make it insane for them to leave you? Offer retention bonuses? These have their place but are easily overcome by a healthy sign-on bonus. Offer benefits like healthcare, 401K, training and tuition reimbursement? A menu of these types of benefits can address some of the things that are important to your workforce. They are necessary but not sufficient in this battle for labor.

A more compelling way to be a Sticky Employer is to provide amenities that are highly valued AND not easily replicated. Under Armour, consistent with its brand and mission, provides state-of-the-art gyms in its facilities, including aerobic equipment, weight rooms and basketball courts. Other retailers, like Ascena Retail Group, whose brands include Justice, Lane Bryant and Ann Taylor, provides a very high-quality foodservice program. Patagonia makes childcare available to its workers. Those who use the childcare have a 25% lower turnover rate than workers who do not. Employers that offer a safe and convenient place to care for your children and some of the best meals (which may be subsidized) that you eat each week make it a difficult choice to leave for an additional 25 cents/hour. These are expensive benefits; they require commitment and physical space, but that is why they are difficult to overcome.

STRATEGY 3: GET THE MOST OUT OF THE WORKFORCE

Flexible Workforce: Innovative partners like Upshift enable operators to access a high-quality, flexible labor pool. This allows employers to meet flex labor needs without resorting to temp agencies or Craigslist postings which tend to yield inconsistent labor quality. Upshift connects workers and employers through a simple app. The commitment can be as short as just one shift or much longer. Like Uber, Upshift taps into a new labor pool which includes small business owners, students, homemakers and fully employed workers who simply want to earn extra money during their available time. The schedules of this cohort make it challenging to maintain a conventional part-time job, so working one shift at a time is good for them.

High-performance standards and prescreening ensure high-quality workers. The employer establishes a pay rate that attracts “Upshifters” and it can vary the pay rate at any time. The balancing of supply and demand is fully at play for both parties on this platform. When a worker does not fit the employer’s performance expectations, he or she can be screened out of future work opportunities.

Labor Standards: Labor Management Systems (LMS) and engineered labor standards have proven to be very effective – potentially reducing labor by roughly 10%. With an LMS, the specific drive distances and equipment that is used can be factored into the standard and the worker’s performance. Setting labor standards and implementing LMS systems can be costly and take several weeks. Pay-for-Performance involves providing workers with incentives for greater productivity. The benefits are shared between the employer and the worker, creating a win-win situation.

Cloud technology and innovation in labor analytics have driven advancements in this field. EasyMetrics’ labor analytics solution drives benefits in a fraction of the time that it takes to create a full set of labor standards. It uses big data technology to analyze information from several systems (WMS, time clocks, RF scanners, etc.) to provide insights on the performance of people, processes, equipment, etc., identifying the best opportunities to leverage with the workforce. Its use of a cloud platform eliminates the installation and support of yet another application. Benefits are captured within 2 weeks, providing a very fast ROI. Labor management systems, in general, provide one of the highest investment returns of any warehouse software.

Be a great place to work: Providing strong leadership and maintaining high expectations will always make the difference between great organizations and all the rest. It is important to show your workers that you value them and offer them opportunities for growth. In doing so, it is important to understand that the general manager of the facility is not the most important leader- far from it. The most important leader in this organization is the front-line supervisor who spends every day with his/her people. The care that these critical leaders demonstrate to each worker and their families is very powerful. The front-line leader is far better able to deliver key messages and consequences and is the most effective in driving daily performance and creating high levels of employee engagement. Engagement is driven by how each employee views his/her direct supervisor, his/her fellow workers and the actual work that he/she does. Great places to work bake these things into their culture, actions and decisions. High employee engagement delivers high productivity, improved customer service, low employee turnover and increased profitability.

Conclusion: We will always have labor availability challenges. Operators have options in these labor strategies and the best operators will consider each one carefully and execute intentionally and appropriately. For some, capital will limit their use of automation and robotics. For others, culture will dictate the viability of options. The key is to work from a portfolio of options that will create long-term stability and success.

If available labor is a challenge in your facility and you are tired of just throwing money at the problem, then we are glad to offer you a free consultation. The first step is to contact Will O’Brien or Dave DuBose. We can be reached at www.truenorthgrowthpartners.com.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Authors

Dave DuBose is a senior supply chain professional with strong cross-industry experience including retail, consumer products, resources and high-tech in the North American and global theaters. Dave has held executive positions in logistics and supply chain in industry as well as consulting and has more than 30 years of professional experience. DuBose delivers innovative results and can translate business strategy into operating strategy and tactics. He has deep expertise in end-to-end business operations and in deploying business solutions from strategy through implementation. Dave is currently serving as the Columbus Roundtable board president the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. He is active in speaking and writing about contemporary supply chain issues.

Will O’Brien is a partner at True North Growth Partners where he works with organizations on the supply chain and operations sides of their business. He helps his clients overcome the things that hold back their growth and profitability. He has over 30 years of experience in supply chain and operations. He has held executive positions in both industry and consulting. As an executive at Lowe’s Home Improvement he helped to lead the development of the supply chain for that big box retailer during a period of rapid growth, from $35 billion to $50 billion in revenue. He also helped pioneer Lowe’s omni-channel fulfillment when its online sales were growing significantly. He successfully grew a mid-sized family owned supply chain consulting firm by over 50%, expanded its markets, improved its pricing, reengineered its sales and business development organization and created career paths and professional growth for its associates.

How to Evaluate and Overcome Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace

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This blog is provided by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, author of several well-known books, including Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview How Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disaster aired on 11/5/19.

  • What percentage of projects in your workplace miss the deadline or go over budget?
  • How often do you see hiring decisions and employee assessments influenced by factors not relevant to job competency?
  • How frequently are your team’s members overconfident about their decisions?

If you didn’t answer “rare to none” for any of these, you got a problem. In fact, these questions get at only 3 out of over a 100 dangerous judgment errors that scholars in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience call cognitive biases.

Do you regularly – over 10% of the time – see projects in your workplace go past deadline or over budget? It’s a sign that the cognitive bias known as the planning fallacy is undercutting performance. The planning fallacy refers to our intuitive belief that everything will go according to plan, resulting in us failing to plan for the many potential problems that cause projects to go over budget or past deadline. Cost overruns and delays result in serious damage to the bottom lines of our businesses.

How about assessments for hiring, performance, and promotion impacted by non-relevant factors? Well, two dangerous judgment errors play a major role in causing such problematic evaluations, the halo effect and the horns effect. The halo effect refers to the fact that if we feel a significant positive emotion toward one characteristic of someone, then we will have an overly positive evaluation of that person as a whole. That’s why taller men get promoted at higher rates into positions of authority, and both men and women perceived as physically attractive are more likely to be hired. The horns effect is the opposite: if we don’t like a characteristic that is significant to us, we will tend to have a worse evaluation of that person as a whole. For instance, overweight people are less likely to be hired.

Finally, excessive confidence in making decisions – and other work areas – is a symptom of the mental blindspot known as the overconfidence effect. Overconfidence has been associated with many problems in the workplace. For example, overconfidence leads people into financial shenanigans, such as overstating earnings. Overconfident leaders tend to resist constructive criticism and dismiss wise advice, letting their intuition drive their decision-making as opposed to making thoughtful plans.

These mental blindspots don’t only cause problems in the workplace; they harm us in other life areas as well. For instance, a survey by Top10 showed that most consumers tend to go with their gut in making shopping decisions. Such gut-based decision making results in many problematic purchases that people later regret.

So now that you know about the dangers of cognitive biases, and specifically the planning fallacy, the halo and horns effects, and the overconfidence effect, you’re safe from at least these 4 cognitive biases, right? Unfortunately, just learning about these mental blindspots will not work to assess where they occur in your workplace or to defeat them, as research shows. In fact, some techniques that would seem intuitively to help address unconscious bias caused by cognitive biases make them worse.

Fortunately, recent research shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to assess and address these dangerous judgment errors to avoid unconscious bias and make the best decisions. The first step to solving cognitive biases does involve learning about them. However, simply having knowledge doesn’t help. For instance, students who learned about mental blindspots showed the same vulnerability to these errors as students who didn’t.

What is much more helpful is making sure that people are strongly emotionally motivated to address cognitive biases. Our emotions determine 80-90 percent of our decisions, thoughts, and behaviors, and tapping our feelings is clearly effective in helping notice and address dangerous judgment errors. On a related note, it really helps for people to feel that the effort to address mental blindspots is important to them, getting them truly involved and bought into the outcome of debiasing cognitive biases.

To do so, you need to evaluate thoroughly the impact of each cognitive bias on your own professional activities, as well as more broadly in your team and organization. Then, you have to make and implement a plan to address the problems caused by such unconscious bias, again, not only for yourself but also for your team and your business.

Fortunately, you don’t have to address all the cognitive biases. Just going through the 30 most dangerous judgment errors in the workplace will get you the large majority of the benefit from such an analysis to help you avoid unconscious bias. All of these mental blindspots, along with clear next steps on what to do after the evaluation, can be found in the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace. It’s available for sale in print or digital from and you can get the digital version for free when you register for the Wise Decision Maker Course.

Assessment on Cognitive Biases in the Workplace to Address Unconscious Bias

The assessment starts with an evaluation of how frequently each of the 30 cognitive biases occurred in your workplace in the last year in the form of percentages. Don’t feel obliged to be absolutely precise, approximate numbers are fine.

If you don’t remember something occurring, give it a low percentage score, including 0 if you think it doesn’t occur. For instance, if all of your projects came under budget and within the deadline, then planning fallacy is not a problem for you.

Each of the 30 questions should take 10-15 seconds. Just put down the first number that seems to make the most sense for you. You can go back later and tweak it if needed. However, for the first run-through, do it fast. Remember, if you tend to be an optimistic person in general, temper your optimism and give a somewhat higher percentage than you intuitively feel is appropriate. Same goes for pessimism: give a lower percentage if you tend to be pessimistic.

Following this evaluation, you will score the assessment to see the current state of dangerous judgment errors in your workplace. Next, you’ll evaluate the impact of these problems on the bottom line of your personal work, your organizational unit, or the company as a whole, to the extent that you can estimate this question. After all, knowing the bottom line impact will enable you to decide how much to invest into addressing the problem. You’ll then evaluate the performance of your workplace on the four broad competencies of addressing cognitive biases: how the people in your organization do on evaluating themselves, evaluating others, strategic evaluations of risks and rewards, and tactical evaluations in project implementation.

Finally, you’ll get to the next steps. There, each dangerous judgment error is explained, focusing on its business impact. You’ll also get to decide which of the mental blindspots you’ll focus on addressing in the short term future.

The assessment will prove invaluable as you take the next steps to solve the problems you identified. You should have yourself and others in your organization do the assessment after you introduce the concept of cognitive biases but before you launch any interventions. Then, you can use your assessment results as a baseline to assess the impact of any interventions.

To develop your interventions, see the book that’s based around this assessment and provides both techniques and business case studies for how to address cognitive biases: Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters. You can also learn and use research-based strategies to make the best decisions and to avoid failure when implementing your decisions, which automatically address the large majority of dangerous judgment errors we tend to make.

While enacting the interventions, have yourself and the others in your workplace take the assessment regularly – once a week if the intervention is intense, once a month if it’s less intense – to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. Revise the intervention as needed to account for your results.

After the intervention is complete and you are satisfied, keep taking the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace every quarter. Doing so will help keep up vigilance and ensure that you keep protecting yourself from the disastrous consequences of falling into dangerous judgment errors.

Key Takeaway

To address unconscious bias caused by cognitive biases in your workplace, you need to evaluate their impact on your own professional activities and on your team and organization. Then, make and implement a plan to address these biases.

Questions to Consider

  • Which of the following biases most negatively impacts your workplace: the planning fallacy, the halo and horns effects, or the overconfidence effect? What does that negative impact look like?
  • What would be the benefit to you, your team, and your organization of addressing the 30 most dangerous judgment errors in the workplace?
  • How did you score on dangerous judgment errors in your workplace when you took the assessment? How do you feel about your score?
  • What next steps can you take to bring the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace to your team and organization?

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky empowers you to avoid business disasters as CEO of the boutique consulting, coaching, and training firm Disaster Avoidance Experts. He is a best-selling author of several well-known books, including Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters and The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide. Tsipursky’s cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 400 articles and 350 interviews in Fast Company, CBS News, Time, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Inc. Magazine, and elsewhere. His expertise stems from his background of over 20 years of consulting, coaching, speaking, and training experience across North America, Europe, and Australia. It also comes from his strong research and teaching background in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience with over 15 years in academia, including 7 years as a professor at the Ohio State University, with dozens of peer-reviewed academic publications. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Most importantly, help yourself avoid disasters by getting a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace when you register for his Wise Decision Maker Course.

A Proven 5 Step Approach to Solve Skill Gaps

This blog is provided by Mike Kritzman, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company aired on 7/23/19.

We’re in a Skill Revolution where Skills are the new currency

According to a McKinsey study, “Sixty percent of global executives expect that up to half of their organization’s workforce will need retraining or replacing within five years. 

More than a third said their organizations are unprepared to address the skill gaps…”   

Feb 2019

This white paper presents a proven 5-step process to help your organization conduct a Skill inventory to identify and solve skill gaps. This approach is backed up with years of data from hundreds of organizations trying to pinpoint and cure their organizational skill gaps.

There are dozens of reasons to focus on skills because skills are the building blocks to improving staff performance, regardless of role. Any organization in search of higher performance can follow our approach and accomplish major progress in a few short weeks.

Step 1. Define your key organizational knowledge, skills and abilities, (KSAs)

While constructing the required KSAs for your organization, start with what’s expected from all positions. General KSAs like company culture and communication standards work well. Longer term, it’s useful to get into specific KSA’s for each role, but it’s not possible to do this quickly, particularly when trying to imagine future KSA requirements. It’s also useful to establish proficiency targets on each KSA to set a baseline expectation for different role levels.

Step 2. Inventory your staff with a KSA survey

An accurate database of KSA capabilities and insights are vital for organizational agility. For most firms, skills, knowledge and workforce capabilities are difficult to measure and even harder keep current. We recommend using a 5-point Likert scale and starting with self-assessments. Manager assessments are very important because they observe staff performance. People are complicated and constantly learning and adapting, so data needs to be refreshed more than once a year. Ideally data is refreshed at the time a new skill or capability is ready.

Skill data accuracy depends on who and how you ask, so take care defining questions and the rubric.

Step 3. Analyze data and study gaps between self-ratings and manager ratings

Determine how you want to view the data. Study gaps between self-perception and manager ratings which are key ingredients for alignment, feedback, and goal setting. Transparency is the only way to drive improvement. We suggest one-on-one meeting to review results within weeks.

Step 4. Expand your KSA Survey to include specifics for each job and re-inventory

By this point, you’ve built a definition for the common organizational skills. You’ve also populated the database with accurate data and have plans to keep it current.

The next step is to evolve the database to include KSAs for key roles which requires clarity on what’s expected from each role. It’s often useful to work in teams to define the KSA model for each role and structure topics carefully as this exercise will set role expectations for staff.

This can be a difficult step because there can be many different roles and each role may have different requirements or expectations. For example, a junior salesperson has a similar role as the senior salesperson, but the senior has higher proficiency expectations. Despite the challenge, it’s important to build a clear understanding of staff matches against their job requirements.

The results from detailed individual gap assessments are well worth the extra effort.

Step 5. Create personalized development plans, PDPs, to solve the gaps.

The final and most important step in the process is to construct personalized development plans for each person to solve their unique gaps. An effective PDP lists gaps, defines improvement steps, links to learning resources, sets target dates, and monitors progress.

KSA Examples

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities are an organization’s fundamental expertise in specific subject areas. KSAs define organizational capabilities and distinguish an organization from competitors.

KSAs can be grouped into categories such as:

  • Professional skills: The skills needed by all staff to be successful regardless of role.
  • Leadership skills: The skills needed by those in leadership and management positions.
  • Occupational skills: Job-specific skills like finance, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Conclusions

Defining, measuring, and solving skill gaps is critical for organizational performance. We’d like to hear from you, discuss your situation, and demonstrate how our platform automates the 5-step process described in this post.

About the author

Mike Kritzman – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair at SkillNet Technologies, is a serial entrepreneur, sought-after expert in skill management, microlearning, and trends that transform organizations.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

Top Ten on Demand Episodes on Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future

Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future is celebrating the completion of its 4th year!!  In honor of that milestone, we are sharing the countdown of the most listened to shows on-demand.  These shows can be listened to via the internet or via the Business channel on the Voice America app. Use the links to access the episodes and the guest bios.  Thanks for 4 great years of listening!

  1. How Does the Brain Impact Leadership Resilience? with John Wortmann aired on 9/11/2018

Resilience is a key factor in leadership success during times of stress. Our ability to manage our own energy and thinking have a significant impact on our ability to deliver personally and on our ability to inspire our followers. By building our resilience and creating a culture where others are expected to build theirs, we can make a significant impact on driving and sustaining our success as individuals and as organizations. Jon and Maureen start with defining resilience then move to the critical aspects of personal resilience. They include a focus on how brains and bodies react to stress and practices that will reduce the impact events have on leaders. discuss their areas of expertise in brain functioning. This interview includes a discussion of specific tools that allow leaders to build more resilient brains and reduce emotional reactivity. These tools help leaders manage feelings thereby also reducing stress. Equipped with these tools, leaders need to build practices.

  1. Winning In The Face of Adversity with Joyce Beatty, Congresswoman and Doug McCollough aired on 10/23/18

In a time when people are sharing more of their personal struggles, we talk to Congress Woman Beatty and Doug McCollough about their struggle and more importantly how they navigated those struggles so that she could make their greatest impact on the world. Congresswoman Beatty not only overcame, she changed the people’s view of what it was to be a successful black woman and she mentored women to make sure the pipeline behind her was strong and the country was better because of all facets of her service! She talks about how helping women succeed helps America succeed. She serves as a role model for inclusion globally by serving with grace and decorum! Doug shares how his focus on inclusion is expanding the field of employees working in technology in central Ohio. Through his board work as well as his work as CIO, he is creating a pipeline that allows unemployed people to get trained and find technology jobs. He is helping build the system that will close this gap long term!

  1. Position Success Indicator: Identify Where You Fit with Mark Palmer and Warner Moore aired on 11/13/18

According to a McKinsey study in 2018 focusing on the future of work: “technologies will transform the nature of work and the workplace itself. Machines will be able to carry out more of the tasks done by humans, complement the work that humans do, and even perform some tasks that go beyond what humans can do. As a result, some occupations will decline, others will grow, and many more will change. While we believe there will be enough work to go around (barring extreme scenarios), society will need to grapple with significant workforce transitions and dislocation. Workers will need to acquire new skills and adapt to the increasingly capable machines alongside them in the workplace. They may have to move from declining occupations to growing and, in some cases, new occupations.” The interview explores how the Position Success Indicator assessment identifies “job DNA” based on occupational traits that help people determine their best role fit to support workforce transitions.

  1. Sustainability: Why Hasn’t It Been Embraced? with Christoph Hinske, Michelle Thatcher, and Khoo Hock Aun aired on 6/25/19

Business as usual” can no longer be the leader thought pattern in regard to environmental impacts made by businesses. We are at a critical point where sustainability and impacts on the environment by business practices must be considered. What as leaders can we do to make a difference in these highly sensitive decisions? Christoph Hinske, Michelle Thatcher and Khoo Hock Aun discuss the options leaders have to encourage favorable corporate behavior and what leaders can do to make a difference.

  1. How Developmental Maturity Aligns with Organizational Maturity with Terri O’Fallon and Kim Barta aired on 9/25/18

During this show, Terri, Kim and Maureen talk about the interconnection between organizational issues and levels of developmental maturity. The conversation focuses on three types of issues and how they map to maturity as well as approaches to address them: 1. Existential, the group is moving to a new developmental level. How does it look for the organization? How do you see individuals? Do you have recommended course of action to help move forward? 2. Breadth, the group has the necessary philosophy and capacities at the level they are at, but they don’t have the skills they need. How does it look for the organization? How do you see individuals? Do you have recommended course of action to help move forward? 3. Shadow, the group has an adequate developmental level and skills but they have group shadow material that is holding them back. Let’s revisit what is shadow material? How should the team work to address it?

  1. Leadership Happy Hour: Aspirations – Fuel for Results with Greg Moran and Terri Bettinger aired on 9/4/18

This is the kick-off of our leadership happy hour series. During this conversation, Greg, Terri and Maureen discuss the topic of aspirations over the courses of their leadership careers. Aspiration has the power to expand our limits and potential by motivating us to test our capabilities and competencies further and in new ways. It has a completely different effect on us than its evil twin – desperation. Not that aspiration is inherently good or desperation is inherently bad, but when people believe, the paths they follow look very different than when they do not. The conversation will touch on the following among many others topics: 1. The power of aspiration as a means of creating opportunity where it is desired 2. Aspiration is necessary filtered through our values and priorities – and that’s okay! How do we remove the limits of aspiration when they have been indoctrinated into leaders for reasons that have nothing to do with their potential (i.e. race, gender, etc.).

  1. Ron Heifetz on Adaptive Learning and His Journey with Ron Heifetz, PhD aired on 12/6/16

During the Interview, we discuss Ron’s thoughts on leadership and his journey. Here is a preview: In times of change, people often try to hold onto the values of their culture that have had personal meaning and significance to them. When dominant cultures are confronted with stresses such as immigrants, they are called to examine their values and often required to take on very difficult integrative work. The leadership required must point out values such as: We stand for freedom and respect for all people, and our policy does not align with what we say we stand for. How do we make space for this evolution? What are the “gives” and “gets” required to evolve cultures? How can we hold steady to our cultural DNA and still evolve? In nature, when an organism adapts, it builds on its old capacity and generates radically new functionality. Ron suggested that “God didn’t do zero-based budgeting in evolution”. We honor our past and at the same time determine what can we release.

  1. 3. Top Leadership Trends in 2018 and Beyond with Christopher Washington aired on 8/21/18

Each year Maureen publishes a synthesis of the interviews she hosted and discuss the main themes she is hearing in the past year as well as in her consulting work with senior executives around the world. She has now completed more than 150 interviews. This interview is a synthesis of what she is taking away as key themes for leaders and executives to focus on for 2018 – 2022. This is a rolling synthesis, she will update it again in 2019 with new themes. Christopher Washington, PhD, hosts this show and discusses what he is seeing as a board member of Global Ties and EVP/CEO of Urbana University. The goal of this conversation is that listeners have a clearer understanding of the global leadership trends and what they might do personally to prepare themselves and their organizations to respond.

  1. A Case Study of Doing Well By Doing Good: The Internet Backpack with Dr. Dale Meyerrose aired 10/2/18

We have been hearing about the topic of doing well by doing good for a few years. Should tech leaders take adopt this concept to reevaluate how they do business? If so, why would they? How would they? To take the question further, what accountability (if any) do leaders have for the uses of their products and services? During this conversation, Dale and Maureen will discuss the questions posed above and a project Dale has been involved with where Imcon International Inc., the developer of the Internet Backpack, a remote connectivity solution that allows users to communicate from almost every location on the planet, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University and the Republic of Liberia will collaborate on a far reaching project that will digitally transform Liberia by increasing the nation’s current internet penetration of about 7% to 40% by 2021. This project is a strong example to illustrate how technology leaders can solve global challenges.

  1. A CIO Story of Leadership: Maria Urani – NetJets with Maria Urani aired on 8/14/18

Leaders follow many paths to success – in a time of varying role models for exceptional leadership, Maria talks about how she developed over her career. She shares her values, her path to CIO, role models and the art of leadership. Many people develop visions but living them is the art. Maria talks about how she puts her values into action to create a positive workplace, great results and strong successors. She shares: 1. Her passion and how it connects to her work 2. the art of leadership 3. her path to leadership – career is lattice more than a ladder 4. her role models – actual and virtual 5. the value of inverted mentoring 6. the role of empowerment in IT transformation at NetJets She shares her insights and career journey with passion and wisdom.

Thanks for listening!

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Compiled by Susan Harper

Redefining the Workforce: When Robots Pay Union Dues and Learn Too

This is a guest blog by Susan Harper as a companion to the Voice America interview with Dale Meyerrose, PhD, Redefining the Workforce: When Robots Pay Union Dues and Learn Too

 

What are the current statistics of our work force? As leaders, it is important to be aware of trends within the work force.  In January of 2019, the US economy had 7.6 million unfilled jobs and not enough applicants to fill them.  It is a trend that has been increasing 5-8% for the last two years.  It is predicted by Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, that these numbers will get worse before they will get better.  Korn Ferry has also predicted the US will lose $435 billion dollars in lost productivity due to the lack of available talent.  This is not just a US problem as every industrialized economy will experience this lack of work force but most likely on a smaller scale.  This labor force shortage is a real concern for leaders as the potential to leave revenue unrealized due to the inability to have a work force to complete the work.

How do leaders find a solution for this work force shortage? In our current culture, not only is the work force changing rapidly, but also the nature of work is being changed by technology.   Recent statistics suggest that half of all the current work force will be affected by automated work force in the next four year.  The digital worker, an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) will automate the repetitive elements of the job and leave the highly valued, cognitive functions for the human work force.  Leaders need to be looking for ways to train their work force to be prepared to step into the highly valued, cognitive functions and leave those repetitive tasks to the automated work force in order to effectively use their work force rather than be in a work force shortage.

What are some of the tasks RPAs (Robotic Process Automation) can accomplish? RPAs can simulate human work activities such as sending emails, logging into applications, entering data, auditing activity, searching through data and compiling search results.  Identifying these tasks in each job would allow modern jobs to become more flexible and keeps the work force from being bogged down by repetitive, mundane tasks.

What does it look like to employ RPAs? A digital work force can be employed by any size of business.  It is best to employ these RPAs integrated with your human work force.  These RPAs would be credentialed to do specific tasks and then educate and train the RPAs just as you would do with a human work force.  Also, there is a point where the RPA may need to be “retired”, while this doesn’t mean a pension it does mean planning to replace outdated technology.

What view should we take of best practices of employing the digital work force? Rather than focusing on individual tasks and solutions, leaders need to focus on the enterprise-wide solutions to make the biggest impact.  Consider what your enterprise most often does and how to automate that.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.