Approach Succession Planning Like You are In the Premier League

With 98% of your managerial staff open to new opportunities, your company needs to have a deep roster of potential talent both inside and outside of your organization ready to step into leadership roles.

Seems obvious, right? After all, that’s just basic succession planning.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the way most companies approach succession planning. Too often organizations wait until a vacancy occurs before coming up with a plan to fill that position.

In the meantime:

  • Your company still needs to serve customers and clients;
  • Your company still has strategic goals that need to be achieved;
  • Your team needs to remain motivated;
  • Your external partners need to see you still have a strategy in place;
  • Important decisions still need to be made.

The world doesn’t stop just because you lose a key manager.

Because business still needs to get done, all too often the succession plan comes down to hiring a candidate who meets the basic qualification and can quickly fill an immediate need. Strategic hiring is pushed aside in favor of necessity.

That approach to succession planning is like a football club waiting until their goalkeeper is injured and then replacing him with the first person available, with little evidence that the player is actually the right choice.

No serious football team approaches succession planning this way. Instead, successful football clubs:

  • Understand that their current players may retire, become injured, or become less effective with little warning;
  • Understand the entire competitive landscape, including not only their own talent pool, but the talent pool of other clubs;
  • Understand the need for “scouts” who can help evaluate the entire spectrum of potential replacements;
  • Understand the need to invest in developing and assessing the leadership skills of their future stars. 

Successful football clubs employ a systematic, data-driven approach to succession planning and talent development that ensures their teams remain competitive despite inevitable changes in personnel.

And that’s exactly the approach your company should take to succession planning, because companies that succeed over the long-term understand both the importance and risk of hiring exceptionally talented managers. The top-level talent your company needs to remain competitive is also highly desired by other employers.

Because of this simple reality it is critically important to have a strategic succession plan to fill vacancies when they occur.

However, many companies still approach succession planning like they were playing with friends on the neighborhood pitch rather than leading serious, Premier League clubs.

It is virtually impossible for in-house HR departments and staff to have this type of comprehensive data on the skill and availability of employees at other firms. However, executive search consultants can identify and engage in discussions with potential future managers currently on another team’s roster. 

Robertson Associates is currently partnering with a brand name, best-in-class consumer products company to create this type of innovative, strategic approach to succession planning. Rather than waiting until their Directors and Vice Presidents leave, this global market leader has asked our firm to assess and evaluate one in-house talent and build a “roster” of three talents currently working at other companies to fill future vacancies.

This “roster” of potential future talent Robertson maintains includes individual profiles, assessments, and rankings. As high-potential candidates develop they are added to the list, and our interaction with talent at other firms gives our clients invaluable “back-market” intelligence.

As a result, the international Partners at Robertson Associates serve a similar role to the talent scouts employed by football clubs.

Start succession planning like you are worthy of the Premier League!

Pierre Collowald is a Senior Partner at Robertson Associates, a European Executive Search and Leadership Solutions boutique. Pierre is working out of Brussels, Paris and Zurich.

Announcement : our new Partner for the Maghreb region

Robertson Associates is thrilled to announce a new Partnership with the Eumatech group in Morocco, Casablanca. Eumatech is the leading Executive Search boutique in the region, recruiting for international manufacturers and service providers to the manufacturers for decades.

Robertson Associates now offers a solid solution to its clients establishing sites in the Maghreb region. Vice versa, we support Moroccan based companies expanding to Europe.

For more inquiries., contact our Partner ,


A Harvard psychologist says people judge you based on 2 criteria when they first meet you

People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions for more than 15 years, and has discovered patterns in these interactions.

  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person?

Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both.

Interestingly, Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.

But in fact warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you. "From an evolutionary perspective," Cuddy says, "it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust." It makes sense when you consider that in cavemen days it was more important to figure out if your fellow man was going to kill you and steal all your possessions than if he was competent enough to build a good fire.

While competence is highly valued, Cuddy says it is evaluated only after trust is established. And focusing too much on displaying your strength can backfire.

Cuddy says MBA interns are often so concerned about coming across as smart and competent that it can lead them to skip social events, not ask for help, and generally come off as unapproachable

These overachievers are in for a rude awakening when they don't get the job offer because nobody got to know and trust them as people.

"If someone you're trying to influence doesn't trust you, you're not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative," she says.

"A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you've established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat."

3 powerful tips for recruiting the best senior Strategy Consultants

Let’s start with a cold, hard fact: the only way to recruit a senior top consultant with more than 5 years of experience is to offer him or her a meaningful career step forward. These talented individuals don’t change jobs often, or without a compelling reason to do so.

This is bad news for many of you, because in the competitive world of elite strategy consultants, we are seeing a very real war for talent. This is because the main factor that limits the growth of top consulting firms is often talent. To grow, you need more smart and expert consultants, but most of these people are content where they are.

After all, why should the senior top players move? For the most part, they know they are performing well after many years of hard work, they get healthy bonuses, and they feel respected.

Consultants beneath this top tier tend to move out of the service or manufacturing industries. At some point, they recognize they will never be a star and decide to move out. But the stars remain not only in their consulting world, but most likely with their current employer.


Given that, here are a 3 critical tips to convince a star to look at a new opportunity:

Tip 1: Have a compelling value proposition for each open position. Companies use value propositions on the marketing side of their business, but not many understand the power of creating a unique value proposition for a particular job opening. Doing so gives a satisfied star player a reason to consider a new opportunity. This can’t be a superficial or minor element; it has to be highly attractive and meaningful. For example, before I pursue a talented candidate, I always have a future success story to share.

Consulting companies can be risk averse when recruiting, but I recommend offering the candidate a more senior position, rather than a lateral hiring offer. Such a move has the added benefit of significantly impacting the salary package.

Understand what matters most to a candidate. A top candidate may be tired of working three years running for a string of utility industry clients, or dislike working for a manager he considers to be less insightful than he is. Another might profess to be happy, but in reality is frustrated not to have the next title yet.

Recognize that consulting work can be tough on spouses and children. I’ve had clients who have attracted top talent by offering more flexibility and/or support. Such benefits might include funding for a nanny or the opportunity to work remotely.

If you understand what a candidate wants “in a perfect world”, then you have an opportunity to create such a world for them.

Tip 2: Look outside the consulting ranks. In many cases, the best consultants are professionals who have been highly successful in industry roles. It’s possible to take a VP, CIO or even CEO and transform them into a highly credible and capable consultant. As before, doing this successfully requires the ability to understand what matters most to this person, at this moment in his or her career. For example, you might want to look at what McKinsey Operations is doing.

Tip 3: Move fast, very fast. Once I identify an ideal candidate, my clients work hard to waste no time. In many cases, just a few week elapses between our first discussion and the signing of a contract. This minimizes consultants employer’s ability to make an effective counter-offer ; and current employers always try to retain their top stars.

It’s no small feat to lure another star onto your team. The best way to do this is to find something they badly want, and give it to them.

Why Teams Don't Learn From Their Mistakes (And How to Change That)

In 2002, Dr. Gary S. Kaplan, the recently appointed chief executive of the Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle, visited Japan with some fellow executives. He wanted to see how organizations outside the health care sector did things.

At a Toyota plant, Kaplan had a revelation. In the automaker's well-known production system, if anyone on the production line sees an error, they send an alert that halts production across the plant. Senior executives rush over to see what's gone wrong and address the issue, and afterward the process is adapted to prevent it from happening again.

"The system was about cars, which are very different from people," Kaplan says when we meet for an interview. "But the underlying principle is transferable. If a culture is open and honest about mistakes, the entire system can learn from them." When Kaplan took this lesson back to the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, the results were astounding.


Kaplan has bright eyes and a restless curiosity. As he talks, his hands move animatedly. "We knew that medical errors cost thousands of lives across America," he recalls, "and we were determined to reduce them."

One of Kaplan's key reforms was to encourage staff to make a report whenever they spotted an error that could harm patients. It was almost identical to the reporting system in aviation and at Toyota. He instituted a 24-hour hotline as well as an online reporting system. He called them "Patient Safety Alerts."

The new system represented a huge cultural shift for staff. Mistakes were frowned upon at Virginia Mason, just like elsewhere in health care. And because of the steep hierarchy, nurses and junior doctors were fearful of reporting senior colleagues—so most didn't, and Kaplan's system went largely unused.

As Cathie Furman, who served as senior vice president for Quality, Safety, and Compliance at Virginia Mason for 14 years, later told the The Telegraph, "In health care around the world, the culture has been one of blame and hierarchy. It [can prove] very difficult to overcome that."


In November 2004, two years after Kaplan's trip to Japan, a terrible event changed everything. Mary McClinton, a 69-year-old mother of four, was inadvertently injected with a toxic antiseptic called chlorhexidine, instead of a harmless marker dye, during a brain aneurysm operation. The two substances had been placed side by side in identical stainless-steel containers, and the syringe had drawn from the wrong one. One of her legs was amputated, and she died from multiple organ failure 19 days later.

Rather than evading responsibility, Dr. Kaplan published a full and frank apology. "We just can’t say how appalled we are at ourselves," it read. "You can’t understand something you hide." McClinton's relatives welcomed the apology. It helped them understand what had happened to a beloved family member.

But the death provided something else, too: a wake‑up call for the 5,500 staff members at the medical center. "It was a tough time, but the death was like a rallying cry," Kaplan says. "It gave us the cultural push we needed to recognize how serious an issue this is."

Suddenly, Patient Safety Alerts started to fly in. Those who reported mistakes were surprised to learn that, except in situations where they'd been reckless, they were praised, not punished. Dr. Henry Otero, an oncologist, made a report after being told by a colleague that he'd failed to spot a patient's low magnesium level. "I missed it," he recounted in the same Telegraph article. "I didn’t know how I missed it. But I realized it’s not about me, it’s about the patient. The process needs to stop me making a mistake. I need to be able to say, ‘I might be the reason, fix me.’"


Today, there are around a thousand Patient Safety Alerts issued each month at Virginia Mason. A report by the U.S. Department of Health found that these have uncovered latent errors in everything from prescription to care. "After a pharmacist and nurse misinterpreted an illegible pharmacy order, leading to patient harm, the medical center developed a step‑by‑step protocol that eliminates the likelihood of such incidents occurring," the report said.

Another alert warned about wristbands: "After a newly admitted patient received a color-coded wristband signifying ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ instead of one indicating drug allergies (as a result of a nurse being color blind), the medical center added text to the wristbands."

In 2002, when Kaplan became CEO, Virginia Mason was already a competent Washington hospital. In 2013, however, it was rated as one of the safest hospitals in the world. The same year, it won the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence, the Outstanding Patient Experience Award, and was named a Top Hospital by the influential Leapfrog group for the eighth successive year. Since the new approach was taken, the hospital has seen a 74% reduction in liability insurance premiums.


This success is not a one-off or a fluke; it is a method. Properly instituted learning cultures have transformed the performance of hospitals around the world. Claims and lawsuits made against the University of Michigan Health System, for example,dropped from 262 in August 2001 to 83 in 2007 following the introduction of an open disclosure policy. The number of malpractice claims against the University of Illinois Medical Center fell by half in two years after the creation of an open-reporting system.

The example of the Virginia Mason system reveals a crucial truth: namely, that learning from mistakes has two components. The first is a system. Errors can be thought of as the gap between what we hoped would happen and what actually did happen. Cutting-edge organizations are always seeking to close this gap, but in order to do so they have to have a system geared to taking advantage of these learning opportunities.

This system may itself change over time: most experts are already trialing methods that they hope will surpass the Toyota Production System. But each system has a basic structure at its heart: mechanisms that guide learning and self-correction. Yet an enlightened system on its own is sometimes not enough.

Even the most beautifully constructed system won't work if professionals don't share the information it needs to flourish. In the beginning at Virginia Mason, the staff didn't file Patient Safety Alerts. They were so fearful of blame and reputational damage that they kept the information to themselves. That's perhaps the most important lesson of all: Mechanisms designed to learn from mistakes are mostly impotent if people can't first admit to the errors they make.

This post originally appeared on Fast Company

Is It Better To Be Liked Or Respected At Work?

Too often I see professionals confuse the need to be liked with the need to be respected in the workplace.

An Article written by Shivani Bhagi, an International Career Success Strategist

Both are required but one should definitely be focused on more than the other.

Effective leaders have the ability to make decisions that are right for the business, and for themselves without worrying about what people may think of them.

In my former corporate career I went from Team Leader, Manager to Senior Manager in the IT and Management Consulting industries, and in each role I had to make decisions that not everyone around me was happy with. I was definitely not going for the popularity contest as I realised very early on that I had to do what was right for the business, NOT what would make my colleagues happy.

It may seem important to you that people like you in the workplace - after all it can help in getting things done. I don't deny that being liked at work can be a very good thing and can help considerably in one's career.
However you should know that not everyone is going to like the decisions you make 100% of the time and nor should you be aiming to be 'liked' 100% of the time. There will always come a time when something has to be compromised or reconsidered when it comes to projects and goals.

It's important to be able to differentiate yourself as an individual from the decisions you need to make within your organisation - for your organisation. 
So long as your intentions are good and you make decisions that are right for the organisation, department or team, being liked as a person or having your decisions liked by others is not your business.

It is so much more important that people respect you as a person for the decisions you make and your reasons for making your decisions, as well as the way in which you conduct yourself at work.

The more responsibility you take on, particularly as a people manager, the more you will need to detach from the need to be liked by all people at all times. It may not always be easy but it's the right thing to do.

I remember very early on in my career I ended up on a role in the PMO (Project Management Office) team of a program. There was a more senior woman on the team who had specialised in this area and was very good at setting her boundaries when it came to her workload - and exploiting others'.  Being inexperienced in this area of work as well as inexperienced at setting my own boundaries in a healthy way at the time, I ended up taking on some of her work, and often when I didn't have the capacity.

Our PMO manager at the time knew what was going on but was too afraid to push back on the senior female colleague so that the work could be divided in a more equal manner. Instead he let me take the burden and become frustrated (and eventually bitter) in the role until I finally created an exit for myself and moved to a different project altogether.

 I had totally lost respect for him as a manager. It was his job to manage the work distribution and instead he let the senior female colleague take advantage of a me, a recent grad at the time who instead of growing, got bogged down with administrative tasks and eventually left.

He would occasionally come over to me to make conversation and ask about my new role as a way to make amends - again, he had this need to be liked. Of course I lost even more respect for him.

I simply needed him to be a good manager who supported my needs too. Having had amazing managers prior to this experience, it was easy for me to make this distinction.

In my experience I've found it a lot easier to be liked as an individual once people respected me for the choices and decisions I made in the capacity of my role.

Provided I could justify my position on an issue and aimed for a win-win without intentionally putting anyone at a disadvantage in the process, I knew I was doing my job and doing what I was being paid to do.

When people respect your decisions, AND if you're personable, approachable and helpful, it's a great combination to have when it comes to stepping up as a leader.

If you don't believe in yourself, respect your own decisions or stand by your own values, no one else will and that's the quickest way to lose respect even if you are a likeable character.

Being likeable alone without being respected is very limiting when it comes to career progression as winning the popularity contest should not be your goal. 

Honour yourself, trust your decisions and be respectful to the people around you when going about your business.

This will set you up nicely when it comes to positioning yourself in the workplace to be considered for a leadership role, or further establishing yourself if you're already in such a position. 

an Article written by Shivani Bhagi, an International Career Success Strategist

The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Boss

Most leaders receive surprisingly little development before assuming their first supervisory roles. In fact, many get no leadership training at all until they’ve been in the executive ranks for nearly a decade—reaching, on average, age 42.

But whether you’ve had formal training or not, there’s one simple action that can dramatically increase any manager’s success in gaining the support and engagement of subordinates: recognize great work. That means calling out excellent accomplishments by your employees right away—and doing so in consistent and regular increments from the start.

We know from our own research that a handwritten note trumps an e-mail. Public recognition in a meeting or peer group makes people feel even more appreciated. And an award presented in a public setting is most effective in conveying a sense of a good job properly acknowledged.

In two separate but recent studies involving nearly 3,500 employees, from startups to Fortune 100 companies, we found that recognition directly affects morale and engagement.

A 2014 study surveyed 2,415 employees in 10 countries and 7 languages. The data from it suggests a strong correlation between loyalty and acknowledgment. Among the 512 U.S. employees who say their company has strong recognition practices, 87% feel a strong relationship with their direct manager. That number dips to 51% among those who reported a lack of such practices at their companies. Recognition’s frequency also plays a role. For those who say they receive some form of appreciation more than once a month, 82% describe a strong bond with their bosses. When that occurrence drops to less than once a month, only 63% feel those strong ties.

A 2015 study, involving 980 respondents from companies with more than 1,000 employees, also suggests a striking connection between recognition and job satisfaction. Seven out of 10 employees who report they’ve received some form of appreciation from their supervisors say they’re happy with their jobs. Without that recognition, just 39% say they’re satisfied. Here, too, frequency plays a big role. Among employees who were called out for great work in the past month, 80% feel fulfilled at work. That number declines sharply with time: 75% satisfied (recognized in the past 1-2 months); 71% (past 3-5 months); 69% (past 6-12 months); 51% (past 1-2 years); 42% (more than 2 years ago).

The same study found that a new leader can foster an immediate boost in employee job satisfaction — by 31 percentage points — just by recognizing those who have never received any appreciation from their superiors.

Not only does recognition have a powerful effect on those being called out, it also has a significant impact on peers who see great work being rewarded. In one study, we found that just by publicly presenting some employees with a “years of service” award, managers could increase all employees’ sense that the organization cared about them.

The best settings for acknowledging achievement depend on which part of the world you’re from, as we learned in the course of research we conducted a few years ago with 300 employees in nine different countries. In Australia and the U.K., folks appreciate a public acknowledgement, but with less hoopla than most Americans like. If you’re Japanese, German, or French, chances are you would be happier with a smaller group or praise from your boss one-on-one. And in India or Mexico, no one would blush if you celebrated great work with some song and dance.


Bursting out into “Thankful For Being You” may not be your style, especially if you’re new to the job. But the impulse is probably right. The more frequently you recognize employees—as often as monthly, if possible and if warranted—the more content (and thereby engaged) they will be.

Article written by David Sturt, Executive Vice President at O.C. Tanner Co. and leader of the O.C. Tanner Institute.


Diversity Recruiting Fails … When You Lump All Diverse Groups Together

How shifting to “segmented diversity recruiting” will improve your results

Recently there has been a high level of scrutiny directed on diversity recruiting. Why? Because executives are increasingly realizing the tremendous revenue impact that comes from having at least the product development, sales, and customer service components of your workforce mirror the diversity of your customer base. Despite this scrutiny, almost all corporate diversity recruiting programs still fail to meet their extremely modest diversity recruiting goals. And one of the primary reasons why they fail is because they stereotype and lump all diversity groups together in their diversity recruiting effort.

Stereotyping defined: to believe unfairly that all people that with a particular characteristic are the same.

We learn in childhood that stereotyping groups of people is wrong, but that’s exactly what we do in diversity recruiting (this lumping together would never happen in diversity product marketing). Most corporations from Google on down use a one-size-fits-all approach with diversity recruiting. This means that they recruit each of the EEOC’s protected groups with the same recruiting approach, as if they were one homogenous group. But unfortunately if you use a “recruit them all the same way” approach you almost guarantee failure because the factors that attract members in the many different protected groups and their subgroups are not the same. The term diversity itself indicates that these groups are different, but nothing in the word diversity infers that these groups are all different in the same uniform way!


Recruiting All Diversity Groups With the Same Approach Is a Disaster

Think about it a minute. Diversity recruiting functions target a wide variety of diverse groups, but they do it with almost exactly the same employer branding, communications, and recruiting approach. A broad-brush diversity recruiting approach cannot work simply because the only single factor that is consistent between women, Hispanics, and African-Americans, homosexuals, etc. is a history of being underrepresented in the workplace.

It is simply illogical to assume that all prospects from a single racial group like Hispanics can be attracted the same way, because, within the Hispanic community, there are so many unique subgroups. But it’s simply ridiculous to assume that a recruiting approach that won’t even successfully attract all Hispanics will also automatically be effective at attracting other racial groups including Asians and African-Americans. Although most diversity recruiting leaders are not aware of it, fortunately on the business side of the corporation there is a well-established and effective approach that treats each diversity segment uniquely. This approach is known as “Diversity Marketing.” Diversity marketing uses data in order to customize a firm’s product marketing approach so that it fits the unique needs of each of the small segments of a larger diverse customer group. If you examine diversity Mmarketing in the product area closely, fortunately, you will find that most of its approaches can be applied directly to diversity recruiting.

First, Successful Diversity Recruiting Requires You to “Unbundle” Diversity Groups and Then Identify the Different Diversity Segments

The recruiting version of diversity marketing allows you to effectively identify and then send unique recruiting messages to many diverse subgroups or segments. Rather than lumping everyone from all EEOC protected groups together, this approach uses data to unbundle large diversity groups and to identify their smaller segments or subgroups.

Let’s use Hispanics as an example. Hispanics recruiting targets can have origins from 21 different countries. describes the many different segments within the Hispanic community: “They do not represent a single consumer group. Spanish-speaking first-generation immigrants, for example, respond differently to advertising messages than their bilingual and English-speaking children. Additionally, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and various other subgroups (including White Hispanics) differ from one another; so any diversity marketing towards Hispanics must actually be further subdivided into smaller component markets.”

For instance, product marketing would never try to sell a Mexican beer like Tecate to Hispanics from Peru or Spain using the same approach that they would use to sell it to Hispanics of Mexican origin. That is because, even though each of these three target audiences shares a common Spanish language, the factors that make a beverage attractive to each subgroup or segment are completely different. In the same light, we need to break into segments for each of the large groups that we are targeting in our diversity recruiting effort.

Segmented Diversity Recruiting Adapts the Approaches From Diversity Marketing

Rather than excessively lumping together the different diversity groups, “segmented diversity recruiting” requires that you identify the different subgroups and then that you use data to tailor your recruiting pitch to the unique expectations of each major diversity segment that you are targeting. Often recruiters can identify these distinct subgroups by benchmarking with internal or external product marketing groups. The alternative approach is to use surveys, interviews, or focus groups of potential recruiting targets in order to determine which distinct subgroups share a common job-search approach and similar job and company “attraction factors.” These subgroups can often be further refined by age, country of origin, education level, their income and their professional status. An example of a diversity subgroup or segment might include Hispanic females with a cultural heritage from Cuba, who live in the Miami area and have at least five years of experience in sales.

Next, a Segmented Recruiting Approach Is Required to Effectively Attract Diverse Prospects

After identifying the different diversity subgroups, segmented diversity recruiting uses data acquired through prospect/candidate research to discover the essential information that is necessary in order to tailor a recruiting approach to a particular diversity segment. That essential information includes:

  • The unique approach that each subgroup or segment uses to search for a new job.
  • The unique factors that cause members of a subgroup to become initially interested in a firm.
  • The unique factors that will “trigger them” to apply for a job.
  • The unique factors that will cause them to accept a job offer.


The best way to identify the expectations of a diversity segment is by conducting applicant/candidate research, which usually includes surveys and interviews with current employees, applicants, and new hires from this subgroup. You can use prospect/candidate research to identify the ideal place where members would see information about the company or a job posting. This research should also reveal what must be in a recruiting message in order to excite segment members enough to apply, and finally what unique factors that they will use to accept or reject a job offer. Once you learn this information about subgroup members, you must tailor or customize your recruiting approach and your offers to precisely fit the expectations of the segments that you are targeting.

Final Thoughts

Even though most of the leaders of diversity recruiting come from one of the EEOC protected groups, they make the mistake of assuming that because they “know their own diverse group” that they can apply the same recruiting principles and approaches to all other diverse groups. Unfortunately, that is a weak assumption because in recruiting, “one size does not fit all.” Instead what is needed is a data-driven approach which identifies what works and what doesn’t work for recruiting each of the many diversity subgroups. A data-driven approach is essential because the needs and expectations of the different diversity subgroups are constantly changing, so data can help you to continuously modify your approach in order to improve your results.

The key lesson to be learned is that even though customized segmented diversity recruiting may appear on the surface to be more time-consuming and expensive (it is). The extra costs are minimal compared to the tremendous loss in revenue that occurs when your product design, sales, and customer service staff doesn’t reflect the diversity makeup of your current and future customers. Because the current “lump them all together” recruiting approach is so ineffective, I estimate that you can improve your diversity recruiting results by as much as 40 percent by using segmented diversity recruiting.


About the Author: Dr. John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions

How To Use Failure To Your Advantage

One of the biggest roadblocks to success is the fear of failure. Fear of failure is worse than failure itself because it condemns you to a life of unrealized potential.

This article has been written by Dr. Travis Bradberry, coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

A successful response to failure is all in your approach. In a study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that success in the face of failure comes from focusing on results (what you hope to achieve), rather than trying not to fail. While it’s tempting to try and avoid failure, people who do this fail far more often than those who optimistically focus on their goals.


This sounds rather easy and intuitive, but it’s very hard to do when the consequences of failure are severe. The researchers also found that positive feedback increased people’s chances of success because it fueled the same optimism you experience when focusing solely on your goals.

The people who make history—true innovators—take things a step further and see failure as a mere stepping stone to success. Thomas Edison is a great example. It took him 1,000 tries to develop a light bulb that actually worked. When someone asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

That attitude is what separates the successes from the failures. Thomas Edison isn’t the only one. J. K. Rowling’s manuscript for Harry Potter was only accepted after twelve publishers denied it, and even then she was only paid a nominal advance. Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a Baltimore news anchor for becoming too emotionally involved in her stories, a quality that became her trademark. Henry Ford lost his financial backers twice before he was able to produce a workable prototype of an automobile. The list goes on and on.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” –Henry Ford

So, what separates the people who let their failures derail them from those who use failure to their advantage? Some of it comes down to what you do, and the rest comes down to what you think.

The actions you take in the face of failure are critical to your ability to recover from it, and they have huge implications for how others view you and your mistakes. There are five actions you must take when you fail that will enable you to succeed in the future and allow others to see you positively in spite of your failure.

Break the bad news yourself. If you’ve made a mistake, don’t cross your fingers and hope that no one will notice, because someone is going to—it’s inevitable. When someone else points out your failure, that one failure turns into two. If you stay quiet, people are going to wonder why you didn’t say something, and they’re likely to attribute this to either cowardice or ignorance.

Offer an explanation, but don’t make excuses. Owning your mistakes can actually enhance your image. It shows confidence, accountability, and integrity. Just be sure to stick to the facts. “We lost the account because I missed the deadline” is a reason. “We lost the account because my dog was sick all weekend and that made me miss the deadline” is an excuse.

Have a plan for fixing things. Owning up to a mistake is one thing, but you can’t end it there. What you do next is critical. Instead of standing there, waiting for someone else to clean up your mess, offer your own solutions. It’s even better if you can tell your boss (or whomever) the specific steps that you’ve already taken to get things back on track.

Have a plan for prevention. In addition to having a plan for fixing things, you should also have a plan for how you’ll avoid making the same mistake in the future. That’s the best way to reassure people that good things will come out of your failure.

Get back on the horse. It’s important that you don’t let failure make you timid. That’s a mindset that sucks you in and handicaps you every time you slip up. Take enough time to absorb the lessons of your failure, and as soon as you’ve done that, get right back out there and try again. Waiting only prolongs bad feelings and increases the chance that you’ll lose your nerve.

Your attitude when facing failure is just as important as the actions you take. Using failure to your advantage requires resilience and mental strength, both hallmarks of emotional intelligence. When you fail, there are three attitudes you want to maintain.

Perspective is the most important factor in handling failure. People who are skilled at rebounding after failure are more likely to blame the failure on something that they did—the wrong course of action or a specific oversight—rather than something that they are. People who are bad at handling failure tend to blame failure on their laziness, lack of intelligence, or some other personal quality, which implies that they had no control over the situation. That makes them more likely to avoid future risk-taking.

Optimism is another characteristic of people who bounce back from failure. One British study of 576 serial entrepreneurs found that they were much more likely to expect success than entrepreneurs who gave up after their first failure. That sense of optimism is what keeps people from feeling like failure is a permanent condition. Instead, they tend to see each failure as a building block to their ultimate success because of the learning it provides.

Persistence. Optimism is a feeling of positivity; persistence is what you do with it. It’s optimism in action. When everybody else says, “Enough is enough” and decides to quit and go home, persistent people shake off those failures and keep going. Persistent people are special because their optimism never dies. This makes them great at rising from failure.

Bringing It All Together

Failure is a product of your perspective. What one person considers a crushing defeat, another sees as a minor setback. The beauty is that you can change how you see failure so that you can use it to better yourself.


9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit

Managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun, while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.

The sad thing is that this can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part.

First, we need to understand the nine worst things that managers do that send good people packing.

1. They overwork people.

Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more.

If you must increase how much work your talented employees are doing, you’d better increase their status as well. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If you simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, they will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.

2. They don’t recognize contributions and reward good work.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. Everyone likes kudos, none more so than those who work hard and give their all. Managers need to communicate with their people to find out what makes them feel good (for some, it’s a raise; for others, it’s public recognition) and then to reward them for a job well done. With top performers, this will happen often if you’re doing it right.

3. They don’t care about their employees.

More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.

4. They don’t honor their commitments.

Making promises to people places you on the fine line that lies between making them very happy and watching them walk out the door. When you uphold a commitment, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove yourself to be trustworthy and honorable (two very important qualities in a boss). But when you disregard your commitment, you come across as slimy, uncaring, and disrespectful. After all, if the boss doesn’t honor his or her commitments, why should everyone else?

5. They hire and promote the wrong people.

Good, hard-working employees want to work with like-minded professionals. When managers don’t do the hard work of hiring good people, it’s a major demotivator for those stuck working alongside them. Promoting the wrong people is even worse. When you work your tail off only to get passed over for a promotion that’s given to someone who glad-handed their way to the top, it’s a massive insult. No wonder it makes good people leave.

6. They don’t let people pursue their passions.

Talented employees are passionate. Providing opportunities for them to pursue their passions improves their productivity and job satisfaction. But many managers want people to work within a little box. These managers fear that productivity will decline if they let people expand their focus and pursue their passions. This fear is unfounded. Studies show that people who are able to pursue their passions at work experience flow, a euphoric state of mind that is five times more productive than the norm.

7. They fail to develop people’s skills.

When managers are asked about their inattention to employees, they try to excuse themselves, using words such as “trust,” “autonomy,” and “empowerment.” This is complete nonsense. Good managers manage, no matter how talented the employee. They pay attention and are constantly listening and giving feedback.

Management may have a beginning, but it certainly has no end. When you have a talented employee, it’s up to you to keep finding areas in which they can improve to expand their skill set. The most talented employees want feedback—more so than the less talented ones—and it’s your job to keep it coming. If you don’t, your best people will grow bored and complacent.

8. They fail to engage their creativity.

The most talented employees seek to improve everything they touch. If you take away their ability to change and improve things because you’re only comfortable with the status quo, this makes them hate their jobs. Caging up this innate desire to create not only limits them, it limits you.

9. They fail to challenge people intellectually.

Great bosses challenge their employees to accomplish things that seem inconceivable at first. Instead of setting mundane, incremental goals, they set lofty goals that push people out of their comfort zones. Then, good managers do everything in their power to help them succeed. When talented and intelligent people find themselves doing things that are too easy or boring, they seek other jobs that will challenge their intellects.

Bringing it all together

If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how you treat them. While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make them want to work for you.


This article was inspired by a piece authored by Mike Myatt. Travis Bradberry is the contributor. He also is co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Do you really believe in your team? build trust now

Old-fashioned management was easy. Back in the Machine Age, all a foreman or boss had to do was stand at the end of the line and make sure everybody was doing their job.

How did they make sure people were working? Threats, of course! It’s easy to manage through fear. All you have to do is let people know that you have the power to fire them.

Now we’ve left the Machine Age. We’re in the Knowledge Economy now, and we need more from our employees than grudging compliance with our standards and procedures.

We need them to care, and to put their heart and mind into their work. Now we see the truth: you can’t get people to give their best by threatening them!

We have to lead in the opposite way — we have to create trust in our environment, and that’s something that is new to plenty of managers.

They grew up as managers leading through fear rather than through trust. Now they have to learn a whole  new way to manage their teams.

They aren’t used to talking openly and honestly with their employees. They aren’t used to saying things like these:

  • I need your help.
  • I’m not sure how we should proceed. What do you think?
  • I so appreciate what you did yesterday to solve that problem. We couldn’t have done it without you.
  • What can I do to support you in this assignment?

Managers are learning a new vocabulary. If trust-based leadership is new to you and your team, here is a way to step into it and begin to grow your muscles!

If you haven’t been holding one-on-one meetings with your staff members, now is a great time to start.

A one-on-one meeting is a chance for a manager and a team member to catch up and share ideas. “Have you met your goals?” is a topic for the meeting, but it’s not the primary topic.

The primary subject for your one-on-one meetings is “How are you doing?”

If your employee isn’t hitting his or her goals, you need to know the reason. In the old days, a fear-based manager might say “I don’t want to know the reason — if you don’t hit your goals, you’re history!”

That’s foolish. You won’t learn anything unless you ask questions. Foolish managers say “Under-performing employee? Off with his head!” and let a potentially tremendous employee walk out the door.

Liz Ryan has written this article. she is a regular contributor to Forbes and she writes about bringing life to work and bringing work to life.

In the Age of Loneliness, Connections at Work Matter

Loneliness is a feeling we’d all like to avoid. Research shows it’s terrible for our health; it diminishes cognitive performance and the immune system, increases the risk of heart disease and dementia and hastens early death. And the psychological effects are just as bad; studies show that people need strong social connections to feel happy and find meaning in their lives, and that many of us would actually rather receive mild electroshocks than be alone.

One might think that technological connectivity has or will soon save us from the blight of loneliness. But it seems that we feel more isolated today than ever. According to a report in The Atlantic, one in four Americans reports having no one with whom they can discuss important matters, compared with one in ten 30 years ago, and a 2013 survey conducted by Lifeboat found that the average American had only one real friend. The Guardian newspaper says we may have entered the “age of loneliness.”

Why? Because there’s a difference between being surrounded by or linked to other people and having moments of genuine human connection with them. As the writer Richard Bach observed, “The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness, it’s intimacy.”


What can readers of the Leaders' Club do about it? Since most of us spend the majority of our time at work, let’s start the fight against loneliness there. Companies and leaders who want productive, happy employees should make it their job foster more intimacy at the office. Of course there’s no way for a manager to manufacture deep, meaningful friendships with or among employees. But it is possible to encourage more moments of connection between co-workers. Here are six techniques:

Walk your talk. In Nilofer Merchant’s TED Talk “Got a meeting? Take a walk,” she notes: “Nowadays, people are sitting 9.3 hours a day… Sitting has become the smoking of our generation.” Her solution to this health crisis is walking meetings, and I think they can help solve the loneliness epidemic too. When you get out of the office and get some exercise with a colleagues, you’ll immediately feel closer to them, particularly if the walk is one-on-one. You’ll also be more productive and innovative together. Neuroscientist John Medina, the author of Brain Rules says that 1.8 miles per hour is the the most productive meeting pace, while a recent Stanford study indicated that people were 60% more creative while walking. At design firm NBBJ, employees have taken these findings to heart. Instead of sit-down meetings with traditional agendas, they now have “meeting walks” complete with “itineraries.”

Play roulette. The idea of lunch roulette isn’t new but it remains a useful way to gain perspective by leaving one’s comfort zone, if only for a quick meal. After you’ve broken bread with a co-worker, it’s hard not to say hello in the hallway, and eventually the new relationship might turn into a fruitful collaboration. Companies may choose to match up employees randomly, or encourage people to seek out their own lunch dates. And there are apps to help: Spark Collaboration, a start-up in New York born out of the Randomised Coffee Trails (RCT) in the UK, just won the inaugural North American Employee Engagement Award for its platform that “brings people together by connecting them with people they would not normally meet.”

Instigate surprises. Surprises create the most authentic, intimate emotions because they catch us off guard. Companies such as Surprise Industries — founded on the idea that “life is richest when we shake up routine and embrace surprise”—offer tips, experiments, and even a “Surprise Academy” that teaches participants how to introduce more surprise into their lives. And the practice is gaining traction in the business world: Etsy, for example, runs a “Ministry of Unusual Business,” a secret society of employees tasked with injecting delightful surprises into everyday work.

Seek “thick presence.” Priya Parker, founder of Thrive Labs, and her author husband, the writer Anand Ghiridharadas, have a tradition they call “I Am Here” days. They invite about a dozen friends to put their smartphones away and spend a day exploring a part of New York City with them. The idea is to allow people to be “thickly present” rather than thinly distributed. Imagine applying this concept at work — instead of committing to a one-hour meeting to move forward on a project or provide an update, why not spend a full unscheduled day with colleagues working on that and anything else that comes up?

Host a dinner for 15. I co-founded a series of dinners called 15 Toasts with Parker and the World Economic Forum’s Council on Values, on which we both serve. These occasional gatherings, often held on the eve of Forum summits, bring together 15 global business leaders in intimate settings to discuss important issues. Each guest must provide one toast to the night’s theme (for example, “15 Toasts to Happiness” or “15 Toasts to Escapes”) over the course of the evening, and, as a special twist, the one who contributes last must perform his or her toast in song. “It’s the first dinner I’ve ever been to where I went in not knowing anyone and came out feeling connected with every single person,” the CEO of a Fortune 500 company told us after one such dinner. At the next day’s conference, he even hugged everyone he had met the night before. Team lunches or dinners can be spiced up in the same manner. Make the practice more regular, invite colleagues from outside your group or division and pick a specific topic for discussion.

Touch touchy issues. The inspiration for this advice comes from another dinner series Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death, which is based on the notion that talking about death typically leads to talking about life, including what makes us happy and what, if anything, we need to change about ourselves or our situations. The organizers say their goal is to create “an uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight, and empowerment.” Addressing such heavy topics at work might seem like too much of a stretch, but consider getting your group together to talk about the “death” of a project, either mourning for one that got killed or one that simply ended and left people with a sense of loss.

People crave connection and intimacy in all realms of their lives, including at work. It’s a critical source of empathy and tolerance — the glue that keeps relationships, projects, and organizations together. Leaders should do more to encourage it.

Tim Leberecht is author and chief marketing officer of architecture and design firm NBBJ. He also serves on the Values Council of the World Economic Forum.

How To Change Careers When You Don't Know What You Want To Do Next?

Feeling stuck in your career isn't just frustrating; it can be debilitating.

The notion that we have to choose a single career path and stick with it from beginning to end is simply a myth.

Regardless of your age or experience, we all eventually hit a roadblock at some point in our lives when we need to ask ourselves: "What's next?"

Career impasses—those moments when you know you're not happy where you are, yet don't quite know what to do next—aren't just common, they're necessary, says Timothy Butler, psychotherapist and senior adviser for career development at Harvard Business School. "We build these mental models of what's important for us and what we need to do in our lives," says Butler. "These times of impasse when we've hit the wall about what we want to do require shattering those mental models."

Take a step back from your own angst, and it makes perfect sense. What mattered most to you when you were 18 or 21 most likely wasn't the same as what matters most to you at 30 and 35, not to mention 50 or 60. Right? What gives us meaning is constantly changing, which is why we inevitably come to a point when we need to break down whatever mental model we've created for ourselves and find a new approach.

Still, reaching those moments of impasse—whether you're early or far along in your career—can be overwhelming.

Don't Let Your Inner Critic Get The Best Of You


The first and most important step is to acknowledge that your inner critic—that mean little voice inside us all—is probably having a field day berating you for not knowing what you want to do next. This is common. At times of impasse, the internal critic is particularly active. But resist the urge to look around and compare yourself to others in your field or age group. "That's very dangerous.

One big message is to be easier on ourselves.

What mattered most to you when you were 21 most likely isn't the same as what matters most to you at 35, not to mention 50 or 60. That means if you've gone through a grueling, expensive grad school education, only to come out on the other end certain you don't want to work in the field you just earned a degree in, there's nothing wrong with that. Gandhi went to law school!. When you're being brutally honest with yourself about what you need, career paths aren't meant to be tidy and predictable.

Think Of Yourself As a Hermit Crab—Yes, A Hermit Crab

The good news is that your feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction are actually a blessing in disguise. They signal that you're learning more about yourself—what you want and don't want out of life and work—and can now start to think about what next steps to take. "Your self-awareness has changed dramatically,", says Butler, a well known us researcher in this field. "You know more about yourself and more about your interaction with the world."

Take Butler's favorite analogy: a hermit crab. "Hermit crabs are constantly changing shells as they grow bigger," he says. "If we are growing, we have to say, 'As much as we like this shell, we are going to have to throw the whole thing away.'"

Understanding The Model Of Multiple Intelligences

In his research, Butler refers to the "model of multiple intelligences, " comprising four types of intelligence: implicit, symbolic, analytical, and functional. Most people, says Butler, focus their time and energy on developing their analytical and functional intelligence—that is, their ability to problem-solve, stay organized, and read other people's emotions, for example. But as a result, the first two forms of intelligence, implicit and symbolic, often get ignored, which, Butler says, is the problem. His research zeros in on these two modes of intelligence and how they can help us get unstuck in our careers.

Networking is useless unless you can tell people in your network exactly who you are and what has to happen for you.

According to philosopher and psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin, implicit intelligence is the felt sense of what we need and want that each of us possesses even before we can put those feelings into words. "We have a felt sense of what needs to happen next," says Butler, who draws from Gendlin's work in his own research. "That felt sense is in the body," he says. "The problem is that it's symbolic. We don’t have language for it yet."

Gendlin encourages people to think beyond the patterns they've developed and grown comfortable with in their lives—in other words, the way you always tend to get stuff done—in favor of exploring new alternatives. "Logical forms and patterns are incapable of encompassing the intricacy of people and situations," Gendlin writes.

"Pie in the sky is useless," says Butler. Over the years, he's worked with students, executives, and professionals at all stages in their career to pinpoint exactly what they want and aren't getting out of their work. It's about specificity, says Butler—translating that implicit intelligence into a symbolic one through words.

Put Your Career Criteria Down On Paper

Most people who are unhappy with their careers and want a change often feel the urge to jump right into looking for new opportunities—scouring job boards and asking friends about interesting opportunities they might know of. But Butler says that's starting with a tactic that should be the last step in your path, not the first. "The question that should be taken on first is: 'What really holds meaning for me?'" he says. "Not in an abstract way, but in a very nitty-gritty, concrete way."

He calls this "vision work." It boils down to simply coming up with seven to 12 sentences that capture specific criteria you want out of your career and life. "This requires work, but it's work that you can do," he says.

Be as specific as possible. For example, you might decide you need to have a lot of personal interaction with people on the job daily, that you need to live within 20 minutes of a metropolitan city, or that you need to have problem solving as a part of your daily work experience, or focus most of your time on creative projects. Coming up with those seven to 12 criteria is an important first step because it lays the foundation for what you need to look for in your next career move.

Butler and Gendlin believe we all know what we want and need to feel satisfied; we simply don't have the words to articulate it clearly to ourselves and others. That's where this exercise becomes so invaluable. "You may have a strong self sense, but for many, it's hard to sit down with that blank page," says Butler. Still, it's essential.

Look For Opportunities That Capture Your Vision


The next important step in getting unstuck is searching for opportunities that capture as much of your career criteria as possible. Think about what types of organizational cultures might offer a significant percentage of those things. These aren't questions you should be asking in a silo. "The process is not to stay at home thinking about it," says Butler. "The process is to really engage with it."

That's where networking becomes valuable—talking with colleagues, friends, mentors, former teachers, and family. "Everyone talks about networking, but networking is useless unless you can tell people in your network exactly who you are and what has to happen for you," says Butler.

"This is the stuff that is missing. This is the work people don't know about. 'Who am I and how am I different from other people?'"

The Importance of Happiness in the Workplace?

Many people feel that if they become successful at work, they will automatically become happy.

But according to Shawn Achor, founder and CEO of Good Think, Inc., that scenario should be reversed. It’s important to become happy, which will then help you become a success. Achor makes it his business to study the psychology of happiness in the workplace.

It’s important to organizations for employees to be happy, and not just for the employees themselves. “The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged workforce,” Achor says. And happiness as a concept is poorly understood, inside and outside of the workplace. In his book, happiness is defined as “the joy we feel striving after our potential.” It occurs along the way to achieving one’s potential, not just when that potential has been achieved.“This definition is crucial for leaders to understand,” Achor says.

“Without it, happiness can create irrational optimists.” He suggests that what is needed is the cultivation of “rational optimism.” The latter “requires taking a realistic assessment of the present, both the bad and the good, while maintaining a belief that our behavior matters. Rose-colored glasses will not help, but an optimistic brain will help your team overcome the biggest challenges.”

People can also help fulfill their potential by better understanding the role of social support at work. The key to remember is that giving support is even better than receiving it. “In an era of do-more-with-less,” Achor says, “we need to stop lamenting how little social support we feel from managers, coworkers and friends, and start focusing our brain’s resources upon how we can increase the amount of social support we provide to the people in our lives. The greatest predictor of success and happiness at work is social support. And the greatest way to increase social support is to provide it to others.”

Achor was also the head teaching fellow for psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar’s happiness course at Harvard. He found that lessons learned there could also be applied to organizations. “In the working world,” he says, “working with leaders, I began to discover that some of the same principles that caused Harvard students to rise to the top were also the same principles used by leaders to become more successful. Those seven research principles became the basis for The Happiness Advantage.” Closely related to happiness is the concept of thriving. Gretchen Spreitzer, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and her coauthors delineate this concept in their paper “Thriving at Work: Toward Its Measurement, Construct Validation, and Theoretical Refinement,” published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

“Thriving is like happiness in that it also involves the experience of positive emotions,” Spreitzer says. “But it is focused on a specific type of positive emotion—what we term as vitality or energy. When people are thriving in their work, they feel alive at work. Their work is literally fueling them with energy. But thriving is also more than positive emotions. It also includes a sense that one is growing, learning or getting better at what they are doing. This suggests that thriving is about making progress or having positive momentum rather than languishing or feeling stunted.”

Everyone at work can consciously help themselves to thrive more. Some basic strategies involve managing energy by sleeping well, eating a balanced diet that includes frequent high-protein snacks, and taking breaks, ideally every 90 minutes. But Spreitzer and her colleagues also found that the way people engaged in their work had an effect on how well they thrived. “When individuals engage their work in a way that helps others, learn new things, and find meaning in their work, they report higher levels of thriving,” she says. “So the challenge is for individuals to find ways to craft their work so they have more relational connections, more chances to try new things, and can see more of the impact in what they do.”


This research suggests that leaders can create the kind of workplaces that can help people thrive. Spreitzer says, “Leaders can (1) provide their people with more opportunities for decision making discretion, (2) share more information about the organization, its strategy, and competitors, (3) set and reinforce norms that promote civil and respectful behavior, and (4) offer performance feedback, especially about what is going well. When leaders create workplaces with these characteristics, their people feel like they can grow, develop, and thrive in their work.”

Fully engaged, thriving employees finish the day not depleted but, Spreitzer contends, “with energy for their family life, hobbies, and community service.”

Why You Need to Embrace the Big Data Trend in HR


The big data trend has quickly made its way to the human resources industry, and HR professionals should embrace it with open arms.

In fact, 6,400 organizations with 100 staff or more will have implemented big data analytics by 2018, according to a 2013 SAS study of more than 1,200 businesses. What’s more, a Towers Watson survey of more than 1,000 organizations last year found HR data and analytics to be among the top three areas for HR technology spending.

Where HR is concerned, big data is a big deal. It empowers employers and human resources to make more informed business decisions. Here are four reasons to embrace this growing trend within the HR industry:

1. Better insight

“Big data” is a big buzzword reverberating throughout the business world, and for good reason. Big data serves as a window into employees’ professional lives. By tracking, analyzing and sharing employee performance-related data, employers and HR not only gain more insight on employees, but boost individual motivation and overall engagement.

Companies like The Container Store, for instance, are even using wearable tech, designed to improve communication within its stores, to track employees when they’re at work. Using the Theatro Wearable Computer, store management can access performance data, including how employees communicate with coworkers and customers and where they spend the most of their time. 

Applying big data analytics to employee performance can also help employers identify and acknowledge top performers, along with workers who may be struggling in their positions. Investing in talent management software can assist HR professionals in gathering and analyzing the data they need to evaluate individual performance levels.   


2. Better retention

One big advantage of utilizing big data within the workplace is the opportunity to learn why employees leave -- and why they stay. With tools like employee satisfaction surveys, team assessments, social media, exit and stay interviews, etc. HR can essentially predict (and thus, prevent) employee attrition.

Take Xerox, for example. With the use of big data analytics, it was able to cut its attrition rate at call centers by 20 percent. By analyzing various sources of employee information, HR can more accurately identify issues that lead to lower employee engagement, as well as opportunities to boost engagement.

3. Better training

Formal training programs, professional development events, lunch-and-learns with industry leaders -- employee training, while necessary, can be costly. In fact, The Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) 2014 State of the Industry survey of 340 organizations found that, on average, these organizations spent $1,208 per employee on training and development.

Measuring the potential and effectiveness of training initiatives, however, can ensure that employers are making wise investments concerning employee development. However, CEB’s 2014 Global Assessment Trends Report revealed that only 45 percent of its 1,400 respondents use measures of potential to guide development and succession plans.   

Employers should focus on obtaining data related to training program participation and outcome. Are employees taking advantage of the professional development opportunities being offered to them? Furthermore, are they applying what they learned through training programs, activities and events to their work?

Conducting regular performance appraisals or incorporating 360-degree performance reviews can help employers and HR better understand the effectiveness of their professional development efforts.

The bottom line? Big data can help employers and HR professionals gain more insight on existing talent to better retain and train.


An article from Matt Straz , Founder and CEO of Namely

Heidrick & Struggles' CEO on the changing nature of leadership

The world is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. What does that mean for leaders? In this interview, Tracy Wolstencroft, chief executive officer of global executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles, discusses with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland the implications the changing world has for the art and science of leadership and what companies are looking for in potential executives. An edited transcript follows.

Interview transcript

The importance of authenticity

When it comes to talent and leadership, it starts with content. Today, you’re in a fishbowl. And part of being in that fishbowl means you’re taking information from multiple sources, you’re being evaluated on how you take in that information, you’re constantly learning, constantly teaching, and you have to have a constant ability to modify. Those who adapt best are the ones who thrive.

But how do you lead today if you’re going to have to change or be prepared to change tomorrow? How do you do that without being wishy–washy? It gets back to communication. You have to strike a balance between being confident and assertive, while helping folks realize, “Here are the risk factors.” There’s honesty in that.

The more the individual can convey that inner sense of integrity, that inner sense of authenticity, then the more folks will give them the benefit of the doubt that if they have to change, it’s not because they’ve changed their mind. It’s driven by circumstances in the world that have changed. If the individual has flagged that as a risk factor, that’s part of being authentic.

Merging innovation and consistency

The liability of being in a fishbowl is you’re being looked at from multiple vectors simultaneously—the proverbial 24/7. That’s the liability. The positive is you have information coming to you from so many sources and the ability to have an open mind to that information. The best idea for your business may come from an 18- or 20-year-old who’s living in Shanghai or living in Bangalore. You have to be open to that.

The way I’d say it is we live in what’s been termed a VUCA world—volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. In a VUCA world, there’s only room for humility. There is simply too much happening every given day that can make you humble. So get ready for it. Be comfortable. Be comfortable being humble in a VUCA world.

The more feedback mechanisms you have, the more you have organizations where people realize that no one person can have the best solution. The more minds on a problem, the better. And that gets back to the fact that the fishbowl can be an asset, not a liability. It’s constant feedback loop. And I think a compass, or a purpose, just gives you a sense of where true north is. What do we stand for?

Some of the best leaders have the ability to incorporate what I think of as a compass, or a broader purpose. A purpose statement or a vision statement in and of itself isn’t a strategy. But it is a compass. We live in a world that is looking for quick hits, looking for quick action. But there has to be a trend line. Those compasses, those purposes, help drive that.


Being comfortably uncomfortable

Someone said, I can’t remember who, that comfort and change never coexist peacefully. So I think as you go out 10 or 15 years, and as we get into this environment where it’s not just a VUCA world but a VUCA-squared or a VUCA-cubed world, you almost have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

You have to recognize that an uncomfortable state is OK because it typically means that you’re growing, you’re learning, and you’re allowing yourself to be even more authentic with the groups that you’re interacting with. You know, there’s nothing better than for a leader to ask a question that shows he or she doesn’t understand everything. Letting someone explain what the answer is empowers them, it energizes them, and the CEO also learns.

Be agile enough to take all that information, assimilate it, and put your best judgment forward. But also be humble enough to recognize that you may have to adapt down the road and communicate, when you express the strategy, what you’re looking at. That way, if you have to come back and adapt, you’re not seen as changing your mind so much as adapting to the external environment.

Talent requirements

We see clients who are very focused on staying close to home—whether that be geographically or whether, for example, they’re in a consumer business—and they want a CEO or a director or more leadership who knows the consumer business cold. But we also have clients who recognize that they’re not moving as fast as they could, and they want an outside view. It’s not as if they have to be prepared to turn 180 degrees—although some are—but to go halfway there at the board level, at a CEO level, at a senior-team level, to inject a freshness into how to look at their relationship with their consumers or their relationship with how they leverage technology.

It’s a mix, and we’re seeing both. The overall trend is that people recognize that there are all these vectors happening in the world and data coming in from different sources, and they want a CEO and a board who has the agility to assimilate all that. They want outside-the-box thinking, because then they will figure out how to apply it.

Building relationships

You have to spend time with the clients. I immensely enjoy spending time with clients and get tremendous energy from it. But it also helps us drive our strategy. It helps us think about where we need to adjust. It helps us get feedback.

Ideally, I’m with clients and my people. That way, in every meeting I’m in with a client, I’m really talking to two constituents in the room: the client, but also my colleague. That’s an important chunk of my time, and it’s important for my key leadership team to feel confident and spirited by the strategy, to debate it, and get input. You never know where a great idea is going to come from. As I said, the best idea may come from someone you just hired who’s bold enough and courageous enough to ask a question that no one else asked. You have to be open, showing your team that you’re prepared to go out and connect with people. It sets a great tone.