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How Companies Say They’re Using Big Data

Laura Schneider for HBR Are companies seeing any value to their investments in “big data”? I’ve been surveying executives of Fortune 1000 companies about their data investments since 2012, and for the first time a near majority – 48.4% — report that their firms are achieving measurable results from their big data investments, with 80.7% of executives characterizing their big data investments as “successful.” Survey respondents included Presidents, Chief Information Officers, Chief Analytics Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, and Chief Data Officers representing 50 industry giants, including American Express, Capital One, Disney, Ford Motors, General Electric, JP Morgan, MetLife, Nielsen, Turner Broadcasting, United Parcel Service, and USAA. The chart below illustrates the range of big ....
Don’t Give Up on Unconscious Bias Training — Make It Better

There’s a growing skepticism about whether unconscious bias training is an effective tool to meet corporate diversity goals. Critics of such training contend that it doesn’t visibly move the needle on diversity numbers, and can even backfire. Some academic studies support this perspective: one longitudinal study found that traditional diversity trainings are the least effective efforts in increasing numbers of underrepresented minorities, while experimental research has shown that presenting evidence that people commonly rely on stereotypes — information often found in diversity trainings — isn’t helpful and can even condone the use of stereotypes. On the other hand, a meta-analysis found that diversity trainings can be effective, depending on many factors including content, length, audience, and accompanyin....
Smart Cities Are Going to Be a Security Nightmare

In the fictional world of the video game Watch Dogs, you can play a hacktivist who takes over the central operating system of a futuristic, hyper-connected Chicago. With control over the city’s security system, you can spy on residents using surveillance cameras, intercept phone calls, and cripple the city’s critical infrastructure, unleashing a vicious cyberattack that brings the Windy City to its knees. Watch Dogs is just a game, but it illustrates a possible “what if” scenario that could happen in today’s increasingly smart cities. Advancements in artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices have made it possible for cities to increase efficiencies across multiple services like public safety, transportation, water management and even healthcare. An estimated 2.3 bi....
Returning to Work When You’re Grieving

The death of a loved one can be devastating. And while many companies provide bereavement leave, the leave is often only three to five days. Some of us are fortunate to be able to reduce work hours or quit work altogether for a while. Others have a manager who gives us unofficial time off. Even so, many of us must go back to work well before we’re ready. Grief can be isolating because people don’t know how to connect with you when you come back to work, or when you experience setbacks from time to time. Because of this, you’re likely to face some challenges, particularly in how to deal with your personal grief while remaining productive and and how to deal with your colleagues, especially when they respond in a way that’s jarring. Over the last year, my brother, my mother, a close friend, and six relativ....
A Scorecard to Help You Compare Two Jobs

You have a big career decision to make. Maybe you’ve been offered an exciting new opportunity — on the other side of the country. Or maybe you’ve been unhappy in your job and need a change — but haven’t been able to find inspiring alternatives. Several of the professionals I’ve coached share a common struggle: how to make major decisions that balance career growth with satisfaction in other domains of their lives. While it’s often easy to see the impact a certain choice will have on objective criteria such as duties, position, prestige, salary, and opportunities for advancement, evaluating the “softer” considerations is tougher. But things like cultural fit, the quality of interactions with colleagues, ability to exert influence, and impact on family and social lif....
What If Investors Who Held Their Shares Longer Got More Voting Power?

Joe Bower and Lynn Paine “had me at hello” (to quote Jerry Maguire) with their new HBR article, “The Error at the Heart of Corporate Leadership.” Laying out their data, they find that long-term oriented companies create more financial value and more jobs. In fact, if more American companies were focused on the long term, they estimate, investors would have an additional $1 trillion, workers would have an additional 5 million jobs, and the country would have more than an additional $1 trillion in GDP. I agree with their vision of a future in which more companies focus on the long term and become more productive for the world (their findings accord with my own work on the dangers of short-termism). But I long for actions that go beyond admonitions to managers and boards to do better, that give both parties a be....
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Resilience

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks about returning to work after her husband’s death, and Wharton management and psychology professor Adam Grant discusses what the research says about resilience. In this joint interview, they talk about how to build resilience in yourself, your team, and your organization. They’re the authors of the new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Download this podcast
Why Do IoT Companies Keep Building Devices with Huge Security Flaws?

Earlier this year an alarming story hit the news: Hackers had taken over the electronic key system at a luxury hotel in Austria, locking guests out of their rooms until the hotel paid a ransom. It was alarming, of course, for the guests and for anyone who ever stays at a hotel. But it came as no surprise to cybersecurity experts, who have been increasingly focused on the many ways in which physical devices connected to the internet, collectively known as the internet of things (IoT), can be hacked and manipulated. (The hotel has since announced that it is returning to using physical keys.) It doesn’t take a great leap to imagine an IoT hostage scenario, or all of the other ways hackers could wreak havoc with the networked objects we use every day. Smart devices permeate our homes and offices. Smoke detectors, thermostats, spri....
How to Act Quickly Without Sacrificing Critical Thinking

An unbridled urgency can be counterproductive and costly. If you’re too quick to react, you can end up with short-sighted decisions or superficial solutions, neglecting underlying causes and create collateral damage in the process. But if you’re too deliberative and slow to respond, you can get caught flat-footed, potentially missing an opportunity or allowing an emergent challenge to consume you. To balance these two extremes, you need reflective urgency — the ability to bring conscious, rapid reflection to the priorities of the moment — to align your best thinking with the swiftest course of action. In my work, coaching leaders at every level through a variety of management dilemmas, I’ve developed three strategies to practice reflective urgency: Diagnose your urgency trap. To get started, y....
What Separates Goals We Achieve from Goals We Don’t

The importance of delaying gratification is universally recognized. Being able to forgo immediate benefits in order to achieve larger goals in the future is viewed as a key skill. For example, consider the classic “marshmallow test” experiment: children’s ability to delay eating one marshmallow so that they can get two marshmallows later is linked to a number of positive life outcomes, including academic success and healthy relationships. But wouldn’t immediate benefits also help us follow through on our long-term goals? To explore this question, we conducted five studies, surveying 449 people, including students, gym-goers, and museum visitors. They reported their ability to persist in their long-term goals. They also told us whether they experienced immediate and delayed benefits when working towards these goals....
How Banks Can Compete Against an Army of Fintech Startups

It’s been more than 25 years since Bill Gates dismissed retail banks as “dinosaurs,” but the statement may be as true today as it was then. Banking for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been astonishingly unaffected by the rise of the Internet. To the extent that banks have digitized, they have focused on the most routine customer transactions, like online access to bank accounts and remote deposits. The marketing, underwriting, and servicing of SME loans have largely taken a backseat. Other sectors of retail lending have not fared much better. Recent analysis by Bain and SAP found that only 7% of bank credit products could be handled digitally from end to end. The glacial pace at which banks have moved SME lending online has left them vulnerable. Gates’ original quote contended that the dinosaurs....
The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity

A recently published global survey of C-Suite level executives and IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) revealed a large gap in assessments of cyber threats, costs and areas of responsibilities. Among the most significant disconnects: 80% of the executives surveyed in the U.S. believe cybersecurity to be a significant challenge facing their business, while only 50% of ITDMs agree. ITDMs estimated the average cost of a cyber breach at $27.2 million, much higher than the average $5.9 million cited by executives. 50% of the executives surveyed believe the reason why an attack on their organization would succeed would be due to human error of employees, compared to 31% of ITDMs. The research shows there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the cost of a successful breach, which many underestimate. It isn’t just about what the thieves ge....
An Early Warning System for Your Team’s Stress Level

Cat Yu for HBR “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” This had always been Michel’s response when his senior executives started “wilting under pressure” and letting him down. As the CEO of a global oil company who had risen through the ranks, Michel had faced many stressful events on off-shore rigs early in his career, and considered himself to be a tough guy with no tolerance for wimps. But with intense media and regulatory focus on oil prices adding complexity to a current restructuring in the organization, Michel was now facing an internal crisis that he had not foreseen. His blunt approach to fixing low performers in his executive committee wasn’t working. Related Video When Stress Helps You Get More ....
If You Think Downsizing Might Save Your Company, Think Again

During the Great Recession of 2008, companies around the world downsized their workforces. American firms alone laid off more than 8 million workers from the end of 2008 to the middle of 2010. Even in healthier financial times, such as now, firms often downsize because it is seen as a way to reduce costs, adjust structures, and create leaner, more efficient workplaces. Despite the prevalence of downsizing, researchers and businesspeople alike continue to disagree on the viability of this common organizational practice. We add to this debate with our new research, which indicates that downsizing may actually increase the likelihood of bankruptcy. Proponents of downsizing argue that it is an effective strategy, with benefits such as increased performance and sales. Detractors, on the other hand, point to negative consequences includin....
How to Be an Inspiring Leader

When employees aren’t just engaged, but inspired, that’s when organizations see real breakthroughs. Inspired employees are themselves far more productive and, in turn, inspire those around them to strive for greater heights. Our research shows that while anyone can become an inspiring leader (they’re made, not born), in most companies, there are far too few of them. In employer surveys that we conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit, we found that less than half of respondents said they agree or strongly agree that their leaders were inspiring or were unlocking motivation in employees. Even fewer felt that their leaders fostered engagement or commitment and modeled the culture and values of the corporation. Related Video What Great Managers....
8 Ways Governments Can Improve Their Cybersecurity

It’s hard to find a major cyberattack over the last five years where identity — generally a compromised password — did not provide the vector of attack. Target, Sony Pictures, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) each were breached because they relied on passwords alone for authentication. We are in an era where there is no such thing as a “secure” password; even the most complex password is still a “shared secret” that the application and the user both need to know, and store on servers, for authentication. This makes passwords inherently vulnerable to a myriad of attack methods, including phishing, brute force attacks and malware. Insight Center Getting Cybersecurity Right Sponsored by Accenture Safeguarding your company in a comple....
Why You Should Have (at Least) Two Careers

It’s not uncommon to meet a lawyer who’d like to work in renewable energy, or an app developer who’d like to write a novel, or an editor who fantasizes about becoming a landscape designer. Maybe you also dream about switching to a career that’s drastically different from your current job. But in my experience, it’s rare for such people to actually make the leap. The costs of switching seem too high, and the possibility of success seems too remote. But the answer isn’t to plug away in your current job, unfulfilled and slowly burning out. I think the answer is to do both. Two careers are better than one. And by committing to two careers, you will produce benefits for both. In my case, I have four vocations: I’m a corporate strategist at a Fortune 500 company, US Navy Reserve officer, author of seve....
The Business Case for Providing Health Insurance to Low-Income Employees

After the failed negotiations over the repeal of Obamacare earlier in March, the Trump administration appears to be on the brink of proposing a new health care bill. While the details are still sketchy, it seems likely that the new bill will leave many lower-income Americans without access to health insurance. I believe there is a case to be made that, should this take effect, the private sector has a strong incentive to step in. The provision of health insurance by organizations is a sensible business decision—especially for low-income individuals. In fact, a number of studies—including one that I co-authored—highlight that health insurance coverage can be beneficial to the bottom line of businesses, and should be endorsed by managers as good corporate strategy if they seek to increase their productivity. Health i....
We Need to Ask How We Can Make Economic Growth More Inclusive

Some questions have what I like to call a catalytic quality. That is, they do for creative problem-solving what catalysts do in chemical processes: they dissolve barriers and accelerate progress down more productive pathways. Take the question that has lately been put on the political table because of the prosperity bind facing so many mature economies. Innovation abounds (especially in technology) and new value is being created hand over fist — yet the resulting wealth gains go to the few, while the many wind up financially worse off. Case in point, even if everyone benefits from the freer flow of information allowed by the internet, information alone can’t pay your heating bill or buy a new transmission for your car. As the costs of things like phone calls and televisions have dropped, the cost for basic necessities like fo....
The 4 Types of Organizational Politics

The first 100 days are usually the honeymoon period for any new CEO to make their mark and get others on board. However, for Airbus CEO Christian Streiff, it was just a brief window before his abrupt departure from the European aircraft company that’s part of the EADS consortium, along with DiamlerChrysler and Aerospatiale-Matra. Streiff’s drive to speed up decision-making, overcome bureaucracy, and deliver rapid execution, exposed historic and deep divisions between executives at the consortium. There were reports of internecine feuding at Airbus: The internal atmosphere was tense; jobs were allocated by preferences other than commercial criteria; and mistakes such as insufficient cabling were a result of internal conflicts and mistrust. Even Streiff ended up concluding that it was the political nature of Airbus that pr....
How a Macron Presidency Could Fuel More Nationalism in France

This weekend’s election in France has narrowed the field of 11 candidates to two: the most anti-EU candidate, nationalist Marine Le Pen, and the most pro-European candidate, centrist Emmanuel Macron. For the first time in the almost 60-year history of the Fifth Republic, neither the mainstream Left nor the mainstream Right will have a candidate in the second round of the presidential elections. Although Macron is the candidate who promises more continuity with the policies of the previous government than any other, he founded his own political movement only a year ago, and has never previously held an elected office. But although Macron is the strong favorite to win, a look at the broader context shows that his election may only be a temporary reprieve from the nationalistic, anti-EU sentiments that have been rising across Eur....
There Will Always Be Limits to How Creative a Computer Can Be

Jennifer Maravillas for HBR Artificial intelligence is disturbing the workforce, and will continue to do so as its capabilities increase. Inevitably, “artificial intelligence will soon be able to do the administrative tasks that consume much of managers’ time faster, better, and at a lower cost.” But, when it comes to more complex and creative tasks such as innovation, the question still remains whether AI can do the job better than humans. There’s no doubt that recent advancements in AI have been extraordinary. Watson, for example, is now helping with cancer research and tax returns, among other things. And AlphaGo, a computer program designed to play the ancient board game Go, beat Lee Sedol, one of best players in the world, in a 4-1 landslide. Since Go is far more complex game than chess, AlphaGo’s vi....
How Stay-at-Home Parents Can Transition Back to Work

The vast majority of people who take time off to raise children (or other caregiving work) would ultimately like to return to the workplace. But transitioning back isn’t so easy. Research by the Center for Talent Innovation shows that only 73% of highly qualified women who wanted to return to work were able to do so, and just 40% of those landed a regular full-time job. What’s the problem, and how can you overcome it? One of the biggest challenges professionals face in the midst of a career transition is managing their brand and how they’re perceived. For legal reasons, hiring managers can’t openly say what may be on their minds: that you might be a less committed or effective worker now that you’re a parent and have a “gap in your resume.” Unfortunately, when a bias is unspoken, it’s much ....
The World Needs a DARPA-Style Project to Prevent Pandemics

When the Blizzard of ’78 hit the Northeast, it caught the region by surprise. Some meteorologists had predicted only a minor snowstorm, and forecasts were still unreliable enough that many people simply went about their regular business. When the hurricane-force storm hit, traffic came to a complete standstill due to the fast-accumulating snow – even the plows were stuck — and thousands of cars were abandoned. Not all the stranded people would survive. It took over a week – and help from the National Guard – to clear the roads again. Today, even as weather events have become more extreme due to climate change, we’re in many ways more prepared for them: scientists’ forecasting techniques have gotten better, and governors and mayors have standard practices for handling preparation and cleanup for a....
Prestigious Firms Make Riskier Acquisitions Than Other Firms

High-reputation firms are recognized for consistently meeting and even exceeding stakeholders’ expectations. Prior research suggests that compared to other firms, this elite subset of firms attract more and better job applicants, command higher prices for products and services, and sustain higher financial performance. However, recent research has also found that high-reputation firms face greater pressure to achieve rapid growth. Consider the example of Microsoft, a perennial high-reputation firm. Microsoft has dominant businesses in Windows and Office, tremendous profitability, and is a magnet for talented employees. Toward the end of the 1990s, it seemed as if nothing could outrun Microsoft, except for, as it turned out, high stakeholder expectations. In the years to come, even after seemingly strong performance, commentators wo....

TECHNALINK HIGHLIGHTS
The OM Factor received the prestigious honor of the Bronze Medal from The Axiom Business Book Awards as one of the best business books of 2016.
  

In celebration of women role models in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), STEMconnectortm unveils in hard copy and online its inaugural 100 Women Leaders in STEM publicatin. The heroines included in 100 Women Leaders in STEM share stories about their commitment to serving as mentors and sponsors of those who are next in the stem jobs pipline.
           
Mclean, VA - Technalink, Inc. is excited to announce that Alka Dhillon, Founder & Chief Executive Officer has been selected as a winner for the 2012 BRAVA! Women Business Achievement Award Presented by SmartCEO.
    
Alka Dhillon, Founder and CEO, Technalink (McLean,VA) Recognized as one of the leading female CEOs in the Washington, DC, area, Ms. Dhillon is known for her irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for giving back to the community.

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