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How Senior Executives Stay Passionate About Their Work

When we talk about “learning to love your job” or “managing yourself,” it’s often in the context of junior or midlevel roles. But these things don’t stop mattering for senior executives. What aspects of their jobs are most important to them? What do they find rewarding? How do they sustain their passion for the work they do — without burning out? Over the past few years, I’ve had in-depth, one-on-one conversations with hundreds of top business leaders, and questions like these frequently come up. I’ve identified several common themes in our talks, which I’ll share here. Impact on society. As I was doing research and analysis for my recent book, I found that one of the best ways organizations can create a sense of purpose for their employees is to help connect their day-to-d....
The Future Economy Project

Future Economy We believe in climate change And we’re taking action The United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has sparked discussion across the business world. Many companies, big and small, are examining their own commitments to sustainability in light of America’s shift. We recognize a hard truth: that when it comes to how businesses view climate change, the need to focus on financial performance and create value for shareholders often obscures the importance of environmentally responsible corporate stewardship. Short-term rewards too often take precedence over the longer-term interests and viability of a company. Climate Change on HBR.org Managing Climate Change: Lessons from the U.S. Navy by Forest L. Reinhardt and Michael W. Toffel U.S. Business Leaders Want to Stay in the Paris Clim....
How the U.S. Navy is Responding to Climate Change

Forest Reinhardt and Michael Toffel, Harvard Business School professors, talk about how a giant, global enterprise that operates and owns assets at sea level is fighting climate change—and adapting to it. They discuss what the private sector can learn from the U.S. Navy’s scientific and sober view of the world. Reinhardt and Toffel are the authors of “Managing Climate Change: Lessons from the U.S. Navy” in the July–August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review. Download this podcast
3 Things Multinationals Don’t Understand About Africa’s Middle Class

Steven Moore for HBR The retail scene in Africa has undergone a rapid transformation. A few years ago, many staple Western goods were hard to come by in some markets. Now, branded items — from luxury cosmetics to fast food and fast fashion — are becoming widely available at the glittering new shopping malls scattered around the region’s fast-growing cities. Take the new Two Rivers Mall in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Completed in February 2017, it is eastern Africa’s largest shopping venue, housing grocery chains, restaurants, and luxury boutiques. But visit Two Rivers on a weekday, and the vast complex is empty. Why? Locals will tell you the mall is inconvenient to get to, and despite poverty levels in the region falling amid strong economic growth and foreign investment, the products sold th....
5 Questions to Help Your Employees Find Their Inner Purpose

How can leaders help employees find meaning at work? Organizations spend considerable resources on corporate values and mission statements, but even the most inspiring of these — from Volvo’s commitment to safety to Facebook’s desire to connect people — tend to fade into the background during the daily bustle of the work day. What workers really need, to feel engaged in and satisfied by their jobs, is an inner sense of purpose. As Deloitte found in a 2016 study, people feel loyal to companies that support their own career and life ambitions — in other words, what’s meaningful to them. And, although that research focused on millennials, in the decade I’ve spent coaching seasoned executives, I’ve found that it’s a common attitude across generations. No matter one’s level, ind....
What 11 CEOs Have Learned About Championing Diversity

The business case for diversity is clear. Diversity can boost innovation and employee engagement, and companies with greater gender and racial diversity financially outperform their peers. Yet progress within organizations has been slow – there is still a lack of women and minorities in leadership positions, and certain industries like tech and finance are lacking diversity at all levels. And many diversity programs fail. Based on evidence that diversity initiatives are more effective if they start at the top, I interviewed 11 CEOs who have made a public commitment to diversity about how they are creating more diverse workforces. About the InterviewsI wanted to select a diverse group of CEOs from a range of companies that varied by size and industry. I chose eleven CEOs: Art Peck (Gap Inc., retail), Shira Goodman (Staples, retail),....
What the Science Actually Says About Gender Gaps in the Workplace

Former Google engineer James Damore was hardly the first person to argue that biological differences between men and women determine career outcomes. Many people — even smart, science-minded ones — have asserted that biological differences can explain the gender gap in math, engineering, and science. A 2005 Gallup poll found that 21% of Americans believed men were better than women in terms of their math and science abilities (though 68% believed men and women were about the same). The fact that this argument keeps coming up means that we need to engage with it and clarify which claims are supported by evidence and which are not. To address these claims, we need to examine three interrelated questions: Are there gender differences in outcomes achieved by men and women? If so, is there evidence that they are due....
It’s Time to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability

Neasden Control Centre for HBR Despite conflicting messages about climate change from U.S. government leaders, sustainability is getting more and more attention at American companies. Shareholders are ratcheting up their demands on environmental and social issues. Consumers are registering their concerns about how companies make their products. And talented Millennial employees are voting with their feet by leaving laggard companies behind. Meanwhile, new technologies are making it easier for sustainability investments to pay off in the middle to long term. A similar phenomenon happened in the 1980s, when quality became a significant issue for manufacturers. Many of them responded by including quality metrics in their compensation incentives. These moves helped to focus executive attention and ensure that quality initiatives actu....
How Gatorade Invented New Products by Revisiting Old Ones

When it comes to innovation, businesses have a strong bias for the new. The idea of creating a fresh new product, the prospect of increasing market share with brand new offerings, or the vision of disrupting some slow-moving incumbent with a radical new technology – these have an inherently strong appeal for companies keen for growth. What’s more, legacy products seem to be at a natural disadvantage. Company leaders and product managers worry that these core products have been around for years and may not be able to deliver much more. How will they perform well enough for us to meet our targets? Should you heed the siren call to reach outside your core business?  Should you explore new technologies that will disrupt current products?  Should you search for new “blue ocean” markets that will let you redep....
The Dark Side of Resilience

Resilience, defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events, is a highly sought-after personality trait in the modern workplace. As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant argue in their recent book, we can think of resilience as a sort of muscle that contracts during good times and expands during bad times. In that sense, the best way to develop resilience is through hardship, which various philosophers have pointed out through the years: Seneca noted that “difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body” and Nietzsche famously stated “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” In a similar vein, the United States Marine Corps uses the “pain is just weakness leaving the body” mantra as part of their hardcore training....
Fixing the Recruiting and Retention Problems in Britain’s NHS

Although Britain’s National Health System (NHS) has provided effective universal coverage for almost 70 years, it is facing a major health workforce crisis that jeopardizes its future. The NHS currently offers healthcare that is free at point of delivery to UK and European Union (EU) citizens, but proof of citizenship is often not even required. Funded largely with revenue from general taxation and National Insurance contributions, only 1.2% of NHS revenue comes from direct patient charges. Despite its success as the world’s first single-payer health system, the NHS today is struggling. (Hereafter, when we use the term “NHS,” we refer to NHS England, specifically – not the health systems in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.) The wait times for NHS procedures are at an all-time high. Patients are now expe....
Whiteboard Session: Clashing with a Coworker? Here’s What to Do

These 4 steps will help you resolve conflicts, whether you’re a seeker or an avoider.
To Come Up with a Good Idea, Start by Imagining the Worst Idea Possible

There are many creative tools a designer uses to think differently, but none is more counter-intuitive than “wrong thinking,” also called reverse thinking. Wrong thinking is when you intentionally think of the worst idea possible — the exact opposite of the accepted or logical solution, ideas that can get you laughed at or even fired — and work back from those to find new ways of solving old problems. For example, one of the most important discoveries in the sequencing of the human genome came from Fred Sanger who reversed his process to achieve a breakthrough. As explained by Siddharta Mukerjee in his book The Gene, Sanger “turned his own strategy upside down and tried to build DNA, rather than break it down.” His wrong thinking led to his second Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1980 for contributions in g....
Is Tesla Really a Disruptor? (And Why the Answer Matters)

Tesla, Elon Musk’s automotive start-up, is having a very good year. In September, the company expects to begin shipping its all-electric Model 3 to non-employee customers, who have already logged 500,000 pre-orders. After reporting earnings earlier this month, its stock jumped, rocketing the 14-year-old startup’s valuation to over $53 billion, ahead of every other U.S. car manufacturer and all but three worldwide. This despite the fact that the company lost nearly two billion dollars in the past two years alone. There’s little argument that Tesla is a wildly innovative company.  But is its automotive business a disruptor, poised to transform the entire transportation sector?  That’s the question that has dogged the company from the beginning, inspiring heated debate among Wall Street analysts, fanatical ....
Help Employees Create Knowledge — Not Just Share It

Tim Evans for HBR Many leaders see organizational learning simply as sharing existing knowledge. This isn’t surprising given that this is the primary focus of educational institutions, training programs, and leadership development courses. It’s the “sage on the stage” model, in which an expert shares what they know with those who are assumed not to know it. These “best practices” are presumed to work in a variety of different contexts and situations. This view of learning was the key driver of “knowledge management systems” that came into vogue in the 1990’s. These systems sought to make existing knowledge more accessible to those who might need it in the form of knowledge repositories that collected and indexed documents as well as directories of expertise that could point emplo....
How One Insurance Firm Learned to Create an Innovation Culture

More and more companies are realizing they must reinvent their cultures by infusing innovation into their DNA. Unlike startups that get to shape culture from scratch, established companies must transform existing norms, values, and assumptions in ways that inspire everyone to innovate — not just at the top of the organization, but at all levels. One company that’s making headway on that goal is CSAA Insurance Group (CSAA IG), one of the insurance companies affiliated with the 55 million-member American Automobile Association (AAA). With almost 4,000 employees, CSAA IG has embarked on a systemic approach to create a pervasive culture of innovation. The tactics being used by CSAA IG are all ones that leaders in other companies can apply to their own innovation culture change efforts. Early on, CSAA IG’s executive tea....
How Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time

One of the most stressful things about being self-employed is managing your cash flow. This is especially difficult when clients don’t pay you on time. What can you do to make sure your invoices are handled promptly? And if a client is late, how should you address it, especially if you want to work with this company again? Is there ever a point at which you need to involve a lawyer? What the Experts Say When freelancing is your primary source of income, you have to be meticulous and organized about keeping your books, according to Jon Younger, the founder of the Agile Talent Collaborative, a nonprofit research organization and the coauthor of Agile Talent. “If you’re not disciplined and rigorous about getting paid, you will not succeed,” he says. “It is a critical aspect of your reputation.” And y....
Assessment: Are You Taking the Time Off That You Need?

We all know we should take time away from work. But too often we let our constant busyness and the threat of looming deadlines keep us from going on vacations. This has consequences for our stress levels, our teams, and our organizations. It also costs us. According to research by Project: Time Off, an organization that studies vacation time in the U.S., most Americans don’t use all of their vacation days. In 2016 alone, U.S. employees ended up forfeiting the equivalent of $66.4 billion in time off. This means that, last year, Americans effectively donated an average of $604 to their employers. Do you take all of your vacation days? If not, what’s holding you back? Take this quick assessment to determine how healthy your relationship is with time off. //
Study: More Frequent Sales Quotas Help Volume but Hurt Profits

Firms often struggle with finding the best way to motivate their salesforce. How much of a rep’s compensation should consist of a fixed salary and how much should be based on commission? Should commissions be capped? What’s the effectiveness of bonuses and other incentives? And so on. While past quantitative research has investigated some of these issues, in our recent study we focused on an under-researched aspect of salesforce compensation: sales quotas. More specifically, what should be the appropriate frequency of quotas—for example, daily or monthly? To answer this question, we conducted a large-scale field experiment at a major retail chain in Sweden. The company sells small to mid-sized consumer electronic goods, accessories (such as headsets and phone cases), electronic parts, and small home appliances. With mor....
When Male Unemployment Rates Rise, So Do Sexual Harassment Claims

Despite all the mandatory trainings on sexual harassment that have taken place in American workplaces over the last two decades, the problem seems to be getting worse. Sex discrimination claims made to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are up about 10% in the last 20 years. Some of that is surely due to increased reporting, but some is also the result of changing gender dynamics in society. Women’s progress towards economic parity may present a threat to the way that men understand their own roles in their workplaces and in society in general, and sex discrimination is one way for them to assert their dominance. To test this theory, I analyzed EEOC and Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that sex discrimination spikes when men fall behind women in the workforce. The basic idea that threatened masculinit....
What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time

Have you ever felt burned out at work after a vacation? I’m not talking about being exhausted from fighting with your family at Walt Disney World all week. I’m talking about how you knew, the whole time walking around Epcot, that a world of work was waiting for you upon your return. Our vacation systems are completely broken. They don’t work. The classic corporate vacation system goes something like this: You get a set number of vacation days a year (often only two to three weeks), you fill out some 1996-era form to apply for time off, you get your boss’s signature, and then you file it with a team assistant or log it in some terrible database. It’s an administrative headache. Then most people have to frantically cram extra work into the week(s) before they leave for vacation in order to actually e....
PE Firms Are Creating a New Role: Leadership Capital Partner

Vincent Tsui for HBR During the last 20 years, private equity (PE) investors have assumed an increasingly influential role in business, with publicly traded firms dropping from about 7,500 to 3,800. Today, large private equity firms not only buy and sell (phase 1), buy and hold (phase 2), but buy and transform (phase 3). This third phase has led to large private equity organizations governing their assets in a unique way. In phase 3, successful portfolio transformations require financial discipline that is not an event, but a pattern; strategic clarity that is not a direction, but a commitment; operational excellence that is not a tool, but a mindset. Making these shifts requires increased attention to organizational governance around three domains: talent, capability, and leadership. To focus that attention and transform th....
Why We Prefer Dominant Leaders in Uncertain Times

We are witnessing a worldwide surge in a certain type of leader claiming the highest offices of power — leaders who are confident, controlling, and strongly hierarchical. Indian voters elected the dominant Narendra Modi into power in 2014, Britain’s Nigel Farage saw his sharply argued views endorsed during the 2016 Brexit campaign, Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S. in 2016 after repeatedly promising to be “strong,” and autocratic Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reelected this year. The question is: Why are voters choosing this type of leader now? Our research (recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) attempts to answer this by focusing on when and why such leaders ascend to leadership roles. We drew on research from evolutionary and soci....
When to Listen to a Dire Warning

Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism adviser to U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has made a career of investigating disaster warnings. The way he sees it, catastrophes can happen at any time, so why should decision makers ignore a Cassandra? Now a cybersecurity firm CEO, Clarke is an expert at figuring out who is a conspiracy theorist and who is a credible source. He explains his method through a few case studies—on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, and others—from his new book, Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes. Download this podcast
Good Leaders Are Good Learners

Dave Wheeler for HBR Although organizations spend more than $24 billion annually on leadership development, many leaders who have attended leadership programs struggle to implement what they’ve learned. It’s not because the programs are bad but because leadership is best learned from experience. Still, simply being an experienced leader doesn’t elevate a person’s skills. Like most of us, leaders often go through their experiences somewhat mindlessly, accomplishing tasks but learning little about themselves and their impact. Our research on leadership development shows that leaders who are in learning mode develop stronger leadership skills than their peers. Building on Susan Ashford and Scott DeRue’s mindful engagement experiential learning cycle, we found that leaders who exhibit a gr....

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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