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What a Minor League Moneyball Reveals About Predictive Analytics

HBR STAFF The book The Only Rule Is It Has To Work is the true story of how a couple of clever quants, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, tried to bring sabermetric superiority to the Sonoma Stompers, a minor league baseball team nestled in California’s wine country. The self-described “statheads” have the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to test out their own Moneyball-style theories when the management team and owners of the Stompers invited them to run operations as part of a learning experience and team promotion. Even if you loathe baseball, it’s a terrific yarn. This is what real-world data-driven organizational transformation looks and feels like. Practically speaking, the book is more insightful — and useful — than Moneyball. The latter is unrealistic for many organiz....
Why the U.S. Decided That Managers Deserve Overtime Too

The difference between white collar and blue collar jobs isn’t just the type of work being done. It’s how people are compensated for it, according to the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act. For those who are covered (traditionally blue collar jobs), the law specifies minimum wages, overtime pay, and other requirements like time set aside for breaks. For those who aren’t (traditionally white collar jobs), none of the above applies. Until recently, few people in management positions were affected by the law due to its very low pay threshold — $23,666. But with managers in the services sector working 60-plus hours a week for salaries just above this number, there is strong evidence that as many as 11% of workers have been misclassified as “exempt,” no doubt so companies can avoid paying people overtime. That&#....
Your Content Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Whether it’s in the latest digital marketing trends or from the keynote at an industry event, we’re constantly being told that “content is king” and that we must “think like a publisher” if we want to stand out online today. It’s easy to nod along, roll up the sleeves, and dive headfirst into the content marketing business. In the beginning it feels great. We’re creating! Publishing blog posts, videos, podcasts, ebooks, infographics, and more. At the end of the day there’s something that’s there now that wasn’t before as a result of our hard work. According to the latest data from the Content Marketing Institute 88% of marketers use content marketing with another 76% noting that they’re on track to produce more content this year versus last year. But....
CEOs with Lots of Stock Options Are More Likely to Break Laws

Executive compensation packages have long been known to influence CEO behavior. Many have studied, for example, how different forms of compensation affect business outcomes from increased risk-taking and innovation to greater acquisitions and divestitures. However, these outcomes are not always positive. Compensation has also been linked to drastically harmful events. In 2011, for example, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission claimed that executives’ compensation systems contributed to the Great Recession by offering enormous rewards for financial gains and few penalties for losses. And BP CEOs Lord Browne and Tony Hayward received large, high-powered executive compensation packages right before the notorious oil spills that each respectively oversaw. This has led to a vigorous debate about how (or even whether) CEOs o....
Men Spend More on Business Travel

They don’t plan as far in advance.
Can Lean Manufacturing Put an End to Sweatshops?

While no one advocates for labor abuses, poor working conditions are often seen as an inevitable consequence of global trade.  Producers in less-developed countries compete by keeping costs low. Conventional wisdom holds that improving working conditions (which typically costs money)  would undermine the competitive advantage these firms enjoy. Our research suggests an alternative to this race to the bottom. It involves replacing traditional mass manufacturing with “lean manufacturing” principles. Over the last thirty years, the lean approach — developed by Japanese automakers — has permeated the manufacturing sector in developed countries, but is much less commonly used in the developing world. Here’s a simplified description of the difference between the two approaches. Tradition....
Lobbyists Are Behind the Rise in Corporate Profits

HBR STAFF Profits are up. Operating margins for firms publicly listed in the US show a substantial and sustained rise. Corporate valuations are up as well. That is good news for managers and investors. But is it good news for society? Economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Luigi Zingales find the rise potentially troubling for two reasons. First, higher profits create greater economic inequality. Rising aggregate profits correspond to a decline in labor’s share of output, contributing to stagnant wages. Also, greater profits for some corporations but not others may create greater wage inequality. Second, the rise in profits might represent a decline in competition and, with that, a decline in economic dynamism. While a dynamic, competitive economy rewards innovative firms with high profits and punishes poor performers with l....
Listening Is an Overlooked Leadership Tool

HBR STAFF “What do you think?” I ask this question a lot. My team knows that when they come to me with a question, this is likely the question I’ll come back with first. Sometimes I even preface it with, “I don’t know.” As leaders in our organizations, it’s up to us to coach colleagues and our employees through finding that answer. More often than not, when I ask this question, my team has a better answer than I do — or one that I hadn’t thought about before. It can be a powerful technique, especially if there is no single right answer – a situation that will be familiar to anyone doing leading-edge work. But it only works in an organization that values listening. In a growing, constantly changing company like Twitter, there aren’t a lot of things that remain the sa....
Where Predictive Analytics Is Having the Biggest Impact

vincent tsui FOR HBR The big data revolution is upon us. Firms are scrambling to hire a new brand of analysts dubbed “data scientists,” and universities have responded to this demand by introducing data science courses into degrees ranging from computer science to business. Survey-based reports find that firms are currently spending an estimated $36 billion on storage and infrastructure, and that is expected to double by 2020. Once companies are logging and storing detailed data on all their customer engagements and internal processes, what’s next? Presumably, firms are investing in big data infrastructure because they believe that it offers a positive return on investment. However, looking at the surveys and consulting reports, it is unclear what the precise use cases are that will drive this positive ROI from big da....
Building Rapport Across Cultures

ANDREW NGUYEN/HBR STAFF For the better part of my career, I’ve worked in the United States and Latin America, where I went first as a missionary, then as an investment banker, and eventually as an equity analyst for Merrill Lynch. Going to and from there for work is now second nature for me. But over the past few months I’ve found myself doing more consulting in other places, including Turkey and Germany, and planning speaking trips in Singapore, Mauritius, and Australia. In these places, I often find myself back at square one, trying to decipher what it takes to successfully work across cultures. I decided to sit down and think about what had worked so well for me in Latin America, and figure out if I could turn it into a generalizable principle that would help me in other cultures. Here’s my list: Lea....
In the Best Sales Teams, About Half of the People Are in Support Roles

Sales reps are most effective when they have the right amount of support staff, but exactly how much support staff does a company need, and how should it be structured? Call it a Goldilocks quandary: Too little support, and your sales people can’t do their jobs well; too much, and you’re wasting money. But get it just right and your sales efforts can drive productivity and growth. By looking at detailed sales data from 40 companies in technology-related industries, we have identified guidelines for the optimal amount and type of sales support and management. This includes all non-quota-carrying roles in the organization: customer-facing support, sales operations and administration, and sales management. Evaluating our sample set of companies in hardware, machinery, industrial equipment, and information and communicatio....
We Don’t Shun Unethical Coworkers If They’re High Performers

Organizations are typically encouraged to take a hard stand against employees’ unethical behaviors. After all, scandals at Enron, Arthur Anderson, and AIG have shown that unethical behaviors can tarnish an organization’s reputation, lead to considerable monetary losses, and even result in legal prosecutions and corporate shutdowns. So we’re told to make sure codes of conduct are actionable and go beyond window dressing. The swift discipline of employees who violate ethical standards is recommended. But there’s a problem with these suggestions, which is that unethical behavior can be really hard to detect and isn’t always formally reported to higher-ups in an organization. Yet our recent research identifies a common phenomenon that might help dampen unethical behavior before it even needs reporting: Employe....
What Trade Deals Are Good For

FROM THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY In recent months, trade agreements have moved from the arcane pages of academic journals to the front pages of newspapers, from university lecture halls to the presidential campaign trail. What are these agreements about? Why do governments sign them? Why do some candidates lambast them? Do they deserve the attention they have received? The academic literature offers several explanations for why governments might be willing to compromise their sovereign rights to dictate their trade and economic policies. Why countries enter into trade agreements First and foremost is reciprocity. In an interdependent world economy, a country’s economic policies affect firms and citizens throughout the globe. But when trade policies are set unilaterally, each country chooses policies that it perceives wi....
The Outside-In Approach to Customer Service - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM HBS EXECUTIVE EDUCATION

Executive education students at Harvard Business School HBS Executive Education brings you these articles about business management courtesy of Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Times are tough for many businesses, yet some are holding their own, even thriving. Best Buy, Cisco, Target, Starbucks, and Jones Lang LaSalle come to mind. How do they do it? According to a new book by Harvard Business School’s Ranjay Gulati, it is customer-centric firms—those with a so-called outside-in perspective—that are most resilient during turbulent markets. An outside-in perspective means that companies aim to creatively deliver something of value to customers, rather than focus simply on products and sales. And Gulati’s research, including interviews with 500 executives spanning industries and geographies, asserts that ou....
Online Retailers Should Care More About the Post-Purchase Experience

In 2005 A.G. Lafley, who at the time was CEO of the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, introduced a marketing concept he called “the moment of truth” for building brand loyalty. Soon retail brands aligned their strategies around two critical moments: 1) when a customer decides whether to purchase a product, and 2) when a customer uses the product for the first time. With the rise of new technologies like the internet and mobile, there are additional critical junctures for increasing the buying likelihood, including at the research stage. Five years ago, online review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor led to Google introducing the zero moment of truth, a crucial part of the buying process. Meanwhile, stats show that half of e-commerce is now done on mobile, heralding in the mobile moment of truth. Today....
Why John Deere Measures Employee Morale Every Two Weeks

Many companies go to great lengths every year or two to determine just how motivated their work force really is. Traditionally, they might get vendors such as Gallup to survey employee engagement. More recently, online sites such as Glassdoor and Vault let HR managers view anonymized praises and complaints about their company from employees and former employees – comments the whole world can see. Why do they do this? Employee engagement is now one of the top three concerns of most HR professionals. Studies have linked stronger employee engagement to higher customer satisfaction and profits. But it’s important to remember what comes between the motivated employee and the satisfied customer: the innovative product or service that the employee creates and the company sells. How do these things connect? Consider John Deere, the a....
Change Your Career Without Having to Start All Over Again

Many experienced professionals would like to make a career transition. But the thought of giving up their hard-earned seniority and starting again at the bottom is simply too demoralizing, so they stay — sometimes unhappily — in place. But as I discovered in researching my book Reinventing You, there are ways you can shift jobs or even careers without giving up your professional status. Instead, you can work creatively to transfer it, so that even if you’re starting in a completely different field, you’ll benefit from your years of labor. Here are four ways to capitalize on your past experience. Leverage the halo effect. Since the early 1920s, researchers have understood that people are generally susceptible to the “halo effect” — viewing others as being totally good and competent, or tota....
Your New Hit Product Might Be Underpriced

The odds are stacked against new products or services. Between 65% and 75% miss their revenue or profit goals, depending on whose research you look at. We have diagnosed thousands of product failures over the last 30 years, and have found recurring patterns. Often new products are over-engineered with too many features, usually at too high a price. Some products are truly innovative but stay walled up too long in R&D and then are released to market when they are no longer unique. Other failed products either answer a question no one cares about or are the wrong answer to the right question – Google Glass or the Segway personal transporter, for example. But one innovation pitfall is particularly insidious because it doesn’t involve an outright failure; in fact, these p....
From Accountant to Yogi: Making a Radical Career Change

At some point, almost all of us will experience a period of radical professional change. Some of us will seek it out; for others it will feel like an unwelcome intrusion into otherwise stable careers. Either way, we have choices about how we respond to it when it comes. We recently caught up with yoga entrepreneur Leah Zaccaria, who put herself through the fire of change to completely reinvent herself. In her quest to live a life of purpose, the Seattle-based yogi shed her high-paying accounting job, her husband, and her home. In the process, she built a radically new life and career. Since then, she has founded two yoga studios, met a new life partner, and formed a new community of people. Even if your personal reinvention is less drastic, we think there are lessons from her experience that apply. Listen to the whisp....
4 Ways to Be More Effective at Execution

Most people recognize that execution is a critical skill and strive to perform it well, but they may a) underestimate how important it is to their career advancement or b) not realize that you can improve on execution without working longer hours. On the first point, bosses place a premium on execution, which we define as the ability to achieve individual goals and objectives. In fact, when we asked senior managers to indicate the importance of this ability, they ranked it first on a list of 16 skills. Other raters in the organization ranked it fourth, behind inspiring and motivating, having integrity and honesty, and problem solving. We recognize that there are many parts of your job that are important, but if you want to move ahead in your career, it might be time to double down on simply getting more stuff done – it’s wh....
The Biggest Challenges of Data-Driven Manufacturing

The widespread deployment of low-cost sensors and their connection to the internet has generated a great deal of excitement (and hype) about the future of manufacturing. The internet of things (IoT) and industrial internet in the United States, Industrie 4.0 in Germany, and 物联网 (wù lián wăng) in China are all centered on the application of big data and analytics to creating the next generation of manufacturing: using data to reduce costs through next generation sales and operations planning, dramatically improved productivity, supply chain and distribution optimization, and new types of after-sales services. In fact, IoT is at the peak of Gartner’s 2015 hype cycle, which suggests the next phase will be disillusionment, and it will be years before we see real productivity gains. We believe data-....
Should You Compete with Amazon or Sell on Amazon?

In 2015, 2/3 of U.S. adults shopped online at least monthly, with 1/3 of adults shopping online every week, up from 24% in 2014 (Mintel). As e-commerce grows, online marketplaces like Amazon and Jet continue to improve their value proposition, making a commodity out of fast free shipping and returns, a wide assortment of products, and low prices. Now more than ever, customers expect free shipping and free returns. In fact, 80% of them won’t buy if return policies are difficult. As a consumer, this is great — buying what I need has never been easier. Before our honeymoon, my husband and I stocked up on swimsuits and summer basics on Amazon Marketplace, shopping from several brands and categories all in one shopping cart, using our Amazon Prime benefits. Yet on the other side, as an online marketing executive, my job has n....
Different Cultures See Deadlines Differently

We all have the tendency to look at other cultures through the lens of our own. While this is natural, it can lead to misunderstandings when communicating with and managing colleagues from around the world. In my experience working and teaching across cultures, I’ve noticed one important area where this frequently causes conflicts: deadlines. In order to understand how a supposedly black-and-white concept can be interpreted in different ways, you first have to understand how different cultures perceive time. Western cultures tend to view time as linear, with a definitive beginning and end. Time is viewed as limited in supply, so Western people structure their lives, especially business operations, by milestones and deadlines. Failure to meet them could be interpreted as having a poor work ethic or being incompetent. Other cu....
Growing Up Wealthy Makes Leaders More Narcissistic

How does income inequality — currently at historically high levels — affect the types of leaders we get in the workplace? As a first step toward exploring that question, we carried out a study exploring how parental income while people are growing up relates to their leadership behaviors as adults. We found that parental income is significantly related to adult levels of narcissism, a trait characterized by grandiose self-views, impulsive tendencies, and low empathy. We also found that those levels of narcissism were associated with people’s engagement (or lack thereof) in important leadership behaviors and various measures of effectiveness. We studied these dynamics in a sample of actively serving U.S. Army soldiers, all of whom graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and are now in leadership....
The Emotional Combinations That Make Stories Go Viral

Viral content typically evokes high-arousal emotions, such as joy or fear. But new research suggests arousal is just one of the underlying drivers of viral content. High dominance, or a feeling of being in control, may be another key driver behind content that is widely shared. New work from Jacopo Staiano of Sorbonne University and Marco Guerini of Trento Rise sheds light on the roles that valence, arousal, and dominance play in content that goes viral. The findings indicate that individual emotions may not determine virality — what really matters may be where the emotions fall within the Valence-Arousal-Dominance (VAD) model. This scale is frequently used in psychology to categorize emotions. Each individual emotion is a combination of three characteristics: Valence is the positivity or negativity of an emotion. Happiness....

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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