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Run Meetings That Are Fair to Introverts, Women, and Remote Workers

In the ideal meeting, all attendees participate, contributing diverse points of view and thinking together to reach new insights. But few meetings live up to this ideal, in large part because not everyone is able to effectively contribute. We recently asked employees at a large global bank a question: “When you have a contribution to make in a meeting, how often are you able to do so?” Only 35% said they felt able to make a contribution all the time. There are three segments of the workforce who are routinely overlooked: introverts, remote workers, and women. As a leader, chances are you’re not actively silencing these voices — it’s more likely that hidden biases at play. Let’s look at these biases and what you can do to mitigate their influence. Segment 1: The quiet ones The....
The Internet of Things Needs Design, Not Just Technology

Gartner Research predicts that the typical family home will contain as many as 500 networked devices by 2020. Similarly, Ericsson forecasts 50 billion connected “things” by the same date. Reaching these lofty projections over the next four years, however, will require a fundamental reorientation in the way that technologists and product designers work together to create successful “connected” personal devices and home appliance products. This evolution to “Internet of Things (IoT) 2.0” will be difficult for many companies to achieve — not for lack of technological expertise but because they’ll fail to recognize the value of design in connected product development. Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity — the forerunner of consumer-focused IoT — has been arou....
Corporate Ethics Can’t Be Reduced to Compliance

At companies across the globe, the layers of compliance mechanisms are growing. At first blush this seems to make sense: Perhaps the most obviously straightforward method of preventing unethical or damaging behavior is increasing the number of rules designed to curtail it. However, one of the more unsettling and unintended consequences of a singular focus on ethics-as-compliance is a checkbox mentality that gives the illusion of reducing risk without really doing so. Moreover, unless an organization is careful, a compliance-focused approach to eliminating unethical behavior can stunt a company’s efforts to innovate and to take intelligent risks. So what can a company do to excel ethically? Instead of focusing on the poor choices you want employees to avoid, focus on the positive virtues you want them to exhibit. Plato&#....
Research: Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back

laura schneider FOR HBR Although companies have invested heavily in programs to advance women leaders, the number of women in executive roles has not changed significantly in the last decade. Even if women are well represented as middle managers, their numbers drop off when making the jump to VP-level executives. Why are women not rising to executive ranks? One reason is the feedback men and women receive along the way. Our research shows that women are systematically less likely to receive specific feedback tied to outcomes, both when they receive praise and when the feedback is developmental. In other words, men are offered a clearer picture of what they are doing well and more-specific guidance of what is needed to get to the next level. When we analyzed a sample of performance evaluations of men and women across three high-tec....
Don’t Wait Until After the Meeting to Start Your Action Items

Julie was expecting Bruce to arrive at her office in five minutes. He would no doubt want input on the draft memo he’d sent yesterday—only she’d hadn’t found time to read it yet. She knew he also wanted to discuss partnering with a new research group that colleagues had already used, but their requests for reviews on the work had so far gone unanswered. And she was keen to hear how Bruce had felt about leading a recent workshop, which she’d encouraged him to do but been unable to attend. So goes the manager’s punch list for check-ins with direct reports. With the clock ticking, what could Julie do?  Scan the memo?  Follow up with the colleagues?  Watch a video of the workshop on the company intranet or read the survey feedback? If this sort of time crunch sounds familiar, you are not a....
Data Breaches Aren’t Just an IT Issue - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM VERIZON

You don’t see it coming. You don’t know who’s behind it. And you probably won’t even know you’ve been affected until it’s too late to prevent significant damage to your company’s finances, operations, and reputation. Cybercrime is an ever-changing global danger, and firms spend vast sums of money hiring experts with the technical knowledge to combat it. But the scale of the problem means cybersecurity should be a concern for every executive, from HR to Marketing. The risk is growing. Your organization has ever more devices to protect, more people with access to data, and more partners to integrate with—while the attackers have ever more tools at their disposal. But your budget isn’t limitless. Understanding the types of attacks that are most likely to affect your industry will enable ....
To Innovate, You Have to Manage the Past, Present, and Future

Vijay Govindarajan, professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, explains how to create a new business while optimizing an already existing one.
Isabel Allende on Fiction and Feminism

The bestselling author describes her creative process and explains why she was always determined to have a career. Download this podcast
Planning Your Post-Retirement Career

Retiring to go play golf in Florida isn’t the draw it used to be. In a 2014 Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey, 72% of employees over age 50 reported that they’d like to continue working in retirement. Partly that’s a response to the Great Recession and a need to compensate for diminished savings; a Conference Board study showed that in the past eight years, nearly two-thirds of 45-60 year-olds experienced a 20% or greater decline in their assets. But much of the desire to stay employed is about personal and professional fulfillment. In fact, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey showed that the wealthiest people were the most likely to want to keep working, and 80% of retirees who work say they are doing so because they want to, rather than because they have to. The trick, however, is that most retirees don....
America’s Uneasy History with Free Trade

We seem to be awash in opinions about free trade these days. From U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric to the recently signed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, it might feel like this debate has just started. But debate over trade is as old as the American republic, and it is intertwined with economic theories of competition and geopolitics. The origins of free-trade agreements in the U.S. From the early nineteenth century, trade was a divisive issue in American politics—and the fault-line fell fairly neatly between slave and non-slave states. Northern manufacturers sought the protection of high tariffs on competing imports; southern cotton producers backed open trade policies to promote their exports. As decades passed, the general trend was toward higher tariffs to protect northern manufacturing; the trend culmi....
Focus on Keeping Up with Your Customers, Not Your Competitors

Every company these days seems to be either contemplating or pursuing digital transformation. Most cite the need to keep up with disruptive and well-established competitors. But perhaps this focus is too narrow. We believe the greatest challenge to companies today is not keeping up with their competitors, but with their own customers. One reason is that individuals are transforming to digital faster than organizations. Think for a moment about people as tiny enterprises. They’ve redesigned their core processes in the area of procurement (online shopping), talent acquisition (marketplaces), collaboration (social networking), market research (peer reviews), finance (mobile payments) and travel (room and ride sharing). Have you reinvented your core processes to the same degree? Customers’ expectations are also more liquid and ....
How Facebook Uses Empathy to Keep User Data Safe

Online security often focuses on technical details — software, hardware, vulnerabilities, and the like. But effective security is driven as much by people as it is by technology. After all, the point is to protect the consumers, employees, and partners who use our products. The ways those people interact with technology and each other can completely change the effectiveness of your security strategy. So security products and tools must take into account the human context of the problems they’re solving — and that requires empathy. At Facebook, empathy helps us create solutions that work because they’re designed around our users’ experiences and well-being. Specifically, we see three ways to include make security efforts more empathetic: Consumer-driven goals that are actionable and specif....
The Innovative Coworking Spaces of 15th-Century Italy

Coworking spaces are on the rise, from Google’s “Campus” in London to NextSpace in California. Much has been made of these shared workspaces as a brand-new idea, one that barely existed 10 years ago. But the way they function reminds me of a very old idea: the Renaissance “bottega” (workshop) of 15th-century Florence, in which master artists were committed to teaching new artists, talents were nurtured, new techniques were at work, and new artistic forms came to light with artists competing among themselves but also working together. The Renaissance put knowledge at the heart of value creation, which took place in the workshops of these artisans, craftsmen, and artists. There they met and worked with painters, sculptors, and other artists; architects, mathematicians, engineers, anatomis....
Don’t Talk Yourself Out of Trying a Second Career

As we move through life, we inevitably close doors that cannot be reopened. There is the romantic partner we turned down, the child we had or did not have. But some of these doors aren’t really locked; the challenge for us is to recognize which ones still have a key within reach. If we assume a closed door will never reopen, we are building our own prisons, limiting ourselves by default and fear. This is the case with many professional decisions. As our lives and marketplaces change all too rapidly, past career decisions can become obsolete or even dangerous to our wellbeing. This is true even if the decision was carefully made and effective at the time. However, we should never be trapped by decisions that can be reversed, should we care to do so. Your first step is to decide what your second life would look like. With the exper....
How Labor Standards Can Be Good for Growth

Last May, President Obama chose Nike headquarters in Oregon for a major speech on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — emphasizing its “strong, enforceable provisions” on labor standards — and was roundly criticized. On one hand, many noted that in the 1990s, following scandals in Indonesia and Vietnam, the shoe giant’s name had become, in the words of the company’s co-founder and former CEO Phil Knight, “synonymous with slave wages, forced overtime, and arbitrary abuse.” On the other, critics argued that labor standards in trade agreements are a form of protectionism in disguise, favoring U.S. workers over those in poorer countries. But in a recent study, my colleagues and I stumbled across evidence that both the choice of venue and the message were surprisingly apt. Nike is a l....
Do Women Make Bolder Leaders than Men?

A common stereotype is that men have a tendency to be bolder than women. And numerous studies have shown that male business leaders do tend to take more risks. But looking through our database of 360-degree assessments from 75,000 leaders around the world, we noticed that on average the women were bolder than the men. We created a “boldness index” out of seven behaviors we commonly assess. (If you want to take our assessment based on this index, you can.) Because these are among the behaviors that we assess in our routine leadership assessments, we think they may be more relevant to real managers than studies that assess “risk” either in lab situations or in purely financial terms. Here’s the list: Challenges standard approaches Creates an atmosphere of continual improvement Does everything possible ....
The Strange Relationship Between Power and Loneliness

Both power and loneliness are studied extensively in the social sciences, yet few researchers have examined the relationship between the two. So my colleagues and I conducted eight studies to do exactly that, finding evidence that it’s not quite as lonely at the top as most of us assume. In our research, attaining power actually led people to feel less isolated from others, and lacking it led them to feel more isolated. While debunking conventional wisdom can be satisfying, it’s important to think about the limits of these conclusions. Consider this comment by Thomas J. Saporito, chair and CEO of the leadership consulting firm RHR International: “I’ve spoken with 200 plus CEOs, [and] there are precious few that didn’t, in the privacy of our discussions, talk about loneliness.” Saporito̵....
How Companies Escape the Traps of the Past

A staggering 88% of companies listed in the 1955 Fortune 500 are nowhere to be found in the same list today. They have gone bankrupt, merged, or simply shrunk off the list. Half a century ago, the life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500 was around 75 years. Now it’s less than 15 years. If we want our companies to last, we must excel at the “Three Box Solution.” This is a framework I have developed over the course of 35 years of working with and doing research in corporations around the world. I found that the companies that survive and thrive are good at aligning their organizations around three critical but competing activities: Box 1: Manage the present at peak efficiency and profitability. Box 2: Escape the traps of the past by identifying and divesting businesses and abandoning practices, ideas, and attitude....
The Benefits of Virtual Mentors

Having a mentor has always helped with professional development and career advancement, but in today’s complex workplace, one mentor alone often won’t do. To spark innovation and ideation, employees often require information from a number of areas in real time. That’s why there is a need for us to have multiple mentors with expertise in various domains. The good news is the rapid expansion of social media inside and outside companies has made it possible for aspiring leaders to hone their craft from the very best experts in many domains via the internet or knowledge management (KM) systems. They can become your virtual mentors. That is the finding of a study we conducted (financially supported by The SHRM Foundation) at HCL Technologies (HCL), a leading IT and software-development outsourcing company based i....
What Makes Some Silicon Valley Companies So Successful

vincent tsui FOR HBR Executives and entrepreneurs from all over the world have traveled to Silicon Valley to learn the secrets of its success. But in our conversations with executives about what they’ve learned, we’ve seen a tendency to focus on superficial elements rather than on the root causes of companies’ success. Sure, speed and boldness are important, but what is it about the culture of these companies that cultivates them? We decided to do a little digging ourselves. Over a week in Silicon Valley, we met with more than 50 people deliberately chosen to give us a broad cross-section of insights. We spent time with established digital players, midsize companies (including Box and Palantir), and startups, particularly those focused on FinTech and technology services. We met with leaders at private equity funds, ve....
Don’t End a Meeting Without Doing These 3 Things

When a sports team finishes a game, they usually don’t gather up their gear and immediately leave the court, rink, field or locker room. The players and coaches take a few minutes for a post-game meeting – a ritual that’s just as important as the pre-game warm-up. In our view, participants in business meetings can benefit from the same exercise. A quick post-meeting wrap-up with attendees before they leave the room goes a long way to ensuring the gathering achieved what it set out to, and that future get-togethers will also prove successful. Here are three steps to take at the end of each meeting though you can, of course, dial up or down each component as the situation warrants. Once you’ve done this in person, make sure to follow up in writing, as well. You and Your Team Series Meetings ....
How Companies Use Strategically Timed Announcements to Confuse the Market

On October 23, 1996, the day AT&T announced that John Walter, an industry outsider, would be named CEO, the company’s market valuation dropped by $4 billion. In his book Searching for a Corporate Savior, Rakesh Khurana at Harvard Business School noted that this negative market reaction became a self-fulfilling prophecy, causing the board of directors and other top executives to lose confidence in Walter, and leading to his dismissal only nine months after assuming office. Stock market reactions are often used to judge whether a firm’s actions are successful. How shareholders react to a big organizational announcement, such as the appointment of a new CEO or a large acquisition, can have a lingering impact on that event. As a result, firms try to anticipate and manage market reactions to major company news by releasing o....
More Universities Need to Teach Sales

paul garbett FOR HBR For decades, Sales and Academia remained worlds apart and the business world did fine. But Sales is changing, Academia is out of touch, and this is bad for business and the academy. Compared to professions like engineering or business disciplines like Finance or Operations, the concept of a dedicated salesperson is relatively recent. Sales was traditionally seen as a form of service work, with an emphasis primarily on developing moral character. The Order of United Commercial Travelers, for instance, was founded to “improve character and instill temperate habits,” and Gideon bibles were originally put in hotel rooms to help “eliminate gambling, drinking, dirty jokes, Sunday trading and other forms of temptation peculiar to traveling (sales) men.” As Walter Friedman documents in Birth of a Sa....
If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired

There are more CEOs of large U.S. companies who are named David (4.5%) than there are CEOs who are women (4.1%) — and David isn’t even the most common first name among CEOs. (That would be John, at 5.3%.) Despite the ever-growing business case for diversity, roughly 85% of board members and executives are white men. This doesn’t mean that companies haven’t tried to change. Many have started investing hundreds of millions of dollars on diversity initiatives each year. But the biggest challenge seems to be figuring out how to overcome unconscious biases that get in the way of these well-intentioned programs. We recently conducted research that suggests a potential solution. It’s well known that people have a bias in favor of preserving the status quo; change is uncomfortable. So because ....

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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