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To Hold Someone Accountable, First Define What Accountable Means

At the end of a meeting, most leaders know that they should recap next steps and determine who is accountable for each. As prescribed in the commonly used responsibility models — RACI, RAPID, and the others — accountability should fall to one (and only one) person per item, even if the work involved requires input and contributions from others. Unfortunately, over the years we’ve spent advising organizations, we’ve found that the word “accountable” can mean different things to different people. Consider this example. During a meeting at a luxury retailer, the executive team decided that the company needed a digital strategy for its China operations. Paul, the head of e-commerce, asked one of his direct reports, Madison, to “please form a team and let us know what we should do.....
The EU Needs to Make Sure Continental Countries Don’t Exit

The votes are in and the immediate reactions to Brexit have not been positive. Global stock markets promptly floundered. The British pound tanked. And HBO had to reassure viewers that production of Game of Thrones, some of which is shot in Northern Ireland, would not be interrupted. Like virtually all believers in globalization, I deplore Brexit and think the markets (and Game of Thrones fans) are right to be concerned. The UK Treasury’s 200-page April 2016 report, blandly titled “The Long-Term Economic Impact of EU Membership and the Alternatives,“ seems a useful, well-executed benchmark. It predicts that the UK’s GDP will be significantly lower in 2030 — its central estimate is 6% — as a result. The respected Center for Economic Policy Research suggests that may be a significant understatem....
4 Big Economic Questions Now Facing the EU

HBR STAFF For the first time ever, a member state of the European Union has decided to leave. Beyond Brexit’s dire implications for the British economy – a prolonged recession is a good bet, and London’s future as a global financial center is uncertain — four main questions puzzle investors and politicians around the world: What will Europe look like? The first question involves both political and economic risks. The European Union is a fundamental ingredient of the institutional framework put in place after World War II. The Union has unquestionably been instrumental in a very long period of peace, stability, and growth grounded in economic interdependence, open markets, and international cooperation. But now there is a chance that nationalism, isolation, and confrontation will replace the existing world or....
A New Way for Entrepreneurs to Think About IT

Entrepreneurs have historically taken one of two approaches to IT. Most think of IT as a “necessary evil.” For this group, IT is for back office support for their business ideas. They typically hire third parties to help them with IT and never make it part of their core business. A second set of entrepreneurs focus on information goods and think of IT as the product. These entrepreneurs typically have an engineering background, and schools that support this approach have strong engineering departments. Given their capabilities, these entrepreneurs take a “do-it-yourself” approach and develop software to support organizational needs. But today there is a third approach, one that will become the dominant path for most entrepreneurs, especially those building information products. This third way thinks of IT as essen....
Which MBAs Make More: Consultants or Small-Business Owners?

HBR STAFF Compensation is, of course, more than money. It includes other aspects such as: how much you enjoy your career, whether it provides fulfillment, how much flexibility you get and how much influence you have over what you do and when you do it. In our work studying entrepreneurship-through-acquisition (EtA) — in which individuals purchase an existing small business to own and run themselves — we’ve found that most graduating MBA students agree that being the CEO of a small firm dominates traditional post-MBA careers like consulting, investment banking, private equity, and the like on these non-pecuniary dimensions. Owners of small businesses can set their own hours, make their own management decisions, and take pride in the ownership of their work. Also, as we explained in an earlier article, we believe tha....
How to Build Trust on Your Cross-Cultural Team

One of the most essential characteristics for a high-functioning team — perhaps the single most important characteristic — is trust. Anyone who has worked on a team knows that team members must be able to trust each other to get the job done, and be committed and dedicated to the overall welfare of the group. In any group of individuals, trust is challenging to create and sustain, but in the case of a multicultural team it can be especially difficult for a variety of different reasons. First of all, communication styles vary across cultures; so, too, does the extent to which people socialize or get down to business at the start of a meeting. There are differences in conventions around time, giving feedback, and disagreeing publicly. Multicultural teams are prone to friction due to perceptions of ethnocentrism, ....
Why Do We Spend So Much Developing Senior Leaders and So Little Training New Managers?

During the last five years of my corporate management career, I had a great deal of leadership development. Along with many other executives, I attended talks by noted management authors, I went to (often lengthy) team-building exercises, and I participated in discussions on different leadership styles. It was OK — extremely insightful at times, moderately interesting at others, but it often kept me away from the demands of everyday management. And as I neared the end of my corporate days, I realized I’d received much more management training in the last five years than I did in the first 20 years — when I really needed it — combined. Most students of management agree that the transition from employee to manager is one of the most challenging in business. It brings new roles and responsibilities, new way....
Business Leaders Have Abandoned the Middle Class

Brexit seems to have finally woken the political and economic elites on both sides of the Atlantic to a reality they’ve been trying desperately, for years, to ignore: the middle class is suffering, and terribly. In both the UK and the U.S., median incomes have been stagnant for decades. Meanwhile, people are experiencing a kind of vulnerability and insecurity without precedent in the modern history of rich nations. In the UK, living standards have fallen for all but the wealthiest. In the U.S., the majority of public school kids are now in poverty, the middle class is for the first time a demographic minority, and life expectancy is flat overall and actually fell for whites. There’s no good name for this phenomenon of a middle class imploding while economies nominally “grow.” It’s not rea....
How Work Will Change When Most of Us Live to 100

Today in the United States there are 72,000 centenarians. Worldwide, probably 450,000. If current trends continue, then by 2050 there will be more than a million in the US alone. According to the work of demographer Professor James Vaupel and his co-researchers, 50% of babies born in the US in 2007 have a life expectancy of 104 or more. Broadly the same holds for the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Canada and for Japan 50% of 2007 babies can expect to live to a staggering 107. Understandably, there are concerns about what this means for public finances given the associated health and pension challenges. These challenges are real, and society urgently needs to address them. But it is also important to look at the wider picture of what happens when so many people live for 100 years. It is a mistake to simply equate longevity with issue....
5 Ways to Boost Your Resilience at Work

Currently, a quarter of all employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization describes stress as the “global health epidemic of the 21st century.” Many of us now work in constantly connected, always-on, highly demanding work cultures where stress and the risk of burnout are widespread. Since the pace and intensity of contemporary work culture are not likely to change, it’s more important than ever to build resilience skills to effectively navigate your worklife. While working as a director of learning and organization development at Google, eBay and J.P. Morgan Chase, and in my current work as co-founder of the learning solutions company Wisdom Labs, I’ve seen over and over again that the most resilient i....
Why So Few "Diversity Candidates" Are Hired

Finalist pools can reinforce the status quo.
Net Neutrality Rules Will Make Winners and Losers Out of Businesses

The internet is woven into the fabric of how businesses run and how we live our lives. And as this technology has grown, so have the complications with how we build, manage, and regulate it. This should sound familiar to those with an ear for history of infrastructure. Every new and big infrastructure – for example, rail lines, telephone lines, electricity lines, or airports – costs a great deal to build and operate. Somebody had to pay for it and manage the infrastructure. Soon after, rules emerge for sharing its use. Today’s internet is infrastructure. And the rules that govern it are as difficult as any that have been written to date. In a recent research paper we sought to explore the tradeoffs at play in an important part of this modern debate that often tops the headlines: net neutrality. Let’s start with a ....
Business Processes Are Learning to Hack Themselves

The factory floor is a marvel of automation. With a press of a button, the whole place can seem to run itself. But although today’s factories use automated workflows, process change is still mostly manual. When demands arise in an industrial environment, managers and engineers must interrupt the automation to update the processes that make the machines go. Now, thanks to machine learning algorithms, it’s becoming possible for smart software to scrutinize data from a variety of sources — sensors on machines or changes in supply chains, for instance — and redesign processes in real time. In our survey (not yet publicly published) of almost 170 industrial organizations, 96% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that machine learning is automating process-change management inside their organization. Overall, m....
Research: Why Best Practices Don’t Translate Across Cultures

It made sense. A large high-technology company had established an innovation center in one of their U.S. offices where employees were entrepreneurial, engaged, excited to come to work, and as a result were quickly developing new ideas for customer-facing products. So the firm wanted to replicate that success in other places, namely India and China. Leaders from the U.S. held week-long workshops designed to expose workers at the China and India sites to the U.S.-developed practices of rapid development cycles, user-centered design, and collaboration in an open office layout. Leaders also provided the sites with detailed instructions on how to implement these new practices. They even sent one of the U.S. employees to work on site in India for a year. But the effort didn’t have the results they expected—and elements of those imp....
What British, European, and American Policymakers Need to Do Now

News of the United Kingdom’s vote to Leave the European Union shook financial markets Friday, and signaled the start of potentially years of economic uncertainty for Europe. What can policymakers do in response? I asked Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Previously, he was appointed by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer to serve as an external member of the Bank of England’s rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee. How much control do policymakers have over what the economic fallout is — short- and medium-term? They have some control in the medium-term; they have very little control in the short-term or long-term. In the short-term, recession is pretty much baked into the cake for the UK. A rise in the dollar and the Yen, and a decline in the pound and the Euro are pretty much al....
A Brief History of Britain’s Relationship with Europe, Starting in 6000 BCE

Just six months ago, in confident form and not looking at all like a man who would soon be out of work, David Cameron assured an audience in Hamburg that “I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world.” He might have done better to borrow the blunter words of another Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. In 1975, the last time Brexit was on the table, she told the press that “We are inextricably part of Europe. [No one] will ever be able to take us ‘out of Europe’, for Europe is where we are and where we have always been.” Whatever her later missteps over the EU, history shows that on this point Mrs. Thatcher was right. Ever since there have been British Isles, British politics and economics have always been European—and so they remain, regardless of Thursday̵....
Why the Remain Campaign’s Persuasion Strategy Backfired

For supporters of Britain staying in the EU, a simple question remains this morning: How did we fail to persuade voters of our position? Steve Martin, director at Influence at Work in London and best-selling author of several books on persuasion, spoke with HBR about the ways in which the Remain advocates’ message failed to get through, or even backfired. Martin was joined by Joseph Marks, a behavioral scientist on his team. HBR: From a persuasion science point of view, how do you explain the vote for Britain’s exit from the EU? Steve Martin: There seems to have been a focusing effect. The Leave side made sure that immigration became a focus. Not only a focus but the focus. And once that’s a focus it’s hard to get other messages through. What we see is all there is. Danny Kahneman said that clearly. We can only pa....
What Brexit Means for the Openness of the World Economy

HBR STAFF The UK is, without a doubt, the United States’ single most important ally. It retains an ability to project power globally vastly in excess of its relative size. In both direct military operations and the hidden world of intelligence, the UK contributes more than its share to global peace and stability and the successful functioning of the NATO alliance. So what does Brexit mean for this important relationship? Brexit, assuming that the Parliament does not exercise its right to overrule the voters, seems likely to be one of the most consequential events for America and the world since the end of the Cold War. To begin with, the vote makes the dissolution of the United Kingdom much more likely. The recent Scottish referendum on independence was a near-run thing, and Scottish support for remaining in the EU is simply o....
If Your Argument Is Based on Economics, You’ve Already Lost

Brexit is over, as we all know, and while the referendum is non-binding, it still comes as something of a shock. Why would the majority of voters in the UK decide to leave the EU? Why vote against self-interest? The Remain faction made a rhetorical mistake early on, and stuck by it. They appealed to economic efficiency. By joining and remaining in the EU, the UK (and its neighbors) would, they argued, benefit from lower transaction costs of all sorts. Life would be easier and better because of the economic efficiencies – the movement of goods and people around the EU, for instance, and the managing of cross-border business deals would encounter far fewer frictions if the UK remained than if it exited. Case closed. For many, though, that argument clearly fell flat. It not only ignores history, social institutions, and heritage,....
Brexit and the Triumph of Insularity

They did it. I didn’t believe they would, but they did it. Let me state my biases up front: I am a British national. I have lived in France for the last 10 years. For all its faults, I love the European Union. Fifty-two percent of my countrymen clearly don’t agree. The Brexit vote is unquestionably a triumph for Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the leading lights of the Leave campaign. The latter has triumphantly referred to the result as Britain’s “independence day,” possibly an allusion to a rousing speech in the Hollywood Sci-Fi film of the same name that featured very scary aliens. Boris, meanwhile, has his eyes firmly fixed on relieving British Prime Minister David Cameron of the keys to 10 Downing Street, no doubt his primary motivation for assuming leadership of the Leave Campaign. What are t....
Here’s How the Backlash Against Tech Billionaires Will Play Out

Something remarkable happened in Britain last month, though it largely went unnoticed. The left-leaning Guardian newspaper and the libertarian Financial Times carried opinion pieces, within days of each other, covering the same topic and making more or less the same argument: The recent rise in income inequality has been caused, in part, by the growth of “monopoly profits,” specifically monopoly profits said to be earned in the technology sector. Did this signify the end of political polarization? Or was it a sign of the apocalypse? Probably neither. But alarm bells should be ringing for technology billionaires, who have been suffering a real run of bad press. Apple’s efforts to protect its customers’ privacy first appeared to threaten public safety, and then inadvertently revealed how hackable its devices were. S....
Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure

As constant travelers and parents of a 2-year-old, we sometimes fantasize about how much work we can do when one of us gets on a plane, undistracted by phones, friends, and Finding Nemo. We race to get all our ground work done: packing, going through TSA, doing a last-minute work call, calling each other, then boarding the plane. Then, when we try to have that amazing work session in flight, we get nothing done. Even worse, after refreshing our email or reading the same studies over and over, we are too exhausted when we land to soldier on with the emails that have inevitably still piled up. Why should flying deplete us? We’re just sitting there doing nothing. Why can’t we be tougher — more resilient and determined in our work – so we can accomplish all of the goals we set for ourselves? Based on our current ....
To Develop Cultural Dexterity, Seek It Out

Global organizations need leaders with cultural dexterity — the ability and know-how to make a sale in Seoul just as effectively as they host a meeting in Riyadh. In a military career that took me around the world — Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, and Saudi Arabia — I learned that, when it comes to these skills, fortune favors the prepared. Preparation starts, of course, with training in cross-cultural best practices, as well as more general “soft skills” like emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication, to help people become more aware of their own preferences and develop a sincere desire to learn more about others. For example, the Army has a Culture Center in Arizona, where experts in various parts of the world and varied subject matter stand by to educate and train military units preparing for deplo....
The Management Thinker We Should Never Have Forgotten

Laura Schneider for HBR Gothenberg, Sweden, is a long way to travel from Boston for a breakthrough idea in management — especially one that is more than 40 years old. I made the journey to attend a health care confab where Don Berwick, the former head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was delivering the opening lecture. Berwick’s talk began by deftly comparing Frederick Winslow Taylor and W. Edwards Deming: the former an industrialist who equated machines and human beings (both to be managed for maximum output), the latter a humanist who saw the individual as internally motivated to do good, meaningful work. Berwick’s talk spanned a pantheon of management thinkers to show the audience just how far we have come from Taylor to Deming in the 20th century.....
Design How Your Team Thinks

Every day, we sit in meetings in which someone presents a problem or opportunity. The response is always a version of “What are we going to do about it?” When’s the last time someone said, “How are we going to think about it?” Design thinking is popular these days. We design products, experiences, and even business models. But something is missing. We’ve embraced design thinking, but we’ve failed to design our thinking. To design our thinking, we have to become adept at working with mental models and managing thinking styles. This requires both learning and unlearning. We normally aren’t conscious of our mental models. They are the proverbial “water to the fish,” shaping how we see the world, make distinctions and connect cause and effect. It’s hard to see our own mental m....

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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