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When Giving Critical Feedback, Focus on Your Nonverbal Cues

Giving feedback may be one of the most difficult challenges a manager faces. On the one hand, you have to be honest; on the other hand, you don’t want to alienate your employee. You tread a fine line between maintaining cordiality and successfully getting your point across. A positive workplace culture is essential for employee engagement and productivity. Empathy at work creates psychological safety, which research by Amy Edmondson of Harvard demonstrates is created when managers are inclusive and humble and encourage their staff to speak up or ask for help. Psychological safety improves learning and performance outcomes. More important, feeling safe in the workplace helps encourage the spirit of experimentation that’s so critical for innovation. By using this kind of positive, open, and su....
How to Speak Up If You See Bias at Work

Many people can recall a time when they were exposed to workplace behavior that made them or others uncomfortable. Can you think of a time someone in a meeting joked about another group of people, evoking laughter from everyone else in the room? Or have you worked on a team in which the men seemed to get better projects even though female colleagues were equally or better suited for the work? And the big question: Did you speak up? There is no question that objecting to such situations is difficult. The person who decides to raise the issue could damage their relationship with the person making the comments or assigning the work, which could adversely impact the objector’s career opportunities. This is especially true when the comments or behavior aren’t technically illegal. It takes courage to be the one, perhaps t....
Fintech Companies Could Give Billions of People More Banking Options

Much has been made of the fact that a new breed of financial technology (or fintech) companies is unbundling banks in the developed world. Startups are attacking all of the components of the traditional bank value proposition (e.g., accounts, portfolio management, mortgages, car loans, person-to-person payments). Over the past five to six years there has been a rush of capital and talent into startups; investment in them has grown nearly eightfold since 2011. While their innovative products have been a boon to consumers in mature economies, the resulting efficiency and security benefits have largely bypassed the 2 billion consumers in the developing world who lack formal banking services altogether. However, there are signs that this is changing. Encouraged by the dramatic increase in the number of people with mobile phones in ....
How Rudeness Stops People from Working Together

Incivility can fracture a team, destroying collaboration, splintering members’ sense of psychological safety, and hampering team effectiveness. Belittling and demeaning comments, insults, backbiting, and other rude behavior can deflate confidence, sink trust, and erode helpfulness — even for those who aren’t the target of these behaviors. A recent study documented how incivility diminishes collaboration and performance in medical settings. Twenty-four medical teams from four neonatal intensive care units in Israel were invited to a training workshop designed to improve quality of care. As part of the training, the teams needed to treat a premature infant whose condition suddenly deteriorated due to a serious intestinal illness (it was only a simulation; no infant’s health was endangered). Staff had to identif....
The Best Business Decisions Put People First - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM HBX

By Patrick Mullane, Executive Director, HBX The best business decisions are never ones of strategy, sales, or marketing. At least not directly. They are always people decisions. Whom we hire, how we manage, and whom we fire have far greater impacts on results than the things we usually think of as driving success. This should be obvious to all of us; after all, decisions don’t just materialize from the ether, ready to be executed on by managers sitting in a conference room primed to act. People make decisions. It’s probably not surprising that we forget this. Headlines in the business sections of newspapers rarely read like this: Jane Doe Hires Well, Stock Price Soars. Instead, Jane’s successes are attributed to things like product decisions: Release of New Phone Drives Sales at Doe Industries.   Read more from HB....
Are Chore Wars at Home Holding You Back at Work?

Jane is a marketing director at a technology firm, where she manages a small team, works late, and travels once per quarter. Her husband, Paul, runs his own landscaping business, which often requires working long hours six days a week. (I’ve changed their names and some details.) At the start of their marriage, four years ago, the couple agreed that because they had equally demanding jobs, they each would be responsible for certain chores around the house. But as time went on Jane found herself doing all of the housework except for mowing the lawn. On Paul’s days off from work, Jane noticed with exasperation that he would just lie on the couch. Trying to keep up with the cleaning, cooking, and laundry each week left her with practically no free time to devote to herself, either personally or professionally....
Stopping and Starting With Success

Jerry Seinfeld shares his insights into innovation, self-criticism, and how to know when to quit. The U.S. comedian conquered 1990s television with his sitcom and is now finding a new audience for his online talk show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Download this podcast
Why Major Philanthropists Are Giving More Money to Just One Cause

In his recent Harvard Law Review opus, President Barack Obama highlighted the yawning opportunity for leaders on both sides of the political aisle to repair the criminal justice system, in part by changing sentencing laws and ending the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Despite the economic and social benefits, there are fears that reform will not be a priority for the new administration or congressional leaders. Fortunately, private funders are ramping up their efforts to help tackle not only criminal justice reform but also several other social and environmental challenges facing the U.S., including conservation, immigration, and education reform. Foundations and wealthy individuals are making big philanthropic bets on driving social change solutions at scale. Our research on social change philanthropic investments of $25 millio....
Your Career Needs Many Mentors, Not Just One

These days everyone knows that finding a mentor is valuable. But it’s increasingly rare that we actually have one. In an in-depth study of professional service firms, Harvard Business School professor Thomas DeLong and his colleagues discovered: “Everyone we spoke with over age 40 could name a mentor in his or her professional life, but younger people often could not.” They note, “Junior professionals joining a firm 20 years ago could count on the partners treating them like protégés.” Today job turnover, layoffs, and increased bottom-line pressures have taken a hatchet to that “implicit agreement.” The answer isn’t to give up on finding a mentor, however — it’s to broaden our search. Many professionals have had success with creating mastermind groups, which are a cura....
Workplace Wellness Programs Could Be Putting Your Health Data at Risk

January tends to be when we (once again) start to pay attention to our waistlines and health. Some employees turn to their company’s wellness program to achieve their weight loss goals; many employers now provide these programs in an effort to help employees maintain their health and to reduce health care costs. But employees should consider the risks associated with wellness programs. The workplace wellness program industry in the U.S. is estimated to be worth nearly $6 billion, with vendors selling companies either stand-alone programs or ones that are an optional part of health insurance. Although some studies have questioned the efficacy of wellness programs for reducing employers’ health care costs, and some researchers have accused wellness programs of actually hurting employees’ wellness by causing more....
Free Yourself from What You “Should” Be Doing

Many people are hesitant to step out of their regular roles and routines. The idea of putting yourself in a position to potentially fail can be frightening or stressful. But sometimes what’s keeping you in one spot may not be your own self-interest. In fact, other people’s wishes and the feeling that you “should” stay put may be tamping down your own preferences. What’s holding you back may be compliance, not comfort. I’ve seen this many times in my research. People have pursued one path in life — influenced by their culture, parents, or sense of what they “should” pursue — that leads them to invest time, money, and skill development in a path that is very hard to escape from. For example, consider the case of someone I interviewed — we’ll call he....
What a Study of 33 Countries Found About Aging Populations and Innovation

The populations of almost all Western countries are getting older, as the Baby Boomers, born in the 1950s and 1960s, live longer and have fewer children than previous generations. Population aging of this dimension is possibly unique in world history. No surprise, then, that it poses serious challenges for the health care systems, pension schemes, and public debt management of modern societies. More often than not, politicians see economic growth as a means to alleviate these problems. The arguments are simple: Faster growth means more income to be spent on medical treatments for the old. Higher wages increase the contributions to pay-as-you-go pension schemes, thus preventing pensions from falling. And growth reduces the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which facilitates and cheapens future government borrowing. The probl....
Spending 10 Minutes a Day on Mindfulness Subtly Changes the Way You React to Everything

Leaders across the globe feel that the unprecedented busyness of modern-day leadership makes them more reactive and less proactive. There is a solution to this hardwired, reactionary leadership approach: mindfulness. Having trained thousands of leaders in the techniques of this ancient practice, we’ve seen over and over again that a diligent approach to mindfulness can help people create a one-second mental space between an event or stimulus and their response to it. One second may not sound like a lot, but it can be the difference between making a rushed decision that leads to failure and reaching a thoughtful conclusion that leads to increased performance. It’s the difference between acting out of anger and applying due patience. It’s a one-second lead over your mind, your emotions, your world....
Being a Strategic Leader Is About Asking the Right Questions

Juan Díaz-Faes for HBR If you asked the world’s most successful business leaders what it means to “be strategic,” how many different answers do you think you’d get? Consider this number: 115,800,000. It’s the number of unique links returned when I searched online for “strategic leadership.” There’s a good reason for all of those links: Strategy is complex. Thought leaders from all over the world have created sophisticated frameworks designed to help leaders grapple with their own strategies at an abstract level. But the reality is that strategy succeeds or fails based on how well leaders at every level of an organization integrate strategic thinking into day-to-day operations. This is less about complexity and more about practical focus. How can you personally be mo....
Why Innovators Should Study the Rise and Fall of the Venetian Empire

Most organizations would be happy to last for centuries, as the Venetian Republic did. From 697 to 1797 AD, Venice’s technological acumen, geographic position, and unconventionality were interlocking advantages that allowed the Most Serene Republic to flourish. But when change comes suddenly, it can turn strengths into weaknesses and sweep away even thousand-year success stories. Venice’s military technology and the city’s pivotal location on the main trade routes of the time gave Venice several strong, mutually reinforcing advantages. The Arsenal, an advanced naval munitions factory that anticipated by several centuries the production-line method of manufacture, was the beating heart of the Venetian naval industry. From the thirteenth century on, the Arsenal nurtured creativity and spurred innovation and entr....
Saying “No” to an Idea Doesn’t Have to Lead to Conflict - SPONSOR CONTENT FROM HBX

By Patrick Mullane, Executive Director, HBX If you, like me, have children, you’ve probably become convinced that the most common word in the English language is “no.” In fact, you may have concluded that “no” is the perfect sentence unto itself— no modifiers, adverbs, or adjectives needed. It’s always on the tip of the tongue with offspring around, no matter the question. “Dad, can I …” “NO!” The word is also one that children learn to use frequently because of how prolific we parents are in uttering it. It is among the most common first words an infant says. They say it to siblings, to us, and to playmates. It’s just so easy to say—until, that is, we become adults in the working world.   Read more from HBX:   What to Do....
How to Deliver Criticism So Employees Pay Attention

In my college days I ranked among the top 10 women divers in the United States. I got that far not just because I worked hard — practicing every day in four-to-six-hour sessions — but also because I had an extremely tough coach who routinely offered both caring support and sharp criticism. Early in our relationship he explained how it would work: “When I stop yelling is when you’d better start to worry.” And I understood: Because he believed in me, he would push me — hard. Strategies for coaching athletes don’t always work for executives trying to manage employees. But when it comes to delivering criticism, I do think some best practices translate. Used correctly, criticism can improve performance, enhance trust and respect, and advance the achievement of mutual goals. Used incorrectly,....
How Managers Can Make Group Projects More Efficient

We may have hit a saturation point when it comes to collaboration. Consider the following: Research out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce shows that time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more over the last two decades. A recent article in The Economist called this trend the “collaboration curse,” asserting that “making employees collaborate has gone too far.” Research has found that although some teams have a collaborative culture, they are not skilled in the practice of collaboration itself. The authors of that research, Lynda Gratton and Tamara Erickson, noted that “[people] were encouraged to cooperate, and they wanted to cooperate, but they didn̵....
What Matters More to Your Workforce than Money

Economists have long argued that money doesn’t buy happiness. But compensation is still a major factor for us when we’re considering where to work. What do we know about how more pay influences employees’ motivations? That slice of information can be the difference between a workforce that is satisfied and productive and one that isn’t — costing the business money in the long run. As the chief economist at Glassdoor, my role is to help unearth some of the driving forces behind job seekers’ decisions: why they choose the jobs they do, what matters to them at work, and what causes them to love — or despise — their company or manager. Money Can’t Buy Happiness At Glassdoor we have a unique window into the labor market, as we use reviews and salary ....
How Mindfulness Helped a Workplace Diversity Exercise

A couple of years ago I was invited to facilitate an offsite training for the diversity committee of a Fortune 500 company. In an era in which “diversity” has become a buzzword in the business world, the firm’s interest in the topic was both admirable and understandable. Research shows that having an inclusive and diverse workforce is associated with creativity and innovation, and exposure to racial diversity has been linked to greater problem-solving skills and expanded perspective. The diversity committee, which had been meeting for about six months, seemed interested in trying something new. I was told that they invited me to lead the session precisely because I wasn’t a “diversity trainer.” Yet I was reluctant to accept the invitation. As a corporate psychologist with training in mindfulness, I hav....
The 3 Company Crises Boards Should Watch For

When an organization fails because of executive malfeasance, it generates a lot of attention. But such situations are actually relatively rare. It’s much more common, though less talked about, for organizations to fail because of ungoverned incompetence. That is, someone does the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing, and organizational systems fail to catch it and contain it. This becomes more likely as the organization takes on strategic risk — through innovation, mergers and acquisitions, or because its environment is becoming more volatile. Boards that focus on problem-finding put their organizations on safer footing. Problem-finding boards establish structures and processes that prevent many problems from arising and stifle nascent problems quickly and effectively. Problem-finding boards understan....
How to Turn an Interim Role into a Permanent Job

Congratulations! Your organization has just informed you that you have been appointed to a new interim role, and that if you are successful the actual job will be yours. You immediately experience feelings that are powerful but mixed: Getting this interim role is a meaningful validation of your contributions, talent, and potential, but why the trial period? Couldn’t they have given you the job without it being “interim?” Is the actual job yours to win or yours to lose? Will you get the support you need to succeed? You may think that the interim role is putting you in a Catch-22-like situation: You have to prove that you can be successful in order to get the actual job, but uncertainty undermines your status and challenges your ability to succeed. Here are some suggestions for increasing the likelihood of your success in....
Survey: People’s Trust Has Declined in Business, Media, Government, and NGOs

We are living in an era of backlash against authority. So far, government and the media have borne the brunt of populist anger, while businesses have remained above the fray. Past protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street notwithstanding, mass outrage has yet to be directed squarely at the business elite. But there are signs that this is changing. For 17 years the Edelman Trust Barometer has surveyed tens of thousands of people across dozens of countries about their level of trust in business, media, government, and NGOs. This year was the first time the study found a decline in trust across all four of these institutions. In almost two-thirds of the 28 countries we surveyed, the general population did not trust the four institutions to “do what is right” — the average level of trust in all four institution....
3 Ways Data Dashboards Can Mislead You

Executives love dashboards, and why wouldn’t they? Single-screen “snapshots” of operational processes, marketing metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be visually elegant and intuitive. They show just-in-time views of what’s working and what isn’t — no need to wait for weekly or monthly reports from a centralized data center. A quick scan of a dashboard gives frontline managers transparency and, ideally, the opportunity to make rapid adjustments. But dashboards aren’t the magic view some managers treat them as. Although they can convey snapshots of important measures, dashboards are poor at providing the nuance and context that effective data-driven decision making demands. Data analytics typically does a few things: describes existing or past phenomena predicts future events b....
Evidence That Minorities Perform Worse Under Biased Managers

There is a growing body of research showing that minorities face bias in the job application process. When identical resumes — one with the name Emily and one with the name Lakisha, for example — are sent to job openings, Emily’s resume gets substantially more callbacks. And even with the same credentials as other candidates, minorities are less likely to be hired. But we know considerably less about how bias plays out when minorities are hired, especially when it comes to on-the-job performance and productivity. Recent research I conducted along with Dylan Glover and William Pariente, forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, attempts to address this gap. We find that when managers hold negative beliefs, even unconscious ones, about minority workers, minority employees perform much worse than they do with....

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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