Monthly Archives: septiembre 2015

Don’t call it a scandal: Volkswagen corruption is a syndrome

What were they thinking?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind as the Volkswagen crisis unfolds. That question makes a big assumption: that the company’s leaders were thinking about anything beyond their greed. About decency, about our environment, about their progeny.

Okay, so you will not buy a Volkswagen. A Chevrolet instead? Watch out for the ignition. Or how about a Toyota? Just duck as the airbag comes your way. Do you, by any chance, see a pattern? Have we been thinking?

In Europe, the United States, Japan and most everywhere else, something is going on. There is a level of sheer corruption that transcends the automobile industry.

How about banking in the United States and Europe? How about politics, most everywhere? Now Brazil is receiving a lot of attention, while the utter corruption of U.S. politics – private money in public elections, a level of lobbying out of control – carries merrily along.

A good deal of the corruption is criminal, and so can be prosecuted. So why don’t we prosecute corporate criminals, and not just corporate crimes? And why don’t we set the fines to indicate that corporate crime doesn’t pay?

If you wish to steal, don’t grab somebody’s iPhone; the government will throw the book at you.

Devise some financial manoeuvre – a little more clever than a Ponzi scheme – to defraud many people of much money. If you wish to commit manslaughter, don’t do it as the driver of a car; do it as the designer of the car. Executives and engineers at General Motors knew there were problems with those ignition switches, which led to multiple fatalities, yet they have walked off scot-free.

Far more insidious, however, is the legal corruption, because it is so prevalent. Goldman Sachs allegedly manipulated the market for recycled aluminum so that it could siphon off $5-billion (U.S.) by moving ingots from one warehouse to another. What were they thinking? That’s easy: $5-billion.

The company claimed to have broken no law. And that is precisely the problem: Our societies are being destroyed by this legal corruption.

University professors are in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies that think nothing of charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for life-and-death products that cost them hundreds of dollars to produce. And economists who cannot see past markets support such nonsense. Are they thinking at all? Some markets. This is the exploitation of monopolies called patents whose prices are not being regulated. And not just any old monopolies: People have to die for want of these, for the sake of obscene profiteering. What kind of a society tolerates this?

Are you seeing the pattern? It’s not a scandal; it’s a syndrome. The Volkswagen affair is just a blatant case of an accelerating trend. Expect it to get worse, because we are living in a world where predatory capitalism is triumphing.

In 1989, pundits declared that capitalism had triumphed. Wrong. Balance triumphed. The developed countries of the West were balanced back then.

Think of the United States after the Second World War – higher levels of taxation, fairer distribution of wealth, generous welfare programs – and with all that, remarkable development, political and social as well as economic. The communist states of Eastern Europe collapsed because they were utterly out of balance, with so much power concentrated in their public sectors.

It turns out the Berlin Wall fell on us: Predatory capitalism has been triumphing since 1989, throwing much of the world out of balance, on the side of private sectors. They are dominating government and much of society, with the consequences described above.

What were they thinking at Volkswagen?

Okay, so this particular company was particularly dumb. But how many others are close behind, just a bit smarter to keep out of the spotlight?

Remember the 1989 concept of “the end of history,” the widely accepted claim that human society had reached perfection, thanks to our relentless greed?

Well, watch out: Unless we get our act together, here it comes.

Para ver la fuente de la noticia completa de clic en el siguiente enlace

Ver más...

Por CreoServices
A Relaxed Mind is a Productive Mind

A steady dose of toxic energy from higher-ups will encourage valuable team members to update their résumés rather than their to-do lists.

Julie Mosow’s Harvard Business Review article,  “Help Your Overwhelmed, Stressed-Out Team,”offered some useful, practical approaches to help a leader keep her team calm and focused.

But one key element was missing from the mix: the leader’s mindset. If a leader is filled with stress, conflict, anxiety, and negative emotions, it spreads like a virus. A steady dose of toxic energy from higher-ups will encourage valuable team members to update their résumés rather than their to-do lists.

Our Brain on Stress

When we’re under stress, the brain secretes hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that in the best scenario mobilize us to handle a short-term emergency, but in the worst scenario create an ongoing hazard for performance. In that case, attention narrows to focus on the cause of the stress, not the task at hand. Our memory reshuffles to promote thoughts most relevant to what’s stressing us, and we fall back on negative learned habits. The brain’s executive centers—our neural circuitry for paying attention, comprehending, and learning—are hijacked by our networks for handling stress.

Emotional Contagion

In 2000, Caroline Bartel at New York University and Richard Saavedra at the University of Michigan found that in 70 work teams across diverse industries, people in meetings together ended up sharing moods—both good and bad—within two hours. One study asked teams of nurses and accountants to monitor their moods over weeks; researchers discovered that their emotions tracked together, and they were largely independent of each team’s shared hassles. Groups, therefore, like individuals, ride emotional roller coasters, sharing everything from jealousy to angst to euphoria.

Practice Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is a key ability of emotional intelligence. People who can manage their emotions well are able to recover more quickly from stress arousal. This means, at the neural level, quieting the amygdala and other stress circuits, which frees up the capacities of the executive centers. Attention becomes nimble and focused again, the mind flexible, the body relaxed. And a state of relaxed alertness is optimal for performance.

Your Focus Determines Your Mental State

As my colleague George Kohlrieser pointed out in my Leadership: A Master Class series, how you manage your emotions is determined by what you focus on.

Think of the mind’s eye as a flashlight. This flashlight can always search for something positive or negative. The secret is being able to control that flashlight—to look for the opportunity and the positive. When you do that, you’re playing to win. You’re able to focus on the right things and maintain that positive self.

And keep in mind that a leader not only has to focus her mind’s eye, but help others focus their minds’ eyes as well.

Para ver la fuente de la noticia completa de clic en el siguiente enlace

Ver más...

Por CreoServices
Yes, Your Résumé Needs a Summary

How long will recruiters spend on your résumé before deciding to toss it in the recycle bin? Six seconds, says online job search site The Ladders. That’s about 20 to 30 words.

So how do you write those first few lines of your resume—the summary section—to compel the recruiter to keep reading? How do you make sure you get the call—and not the toss? How do you make your summary memorable?

Here’s a checklist:

  • Tailor your summary to each job application. Highlight your areas of expertise most relevant to that position.
  • Then focus on specific results you’ve achieved in those areas of expertise—how other organizations have improved because of you.
  • Note the types of organizations and industries you’ve worked in.
  • Include years of experience.
  • Avoid generic terms such as results-driven, proven track record, excellent communication skills, team player.

Let’s look at a few examples of powerful summaries:

“Pharmaceutical marketing executive with 20 years of experience creating commercial infrastructures, growing brands, and optimizing product value throughout launch, re-launch, and sunset life cycles across all customer segments—payers, physicians, and patients. Lead global marketing and commercial operations teams with P&Ls up to $2B.”

“EHS director with 20 years of experience driving regulatory compliance and employees’ health and safety across industries—manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. Develop award-winning, injury-reducing ergonomic equipment. Launch LMS training programs and engaging websites to inform thousands of employees.”

“Online ad sales director with 12 years of experience leading sales teams in start-up, rapidly growing, and established companies. Maximize profitability of ads across all platforms, including games, mobile, social, and web. Consistently exceed revenue targets—even when battling Facebook and other relentless competitors in crowded markets.”

Now let’s look at how these summaries followed the checklist:

Tailor your summary to each job application. Make a list of the three or four most important responsibilities of each posting and then highlight those in your summary. This immediately tells the hiring manager that you’ve solved the same types of problems she’s dealing with. And it’s worth her time to keep reading and then interview you.

Focus on specific results. How have other organizations benefited from your work? And which of your accomplishments distinguish you from other candidates?

The marketing executive (above) built commercial infrastructures from scratch, made drugs profitable from launch to sunset, and managed $2B P&Ls. The EHS director invented award-winning ergonomic equipment—quite a distinctive accomplishment within his more general health and safety achievements. And the sales director broke into the online game market with sponsored ads. He also left the reader eager to know more by noting his David and Goliath-like confrontation with Facebook.

Note the types of organizations and industries you’ve worked in. The marketing executive began her summary with “pharmaceutical”—the one industry she’s worked in throughout her career. The EHS director highlighted his work across three industries–retail, manufacturing, and healthcare. And the sales executive noted his accomplishments across media companies at three stages of development—start-up, growth, and well-established.

Now, if you’re applying for a position in an industry different from the one you’re currently in, here’s an example of an alternative structure for your résumé summary. This person was applying for a senior project manager position at Disney, but her most recent work was in children’s museums:

  • Project manager with 18 years of experience leading cross-functional teams to deliver children’s technology products and family museum experiences to international audiences.
  • Strategy leader for brands with complex and diverse product lines.
  • Communicator skilled at exciting audiences at conferences, online, and in products and exhibits.”

She called attention to the three areas of expertise most important to the Disney position—project management, strategy leadership, and communication–using bullets and bolding. She then followed this summary with a Selected Accomplishments section documenting her achievements in each of those areas. The second page of her résumé used the more traditional Experience format to describe her positions in descending chronological order.

Avoid generic terms. Rather than simply claiming to be results-driven, all these summaries state the results the applicants achieved. Eschewing overused terms enables recruiters to immediately see what you’ve done, pique their interest, and encourage them to learn more.

A note about LinkedIn: Unlike three- or four-line résumé summaries, you have up to 2,000 characters in the summary section of your LinkedIn profile to highlight accomplishments and connect them to what you want to do next. For much more detail about how to write a LinkedIn summary, read How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Power a Career Transition.

The other sections of your resume are, of course, also important. But it’s a rich, accomplishment-focused summary that will stop the reader in her tracks and keep her from passing you over for the next candidate. Make it immediately clear that you have what it takes to excel in her position. Distinguish yourself from other applicants. And expect the phone to start ringing.

Para ver la fuente de la noticia completa de clic en el siguiente enlace

Ver más...

Por CreoServices
What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Focus on Before a Job Interview

Years ago, when I was interviewing for the job of deputy editor at Harvard Business Review, I thought I had carefully prepared for my full day of interviews. I had my favorite suit dry cleaned and ready to go. I took my older daughter (a notoriously bad sleeper) to my parents’ house so I could count on getting a full night’s sleep. I even did a dry run of the unfamiliar drive to the office on the Sunday before my interview. I was ready for anything.

Or so I thought. The night before the interview, my younger daughter, normally a sound sleeper, started teething and cried continuously. Far from well-rested in the morning, I somehow managed to slice a hole in the suit when I tried to cut off the plastic dry cleaner wrap. With my second favorite suit on, I headed out the door with my driving directions in hand (this was pre-GPS!). Unfortunately, the map directed me on a heavily trafficked route — something I hadn’t encountered on my Sunday dry run. After sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I ended up at the interview a solid half hour late — and seriously ruffled by my series of setbacks.

In hindsight, I can laugh at what happened (especially since I got the job) but I also realize that I had focused on all the wrong things: logistics and details instead of substance. That mistake could’ve easily derailed what was to be one of the most important job opportunities of my career.

Stress about job interviews feels like a given for most of us. And we often don’t make it easy on ourselves since we head into these critical moments with only a scant amount of preparation. “Even relatively smart people don’t prepare very well for interviews,” says John Lees, author of The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want. Instead, we wing it. And that ends up making us nervous in the very moment that we’re most trying to impress. And as Lees points out, “nervousness is intimately related to underperforming.”

So, how do you manage the inevitable stress of a job interview and prepare correctly?

“Prepare yourself even more thoroughly than you think is necessary,” Lees advises. You may be perfectly qualified on paper, but presenting your best self in the interview room — someone who is energized and relaxed and easy to work with — is a rehearsed performance. Here’s how Lees advises you avoid the interview jitters:

Develop a real script. Most interview questions are utterly predictable, he says. You can probably sketch out the 10 or 12 things you will be asked. Why should we hire you? Why do you fit this role? I notice some gaps in your resume … and so on. Practice answers to those questions. Actually say the words out loud. It’s not good enough to think about how you’ll roughly answer. Lees calls that “false preparation.” Really do it. “It’s about building up small narratives,” Lees says, so that you have answers at the ready and you’re freed up to be far more present in the interview room. Plus you’ll probably give far more succinct and responsive answers. Remember that the interviewer needs to learn a certain amount about you in a short span of time. If you ramble on with one or two answers, you might use up all your time and you risk coming off as a self-absorbed bore.

Prepare for questions you want to avoid. If there’s something on your resume you’d rather not highlight, chances are your interviewer will be curious. You have a better chance of moving swiftly past the topic if you practice your answer ahead of time. “Keep it short and upbeat,” Lees advises. Let’s say you were laid off. You can say something like: “Like hundreds of other people, I lost my role when the company downsized. But that gave me a chance to look at the skills I’ve developed and identify new areas of growth.” Shift your answer from the past to the present and keep the conversation in a comfortable place.

If you are thrown for a loop by a question, take a minute to think about how you’ll answer before responding. Introverts, Lees points out, often need time to process a question. You can buy time by summarizing the question or framing it in your own way. “That’s a really great question. When I answer it, I’m going to discuss…” The worst thing you can do is look or act flustered. That communicates incompetence. If you have to, tell your interviewer: “Let me think about that for a minute…” and then only answer when you’re ready.

Make sure you’re actually listening. When people are nervous, they tend to focus on themselves, what they’re saying, how they’re responding. But anxiety can be a blocker that stops you from listening, or makes you miss something vital your interviewer just asked. Try to slow yourself down by taking slow breaths and focusing on the interviewer’s words, not your ruminations. If it’s a complicated question, it’s OK to repeat it and then ask, “Have I got this right?” before you start to answer.

Invent a conference call to give yourself a break. One of my former bosses once passed on an excellent tip. If you’re scheduled for back-to-back interviews, tell your contact in advance that you have a conference call you must attend and ask if there’s a private room for you to do that. That will allow you a small respite from the intensity of being “on” for several hours in a row. This trick is especially helpful for introverts but could help anyone who is likely to be exhausted from a long schedule of interviews (and who isn’t?).

Pre-script your own questions. You know you’re going to be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. “No” is always the wrong answer. Have one or two good questions ready about the future of the company or the future of the role you are interviewing for.

Ask a trusted friend to mock interview you — and videotape it. If there’s anyone in your life with real world interview experience, ask them to practice with you. But both of you have to take it seriously. It’s a great dry run. Lees suggests videotaping the interview (your phone camera will likely do the trick) — and then watching it without the sound. Body language can be a critical component of your interview and “you’ll see how you present yourself,” he says. With practice, you have a chance to observe and correct your nonverbal messages before you’re in the hot seat.

Of course, being nervous is normal but don’t dismiss your jitters. Instead, be as ready as you can by doing the work of the interview well before you get into the room, says Lees. And he suggests you ignore anyone who tries to calm your nerves by telling you to “Just be yourself.” Of course you want be authentic, but you don’t want to present an anxious, sweaty-palmed version of yourself. You want to be the best version of you — calm, confident, and prepared.

Para ver la fuente de la noticia completa de clic en el siguiente enlace

Ver más...

Por CreoServices
What Separates Great HR Leaders from the Rest

HR seems to have become every manager and employee’s favorite corporate punching bag, vying with IT for the dubious title of most-irritating function. We have seen a parade of articles recently calling for HR to be blown up, split in two, or at the very least, redesigned.

Perhaps this is a good moment to evaluate what it is we really want from our HR leaders—and what we don’t. Over the last five years, Zenger Folkman has collected 360-degree feedback data on 2,187 HR leaders. These leaders are spread across hundreds of different organizations with 68% of those leaders located in the US, 11% in Asia, 8% in Europe, 7% in Latin America, 4% in Canada, and 1% in Africa. Comparing assessments of leaders in the HR function with those of leaders in other functions, our data suggest that the typical HR leader is seen as is six percentile points below average.

We analyzed the data in two different ways. First, we contrasted the results for the 2,187 HR leaders in our dataset with those of 29,026 leaders in other functions. We were able to identify a few key skills that were common strengths of those in HR and some that appeared fairly frequently as weaknesses. Second, we rank-ordered 49 leadership behaviors for all those in HR from the most negative to the most positive behaviors.
Strengths of HR Leaders

Developing and coaching others. One of the most positive areas for HR leaders in general was that they were truly concerned about developing others. This set them apart from leaders in other functions, who did not score highly on this skill. They were also rated positively on providing coaching, acting as a mentor, and giving feedback in a helpful way.

But is this skill valued by HR leaders’ colleagues? We asked raters to indicate the importance of each competency we measured, and they rated this skill eleventh of 16 for HR leaders. Perhaps the message here is, “We know you do this well already” or even “This is just table-stakes.” Or, it could be that developing others takes a back seat to other competencies that are highly valued by the other functional leaders.

Building positive relationships. This was another skill where HR scored much more highly than other functions. That makes sense; in most organizations HR is responsible for diversity and inclusion initiatives and for labor relations. HR leaders were rated well on being able to “balance results with a concern for the needs of others.” Another of their more positive items was being trusted and staying in touch with the issues and concerns of others. This competency was also more valued by our raters, who chose it as third in importance.

Role modeling. Some of the most positively rated items for HR leaders focus on their willingness to “walk the talk,” to be role models and to honor commitments and promises. HR leaders are frequently put into the position of ensuring that others in the organization do the right thing and follow established procedures. For those in the HR function, this competency is rated as second in importance. It’s also a skill that seems to be fairly common across all functions.

Having functional knowledge and expertise. Many HR leaders were rated positively on their functional knowledge and expertise. Most employees in organizations are unaware of labor laws, hiring rules, benefits and compensation issues. HR leaders were viewed as knowledgeable and helpful in these areas. This was another common skill across functions, and was rated as ninth in importance for HR leaders.


The 16 Key Leadership Skills

Great outcomes are connected to 16 leadership competencies that span five


1. Displays honesty and Integrity

Personal Capabilities:

2. Exhibits technical/professional expertise
3. Solves problems and analyzes issues
4. Innovates
5. Practices self-development

Getting Results:

6. Focuses on results
7. Establishes stretch goals
8. Takes initiative

Interpersonal skills:

9. Communicates powerfully and broadly
10. Inspires and motivates others
11. Builds relationships
12. Develops others
13. Collaborates and fosters teamwork

Leading change:

14. Develops strategic perspective
15. Champions change
16. Connects the group to the outside world


Weakness of HR Leaders

Focusing internally rather than externally. When comparing HR leaders to all other leaders in our database, they were rated significantly more negatively on their ability to understand the needs and concerns of customers. In many ways the function of HR is focused on internal problems, but the lack of understanding of the external environment often caused others to view some HR leaders as not in touch with the issues facing the organization. HR leaders were also rated more negatively on their ability to represent the organization to key groups.

Lacking strategic perspective. In general, HR leaders were rated significantly less positively on their ability to have a clear perspective between the big picture strategy and the details. Many were viewed as so focused on the “day-to-day” work that they lost perspective on the longer term broader business issues. HR leaders often complain that they “want a seat at the table” to engage more fully with other executives, but without clear strategy and focus they will never have that seat.

Not anticipating and responding quickly to problems. HR leaders were rated significantly more negatively on their ability to anticipate and respond quickly to problems. A number of items noted a general lack of speed and urgency to respond and react quickly.

Resisting stretch goals. On a number of occasions we have watched as senior executives ask for a program or process to be rolled out quickly only to have HR respond, “It takes more time than that—we need to slow the process down.” While at times that is necessary advice, too often it is the first response given by HR without considering what could be done to speed the process and move quickly.


What the Best HR Leaders Do

We also found in our database that some of the best leaders in the world were part of the HR function. The graph below shows the four competencies that most consistently separate the top quartile leaders from the other HR leaders. It is worth noting that what separated the best HR leaders from the rest was their performance on the key competencies that were often weaknesses in HR, in addition to performing extremely well on HR’s traditional strengths.

If more HR leaders would add these four important competencies to their skill sets, we would see many more sitting at the table; and an increasing number seated at the head of the table.


Authors’ Note: There’s an interesting gender wrinkle in our data, although we’re not quite sure what to make of it. According to our data, HR has the highest percentage of female leaders (66%). Overall, female leaders were rated at the 45th percentile while male leaders were at the 43rd percentile, but at the very top levels it flipped, and the senior-most men in HR were rated more highly—male senior leaders were rated at the 52nd percentile, and female senior leaders at the 47th. These differences, while small, are statistically significant. When we look at the overall data for male versus female senior managers in the other functions, males are at the 48th percentile and females at the 53rd. Only in HR, Engineering, and Safety do male senior leaders score higher than their female counterparts.


Para ver la fuente de la noticia completa de clic en el siguiente enlace

Ver más...

Por CreoServices