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Disrupt The Disruption: How Businesses Can Meet COVID-Forced Changes Head On

changes

Disrupt The Disruption: How Businesses Can Meet COVID-Forced Changes Head On

Businesses continue to navigate the changes that COVID-19 has wrought on the economy, rethinking how they serve customers, searching desperately for ways to cut spending, and trying to make long-term plans while ensuring short-term survival.

But it’s worth remembering that change that disrupts the economy is nothing new – with or without a pandemic, says Juan Riboldi (www.ascent-advisor.com), an international business advisor, author, and president of Ascent Advisor, a management consulting firm.

“The real issue businesses leaders must deal with is not change,” Riboldi says. “Instead the issue is what can we do so that we and our businesses can benefit from the change that COVID has brought.”

Anyone wondering where to begin should first look inward, he says.

“Since all change starts with individuals,” Riboldi says, “we must learn to recognize and correct negative tendencies in ourselves that keep us from successfully addressing change. A better understanding of these bad habits or tendencies will help us know how to effectively resolve them.”

To meet the changes caused by COVID-19 head-on, Riboldi says business leaders should:

Keep the trust level in your company high. When a manager goes back on decisions, hides uncomfortable news, or plays office politics for personal convenience, others in the organization will begin to distrust that manager. “If you make promises, be sure to keep them,” Riboldi says. “Otherwise you will lose the trust of others as well as their respect, both of which are desperately needed as you manage change.”

Stay focused. “Lack of focus is a main cause for why smart people do dumb things,” Riboldi says. “Being busy does not mean accomplishing more. When we work at a frantic pace, we often make more mistakes.” For businesses, this problem is magnified by the kind of economic uncertainty the country is going through right now, he says. “Companies experiencing  tough times often respond to unpredictable situations by panicking,” Riboldi says. “They try to do more with less, rather than simplifying and becoming more focused.”

Keep employee training on track. Businesses already worry that entry-level employees are deficient in many of the skills needed to do the job, Riboldi says. Many companies respond to economic downturns by cutting training and development budgets. “Doing away with training may provide temporary financial relief, but at a long-term cost on the capability of your workforce,” Riboldi says.

Inspire commitment in employees. The role of the immediate supervisor is essential for fostering commitment in workers, Riboldi says. When a supervisor fails to lead employees in a way that inspires teamwork and collaboration, commitment falters. “The most common problem affecting morale is when supervisors don’t provide employees with sincere recognition for their work,” he says. “Too often, supervisors fail to give heartfelt praise for a job well done. This simple action costs nothing and takes little time to do, and yet it is a crucial component in engaging a workforce.”

Understand the importance of short-term results. Riboldi says most major organizational change efforts fail to deliver the expected results. One of the main reasons for that is a lack of success early on. “Many promising change initiatives become prematurely aborted due to failure to show short-term gains,” he says. “Insufficient attention to short-term results kills even the best strategies and plans.” To be successful, Riboldi says, an organization must balance the short and the long term. “Achieving early wins builds support for pursuing longer term goals,” he says.

“Fortunately, the problems we encounter as we deal with change are both avoidable and curable,” Riboldi says. “We can identify their root causes and replace them with something better.”

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Juan Riboldi (www.ascent-advisor.com) is an international business advisor and principal and president of Ascent Advisor, a management consulting firm. He is the author of the upcoming book, Strategic Transformation: How to Deliver What Matters Most. For over 20 years, Riboldi has been advising leaders at the highest levels of business, education and government on strategy, organization, and execution. His clients include Fortune 50 corporations as well as fast-growing private enterprises. He successfully launched and led three consulting firms, and completed post-graduate studies at Harvard Business School and Wharton School of Business.

optimistic

In this COVID-19 World, Be realistic, But Optimistic.

As business leaders, our goal is always to lead our teams to success. During these challenging COVID-19 times, it’s critical to strike the right adaptive mindset and not over- or under-react. We need to find a way not to be pessimistic, but also balance realism with optimism. As William Arthur Warn said: The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. The balance of optimism with realism during these challenging times is the way business leaders can win.

James Stockdale, the United States Navy Vice Admiral and aviator was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, during which he was a prisoner of war for over seven years and survived when so many others did not. Stockdale explained his significant insight as the following: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

This is indeed a paradox. Although we’re not prisoners of war, we relate to Admiral Stockdale in not knowing how long we’ll be wrestling with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  As business leaders, if we ignore the challenges on our teams, the leader will be naïve and out of touch. If the leader mires in the challenges, they risk creating a culture of pessimism that will demoralize and demotivate the team and undermine its effectiveness.

To promote Stockdale’s prevailing mindset as leaders of a team there are two helpful strategies.

The disruptive nature of working remotely 100% of the time while balancing personal and family challenges during COVID-19 requires a team to learn how to ruthlessly prioritize with more structure and pace without slowing the team down.

Rally team members around short-term goals to ensure “quick wins” and build morale.

Realistic business leaders will excel by keeping emotion out of the equation in business decision making. Adding optimism to realism allows leaders to see the brighter side of things demonstrating to team members that things will get better day by day. As Edwin Bliss stated: “Success doesn’t mean the absence of failures; it means the attainment of ultimate objectives. It means winning the war, not every battle”.  

Winning leaders and teams make things happen, plan, and prepare instead of hunkering down and waiting. Winning leaders see potential were the less successful dwell on the past. Winning business leaders might not know “how” they will excel and achieve their goals, but they always believe that they will figure it out. They know that effort is the great equalizer. If they do not already know what to do, they will learn it and perfect it. Successful leaders during this COVID-19 pandemic understand that worry, fear, action, and gratitude are all choices you get to make and that apathy is the enemy of achieving something great. Use the difficult times to realize as a leader of a business, this is the second chance your team has always been asking for. It’s critical to make decisions quickly during this difficult time. However, a business decision that is easy or guaranteed is bound not to be highly successful in the long run.

Overly optimistic business leaders believe in their soul that nothing — absolutely nothing — is impossible. However, unrealistic optimism and accepting that you are more likely to experience pleasant events, and less likely than others to experience negative ones can lead to disengagement of a team and hamper trust. A team that is blinded by optimism will not be able to change course when trouble is encountered. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure realism keeps optimism in check.

Pessimist business leaders tend to believe that bad situations are the fault of others or the internal team, and that good business outcomes are not caused by anything they or others have done, and most likely cannot be repeated.

So, when it comes to optimism or pessimism, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is an ideal motto. To achieve that, you must be honest with yourself about your approach and outlook.

Whether you believe the world is conspiring against us, or if you believe that the world is conspiring in our favor, it doesn’t make it any more or less realistic.

A business leader can be optimistic or pessimistic, but there is a also third state of mind called, Being A Realistic Optimist. This means that in general and for most business situations, a leader is an optimistic thinker. However, in particularly challenging conditions (e.g., before and during very complicated negotiations with many unknown and unfavorable variables) a leader might apply a more conservative style.

Optimism balanced by realism shines when faced with extreme challenge. Optimists choose to look for positivity in the situation, and most importantly, they always take action towards a better outcome, regardless of the problem.

Let’s take a moment to define optimism:

A tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and expect the most favorable outcome.” -Courtesy of Dictionary.com

What’s so unrealistic (or unhealthy) about that? Optimistic leaders believe that things will work out because in their minds believing in the alternative makes absolutely no sense. No matter what a leader’s goal, they have no control over the future. There is no one reading these words which can predict the future. And because of that, we have a genuine choice that we need to make about our expectations.

Since none of us know what will happen next, wouldn’t it make sense to always focus our expectations on what we want to happen in our lives instead of what we do not want to happen?

The word “Optimism “is originally derived from the Latin optimum, meaning “best.” Being optimistic, in the typical sense of the word, ultimately means one expects the best possible outcome from any given situation.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle (Albert Einstein).

Research has found that positive, i.e., optimistic thinking can aid in coping with stress, in becoming more resilient, in being more courageous, and plays a significant role in improving one’s health and well-being.

According to Martin Seligmann, people with a so-called optimistic explanatory style tend to give themselves credit when good things happen and typically blame outside forces for bad outcomes. They also look at adverse events as temporary and atypical.

Albert Bandura, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, argued decades ago that optimism is the basis for creating and maintaining motivation to reach goals. And that an individual’s success is mostly based on the fact of whether they believe they will succeed. The results of his findings have yet to be proven wrong.

Unrealistic optimists (I also refer to them as naive realists), on the one hand, are convinced that success will happen to them almost automatically and that they will succeed effortlessly. Some of them even think (and hope) that only by sending out positive thoughts, the universe might reward them by transforming all of their wishes and aspirations into reality.

Realistic optimists are vigorously optimistic, too. They firmly believe that they make things happen and that they will succeed. They do not doubt it. Saying that, on the other hand, they perfectly know that in order of being successful, they have to plan well, to access all necessary resources, to stay focused and persistent, to evaluate different options, and to execute in excellence.

Being both optimistic and realistic, i.e., combining the two into one behavioral style of realistic optimism, creates a special breed of very successful people. Natural optimists stay positive and upbeat about the future, even – and especially – if and when they recognize the challenges ahead. As such, realism and optimism are not diametrically opposed. The contrary is true: They compellingly complement each other!

In case of doubt – and mostly if you want to achieve something very unique and impactful – the optimist in you should outwit your realist. Why? The realist might be too prone to anxiety. The optimist, however, if stimulated and guided well, will activate your fantasy, imagination, and boldness.

But there is an important caveat: to be successful, you need to understand the vital difference between believing you will succeed and believing you will succeed easily. Put another way, it’s the difference between being a realistic optimist and an unrealistic optimist.

Realistic optimists believe they will succeed, but also believe they have to make success happen — through things like effort, careful planning, persistence, and choosing the right strategies. They recognize the need for giving serious thought to how they will deal with obstacles. This preparation only increases their confidence in their ability to get things done.

Unrealistic optimists, on the other hand, believe that success will happen to them — that the universe will reward them for all their positive thinking, or that somehow they will be transformed overnight into the kind of person for whom obstacles cease to exist. (Forgetting that even Superman had Kryptonite. And a secret identity that took a lot of trouble to maintain and relationship issues.)

Believing that the road to success will be rocky leads to tremendous success because it forces you to take action. People who are confident that they will succeed, and equally confident that success won’t come easily, put in more effort, plan how they’ll deal with problems before they arise, and persist longer in the face of difficulty like the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Unrealistic optimists are only too happy to tell you that you are “being negative” when you dare to express concerns, harbor reservations, or dwell too long on obstacles that stand in the way of your goal. In truth, this kind of thinking is a necessary step in any successful endeavor, and it’s not at all antithetical to confident optimism. Focusing only on what we want, to the exclusion of everything else, is just the naïve and reckless thinking that has landed industry leaders (and at times, entire industries) in hot water during this difficult period.

Cultivate your realistic optimism by combining a positive attitude with an honest assessment of the challenges that await you. Don’t visualize success — visualize the steps you will take to make success happen.

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If you have any questions or would like help in the area of Compliance and Controls please do not hesitate to contact Frank at frank@ationadvisory.com or visit my website at www.ationadvisory.comAtion Advisory Group has expert financial and operational experience in development, manufacturing, distribution, and sales spanning 55 countries and, six continents, delivering individualized, proven methods to build out and implement highly successful and sustainable country-specific goals.  All executed with 100% FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) compliance.

structure

Create a Flexible Corporate Structure to Develop High Performance Leadership in Global Companies

This article portrays a more detailed picture of the effects of flexible structures on knowledge management. This article also indicates that executives can implement structural changes for better leading their companies. This article summarizes my experience as a senior management consultant and is about getting the information needed to be successful in the right hands of executives worldwide.

How Can Flexible Structures Improve Leadership Effectiveness?

A flexible structure is necessary to lead a global organization. This type of corporate structure is at the forefront of the knowledge base and has relative value in organizations throughout North American and the rest of the developed countries. When executives generate flexible corporate structures inspiring innovation and creativity within organizations, they will secure a foothold in an ever-changing hypercompetitive marketplace.

Corporate structure has been defined as a pattern by which organizations can divide their activities and tasks as well as control them to achieve higher degrees of coordination. Corporate structure, therefore, refers to the bureaucratic division of labor accompanied by control and coordination between different tasks in order to develop communication within organizations. 

Corporate structure can be reshaped by executives when they develop knowledge sharing and inspire employees to create new ideas for a better environment among business-units and departments. Sirkka Jarvenpaa and Sandy Staples, prominent authors and scholars in the area of management at The University of Texas at Austin maintain that the informal structure could facilitate new idea generation to build a more innovative climate within organizations. Executives can, therefore, implement structural changes that develop better collaboration among subordinates and managers. 

Centralized versus decentralized decision making is also a topic that management executives must deal with. More emphasis on formalized and mechanistic structures can negatively impact the executive’s ability to exert such changes. On the contrary, a more decentralized and flexible structure may improve departmental and managerial interactions. The mechanical or centralization at the commanding level of leadership impairs the opportunity to develop relationships among managers, business units, and departments. 

Executives can reshape corporate structure to be more effective when the command center of organizations can disseminate information in a decentralized and organic way as opposed to the mechanical and centralized command center. Decentralized structures shift the power of decision-making to the lower levels and subsequently inspire organizational members to create new ideas and even implement them while centralized structures may negatively impact interdepartmental communications and inhibit knowledge exchange.

An empirical study by Wei Zheng, Baiyin Yang and Gary McLean in Texas A&M University affirms that there is a negative impact of centralization on various knowledge management processes such as knowledge acquiring, creating, and sharing among both managers and departmental units. On the contrary, a more decentralized and flexible structure may enable executives in improving departmental and managerial interactions that can lead to identify the best opportunities for investment that potentially leads to improve knowledge utilization processes for companies. Both scholars and executives have acknowledged some form of relationship between corporate structure and the knowledge utilization process. Ergo, executives can positively contribute to knowledge management by building more decentralized structures within organizations.

The key take-away for executives is to facilitate knowledge management by developing a more flexible structure that is considered an essential source for developing relationships. Therefore, if the corporate structure is not completely in favor of supporting knowledge management, executives cannot effectively manage organizational knowledge to improve overall performance and companies cannot be effective. Hence, the key kernel for executives is that corporate structure is a resource that enables organizations to solve problems and create value through improved performance and it is this point that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making.

How Can Knowledge Management Improve Leadership Effectiveness?

The process of knowledge exchange enhances an executive’s capabilities to play the role of an inspirational motivator in their company as it allows them to set desired expectations by recognizing possible opportunities in the business environment. The knowledge exchange also positively contributes to executives developing a more effective vision for their employees, with access to a comprehensive array of information and insights about the external environments. By creating a vision of what is achievable, executives can then integrate knowledge internally to enhance efficiencies in their business systems and processes that align with this vision, as well as to be more responsive to any current market changes. 

To be effective, knowledge integration also requires a continuous process of monitoring and evaluating your internal knowledge management practices, coordinating experts, sharing knowledge and scanning the changes of knowledge requirements to keep the quality of work and produce in-line with market demand. By undertaking knowledge integration activities that incorporate all levels of the company, executives can assess any required changes that will keep the quality of their services at maximum efficiency. Instilling this systematic approach of coordinating company-wide experts also enables executives to propel the role of intellectual stimulation, which creates a more innovative environment within companies. 

Executives are also responsible for curtailing knowledge within companies, as and when it needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges. Essentially, what worked yesterday or a few years ago has already changed rapidly, and will continue to do so as technology increases in prolific ways.

Knowledge is commonly shared at a global level amongst companies through domestic and global rewards such as the Malcolm Baldridge Award in the United States and the Deming Award in Japan. However, past industry research posits that companies might lack the required capabilities to access and develop this knowledge or decide to decline from interacting with other organizations due to distrust to share or take knowledge. Therefore, expert groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend the knowledge acquired from external sources.

However, despite these limitations whether natural or caused, networking with business partners is a key activity for companies to enhance knowledge exchange and should not take an award to be the impetus to initiate interaction. Ergo, networking with external business partners will enhance the effectiveness of leadership, empowering executives to better develop strategic insights for a more effective vision that incorporates the various concerns and values of external business partners.

Ultimately, knowledge transfer amongst organizations improves the effectiveness of learning, which in turn enables executives to empower human resources through creating new knowledge and solutions. Thus, I suggest that networking takes place between organizations in both domestic and international markets to enhance the effective use of management. As executives in senior positions effectively use knowledge management this is likely to improve their leadership effectiveness through increased learning opportunities.  Figure 1 illustrates how flexible structures lead to the improvement of knowledge management and leadership.  

In Conclusion

This article can portray a more detailed picture of the effects of a flexible structure on knowledge management performance. When executives ensure the effectiveness of knowledge management projects they increase control and lesson operational risk. Furthermore, knowledge management constitutes the foundation of a supportive workplace to disseminate knowledge and subsequently enhance the effectiveness of leadership. In fact, a firm’s ability to develop leadership can be highly affected when executives implement knowledge management projects as the primary form of managing people, resources, and profitability.

Executives can now see how they can implement structural changes, which can enable superior knowledge management performance to achieve business objectives and satisfy careers. In addition, this article is set in place to inspire executives to create effective structural changes in order to meet and exceed the challenges of not only today but also what we see as the onset of new advances in the future. The practices mentioned in this article can also represent a complete answer to the need for structural changes in today’s global market environment.

I suggest that scholars take these ideas and continue to conduct research using executives as the focal point so that academic scholarship can meet the needs of managerial implications at the higher echelons of companies worldwide. 

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

global

These Global Traders are Keeping Things Moving

Richard Jung has joined NFI as vice president of Sales. He brings the Camden, New Jersey-based supply chain solutions provider more than 30 years of international transportation experience at such concerns as Mitsui OSK Line, Maersk Lines, Crane Worldwide and Evergreen Line.

Dachser is used to moving things around, something that now extends to the Kempten, Germany-based global logistics provider’s top offices. CEO Bernhard Simon will step down in 2021 to head the family-owned company’s Supervisory Board. Burkhard Eling is slated to take Simon’s place as CEO on Jan. 1, 2021. Robert Erni, who will succeed Eling as CFO, begins his onboarding phase at Dachser on Sept. 1 as a deputy director.

Jessica Tyler has been named president of Cargo and vice president of Airport Excellence with American Airlines. She now leads the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s teams responsible for the success of the cargo business and delivering operational and customer service excellence for both airports and cargo.

Gonzalo Hernandez has moved to Seoul, South Korea, to become Delta Cargo’s general manager of Cargo Sales-Asia Pacific. Jonathan Corbi has replaced Hernandez as interim general manager for the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India region. Eric Anderson, who’d had the position in Seoul, returned to Delta’s Atlanta base to become director of Cargo Strategy, Alliances and Technology.

Jess Herrera, the longest serving commissioner at Port Hueneme (California), was recently received the 2020 Latino Leadership Award from the Pacific Coast Business Times, which also named the California port’s CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas as a Top Woman in Business.

Steven Polmans, director of Cargo & Logistics at Brussels Airport Co., has decided to make a career shift by the end of 2020. Over the next months, he will continue leading the European airport’s cargo business and retain his leadership functions at Air Cargo Belgium and The International Air Cargo Association.

Matthew R. Nicely has joined Akin Gump as a partner in its international trade practice in Washington, D.C. Nicely, who arrives from Hughes Hubbard & Reed, maintains a market access-focused practice centered on trade remedies and customs work as well as on disputes before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Scott Lincicome has joined the Cato Institute full-time as a senior fellow in economic studies, with a focus on international and domestic economic and trade policy. He began at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank in 1998 as a trade policy research assistant and previously worked as an international trade attorney with extensive experience in trade litigation before national agencies and courts, the European Commission and the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.

philosophy

Why Today’s Leaders Are Channeling Ancient Philosophers

Steve Jobs wished he had met Socrates.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Marcus Aurelius fan.

Elon Musk leans toward Aristotle.

Across the land – and the world – leaders in business, government and other areas look to the future by seeking wisdom from the past – the far past. While that might sound surprising, perhaps it shouldn’t be – especially when it comes to entrepreneurs and CEOs.

“Philosophy is one of the most important things that can be introduced into the corporate world today because of its fundamental properties and practical benefits,” says Cristina DiGiacomo (www.cristinadigiacomo.com), author of Wise Up! At Work and founder of MorAlchemy, a leadership consulting firm that helps CEOs and executives use philosophy to tackle challenges by teaching them to think differently and see new solutions to help their companies thrive.

“In fact, most of the important and progressive management, communication, and organizational practices are based on principles firmly rooted in philosophy.”

Helping others and doing your work dutifully come from philosophies of service espoused by Romans such as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, DiGiacomo says. Ideas of employee-centric cultures and employee-driven suggestions are a modern expression of Plato’s ideas. Reciprocity and meritocracy, mutually beneficial acts, and equitable work cultures can be traced to ideas from Confucius.

“Even the idea of work/life balance has philosophical moorings in Lao Tzu’s teaching on balance in life,” DiGiacomo says.

At some level, many top leaders understand this – either knowingly or unknowingly channeling ancient philosophers whose wisdom has remained constant and relevant for centuries.

Just a few examples of the phenomenon are:

Musk and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings have both used “first principles” thinking to grow their businesses. The term “first principles” was coined more than 2,000 years ago by Aristotle, who believed we learn more by understanding a subject’s fundamental principles, breaking down problems into their basic elements and then reassembling them.

Schwarzenegger, the actor, politician and businessman, cited the words of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius when he addressed 2020 graduates in a video commencement speech. The COVID-19 pandemic created plenty of obstacles in the final months of school for those students, inspiring Schwarzenegger to use the Aurelius quote: “What stands in the way becomes the way.” In other words, Schwarzenegger told the graduates, impediments that keep us from our goals can also be the motivation to achieve our goals.

Robert Ceravolo, head of Tropic Ocean Airways, said in a Forbes interview that one way he manages the stress of running a business is by reading about stoicism, particularly Aurelius and Seneca. “What makes something good or bad is your perception of whether or not it’s good or bad,” Ceravolo says. “When [the worst] happens, it’s not a massive shock.”

Lucio Tan Jr., CEO of Tanduay Distillers Inc., has said that his father taught him Confucian values, such as doing to others as if you’re the other person. Tan has said the Chinese philosopher’s teachings “give you a deeper perspective of humanity, respect for others and for nature,” and have served as a guide for his approach to leadership and life.

“The reason ancient philosophers continue to have relevance in America’s corporate boardrooms is simple,” DiGiacomo says. “Their ideas stand the test of time and still have practical applications in the 21st century, just as they did hundreds or thousands of years ago.”

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Cristina DiGiacomo (www.cristinadigiacomo.com), author of Wise Up! At Work, is the founder of MorAlchemy, a philosophical consulting firm. She also is the inventor of industrial philosophy and is the driving force behind the idea of applying philosophy in the workplace for the benefit of the leadership of organizations. DiGiacomo has 20 years of corporate executive experience at companies such as The New York Times, Citigroup, AMC Networks, and R/GA. She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Change Management from The New School. She also dedicated nine years to the study and practice of philosophy.

transformation

5 Tips To Focus Your Company’s Transformation As COVID Forces Change

While the recession caused by COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes and industries, some are finding new ways to run daily operations, reach customers, re-shape their business, and stay relevant.

But others are still trying to figure out how to transform, and an expert in the field says that launching a transformation begins with setting the right scope.

“Over the years, I have seen an ill-defined program scope cause serious problems,” says Edwin Bosso (www.myrtlegroup.com), founder and CEO of Myrtle Consulting Group and the ForbesBooks author of 6,000 Dreams: The Leader’s Guide To A Successful Business Transformation Journey.

“For example, the scope may drift from the originally defined target. The scope is the description of the transformation’s area of focus, and in most cases, the scope is defined as a combination of categories. Examples are functional – sales, logistics, production, operations – and organizational – leadership, technology, processes, management systems. It’s most important that the scope is defined to address the challenges at hand and avoid distractions or wasted resources.”

Bosso has five tips for companies to set the right scope for their transformation:

Articulate the problem. Which problem are you trying to solve? Bosso says that question is at the heart of a company transformation. “Defining the specific problem may take numerous discussions and disagreements,” Bosso says. “The human brain has a natural tendency to drift. Blurry lines sometimes separate root causes and symptoms. This step is generally completed with a well-crafted statement of the problem that the organization is setting up to solve.”

List the ways. “When properly conducted,” Bosso says, “this step helps in visualizing the solution. Listing possible solutions is a way of testing the definition of the problem. This step calls for honest questions and thorough analysis to identify the solution options.”

Identify the means. “This is the stage where you test the capabilities of the organization against solution options by identifying necessary means,” Bosso says. “It comes down to understanding internal means, or levers that would need to be pulled to solve the problem. Potential means available might include people, office space, computer systems, or technical expertise in sales, R&D, inventory management and procurement. The process allows organizations to match the correct means to solutions.”

Capture the enablers. Examples of enablers key to the transformation process are those in program management and data science. Enablers cannot operate on their own to make something happen,” Bosso says. “They are, however, necessary or simply useful for that same thing to happen. For example, change management cannot improve the performance of the sales organization without some level of sales expertise. Once enablers are defined, it is important to capture the various ways in which each enabler supports the transformation program.”

Explore synergies and interdependencies. This step focuses on understanding the overlaps, synergy opportunities, and constraints caused by ongoing initiatives. “Start with a list of all current initiatives that the organization is running,” Bosso says. “The finance department is typically a good source for the information. Meetings should be held with each team, and it’s important to understand that each may be protective of its objective, ways, and means. This could set up turf battles and heated discussions, so explicitly setting the objective of the meetings to understand synergies can help alleviate disagreements and fears.”

“Undergoing a major transformation is really the best hope for struggling businesses to survive in these difficult times,” Bosso says. “There is no time to waste. There are no resources to waste. To get your transformation on target, setting the right scope is critical from the outset.”

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Edwin Bosso, the ForbesBooks author of 6,000 Dreams: The Leader’s Guide To A Successful Business Transformation Journey, is the founder/CEO of Myrtle Consulting Group (www.myrtlegroup.com). Bosso specializes in operations improvement and change management, and his project history includes work for major brands such as Heineken, Texas Petrochemicals, T-Mobile, Anheuser-Busch, Rohm and Haas, Campbells Soup Company, Kellogg’s and Morton Salt. A wide range of assignments have taken him throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. He completed his undergraduate education at The Hague Polytechnic in the Netherlands and earned an MBA from Rice University in Houston.

techniques

Top 4 Techniques for Leadership in the Ever-Expansive Global Marketplace

Leadership has always been at the forefront of management training. However, the four functions of management depict leadership as one of the four. For instance, Henri Fayol has been posited as the forefather of the functions of management.  He had more than four in his original publication in France which was translated to English in the 1930s.

Leadership, being a strong component of management has manifested itself into the forefront of many executives and aspiring leaders. Today, the question remains, can leaders be made, or do they have to be born leaders to be successful? Before attempting to answer this question, let us agree that leaders can be made and that being a born leader may be an additional attribute of leadership.

Leadership has been highlighted as the behavior indicative of friendship, mutual trust, respect, and warmth. The key to leadership is based upon satisfying basic needs and verbalizing feelings of admiration, respect, and trust toward themselves to meet higher desires through inspiring followers to provide newer solutions and create a better workplace.  Sure, there are critics of this leadership style, but do not let that stop you from implementing it and learning how to master it.

Leadership unfolds results in organizations, influencing employee individual interests to align with institutional interests, and inspiring followers to create new ideas and innovation for effective business outcomes. In fact, a leader treating human capital as an individual quality becomes a role model who is trusted, admired, and respected by followers.

Executives can be made into leaders and leaders can become better at what they do by using the four techniques of effective leadership. These four techniques include:

1. Idealized influence,

2. Individualized consideration,

3. Intellectual stimulation, and;

4. Inspirational motivation.

Executives can use idealized influence when aiming to develop a shared vision and improve relationships with followers. In doing this technique, executives need to take the following actions:

-Instill pride in organizational members for being associated with them.

-Display a sense of power and confidence.

-Go beyond self-interest for the good of the organization.

-Talk about their most important values and beliefs.

-Consider the moral and ethical consequences of decisions.

-Emphasize the importance of having a collective sense of mission.

Executives can use individualized consideration when they would like to concentrate on identifying employee’s individual needs and empowering followers in order to build a learning climate. In doing this technique, executives need to take the following actions:

-Spend time coaching others.

-Consider employees as having different needs, abilities, and aspirations from others.

-Help organizational members to develop their strengths, and provide various formal training programs to improve the performance of duties

Executives can use intellectual stimulation to propel knowledge sharing in the company to generate more innovative ideas and solutions for new and demanding issues that come up constantly in our hypercompetitive economic environment. In doing this technique, executives need to take the following actions:

-Emphasis on the effective coordination among different functional areas, and seek differing perspectives when solving problems.

-Suggest new ways of looking at how to complete assignments, and undertake a comprehensive analysis when confronted with an important decision.

Executives can use inspirational motivation to focus on inspiring people and not just treat them as human assets. This sets a higher level of desired expectations for them. In doing this technique, executives need to take the following actions:

-Talk optimistically about the future

-Talk enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished.

-Express confidence that the goals will be achieved.

The four techniques of effective leadership mentioned above, when carried out correctly, can present a set of practices for effective leadership. These four techniques of effective leadership represent how an effective leader working in today’s knowledge-based economy can develop and manage intellectual capital in corporations. There are some differences between practical leadership and trait perspective.

The researchers associated with trait perspective believed that a great man or great leader, man or woman, was born to lead and not made into a leader. In contrast, followers can be made into leaders and leaders can become better at what they do by using the four techniques of effective leadership. Therefore, the great man/woman at the topmost levels of organizations can prosper and excel by simply applying the techniques of effective leadership.

One example of great leaders in a highly competitive environment is Steve Jobs, former leader of Apple, who built a highly effective organization through taking a change-oriented leadership approach which highly manifested itself in talent development, organizational structure, and inspiring vision for the future. Jobs generated a shared and inspiring vision for future expansion into global markets. Also, he built a learning climate through identifying intellectual capital and empowering them.

Most importantly, Jobs transformed Apple by attempting to change the basic values, beliefs, and attitudes of followers so that they were willing to perform beyond their previous or originally level specified by Apple in their job description. He also contributed to new products and services to meet dynamic market needs, through inspirational motivation and higher expectations for new and strategic opportunities to meet the needs of customers in the marketplace.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

knowledge management

Researchers Propose a Model to Better Manage Knowledge and Innovation in Multinational Corporations

With a clear understanding of knowledge management, executives can make more effective managerial decisions. Knowledge management has been evaluated from various perspectives. This variation may differ because knowledge management is understood in many different ways and therefore different scholars focus on different aspects of it and offer several options of managerial application. These perspectives are discussed below.

Taking a Technological Perspective

Executives know that they can take a technological perspective. In this case, the executive understands how knowledge management as facilitating organizational processes and activities uses information technology to organize existing information. Executives have found that knowledge management embraces information technology to convert individual knowledge into valuable resources for their organization. Executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge and show how followers tie together so that they can effectively share the storage, transfer, and application of knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of knowledge management.

Taking an Economic Perspective

Executives agree with Doyle McCarthy, who sees society as a product of knowledge. Defining culture as various forms of knowledge and symbols that make up an organization’s culture. However, knowledge is a by-product of culture and knowledge’s role in guiding and facilitating people’s action is key to executive decision-making. Four scholars by the names of Bernard Marr, Oliver Gupta, Stephen Pike, and Goran Roos define knowledge management as “a set of activities and processes aimed at creating value through generating and applying intellectual capital.”

Executives direct practices that create value from intangible organizational resources. For executives, it is clear that the objective of managing knowledge is to add value to organizations. The focus here is that executives consider the fact a firm’s knowledge is positively associated with its outcomes.

Taking a Process Perspective

The process perspective focuses on knowledge flows that executives use through embracing the processes of knowledge management for strategic management decision-making. Managing knowledge is not new, scholars have considered the various processes involved. Executives can look at three-step processes of knowledge accumulation, integration, and reconfiguration. Jang-Hwan Lee and Young-Gul Kim’s model for managing knowledge takes a strategic process-oriented approach and is relevant to executive leadership. Executives build a climate of openness for individuals to exchange ideas. Knowledge is accumulated by creating a new approach to gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information throughout the organizations.

Executives inspire people to create new ideas and develop effective mechanisms to acquire knowledge from various sources such as suppliers, customers, business partners, and competitors. This is similar to a value-chain approach. Executives need to first support this approach for the model to work because they play a strategic role in expanding the knowledge accumulation through applying incentives as mechanisms to develop a more innovative climate and managing effective tools to acquire knowledge from external sources.

Executives then integrate knowledge internally to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies in various systems and processes, as well as to be more responsive to market changes.

Accumulated knowledge is synthesized to produce higher quality outcomes. Thus, knowledge integration focuses on monitoring and controlling knowledge management practices, evaluating the effectiveness of current knowledge, defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their product or services continuously improving.

Executives can promote knowledge integration by creating expert groups or steering committees to enhance knowledge quality and evaluate knowledge assets. Follower’s diversity of skills and interpersonal relations that is based on trust and reciprocity can improve the performance of group cohesiveness.

Therefore, in the process of knowledge integration, knowledge enters organizational processes and provides valuable contributions to products and services. Executives as leaders steering the organizational strategy facilitate this process, by undertaking initiatives that improve knowledge transfer, thus enhancing the performance of employees and the implementation of effective changes to maintain the quality of products and services. The burden of success when the effective implementation of knowledge integration is concerned is heavily dependent on the capabilities of the organization’s leaders.

Executives must also curtail knowledge within organizations. This knowledge needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges. At the same time, it should not be leaked to the competition in any shape or form unless agreed upon by senior executives. When executives agree to share knowledge with other organizations in the environment, studies have shown that that knowledge is often difficult to share externally. One reason is that other organizations have too much pride to accept knowledge or are apprehensive to expose themselves to the competition.

Therefore, executives may lack the required capabilities to interact with other organizations, or distrust sharing their knowledge. In addition, just the notion of creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources. On the other hand, executives are aware of networking with business partners is a key activity for organizations to enhance knowledge exchange.

Networking is a critical concern for leaders in this process is developing alliances with partners in external environments. Executives and their expert groups and/or steering committees are the ones who can make final decisions about developing alliances with business partners.   Figure 1 depicts this model of knowledge management.

In Conclusion

There are some executives that like to look at academic journals but unfortunately, the crossover literature has not reached them enough. This article attempts to blend scholarly concepts with real-world applications. This article introduces an applicable model to evaluate knowledge management success. Also, this article provides evidence that knowledge management is used in corporate infrastructure for strategic decision-making.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

risk

How Global Leaders Can Manage Knowledge, Risk, and Talent Management

Risk management, according to Karl Wiig, Chairman of Knowledge Research Institute, is an operational approach to represent knowledge management. But, in this case, it seeks to apply organizational knowledge in order to satisfy and exceed employees’ expectations and improve talent well-being.

All executives need to be aware of how to better control risk management, which coincides with talent well-being. To do this, they should understand the mediating role of knowledge management. This may be the answer executives need but may also lack the fundamental fortitude necessary to be an all-encompassing approach to predict talent well-being within companies. Due to this limitation, the focus of this article is based upon the critical role of risk management which allows a rich basis for understanding the mechanisms by which talent well-being is influenced.

Executives see knowledge management as an employee’s capabilities in securing benefits received by joining in risk management. Therefore, talent well-being has been determined as resources accessible through knowledge management to enhance executive operational risk management. One good example, in which Victor Sino, a director of Operational Risk Management at a prominent large organization states that operational risk is a risk of loss due to failed talent well-being, processes, systems, and an external event. Some of these can be controlled by executives and others are risks that have to be factored into strategic decision-making.

Companies were assumed to be defenseless entities against threats, and opportunities happened in business environments that were serendipitous versus planned and organized. Organizational risk management was developed to offset problems before they occur and to adjust or ship resources accordingly in the event of a threat. Executives must recognize problems, and work hard to overcome them. First, executives will need to adopt knowledge management to identify the employee’s individual learning needs and become more inspired them to put extra effort into their work. This can also improve talent well-being through acquiring additional knowledge and developing better relationships with them, and providing newer solutions and creating a better workplace for them.

Operational risk of large corporations is at risk if they can be easily imitated by the competition. Therefore, firm-specific knowledge must be guarded and not shared with the competition. Any leak of such information may expose the organization and increase the operational risk. Thus, the ownership of knowledge, or what I would prefer to call knowledge management, falls under the operational risk category and must be managed and also monitored due to fluctuations in the dynamic economic environment of today. This can improve talent well-being through fostering the dynamic relationships among employees and departments, but most importantly, through satisfying employee needs. When executives have people in place to manage knowledge and embrace risk management, the organization can see better satisfaction with the most talented employees, and most importantly, enhance talent well-being.

Integrating Knowledge Management and Talent Management to Retain the Most Talented Employees

I suggest that both important factors of knowledge management and talent management constitute the foundation of a supportive workplace to reduce operational risk – two major concerns of global leaders today. Talent management is essential for business growth and prosperity while knowledge management, if not embraced, can lead to operational risk. Knowledge management can help organizations identify their inefficiencies in each process, and subsequently, recover them on an instantaneous basis, enabling executives to prevent further operational risk. Adding more manageable control of internal resources and reducing operational risk. Thus, when executives ensure the effectiveness of knowledge management they increase control and lessen operational risk.

Knowledge management utilizes modifications in order to efficiently and effectively use organizational resources, decrease costs, and control operational risk. Knowledge management also develops cohesive infrastructures to store and retrieve the knowledge to enable employees in creating more innovative solutions to problems and managing operational risks. My explanation of this is clearly within the executive span of control and potentially limits operational risk. I designed an approach for executives in large corporations to use talent management coupled with very prominent and useful construct of knowledge management so that the managerial implication is sound, justified, and operational to eliminate the gaps and serve the most talented employees in the organization that exist in the spaces between the lines of the organization.

Knowledge management enhances a firm’s capabilities to decrease the risk of imitation of organizational capabilities by competitors thus, managing operational risk. In doing this, executives that adopt knowledge management develop organizational communications aimed at providing valuable resources for organizations. They also enhance knowledge sharing among organizational members and stipulate knowledge to be shared around the organization. This process can potentially build an effective learning company in which the most talented employees can develop both personally and professionally. Knowledge management could, therefore, positively impact the most talented employee’s retention, through meeting the goals of personal development.

Additionally, executives that employ knowledge management create new ideas and knowledge for innovation through motivating the most talented employees to more innovatively solve organizational problems. Executives today realize that knowledge is the one of most strategic factors for organizations from a competitive standpoint. Knowledge management is a necessary precursor to creating new knowledge and ideas within organizations. The creation of new knowledge is a process and can be essential to identify the most talented employees’ needs and also recognize changes happening in the business environment. Through knowledge management, executives can contribute to identify and meet the most talented employees’ needs which lies at the focal point of executive success.

In conclusion, I suggest that executives embrace knowledge management. Knowledge management influences some of the spans of control of executive responsibility. My primary focus is on one factor (i.e. talent management) but there are many more important components of the managerial function that can be enhanced when knowledge management is embraced. The key here is that there are positive effects of knowledge management on talent management.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

HR tech

The Real Digital Transformation In HR Tech: How Global Leaders Can Manage

All executives across the globe should embrace HR technology to represent a complete answer to the need for innovation and continuous learning in today’s global market environment. In doing this, first executives must have an understanding of the concept of knowledge in companies. To analyze knowledge in organizations, there is an important taxonomy of organizational knowledge that needs to be discussed. The following section addresses this taxonomy in depth to set the record straight upon the importance of HR Technology.

Human, Social, and Structured Knowledge

Two prominent scholars that are well known in the Academy of Management, one of the largest leadership and management organizations in the world by the names of David De Long and Liam Fahey argue that knowledge can also be classified using individual, social, and structured dimensions. Executives can categorize followers based on their human knowledge which focuses on individual knowledge and manifests itself in an individual’s competencies and skills. This type of knowledge includes both tacit and explicit knowledge. David De Long and Liam Fahey suggest that this form of knowledge comprises the skills gained by individual experiences, and learned as rules and instructions formulated by executives for followers to use as a guide.

Social knowledge, on the other hand, is categorized as tacit knowledge that is shared so that it can become collective knowledge. Executives can use structured knowledge that emerges informal language from annual reports, memos, and other means of communication to be represented as statements, and is considered explicit knowledge. Therefore, consultants can classify knowledge in this way so that it emerges at three levels—-individual (i.e. human), group (i.e. social) and organizational (i.e. structured).

Executives can implement HR technology to create conducive organizational climates that foster organizational learning in which individual knowledge is shared and utilized. Unshared individual knowledge is like lettuce in the refrigerator—if shared, everyone enjoys it, if not, it could not have any use. In the next section, I present a factor that executives have embraced—–HR technology.   

Managing Knowledge and Innovation through HR Technology

HR technology is an internal resource that increasingly facilitates HR business processes and improves the search for information and knowledge around the company. For example, HRIS (Human Resource Information System) software enables companies to overcome space constraints in communications and promotes the depth and range of knowledge access. HRIS software can be also employed to enhance the conversations and knowledge exchanges between organizational members. Three prominent scholars in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the names of Andrew Gold, Arvind Malhotra and Albert Segars argue that this knowledge shared through technology could positively contribute to knowledge integration. Executives can apply HRIS software to develop and disseminate information throughout the company which can improve the search for information in order to adapt to today’s uncertain business environment.

HCM (Human Capital Management) software is an important resource for strategic planning for knowledge integration. Robert Grant highlights knowledge integration as a major reason for the existence of a company. This software enhances learning and sharing information by providing access to accurate information and knowledge. HCM software also stimulates new knowledge generation, through transferring knowledge to other members and departments. Knowledge sharing itself can in turn develop more innovative climates and facilitate knowledge creation in organizations. HCM software can, therefore, play a crucial role in improving knowledge creation and transference. Executives can use HCM software to develop an effective learning culture that disseminates knowledge around the company.

HRMS (Human Resource Management System) software can be also used by executives to facilitate of the knowledge creation process through providing the essential infrastructures to store and retrieve organizational knowledge. HRMS software encourages executives to embark on technological facilities to provide new and possible solutions for solving organizational problems and transferring individuals’ knowledge to other members and departments and improving knowledge capturing, storing, and accumulating to achieve organizational goals.

In Conclusion

This article advances the current literature on HR technology and knowledge management by offering novel insights into how better HR technology leads to better knowledge management. Executives can apply HR technology in their decision-making processes in order to investigate various alternatives and options.

Success in today’s global business environment can be more effective when HR technology is effectively applied and widely used to achieve a higher degree of competitiveness. Importantly, knowledge management performance at all levels of the company is positively associated with using HR technology and setting up useful software and systems to enhance strategic decision-making. Executives can implement HR technology by employing IT professionals and allocating more budgetary resources to share and utilize knowledge within companies.

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References

Gold, A.H., Malhotra, A. and Segars, A.H. 2001. Knowledge management: An organizational capabilities perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems, 18(1), 185-214.

Grant, R.M. 1996. Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17(S2), 109-122.

Long, D.W.D., & Fahey, L. (2000). Diagnosing cultural barriers to knowledge management. The Academy of Management Executive, 14(4), 113-127.