Friday, July 11, 2014

Three Good Articles

Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down and do some much needed reading.  As I plowed through the July - August 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review, I found two thought provoking articles. The first was called “Managing Change, One Day at a Time” by Keith Ferrazzi. The author writes that leaders who are trying to transform the company culture can learn from studying addition treatment programs. Recognizing that cultural change is hard, the core of the article focuses on the following insights: “Organizations can’t change their culture unless individual employees change their behavior - and changing behavior is hard.” As he points out, “When it comes to modifying deeply ingrained behaviors, 12-step programs have a superior track record. They use incentives, celebrations, peer pressure, coaching to adopt new habits, negative reinforcement, and role models - things organizations can draw on.”  

While the author recognizes that the analogy is not perfect, the comparison is helpful. In the article, he makes a series of key insights. They are as follows:

- “Nothing happens without a readiness to change.”
- “It’s important to replace old habits with new ones.”
- “Peer support and pressure drive change.”
- “Sponsorship deepens commitment and sparks results.”
- “Community without hierarchy is a catalyst for change.”
- “You are the company you keep.”
- “Continuous introspection is key.”
- “Change in practice may represent breakthroughs.”
- “It pays to acknowledge small wins.”
- “The goal is progress, not perfection.”

This is a good article and well-worth the time to read. It will make you think. Here is the link for those who want to explore it in more depth:

The second article was also in the July - August 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review and was called “It’s Time to Split HR” by Ram Charan. This very short essay is going to shake things up in the HR world. As he writes, “My proposal is radical but grounded in practicality; Split HR into two strands.” One strand would primarily manage compensation and benefits and report to the CFO. The other strand would focus on improving the people capabilities of the business, e.g. leadership development, and should report to the CEO.  

The minute I read it I thought, this essay is going to get a lot of people thinking and talking. Some will love it and others will disagree vehemently.  As of today, there are over 125 comments on the HBR website about his idea. Here is the link: I encourage you to read it so you are up-to-date with the dialogue around HR.

Finally, the third article I encourage you to read is called “Investing In Millennials For The Future of Your Organization” By Joan Snyder Kuhl. I haven’t read anything that was this good on the subject since I read the book, The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the millennial generation is shaking up the workplace, Jossey-Bass, 2008, by Ron Alsop. With Gen Y or Millenials (born between 1979 and 1994) being the largest generation yet (80 million in the United States), they have different talents and needs than previous generations. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials will be roughly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020 and 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030. Well written and insightful, I encourage you to read it. Here is the link:

Happy summer reading!

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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