Archive

MANAGING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

How can one build a high-performing team? Larry Sternberg and Kim Turnage, co-authors of Managing to Make a Difference, decode five leadership myths that will help managers engage, retain, and develop talent for maximum performance.

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making every opinion count

While big data is a crucial parameter to understand customers and their behavioral patterns, it is no longer the holy grail. To distinguish themselves and offer superior customer experience, companies need to make sense of the unstructured data that will help them measure the intangibles—emotions and influencing aspects. However, as Steve Jones said, making sense of unstructured data isn’t about technology, it’s a business challenge.

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bare essence

The journey from middle manager to CEO is a more complex one than from trainee to middle management. There are greater conflicts and greater competition; as a result, the corporate pyramid tapers and a Darwinian process of selection and survival sets in. Here are nine signposts that one should follow to reach the top of the pyramid.

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for a smooth transition

In the future working environment—for which ‘ecosystem’ is a more relevant term—each company’s and each individual’s position and path will be unique, interconnected, integrated, and dynamic, Sophie Wade explains in her book Embracing Progress. In this excusive with The Smart Manager, she explains why engagement, personalization, integration, and choice will be the core themes for any future-of-work transformation.

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‘dharma, the very path to sustainable profit and growth’

Dr Mrityunjay Athreya has been a founder and pioneer of the Indian Management movement. He chose this life mission early, as a prime need of post-Independence India, for rapid economic and social growth. In recognition of his contribution to management, the Government awarded him the civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 2014. Distilling his experience of several decades, Dr Athreya talks to The Smart Manager about organizational culture, centrality of ethics, mandatory CSR, need for leadership pipeline, and so on.

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hard to measure?

Growth and profitability are an outcome of productivity which in turn is influenced by employee happiness and satisfaction. Studies by independent financial analysts show that publicly traded ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ consistently outperform major stock indices by a factor of 2*. This points to the fact that companies that aim at high performance cannot afford to ignore measuring employee happiness. Technological advancements have now made measuring this key metric all the more easier and accurate.

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nature matters

Attrition has always been expensive for companies, but in many industries the cost of losing good workers is rising, owing to tight labor markets and the increasingly collaborative nature of jobs. (As work becomes more team-focused, seamlessly plugging in new players is more challenging.) Thus companies are intensifying their efforts to predict which workers are at high risk of leaving so that managers can try to stop them.*
External factors definitely influence attrition rates, but what about one’s psychological moorings?

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the intangible

In Beyond Performance, the product of a research effort by McKinsey & Company, Scott Keller and Colin Price hold the view that an organization’s health is as crucial an element as its performance. Management guru Gary Hamel referred to this as ‘a new manifesto for thinking about organizations,’ in the foreword to the book.
Organizational health is the sum of a multitude of factors, but company culture is perhaps the most important of it all—strong values, robust management practices, accountability, transparency, equal opportunities, and so on. Morgen Witzel drives home this view, underlining the inextricable link between culture and health.

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‘ATMs are poised to grow more intelligent in understanding customer needs’

The all-pervasive ATM (automated teller machine) has turned fifty this year. John Shepherd-Barron came up with the concept of automatic cash dispenser after becoming frustrated at not being able to access his own money outside banking hours. He went on

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those best sellers

Customer acquisition and its cost are some of the key metrics used to measure ecommerce profitability. And one of the ways to reduce this cost is to keep customers hooked by providing a larger variety. Retailers such as Amazon, Flipkart, Junglee, Snapdeal, and Shopclues have realized this and are focusing on seller acquisition by creating marketplaces.

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