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Decision-Making Myths – Debunked

Decision-making is not fortune-telling, and good decisions do not always result in predictable outcomes.

Can you imagine life without your smartphone? So many of us can’t. We depend upon them for everything from directions to telling us the temperature outside to tracking our daily steps and heart rate. Our “Hey, Siri” culture has conditioned us to equate speed with efficiency and efficacy — and it’s changing how we process information. Our brains have become conditioned to respond with pleasure to the bings, pings, and dings our phones and computers provide.

While Siri and Alexa and Google are great when we’re jonesing for Italian food and want help finding a restaurant, they’re not great, or even desirable, when it comes to complex decision-making. In fact, they help enable a series of counterproductive ideas and reactive behaviors that actually impair your ability to make informed decisions. For example, let’s say you want to buy a car. Maybe you’re weighing a Prius versus a Crosstrek. Siri and Google can give you all sorts of information, such as fuel efficiency or the current interest rate on your loan. But a search engine won’t know why you’re buying the car, how you intend to use it, or what impact the purchase will have on your budget. Ultimately your decision needs to come from a clear understanding of your needs, values, and goals — information that’s outside the reach of their algorithms.

The most important things you need to learn often aren’t formally taught when you’re young. For example, many lament that teenagers aren’t educated on how to manage money. It’s a fair criticism. Evidence suggests a severe lack of knowledge around basic personal finance; a 2018 survey found that less than 50 percent of respondents could correctly define what interest is, the concept of bankruptcy, or how inflation works. In the absence of knowledge, myths creep in. One example that gets attention this time of year is the “benefit” of receiving a tax refund. This is a myth. In almost all cases, receiving a substantial refund isn’t a good thing. After all, you lent the government money—interest-free— throughout the year. 

Another myth: All college degrees are a sound financial decision. Data suggests that some people spend way too much money on a degree that won’t land them a job with a salary sufficient enough to make the investment worthwhile. It’s part of the reason why there’s a student debt crisis. Like personal finance, management isn’t something most people study formally—although HBS Online offers a Management Essentials course. Most people learn management “on the job,” and in fits and starts. As with personal finance, myths often develop for those who’ve never received management training.

On January 15th 2009 the world witnessed an unusual incident. The press called it ‘Miracle on the Hudson’. On that unforgetable day, an Airbus A320 aircraft with 150 passengers and crew members on board, encountered multiple bird strikes. They damaged the turbofan engines to the extent that both the engines of the aircraft became immobile.

In that situation, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger took a bold decision to land the unpowered aircraft on the Hudson River. Fortunately, it was a safe landing and the lives of all 150 passengers and crew members were saved. This was truly unprecedented. Such events allow us to appreciate the criticality of making the right choices in times of crisis. It proves that a decision can be a life changing one and that too not just for an individual, but for an entire nation. Though decision making is a critical survival skill, research shows that it is prone to biases. Hence, it is worthy of deep study.

Myths About Decision-Making

1. I like to be efficient

So many of us think efficiency means jumping right in and making a decision. But to be truly effective, we need to be clear on what we are solving for. Rushing can lead you to make a decision based on the wrong factors, which ultimately will lead to regret. For example, walking into a car dealership and buying the first car you see may feel efficient, but may mean you end up with the car the salesperson wants to get rid of, not the car that best fits your needs and budget.

2. I just need to solve this problem at this moment

This is the classic example of “losing the forest for the trees.” Our problems sit in a context. A narrow focus may solve the wrong problem, or only partially solve the problem. If your car breaks down unexpectedly and you rush out to buy a new one, are you considering your needs beyond the present?

3. This is my decision alone; I don’t need to involve others 

Our important decisions do involve other stakeholders. Avoiding this bigger picture of who else is affected by a decision can, at best, only partially solve the problem, and may exacerbate it. For example, if your spouse or child can’t drive a stick-shift, do you really want to buy a manual transmission car that no one else in the family can get out of the driveway in an emergency?

4. I know I’m right; I just want data or an opinion to confirm my own thinking

Also known as “confirmation bias,” this decision-making flaw has been behind notorious failures from the Bay of Pigs to the subprime loan market implosion to the NASA Challenger explosion to the Deepwater Horizon environmental catastrophe. In each case, disconfirming data was available and should have raised concerns, but groupthink set in, and no one wanted to raise the red flag. To better understand and define the limitations of what you think you know, look for contrary examples and evaluate rival explanations. These techniques can prevent “frame blindness” to keep you from seeing what you want to see rather than what may be present. For example, maybe you’ve settled on the Crosstrek in your car search, but you decide to look around anyway. Could your preference for the Crosstrek influence how you evaluate the other cars? Could you be looking to confirm your inclination rather than buy the best car for your needs? To pry open cognitive space, first consider your needs and then look for cars that fit those parameters.

5. Decision-making is linear

In fact, good decision-making is circular; it needs a feedback loop as we gather information and analyze it and our thinking. At times we need to go back to find information we’ve glossed over, or to gather new information or conduct a different kind of analysis. When buying a car, for example, you might think that doing your research first and then going to a dealer and negotiating a price is enough. But there are many dealers, and they each have leeway to negotiate a price, so circling around and comparing offers may get you a better price.

6. There’s just one way to do this

Whether it’s how the bed should be made, which diet to follow, or how to divide up your retirement account, there’s always more than one way to get to “yes.” We’ve been conditioned out of listening to other voices, siloed in our information, environment, and social (media) circles. But getting outside your routines and patterns leads you to seeing things differently. You may always have gone into the dealership to buy cars, but more and more, people are negotiating car purchases online and through texting and email.

7. I have all the information I need

 While we may want to forge ahead, we can improve our decisions — and our satisfaction — by investing in a little bit of research and confronting assumptions with evidence. Your best friend might love her car, but that doesn’t mean it’s the car for you, particularly if it won’t fit your daughter’s hockey equipment. Looking to the experts, such as Consumer Reports, which does substantive research, can help you make an educated decision that’s also right for you.

8. I can make a rational decision

Psychologists far and wide, such as Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, have demonstrated that as much as we’d like to believe it, none of us are rational. We all operate through a dirty windshield of bias based on past experiences and feelings. You might think you won’t get taken in by a car dealer, but they are professional salespeople who know how to evoke an emotional response.

For all our talk about the importance of management, it seems to be one of the most mysterious business disciplines. As with any realm shrouded in mystery, myths develop to help individuals understand what they know little about. But beware of believing them. While some myths point to the truth, many don’t. The best anecdote for knowing which myths are helpful shorthand and which are falsehoods? Education.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.johnolivant.com/2020/07/16/the-myths-surrounding-decision-making/
https://www.greenbook.org/mr/market-research-news/4-common-myths-about-human-decision-making/
https://eugenie.ai/3-myths-about-decision-making-busted/

How to Empower Employees to Speak Up When They See Misconducts

More than 50 years after the term “bystander effect” was coined, many of us still witness workplace wrongdoing yet stay stubbornly silent. In motivating employees to speak up, most organisations still rely on traditional compliance-based tools such as codes of conduct, training, and audits. This approach has simply failed — only an estimated 1.4% of employees blow the whistle. Current strategies remain ineffective and are often counterproductive.

This matters because organisational silence perpetuates white-collar crime: It continues to rise despite companies investing millions in misconduct prevention. Scandals have slashed market valuations and ravaged the reputations of Boeing, BP, Barings, and many others. The leading cause of silence is fear of repercussions. One study showed that 82% of whistleblowers suffered harassment, 60% lost their jobs, 17% lost homes, and 10% attempted suicide. Other causes include our unconscious need for belonging, a preference for the status quo, and wilful blindness.

How can organisations motivate employees to speak up and respond to them effectively? The answer lies, of course, in behavioural science.

What Companies Often Do Wrong

Before delving into the solution, we need to understand three common mistakes or assumptions that companies make in combating misconduct.

The wrong tools. Organisations over rely on a narrow set of compliance and control tools to prevent wrongdoing and encourage its disclosure. How effective were codes of conduct, training, or audits when Volkswagen falsified the emissions of its diesel cars? Or safety training and testing when Ford launched the Pinto with a fuel-tank design flaw, saving $137 million but costing dozens of lives? The answer: Not very. Few spoke out. Why? Because sanctioning systems distort our thought process from doing the right thing. When rewards such as promotions, perks, or pay raises are threatened, self-preservation creeps in, and we use a business lens, not a moral lens, to decide what to do.

The wrong communication triggers. When companies design compliance policies and codes of conduct, they hope they will trigger our sense of duty and moral responsibility to speak up if we see bad behaviour. But they don’t inspire many people to speak up. For example, an independent longitudinal analysis concluded that codes of conduct are “insufficient to guide employee behaviour – tension-provoking when implemented across cultures – inward-looking – and dependent on effective communications.”

In many research papers done on this topic, respondents were exposed to a hypothetical situation where a senior executive bullied a junior employee to accelerate launch of a new drug, despite incomplete testing. The emotion triggered was not a feeling of responsibility to speak up, but anger at the offending manager — by a factor of four. But while 91% of respondents indicated they intended to report the incident, only 9% took action, and most associated speaking up not with responsibility but with the courage to report their superiors. Bystanders justify their inaction in what psychologists call diffusion of responsibility: the assumption others will intervene. The bigger the group, the bigger the assumption, and the bigger the problem.

The wrong assumptions about employee types. Assuming that certain populations or personality types — e.g., extroverts, optimists, or leaders — are predisposed to speak up is incorrect. Behavioural science shows that men are no more likely to blow the whistle than women, and extroverts no more likely than introverts, regardless of industry or occupation. There is no magic gender, disposition, age or personality. Anyone can speak up.

An Integrated Solution

Given that codes of conduct, training, and audits alone don’t suffice in getting people to speak up when they witness improper behaviour, other steps must be taken. Risk and compliance departments should engage with communications departments, and compliance-based tools must be supplemented with emotion-based triggers.

Based on decades of behavioural science research there have been discovered numerous strategies which work hand-in-hand with traditional compliance practices.  Managers can apply all the changes or simply cherry-pick a few. The best mix depends on a company’s culture, size, and systems.

1. Get Rid of Your “Zero Tolerance” Policies

You’re probably thinking, “Did I read that right? I thought zero tolerance is important, especially when you are talking about violence, fraud, safety, or harassment.”

To be sure, it is critical to have strongly worded and vigorously enforced policies, especially when dealing with behaviour that is illegal, that threatens employee or public safety, or that jeopardises company assets. But if your policies say (or imply) that an employee will be fired if they violate that policy, without any possibility of a lesser outcome depending on the severity of the behaviour, you may actually be dissuading employees from reporting possible concerns.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has cautioned that using the phrase “zero tolerance” may lead employees to believe that the company will automatically impose the same discipline–termination–regardless of whether misconduct is minor or devastating. But employees often don’t want their co-worker, or even their boss, to get fired over a minor offense. They frequently just want the troubling behaviour to stop, so they may opt to forego reporting and try to deal with the situation on their own, or ignore it. This can cause the behaviour to continue or to escalate, or lead to other workplace conflicts.

2. Prevent Retaliation

This point may seem incredibly intuitive, but if employees see or hear that someone has experienced retaliation after they reported a concern–or even if they simply fear that they will be retaliated against–they are less likely to come forward.

The number and percentage of retaliation charges filed with the EEOC, for example, indicates that retaliation is a big problem. Since the EEOC’s 2009 fiscal year, retaliation has been the no.1 complaint filed with the EEOC, and by FY 2018, over 50% of all charges alleged retaliation. In fact, the EEOC received 1.5 times more retaliation charges in FY 2018 than the next most frequent type of illegal behaviour, sex discrimination (32% of charges), notwithstanding the significant increase in those claims filed post #MeToo.

The challenge is that retaliation can take many forms, from subtle (a supervisor removing an employee from a lucrative project) to egregious (demotion or firing). Compounding the issue is that it is human nature to feel upset toward or uncomfortable around someone who has complained about you or someone on your team. People may feel betrayed, hurt, or confused–and as a result, may change their behaviour for a time vis-a-vis the person who complained. Some of these behaviours are illegal and some aren’t–but all can damage workplace culture and make employees think twice about coming forward in the future.

For these reasons, it is critical for employers to put safeguards in place to prevent retaliation, such as proactively and periodically checking in with whistleblowers to see how they are doing, or monitoring proposed job changes, performance evaluations, or other data post-complaint to ensure non-retaliatory treatment. Equally important, the employer also should provide coaching on conflict management and how employees can move forward in a collaborative manner post-complaint.

3. Encourage and Reward Speaking Up in the Workplace

In stark contrast to retaliation, organisations who truly want to know about concerns and who understand the value of having an accurate picture of what’s happening on the proverbial factory floor will take steps to encourage and reward speaking up.

This goes beyond simply communicating a “see something, say something” slogan. Company leaders must clearly and repeatedly articulate an authentic desire to know the good, the bad, and the ugly, and reward employees who follow through.

Here we have the example of former CEO of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally. He told the story of how when he first became Ford’s CEO, the company had many financial challenges and a rocky road ahead. Yet, at early meetings with his senior executive team, they each presented “all green” status reports indicating that their areas were on target to reach their goals. Mulally knew this couldn’t be right given the company’s struggles, so he encouraged one of his direct reports to ensure that his next report reflected the honest truth about what was going on.

When that subordinate’s next report at the executive team meeting showed several “red status” items, Mulally praised him enthusiastically for his candor and then asked the other executives in the room about what they could all do to help turn the situation around. Then, the following week, other executives’ reports also began to reflect “red” and “yellow” items. And once Mulally had accurate, unfiltered data, it was quickly apparent where the business was struggling–and what they could do to address it.

This two-pronged approach by Mulally–asking to know the truth and then praising the reporter publicly–was a game-changer. It proved to staff they could speak the truth without reprisal and created trust. And as a result, the company’s business was able to improve.

4. Gather Data About Reporting

If you find that workers rarely speak up about conduct violations in your organisation, one of the best steps you can take is to assess why. You may find it is as simple as a lack of awareness of policies or procedures to report incidents, in which case you can develop resources and training to make sure employees know where to go. If you find your workforce is fearful of retaliation or doesn’t feel reports will be addressed, then that information can also help the organisation to correct misperceptions, put anti-retaliation safeguards in place, and find ways to increase transparency about the post-report process.

5. Be Transparent

One of the other oft-reported reasons why employees do not speak up with a concern is because they do not believe that any action will be taken. When employees hear crickets after filing a complaint, a natural assumption is that nothing happened.

Of course, as HR, compliance, safety, and legal professionals are well aware, reported concerns generally set into motion a flurry of activity and often lead to an investigation. The contents and progress of an investigation are usually kept close to the vest to preserve the integrity of the process, and the results are usually confidential for privacy and legal reasons.

However, organizations are increasingly realizing that some degree of transparency about what happened is important to demonstrate accountability, earn trust, preserve culture, and encourage reporting. Thus, organizations should consider having follow-up meetings with the reporter and any witnesses involved in an investigation to thank them for coming forward or participating, noting that an investigation was conducted and concluded, and possibly sharing–often at a very high level and depending on the person who is being spoken to–if some sort of (usually unnamed) action would be taken as a result. Encouraging a speak up culture is a critical component of an organization’s efforts to not only ensure compliance with legal requirements and company policies but also to address inappropriate behaviour before it escalates into a larger issue. It creates a sense of shared responsibility among employees, communicating that we all have a role to play in safeguarding workplace culture. Leaders who encourage employees to speak up in the workplace, and who protect and reward those who do, demonstrate their commitment to an honest, ethical, and respectful workplace. By doing so, all employees–and the company–will thrive.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://everfi.com/blog/workplace-training/5-ways-to-encourage-a-speak-up-culture-in-the-workplace/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/05/22/13-best-ways-to-encourage-your-employees-to-speak-up/?sh=7063b1d41f2b
https://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/empowering-employees-to-speak-up-against-unethical-behavior/

Vulnerability – The Key to Unlocking Better Leadership

Few myths are as universal as the notion that leaders ought to appear tough and confident. Or at least that was the case before the current and ongoing pandemic, which has exposed the many weaknesses of forceful, dominant leaders and highlighted the superiority of those who have had the courage to reveal their vulnerabilities.

Consider how Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the virus, displayed fearless bravado, and undermined the policies of wearing a mask or social distancing, putting others at risk. Contrast this with the honest and data-driven approach taken by Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, or Sanna Marin, which saved thousands of lives and mitigated the economic damage to Germany, New Zealand, and Finland respectively.

People in compeanies of all types are better off when their leaders are smart, honest, and caring when taking bold, potentially unpopular actions — when their focus is on helping the organisation move forward, not on how they look and certainly not on creating a false sense of invincibility that actually harms people. In a complex and uncertain world that demands constant learning and agility, the most adaptable leaders are those who are aware of their limitations, have the necessary humility to grow their own and others’ potential, and are courageous and curious enough to create sincere and open connections with others. They thrive on building inclusive team climates with psychological safety that encourage constructive criticism and dissent.

According to author Brené Brown, Ph.D, LMSW, in her latest book ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead’, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”

Myths and Misconceptions About Vulnerability

1. Vulnerability is a weakness. Brown says “To feel is to be vulnerable.” So when we consider vulnerability to be a weakness, we consider feeling one’s emotions to be so, too, she says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”

2. Some people don’t or can’t experience vulnerability.Virtually Everyone feels vulnerability at one point in their life. “Life is vulnerable,” Brown writes. Being vulnerable isn’t the choice we have to make, she says. Rather, the choice is how we respond when the elements of vulnerability greet us: uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Many of us respond by avoiding or suppressing vulnerability.

3. Vulnerability means spilling some of your secrets. Some of us hesitate to be vulnerable because we assume that means exposing our “secrets.” We assume that being vulnerable means spilling our hearts to strangers, and as Brown puts it, “letting it all hang out.” But vulnerability embraces boundaries and trust, she says. “Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable takes courage.”

4. Another Myth: You Can Go It Alone. None of us, in recognizing our vulnerability, should pretend we are able to “go it alone.” When we ask others “Can you help me with this? What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you willing to work on this together with me?” “I’m not sure what we should do here,” we are expressing our vulnerabilities in a courageous and positive way.

Vulnerable Leaders

In today’s business world, employees, shareholders and customers alike demand honest and transparent CEOs — those who are not only confident, but can be trusted. Yet recent Edelman Trust Barometers show that trust in business leaders is declining. Compounding this disturbing trend, the prevalence of corporate misconduct, value destruction, and toxic corporate cultures, executives may earn as much as 271 times more than the average worker.

To shake the image of the self-serving CEO with little to lose, business leaders need to be honest about their vulnerabilities — their own, their partners’, and their business’ susceptibility to loss or mistakes. If CEOs continue to act as though they have nothing to lose, or act out of self-interest they will fail to regain trust.

In business, vulnerability has been and is generally perceived as weakness. Media headlines encourage businesses to avoid vulnerability or suffer the consequences: “30% of Auto Parts Retailers’ Business Is Vulnerable to Amazon,” “Five Industries Most Vulnerable to Digital Disruption,”. Personal vulnerability is considered a liability for leaders and their organizations, so it is studiously avoided. Conventional wisdom holds that it is difficult to lead or negotiate or make demands from a position of perceived weakness.

What Vulnerable Leaders Do

Being vulnerable in the workspace doesn’t mean you walk around with a box of tissues and share your deepest, most personal secrets with everyone. So what does being vulnerable in the work environment look like?

Accept the fact that vulnerability as a strength. Being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing and it doesn’t make you weak; it actually makes you a better leader because you stop wasting energy protecting yourself from what you think other people shouldn’t see. It allows you to start showing your authentic self. By accepting vulnerability as a strength, you stop worrying about having every answer and realize it’s okay to be wrong.

Admit and own their mistakes. We all make mistakes, especially as leaders. The more willing we are to admit and own our mistakes (not make excuses, point fingers, or avoid responsibility) the more others will trust us and want to follow our lead. Taking responsibility, apologising, and making amends for the mistakes we make are not always easy things to do, but they’re essential for us to have true credibility with the people around us.

Not taking themselves too seriously. t’s important for us to have a sense of humour and not get too full of ourselves, which is something many of us do, particularly as a leader. “Do you have any idea how important I think I am?” We must laugh at ourselves, notice when we get too serious, and have enough self-awareness to keep things in a healthy perspective.

Asking and receiving help from others. As leaders. most of us like to help others, but often we have a difficult time asking for and receiving help. Requesting help can be perceived, especially by us, as an admission of weakness or an acknowledgment that we’re not capable of doing something. However, all of us need help and support — and in some cases, we need a lot of it. Being the kind of leader who is comfortable enough with yourself and the people around you to admit when you don’t know something, can’t do something, or simply need help in making something happen, is not a sign of weakness; it’s both a sign of strength and an opportunity to empower others in an authentic way.

Benefits of Leader Vulnerability

1. It decreases tension and stress at work. Stress could be decreased considerably by allowing free discussion about controversial or uncomfortable issues.

2. It increases flow of ideas, creativity, and innovation. By acknowledging that they don’t have all the answers, leaders allow others to contribute their ideas and criticisms. And admitting their mistakes, leaders give allow others to make mistakes and talk about them. Leaders who acknowledge they made poor decisions through their example, let those under them know that it is okay to take risks or make constructive suggestions.

3. Emotional connections leads to less turnover. A great deal of workplace research points out that being emotionally connected to a workplace is often a deciding factor on whether or not people will stay or look elsewhere. An open, honest and authentic leadership makes it much more likely that staff at all levels will feel a connection to the organisation at an emotional level when they feel connected with their leaders.

Now more than ever, the world needs leaders who are vulnerable, empathetic, and compassionate — servant leaders — who put the interests of others and the world first. We’ve seen how the other kinds of leaders — self-serving, narcissistic (and sometimes psychopathic) and toxic — have created chaos and damage. It’s time for a change.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carleysime/2019/03/27/could-a-little-vulnerability-be-the-key-to-better-leadership/#61a2e5f0783e
https://medium.com/why-the-best-leaders-view-vulnerability-as-a-strength-6a4a7e27d461
https://hbr.org/2020/10/todays-leaders-need-vulnerability-not-bravado

Improving Decision-Making and Group Performance

Running a business is nothing more than making a series of important decisions. For a business owner or manager, each day is filled with decision-making, with some of those decisions likely meaning the difference between profit and loss. It can become stressful to make such important decisions day after day, especially if you are trying to make them all on your own.

In many cases, it will be better to make decisions as part of a group. When a group comes together to make an important choice, the company as a whole will enjoy several advantages. For one thing, the knowledge of all of the various people in the group will be used to make the choice, not just the knowledge of one individual. There are sure to be many different backgrounds and types of experiences within the group, which means great things for the quality of the final decision. Also, bad ideas tend to get filtered out in the group setting, meaning the eventual choice is less likely to be a dud.

With all of that said, group decision-making is not perfect. It can be tough to get everyone on the same page, meaning it may take quite a bit of time to make an eventual decision, even if that decision does wind up being a good one. To make the group decision making process run as smoothly as possible, you may wish to employ one of the methods outlined in the content below. We have identified a few methods for group decision making, so there is a good chance that one of these options will be right for your needs.

The Hoy-Tarter Model of Decision-Making

Originally created for use within a school system, the Hoy-Tarter Decision-Making Model can actually be applied in a number of different settings. If you are the owner or manager of any kind of organisation, you already know just how difficult it can be to make decisions. Specifically, it can be hard to decide how to make those decisions, in terms of who you should include, what you should consider in the process, and more. Making good decisions is a key to success in business, but you can only make good decisions if you have an appropriate process in place.

In this model, the main goal is to figure out exactly who should be included in the decision-making process. Different decisions are going to require different inputs from various people, so determining who should be included in making the decision (and who should be left out) is a key step not to be overlooked. Including the wrong people, or failing to include the right people, is a mistake that can have serious consequences.

If you decide to take a closer look at how to use this model, you will find that it requires you to create a matrix which will be filled with evaluations of expertise and whether or not an individual has a personal stake in the decision. It can take a bit of time to understand exactly how this model works, but it’s worth the effort because of its effectiveness.

Multi-Voting

If you would like to use voting to help make important organisational decisions from time to time, you may wish to employ the popular Multi-Voting Decision Making method. With this method, you can select the most popular options from a list in order to get an idea about the consensus of the group. Multi-voting is not always the right solution when trying to make a decision, but it can be perfect in specific circumstances.

If you would like to use the Multi-voting method, the first thing you need to do is develop a list of ideas that are going to be the subject of your vote. Ask the team that is working on this project to collaborate on a list. At first, you can put any idea that is presented onto the list, but you will want to slightly narrow down and ‘clean up’ that list before it goes to the vote. Before taking the vote, you will want to decide on exactly how many votes each individual is going to be given. Generally speaking, each person should be allowed to vote for roughly 1/3rd of the ideas on the list. So, given a list of 15 items, each person would be allowed to place five votes (thus the name ‘Multi-voting’). Of course, you are free to alter the number of votes allotted as you see fit, but the 1/3rd rule is a good place to start.

With all votes cast and collected, all you’ll need to do is count up the totals and determine the winning ideas. If you would like, you can narrow down the list of contenders and do the vote again, further concentrating your list to just a few of the strongest options. Multi-voting is the perfect way to gauge the opinion of a large group when several ideas are on the table.

Hartnett’s CODM Model

In this application, CODM stands for ‘consensus-oriented decision-making’, and that title tells you just about everything you need to know regarding the goal of this model. The idea here is to bring your group to a consensus as far as the best decision for the situation at hand. Once you have a group assembled that you are going to use to help make this important decision, Hartnett’s CODM Model calls for following through with a seven-step process. The seven steps are as follows:

  • Framing the problem
  • Having an open discussion
  • Identifying Underlying Concerns
  • Developing Proposals
  • Choosing a direction
  • Developing a preferred solution
  • Closing

Regardless of the decision that needs to be made, this is a solid framework that you can use to walk through the process from start to finish. Of course, it may be necessary to tweak the model slightly in order to have it fit nicely with the needs of your organisation.

Delphi Technique

When a team truly struggles to reach a consensus for a major decision, you may need to step in and narrow down the options for them. The Delphi Technique takes all the ideas and compiles them for the manager of the group to break down into a smaller amount of possibilities. He or she then takes the remaining options back to the group for their consideration.

If the team continues to grapple over the resolution, the manager will condense the choices even further until they can make a decision. It gets easier for groups to reach an agreement when there are fewer outcomes available.

Rank the Possibilities

Rankings work for determining who is the best within sport leagues like the British Premier League and NFL, so why wouldn’t they work for a business as well? Whether you decide on an idea’s ranking by using a voting system or working as a team to prioritize them, it can be a great group decision making process for issues or questions that have many potential outcomes.

This technique can be organised through email, an online communication tool, or in a brief meeting. One specific way to determine how the possible scenarios should be ranked is by having everyone make a personal list of how they would rank them. Then, combine the lists and do some basic math to determine the average spot where each possibility should be represented.

By using one or more of these strategies in your business, you will see a dramatic increase in productivity and resolving issues among your team. Take a look at some of the upcoming choices your team will need to make soon and determine which of these tactics will be the most effective.

There are also numerous team-building activities you can do with your group to boost your team’s collaboration even further. Give these ideas a try and see if it makes your group decision making processes easier than ever before.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2020/09/7-strategies-for-better-group-decision-making
https://upraise.io/blog/group-decision-making-techniques/
https://airfocus.com/blog/guide-to-group-decision-making-techniques-tools/

Has the CEO Position Evolved to a Two-Person Job?

When Netflix announced this summer that it was elevating Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos to co-CEO, sharing the title with founder Reed Hastings, the move cut against conventional wisdom. Salesforce.com, SAP, and Oracle all had abandoned co-CEO structures within the last year, leading The Wall Street Journal to ask: “Co-CEOs Are Out of Style. Why Is Netflix Resurrecting the Management Model?”

In the hierarchies of corporate America, there’s nothing ambiguous about the position of “chief executive officer.” Whoever holds the CEO title sits at the tip-top of the org chart; it’s right there in the capital C. But what happens when that designation—and the power it implies—is shared? 

That’s the unusual experiment that several companies have undertaken in the past few months, splitting the role of CEO between two executives. In September, WeWork’s parent named two interim CEOs, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, to replace founder and spiritual guru Adam Neumann, who stepped down as the embattled shared-office giant postponed its IPO. (The pair will be replaced in February by a single new CEO, Sandeep Mathrani.) Software giant SAP in October named Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein co-CEOs—the third time the German company has opted for the dual-leader arrangement. And in January, luggage startup Away wound up with two CEOs after former chief Steph Korey returned to cohead the company just weeks after reports of toxic work behaviour prompted her to step down. She’s now splitting the position with Stuart Haselden, the former Lululemon executive whom Away had initially tapped as Korey’s lone replacement.

The truth is the archetype of the omnipotent CEO — the lone commander atop the corporate pyramid — is increasingly a relic of 20th century management thinking. There are some notable exceptions: Founders like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg still command and control. But in our research with the American Psychological Association, we’ve found that for most mere mortals, it’s simply too hard to go it alone. The modern business landscape is too fast-moving and the demands on a CEO have become too innumerable for a single person to set an organization’s strategic direction and oversee a multitude of internal decisions, all while acting as its public face to stakeholders.

Tellingly, while executive teams have doubled in size over the last three decades as different corporate functions have gained importance (human resources) or have come into existence (digital strategy and data security), the top job has largely remained a solitary grind. As entrepreneur Joe Procopio has observed, “The math on giving 110% usually breaks down to giving 10% across 11 different priorities.”

At the same time, the expectations of modern leadership have evolved. Organisations are more agile, less hierarchical, and must adapt quickly to the sudden dislocations we have today. Generational shifts in the workforce and society bring rising social consciousness of inequalities and a mandate for including others with different experiences into decision-making. These exigencies have made non-traditional soft skills essential additives to leadership.

There are four basic rules on how to 2 CEOs should cooperate when they both are running the company.

1. Pick the right partner. Co-CEOs are in a very real sense professionally married. The foundational qualities of such an enduring personal relationship also apply in a shared C-suite: a common vision, clear communication, and most important, deep trust. This sustains the partnership when, inevitably, there is a disagreement. Each must remember the other’s talents and make decisions knowing it’s still one P&L both must own. You cannot go into this arrangement without believing in the character of the other and vice-versa.

2. Set expectations. Critics of dual CEOs argue that shared accountability amounts to no accountability at all — if two are in charge, no one is. But properly managed, the opposite is true. The idea of joint accountability means setting performance standards that put each partner in the position of having to live up to the other. Ideally, this creates a healthy competition. Would-be CEOs are typically high-performing individuals, so clear lanes help each partner drive improvements in the other. Indeed, a 2011 paper published in Financial Review found that co-CEOs’ mutual monitoring can generate enough accountability to substitute for board supervision.

3. Define roles and responsibilities. The organization must understand who is in charge of which aspects of the company and where decision-making authority lies. We have a highly decentralized workforce — the two of us live in different cities — yet our managers intersect with us with a clear understanding of what types of decisions we are each responsible for. This is liberating in that it takes some daily responsibilities off each CEO’s plate. It also frees up time for skill-building around one’s dedicated areas, yielding more focused mentorship. And one leader can come into another’s problem from a fresh outside perspective. Clearly delineating areas of responsibility also mitigates another common criticism — that co-CEOs are a bottleneck. In fact, the structure often facilitates a quicker response because one individual has authority to make a decision from a greater depth of experience and knowledge.

4. Distribute authority but not responsibility. While each partner has individual duties, both must fundamentally remain a leadership unit, one in which successes and setbacks alike are owned together. These successes and setbacks should be reflected in short- and long-term compensation. They must be prepared to be rewarded or penalized as a unit and accept the consequences. With the right chemistry and trust, it incentivizes both healthy competition and having each other’s back. Another benefit of this conjoined career planning is that it can both temporary or long term. Some companies may see a co-CEO arrangement as a grooming opportunity for a junior leader.

Let’s be honest: The modern CEO is often overwhelmed by unrealistic demands. Netflix’s move to co-CEOs says less about the limitations of individual leaders than about a system that sets them up to fail. We believe business pyramids are stifling innovation, when a division of authority can unleash it. In unprecedented times like these, more companies should rethink their structures and embrace co-CEOs, putting their leaders in positions to succeed.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2020/09/is-ceo-a-two-person-job?ab=hero-main-text
https://marker.medium.com/heres-when-it-actually-makes-sense-to-have-2ceos-64827d0ddb5c
https://fortune.com/2020/02/17/co-ceos-model-companies/

What to Do When Your Boss Doesn’t Respect Your Working Schedule

When trying to balance your work and family commitments, it helps to have a boss who is understanding and supportive: someone who doesn’t raise an eyebrow when you sign off early to attend a school event or take a personal day to accompany one of your parents to a doctor’s appointment.

But what if your manager isn’t sympathetic to your familial responsibilities? Or worse, your boss is outright dismissive or even hostile toward your obligations? This is particularly challenging during the pandemic when many people’s work and home lives have collided. How should you handle a boss who refuses to acknowledge the other demands on your time? How can you find room for flexibility? What should you say about your family commitments? And who should you turn to for moral and professional support?

Career coaches at Work It Daily have discovered certain patterns. At this moment, employee frustration is at an all-time high. Workers are feeling fed up with their employers and wondering if the grass could be greener elsewhere.

While pay and opportunity for growth remain the top two reasons people claim they want to find a new job, the research done by Work It Daily shows that what ultimately pushes a person to seek a new job is feeling disrespected by their boss. Think of it this way: most professionals enjoy a job search about as much as they enjoy having an invasive dental operation. In order to put in the extra time and energy to switch jobs, the pain has to be really bad. When job seekers have gone the Work It Daily coaches they have complained about their manager’s lack of respect. If you don’t have the respect you want, it’s because you allowed your boss to treat you a certain way. From your first interaction with your boss until now, you have set the tone for how you’re perceived in the role. The good news is, you can change this. But to do so, you have to recognise the signs that your manager doesn’t respect you.

Know your rights

First things first, “know your rights” and understand what you’re entitled to in terms of paid leave and care options, says Thompson. Do some research into your company’s policies and whether there are alternative work arrangements on offer. Long before the pandemic hit, an increasing number of organisations instituted flexible work plans for employees, and many states have flex-work policies in place for their government workers.

Find out, too, if your situation qualifies you for the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law requires some employers to provide paid leave to workers who must care for someone subject to quarantine or a child whose day care or school is closed. Washington recommends talking to your company’s HR person, if you have one, to learn what options and accommodations are available to you. “Knowledge is power,” she says.

Exhibit empathy

Next, summon compassion. It’s not easy to be a boss, especially right now. Many managers are under pressure. “They’re stressed, anxious, and struggling to do more with less,” says Washington. Consider the situation from their perspective.

Thompson says your empathy should be both “genuine and strategic.” Ask your manager about their pain points. Find out where their worries lie. Be sincere — show you care about them as a human being — and be tactical. Ask about their “objectives and the metrics they need to hit,” she says. “You’ll get important information about what they’re concerned about” which will help you sharpen your focus in terms of the work you prioritise.

Develop more than one plan

Once you “understand what’s top of mind” for your manager, you can frame your plans for getting your job done in a way helps them achieve their goals and objectives, says Thompson. Focus on results. When you’re a caregiver, your schedule can often be unpredictable so it’s important to make a plan as well as several contingency ones. Address your manager’s “insecurities about you not pulling your weight” by demonstrating that you’re “making arrangements to get your work done.” You want your manager to come away from your conversations thinking, “They’ve got this.”

Don’t be shy about reminding your manager of your track record for delivering on expectations, adds Washington. “Your past performance is the strongest indicator of your future performance,” she says. Hopefully, your manager will come to see “that what’s most important is not how the job gets done, but that it gets done.”

Articulate boundaries

If your boss is a face time tyrant, it can be tough to establish boundaries, but it’s still important to do. We all need time in our day that’s off-limits for work, says Washington. “If 6 pm is when you have dinner and put the kids down,” so be it. “Have those boundaries — and let your boss know that you will be unavailable then.”

But if your manager continues to be disrespectful of your family time, you need to have a conversation. Frame the discussion around you — how you prefer to structure your workday and how and when you perform best. Explain that you need your non-work hours to regroup and take care of your family commitments. Without that time away from work, you will not be able to fully devote yourself to your job.

Take care of yourself

Working for someone who doesn’t respect your life outside of work can be exhausting so make sure you’re taking time for yourself. Be purposeful about giving yourself “a forced mental break,” says Thompson. Make time to read, cook, dance, run, meditate — or any other activity that you enjoy or helps you relax. “Schedule joy,” she says.

And even if exercise isn’t usually your thing, Thompson suggests finding time for it every day, especially during this difficult period. “Don’t underestimate the power of 20-30 minutes of daily physical activity,” she says. At a time when your boss is being difficult and “nothing feels in your control,” getting your endorphins pumping should be a priority.

Don’t let a lack of respect from your boss hold you back from achieving your goals. Learn how to interact better so you can get what you need to succeed!

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/7-warning-signs-your-boss-disrespects-you.html
https://hbr.org/2020/09/when-your-boss-doesnt-respect-your-family-commitments
https://www.drcaitlinfaas.com/blog/how-to-get-your-boss-to-respect-your-boundaries

Does Productivity Soar by Working from Home?

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, working from home has become the norm for many. But even as remote work has normalised, it’s a recent development: doing your job from your couch was less mainstream before the coronavirus – and even stigmatised.

“Have you punched into Google image search, ‘working from home’, and looked at the top 20 images? They’re basically naked people, a guy drinking champagne in what looks like a jacuzzi. I mean, almost none of them are positive images,” says Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University in California. He’s made a career out of studying work practices, including remote work. And he thinks the attitudes around working from home are finally changing.

“One silver lining with the Covid pandemic: it’s going to kickstart working from home [moving from the] fringe to a mainstream technology that is commonly used across the country,” he says. That process is already under way; firms including Fujitsu and Twitter have already announced plans to make remote work a permanent option, even after the pandemic.

A study done by Nicholas Bloom, professor at Stanford University, back in 2013 somewhat forecast this trend: in his experiment, Bloom worked with a Chinese company to study remote-work productivity. Somewhat to Bloom’s surprise, the company’s staff became notably more productive by working from home four days a week.

Now, six months into the global pandemic, an increasing number of companies are asking: should we work from home indefinitely? And if they do decide to make major organisational changes about remote work, could they see similar leaps in productivity?

How Do Knowledge Workers Spend Their Time?

In 2013, knowledge workers spent two-thirds of their time either “managing across” in meetings, often with many colleagues, or doing “desk-based work” on their own. Externally focused work (e.g. talking to customers), managing down (coaching and supporting subordinates) and managing up (interacting with the boss and other senior people) all got very little time, while training and personal development got almost none.

How has this picture changed during lockdown? There were two significant shifts: 12% less time managing across through meetings and 9% more time doing externally focused work. Desk-based work continues to take a third of our time. Other changes — a little less time managing up and a little more time on training and development — were not statistically significant.

Standing back, the evidence suggests lockdown has helped us more effectively prioritize our work. We still need to get through our emails and report-writing. But we are significantly less likely to get drawn into large meetings, and this leaves us more time for client or customer work and for training and development, which most people would argue is a good thing. However, lockdown doesn’t seem to have helped with hierarchy-spanning activities (managing up and down), presumably because it’s impossible to have the short, spontaneous meetings that used to be possible.

How Do Knowledge Workers Decide What to Do? 

While most knowledge workers have a written job description somewhere, it is well understood that they take responsibility for choosing what to do and when to do it based on a variety of factors, including tasks outside of their formal role when it appears sensible to do so.

To get a sense for how these decisions are made, we asked study subjects to choose among four options for every activity: It’s a standard part of my job/my boss asked, a peer or colleagues asked me, I did it spontaneously, or it was important and I found time. In 2013, respondents said 52% of their activities were standard, 18% requested by a peer , 24% independent but important, and 3% independent and spontaneous. In 2020, we are still spending half our time on standard activities, but we are doing only 8% because a colleague asked, and a full 35% because we thought the activity was critical.  Both these differences were statistically significant. Spontaneity rose to 6% but this difference was not statistically significant.

What’s going on here?  It seems we have been taking more direct charge of our time during lockdown. Working from home gives us a bit of breathing space: We don’t have colleagues or bosses badgering us, and we don’t get drawn into meetings by force of habit, just because we happen to be around. The result is a reassuring increase in us making time for work that matters most to us.

Concerns and Challenges

Working in lockdown has helped us to focus and to take responsibility. But that’s not the whole story. Follow-up interviews revealed some of the areas of concern that we as individuals — and as leaders of others — need to understand.

Some respondents cited the potential for shirking: “I am worried there is some slackening of effort. People are starting to get a bit too comfortable working from home,” said one. In our view, this is not a huge problem: There are many ways of informally monitoring how much time your colleagues are putting in via Outlook, Slack and other tools, and we should really be evaluating knowledge workers on their outputs not their inputs anyway.

The bigger areas of concern were around the things people couldn’t do well in a virtual environment. Take managing across first: It’s not so hard for an existing working group to stay on course when working remotely, but the challenges of getting started on something new (the forming/storming stages of team development) or resolving internal conflicts are enormous. Of course, these activities can be done over Zoom – just not as well. Few people are energized by informal online get-togethers. As one person said, “We are slowly losing the social glue that holds us together.”

Managing up and down are no less tricky under lockdown. Most respondents had instituted regular one-on-one catch-ups with their teams and bosses, but they usually focused on immediate task and personal well-being issues, rather than longer-term development. They missed the opportunity to bottom out difficult issues: “You cannot challenge a person quite so well over Zoom. You tend to hold back,” said one. They also lamented the loss of growth opportunities for their teams: “I used to throw people into new assignments, where they learned on the job, watching and learning from experienced colleagues. That’s almost impossible to do in a virtual setting.”

Finally, some people worried about their own development. While time spent on self-education went up during lockdown, this was mostly due to online webinar and course attendance — which helps build knowledge but doesn’t encourage the active experimentation and personal reflection that help us really grow.

For many of us, the new socially distanced mode of working may continue for some time.  The good news for knowledge workers from the first phase of this experiment is that lockdown has helped us better manage and prioritize our schedules to favor the most value-added work. The challenge — as we move into the next phase where some face-to-face meetings are allowed — will be to bring back the informal and social elements of office life that are so vital to organizational and individual success.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200710-the-remote-work-experiment-that-made-staff-more-productive
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/study-working-from-home-means-more-time-on-computers-but-workers-arent-more-productive/
https://hbr.org/2020/08/research-knowledge-workers-are-more-productive-from-home?ab=hero-main-text

AI & People Represent the Future of Work

Too many business leaders still believe that AI is just another ‘plug and play’ incremental technological investment. In reality, gaining a competitive advantage through AI requires organisational transformation of the kind exemplified by companies leading in this era: Google, Haier, Apple, Zappos, and Siemens. These companies don’t just have better technology — they have transformed the way they do business so that human resources can be augmented with machine powers.

While no one knows what artificial intelligence’s effect on work will be, we can all agree on one thing: it’s disruptive. So far, many have cast that disruption in a negative light and projected a future in which robots take jobs from human workers. That’s one way to look at it. Another is that automation may create more jobs than it displaces. By offering new tools for entrepreneurs, it may also create new lines of business that we can’t imagine now.

A recent study from Redwood Software and Sapio Research underscores this view. Participants in the 2017 study said they believe that 60 percent of businesses can be automated in the next five years. On the other hand, Gartner predicts that by 2020 AI will produce more jobs than it displaces. Dennis Mortensen, CEO and founder of x.ai, maker of AI-based virtual assistant Amy, agreed. “I look at our firm and two-thirds of the jobs here didn’t exist a few years ago,” said Mortensen.

In addition to creating new jobs, AI will also help people do their jobs better — a lot better. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer summed this idea up as, “Human plus machine equals superpowers.” For many reasons, the optimistic view is likely the more realistic one. But AI’s ability to transform work is far from preordained. In 2018, workers are not being adequately prepared for their futures. The algorithms and data that underlie AI are also flawed and don’t reflect the diverse society it’s meant to serve.

How AI Could Grow Jobs: Inventing New Ones, Empowering Existing Ones

While AI will certainly displace some jobs, such displacement has occurred long before AI was on the scene. In the past century, we’ve seen the demise or diminishment of titles like travel agent, switchboard operator, milkman, elevator operator and bowling alley pinsetter. Meanwhile, new titles like app developer, social media director, and data scientist have emerged.

Daugherty and Jim Wilson, managing director of Information Technology and Business Research at Accenture Research have co-authored a book titled Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI. In their view, future (and current) jobs include trainers and explainers. Trainers will teach AI systems how to perform and mimic human behaviours.

Empowering Workers, Businesses and Industries

Rather than replacing workers, AI can be a tool to help employees work better. A call center employee, for instance, can get instant intelligence about what the caller needs and do their work faster and better. That goes for businesses and industry too. In another example, in life sciences, Accenture is using deep learning and neural networks to help companies to bring treatments to market faster.

In addition to helping existing businesses, AI can create new ones. Such new business include digital-based elder care, AI-based agriculture and AI-based monitoring of sales calls. Finally, automation can be used to fill currently unfilled jobs. As Daugherty noted recently, there is a shortage of 150,000 truck drivers in the U.S. right now. “We need automation to improve the productivity of the drivers, the lifestyle of the drivers to attract more people to the industry,” he said.

The Value of Human and Machine Working Together

AI technology can boost business productivity by up to 40 per cent, according to Accenture. But while business leaders may rejoice at that fact, 72 per cent of employees fear AI stealing their jobs, Pew Research found.

However, the adoption of AI doesn’t mean a wipeout of work available to humans. While some tasks may be trusted completely to AI, like the algorithms that drive recommendation engines on platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify, others are reserved for human skill only.

For instance, because AI cannot offer empathy or emotion, traits native only to humans, it likely won’t have an applicable role in practice areas like psychotherapy, social work or in-depth customer service.

There’s also a third category of work: the kind best done by humans and AI working in tandem. In the case of many tasks, AI can help get progress started, but it still requires a human to complete the job by verifying the accuracy or providing more context. These gray areas include services like accuracy checks and human interaction.

While AI may not complete such tasks perfectly on its own, there is still value in keeping AI a part of the process. The ideal AI-human arrangement is one in which AI technology drives the lower-level, repetitive processes associated with completing a task, while human oversight ensures the timely and accurate completion of that task.

AI-Human Teams in Action

So where can we see this tag-team dynamic in action? The voice transcription space serves as one example.

Quick and accurate voice-to-text technology plays an important role in the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as the higher education and legal industries. AI can transcribe human speech much faster than humans can—in a controlled environment, that is.

But the everyday need for voice transcription doesn’t always come in the form of a controlled environment. AI only hits peak accuracy when the speech mimics the kind it was trained on. We can’t rely on AI alone to transcribe voice perfectly when the accent, speed, diction, and tone of the speech vary, or if background noise is present.

However, it’s most efficient to give AI the first crack at it and employ the help of humans to verify accuracy and fix errors if needed. Taking this approach has enabled faster access to high-quality voice transcription than ever before.

Teams that rely on fast voice transcription are reaping the benefits of humans and AI perfecting the practice. Courts, for example, face a court reporter shortage, with an estimated 70 per cent of the workforce expected to retire over the next 10 years. AI and human-powered voice transcription will help fill in the gaps.

Students — whether deaf, hearing-impaired or with no hearing issues — all benefit from timely access to the transcriptions of course lectures. Deaf and hearing-impaired students deserve the chance to keep up with their hearing classmates, and not all hearing students learn best by listening.

While AI has earned its place it every industry, it doesn’t always perform best on its own. Enlisting the help of humans brings it to its full potential and allows us all to take full advantage of a powerful technology, making a true difference in end-users’ lives.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/329099
https://www.wired.com/wiredinsider/2018/04/ai-future-work/
https://hbr.org/2020/08/the-secret-to-ai-is-people

Employee Harassment Online – How to Combat It

Harassment at work is prevalent and can be tough to combat. Being informed and prepared can help employees dealing with harassment recognise their rights and take action when needed. In some work environments, harassment may seem easy to brush off as playful camaraderie or “playing the game”, but it is no less serious than more direct, explicit bullying. Negative actions are often prompted by a harasser’s feelings of fear, disrespect or entitlement, but no matter the reasons, the only way to end workplace harassment is to properly address it.

U.S. law requires employers to create a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. But as offices go virtual, what happens when staff confront a torrent of hate and abuse online? Given that over 44% of Americans say they’ve experienced online harassment, chances are, if you’re an employer, you have people on staff who’ve been impacted. For those with public facing jobs (journalists, policymakers, academics, etc.), online abuse may well be part of day-to-day working life.

Although anyone can be subjected to online abuse, women, BIPOC, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are disproportionately targeted for their identities and experience more severe forms of harassment. As more and more organisations proclaim their commitment to providing equitable and inclusive work environments, they can no longer afford to ignore the very real consequences of online abuse.

And yet the professional impact, within and across industries, is significantly understudied.

The creative and media sectors are among the few industries for which we have research. A 2017 PEN America survey of writers and journalists found that over a third of respondents who had experienced online abuse reported an impact on their professional lives, with 64% taking a break from social media, 37% avoiding certain topics in their writing, and 15% ceasing to publish altogether. A 2019 study from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which focused specifically on female and gender non-conforming journalists in the U.S., found that 90% cited online harassment as the single biggest threat they faced.

In other words, in the media sector, online abuse is damaging the professional prospects and chilling the speech of those already underrepresented in the industry. It is precisely the voices that most urgently need to be heard in debates around race, gender, and the rights of marginalised groups that are at the greatest risk of being silenced.

Employers need to do better. When staff are attacked online in a way that intersects with their professional life, organisations have a responsibility to take the abuse seriously, and help address it. Some employers may feel they don’t know where to start, but in fact there are many steps you can take to support your teams in preparing for, responding to, and mitigating the damage of online abuse.

Acknowledging the Harm

To create an environment where employees feel safe and supported enough to come forward when they are being abused online, leadership needs to let staff know that they take the issue seriously and expect managers and colleagues to do the same. Targets often suffer in isolation, partly because there’s still a great deal of stigma and shame associated with harassment, online or off. Many people who are disproportionately attacked online have also been marginalized in other spaces, so they may have legitimate concerns about being dismissed, mocked, or punished. A commitment to supporting staff who are being abused online can be formalized by amending existing policies and protocols around sexual harassment and social media use, communicated via all-staff emails and meetings, and reinforced by the ways in which managers and HR react to individual cases.

Online Protocols Setup & Training

When staff are being harassed online, they often have no idea where to turn or what to do. Arm them with the knowledge that there are concrete steps they can take to proactively protect themselves and respond. Having clear protocols can make staff feel safer and more empowered. To ensure staff are actually aware of these initiatives, employers can fold policies and protocols into onboarding and employee handbooks, post them on intranets and Slack channels, and encourage managers, HR, IT, and social media staff to reinforce them — and offer training.

Guarantee Resources

These should include: cybersecurity services that protect against hacking, impersonation, doxing, and identity theft, including password managers, such as Password or LastPass, and data scrubbers, such as DeleteMe or PrivacyDuck; mental health care or counseling; legal counseling; and guidance, such as PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual.

Support Groups

Online abuse is intended to be profoundly isolating, which is why giving staff a safe space to vent, share experiences, and exchange strategies is vitally important. Encourage staff to band together and create a peer support group. Just make sure they have adequate time and access to leadership to apply their hard-earned knowledge to help improve policies, protocols, and resources.

Escalate Certain Situations

From social media to email and messaging apps, most digital platforms have mechanisms to report online abuse. But sometimes these mechanisms fail. As an individual, it can be difficult to get a platform’s attention, but organisations often have direct contacts at tech companies. If a staff member has reported abuse that clearly violates terms of service and is nevertheless unable to get it removed, escalating the issue directly to tech company contacts can make all the difference.

We are facing an unprecedented moment in professional life. The hyper-digital world we’ve been plunged into is already exacerbating harassment and hate online. At the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement has put much-needed pressure on for-profit and nonprofit organisations to redouble their commitment to creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. Online abuse is a major stumbling block to these efforts. If organisations are serious about supporting staff who identify as women, nonbinary, or BIPOC, it’s high time to have their backs in the face of online attacks.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.wmlawyers.com/2017/06/social-media-workplace-harassment/
https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/workplace-campus-harassment/
https://hbr.org/2020/07/what-to-do-when-your-employee-is-harassed-online?ab=hero-main-text

The Fear of Making Mistakes at Work

The Covid-19 crisis and its fallout — including recession, layoffs, and uneven economic pain — as well as recent protests over police brutality and demands for racial justice have presented many of us with challenges that we’ve not encountered before. The high-stakes and unfamiliar nature of these situations have left many people feeling fearful of missteps. No one can reduce mistakes to zero, but you can learn to harness your drive to prevent them and channel it into better decision making. Use these tips to become a more effective worrier.

As they say, everyone makes mistakes. In many situations, you can correct your error or just forget about it and move on. Making a mistake at work, however, is more serious. It can have a dire effect on your employer. It may, for example, endanger a relationship with a client, cause a legal problem, or put people’s health or safety at risk. Repercussions will ultimately trickle down to you. Simply correcting your error and moving on may not be an option. When you make a mistake at work, your career may depend on what you do next.

The current culture that is perpetuated glorifies fearlessness. The traditional image of a leader is one who is smart, tough, and unafraid. But fear, like any emotion, has an evolutionary purpose and upside. Your concern about making mistakes is there to remind you that we’re in a challenging situation. A cautious leader has value. This is especially true in times like these. So don’t get caught up in ruminating: “I shouldn’t be so fearful.”

Use emotional agility skills 

Fear of mistakes can paralyse people. Emotional agility skills are an antidote to this paralysis. This process starts with labelling your thoughts and feelings, such as “I feel anxious I’m not going to be able to control my customers enough to keep my staff safe.” Stating your fears out loud helps diffuse them. It’s like turning the light on in a dark room. Next comes accepting reality. For example, “I understand that people will not always behave in ideal ways.” List off every truth you need to accept. Then comes acting your values. Let’s say one of your highest values is conscientiousness. How might that value apply in this situation? For example, it might involve making sure your employees all have masks that fit them well or feel comfortable airing any grievances they have. Identify your five most important values related to decision-making in a crisis. Then ask yourself how each of those is relevant to the important choices you face.

Repeat this process for each of your fears. It will help you tolerate the fact that we sometimes need to act when the best course of action isn’t clear and avoid the common anxiety trap whereby people try to reduce uncertainty to zero.

Apologise, but keep it simple

Genuinely say the words, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” and offer how you plan to correct it. Resist the urge to offer excuses or to start apologising repeatedly. On the other hand, don’t overdo it trying to make it up. Stay professional and business-minded, recognising how valuable company time is.

An apology conveys several major things: regret of the mistake, responsibility for it, and respect for the company and people in it. An apology also offers the opportunity for the other people to let go of their anger. The moment the apology is genuinely made is the moment that you can work to rebuild.

You can’t change the past but you can find a solution for the here and now. One apology to the right person or people along with a possible solution will come across much more positively than a bunch of unnecessary filler words and statements to the entire office.

Accept the consequences in stride

The management and the HR team can decide that you need another form of reprimanding. Or they can take you up on your offer on how you’ll correct the mistake. Whatever the case, accept the consequences and carry out your tasks without complaining.

This reinforces your apology and will likely generate additional respect. Whether it’s staying after work for a few days in order to remedy the work, reaching out to the wronged person, or going about your normal work tasks, do it and do it well. Don’t just say you’re sorry, show them through your actions. Be a better worker.      

Broaden your thinking

When we’re scared of making a mistake, our thinking can narrow around that particular scenario. Imagine you’re out walking at night. You’re worried about tripping, so you keep looking down at your feet. Next thing you know you’ve walked into a lamp post. Or, imagine the person who is scared of flying. They drive everywhere, even though driving is objectively more dangerous. When you open the aperture, it can help you see your greatest fears in the broader context of all the other threats out there. This can help you get a better perspective on what you fear the most.

It might seem illogical that you could reduce your fear of making a mistake by thinking about other negative outcomes. But this strategy can help kick you into problem-solving mode and lessen the mental grip a particular fear has on you. A leader might be so highly focused on minimising or optimising for one particular thing, they don’t realise that other people care most about something else. Find out what other people’s priorities are.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/mistakes-at-work-526244
https://www.inc.com/john-discala/4-ways-to-bounce-back-after-making-a-mistake-at-work.html
https://hbr.org/2020/06/how-to-overcome-your-fear-of-making-mistakes?ab=hero-subleft-3