Chefer underskattar psykisk ohälsa

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 30th, 2012 by admin

Psykisk ohälsa ligger bakom de flesta sjukskrivningar, men arbetsgivarnas kunskap om psykisk ohälsa är låg och okunskapen gör att många inte vet hur de ska hantera situationen om en medarbetare får problem.

Hjärnkolls undersökning om chefers kunskaper, attityder och beteende och beredskap angående psykisk ohälsa i arbetslivet publiceras i dag.

Psykisk ohälsa står för en majoritet av alla långtidssjukskrivningar och är den näst vanligaste orsaken till de kortare sjukskrivningarna i Sverige. Men Hjärnkolls undersökning visar att svenska chefer står dåligt förberedda att ta hand om frågorna när anställda utvecklar psykisk ohälsa. Studien visar också att chefer underskattar hur vanlig psykisk ohälsa är i arbetslivet. Mer än varannan chef tror att 10 procent eller färre av deras anställda kommer att utveckla psykisk ohälsa någon gång under sitt yrkesliv.

Med tanke på att Socialstyrelsen beräknar att 20 till 40 procent av Sveriges befolkning lever med psykisk ohälsa är det en ganska stor missbedömning, enligt Hjärnkoll.
–Det förklarar varför så många chefer står dåligt rustade när deras anställda utvecklar psykisk ohälsa, säger Rickard Bracken, projektledare för kampanjen Hjärnkoll.
–Men chefer och arbetsgivare kan inte blunda längre, fortsätter han. Båda spelar stor roll när en anställd utvecklar ohälsa och då man senare ska tillbaka till arbetet. Om cheferna underskattar hur vanligt det är med psykisk ohälsa, förstår man inte heller att det är en viktig fråga. Det handlar också om företagets lönsamhet.

Psykisk ohälsa är ett vitt begrepp. Det kan vara depression, ångest, bipolär sjukdom, tvångssyndrom, schizofreni, neuropsykiatriska funktionsnedsättningar men också det i arbetslivet ganska vanliga utmattningssyndromet.
–Med rätt behandling och stöd från arbetsgivaren och anpassning av arbetet kan också människor med psykisk ohälsa arbeta, påpekar Rickard Bracken. Men det är mycket tystnad kring psykiska sjukdomar samtidigt som 74 procent av alla svenskar har en personlig erfarenhet av det genom anhöriga, vänner eller arbetskamrater.

Kraven och takten i arbetslivet blir högre och med det slås många människor med psykisk ohälsa och arbetsförmåga ut, menar Rickard Bracken.
–Så det är en viktig samhällsfråga och en fråga för arbetslivet hur det ska utformas för att fungera optimalt.

Undersökningen visar också att ju mer rutiner desto bättre kunskaper har cheferna att hantera den psykiska ohälsan. Ju bättre kunskaper desto bättre attityder har man till personer med psykisk ohälsa.

82 procent av de chefer som har anställda med psykisk ohälsa kan tänka sig att arbeta tillsammans med en person med psykiska problem även i framtiden. Motsvarande siffra för chefer utan anställda med psykisk ohälsa är 62 procent.

Cecilia Lindfors-Lager har haft bipolär läggning hela livet men först 2006, när allt runt henne brast, blev hon sjukskriven. Nu jobbar hon 50 procent som förskollärare i Nynäshamns kommun, där hon också bor.
–Jag har jobbat sedan jag var 16 år och när jag haft svackor upp eller ned har jag bytt jobb eller avdelning. Det var mitt sätt att tackla sjukdomen, säger hon.

Hennes mål under sjukskrivningen var att komma tillbaka till arbetslivet och hon gick därför en utbildning som friskvårds- och stressterapeut. Hösten 2010 kunde hon komma tillbaka till sin tidigare arbetsgivare kommunen efter att själv ha legat på och tjatat.
–Det fungerar bra nu eftersom jag vet var min broms är och jag har hittat en balans. Ibland hjälper jag min man i hans företag också.

Rektorn på skolan där hon arbetar har varit otroligt tillmötesgående. Men hon är ändå lite besviken eftersom arbetsgivaren inte frågat efter Cecilias kunskaper i det hon vidareutbildat sig i de senaste åren.
–Det är kunskap som kommunen skulle kunna ha nytta av.

Cecilia Lindfors-Lager har sagt upp sig och slutar vid vårterminens slut. Efter det ska hon börja jobba mer i makens företag och som ambassadör för Hjärnkoll.

Källa: SvD, Ylva Edenhall, april 2012
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Keeping the right employees

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 29th, 2012 by admin

As part of my executive coaching assignments I often discuss the HR function’s strategic role in ensuring the right competence both short and long term. Not least in client discussions dealing with strategy implementation and management team development, the question of how to keep the personal that really sees as critical to business success this is one key question. Read more about this purpose below:

Recruiting the right employees and keeping the right employees matters, especially now.

A recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) press release revealed the answer to the question of what people plan to do when the job market rebounds. The majority of the Human Resource (HR) professionals and managers surveyed agreed that turnover will rise significantly once the job market improves. Both groups felt that the job market will improve within the next year, according to the latest Job Recovery Survey.

The survey is produced by SHRM and CareerJournal.com, the free, executive career site of The Wall Street Journal, two of my personal favorite sites. The survey results include responses from 451 HR professionals and 300 managerial or executive employees.
“We’re surprised by the percentage of executive employees who say they plan to jump ship once hiring rebounds,” says Tony Lee, editor in chief/general manager of CareerJournal.com. “And with 56 percent of HR professionals agreeing that turnover will rise, we’re interested to see what types of retention efforts those companies launch to keep their best employees on board.”

Employees cited the following three top reasons they would begin searching for a new job:
• 53 percent seek better compensation and benefits.
• 35 percent cited dissatisfaction with potential career development.
• 32 percent said they were ready for a new experience.

HR professionals were asked which programs or policies they use currently to help retain employees. The following three are the most common programs employers are using to retain employees:
• 62 percent provide tuition reimbursement.
• 60 percent offer competitive vacation and holiday benefits.
• 59 percent offer competitive salaries.

Most HR professionals surveyed (71 percent), in large organizations (those with more than 500 employees), thought it would be extremely likely or somewhat likely to experience an increase in voluntary turnover once the job market improves. Forty-one percent from small organizations (1-99 employees) said it was extremely likely or somewhat likely that turnover would increase. Fifty-three percent of respondents from medium organizations (between 100 and 499) thought the same.

In addition to the three retention tips offered by HR professionals in the SHRM-CareerJournal.com survey, competitive salary, competitive vacation and holidays and tuition reimbursement, these are your key retention strategies. (If you think they read like the Golden Rule, you’re right they do.) And, they’re also common-sense, basic and incredibly hard to find in organizations today.
• Select the right people in the first place through behavior-based testing and competency screening. The right person, in the right seat, on the right bus is the starting point.
• Offer an attractive, competitive, benefits package with components such as life insurance, disability insurance and flexible hours.
• Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge via training sessions, presentations, mentoring others and team assignments.
• Demonstrate respect for employees at all times. Listen to them deeply; use their ideas; never ridicule or shame them.
• Offer performance feedback and praise good efforts and results.
• People want to enjoy their work. Make work fun. Engage and employ the special talents of each individual.
• Enable employees to balance work and life. Allow flexible starting times, core business hours and flexible ending times. (Yes, his son’s soccer game is important.)
• Involve employees in decisions that affect their jobs and the overall direction of the company whenever possible.
• Recognize excellent performance, and especially, link pay to performance.
• Base the upside of bonus potential on the success of both the employee and the company and make it limitless within company parameters. (As an example, pay ten percent of corporate profits to employees.)
• Recognize and celebrate success. Mark their passage as important goals are achieved.
• Staff adequately so overtime is minimized for those who don’t want it and people don’t wear themselves out.
• Nurture and celebrate organization traditions. Have a costume party every Halloween. Run a food collection drive every November. Pick a mmonthly charity to help. Have an annual company dinner at a fancy hotel.
• Provide opportunities within the company for cross-training and career progression. People like to know that they have room for career movement.
• Provide the opportunity for career and personal growth through training and education, challengine assignments and more.
• Communicate goals, roles and responsibilities so people know what is expected and feel like part of the in-crowd.
• According to research by the Gallup organization, encourage employees to have good, even best, friends, at work.

Now that you have the list, why not work to make your organization one of the few, the best, that truly honor and appreciate employees. If you treat your employees wonderfully, you will never lose them.

Source: About.com, April 2012
Link

Social seating helps you find the perfect fellow passanger on a flight

Posted in Aktuellt, Technology on April 27th, 2012 by admin

Talking about Fact Based Management! Now you can even find out all the information you need about a fellow passenger sitting next to you on the flight! // Johan

KLM will soon help you find your perfect fellow passenger using social seating.

Dutch airlines KLM is currently developing a checking service to help you find your perfect fellow passenger based on their social media profile. KLM plans to launch this service under the name “social seating ‘early next year.

Passengers will be able to link their social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, and select a fellow passenger with similarities. The ‘social seating’ feature could potentially lead to networking opportunities for business people, according to the airline.

For more information: Link

Företag skär ner på utbildning

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on April 27th, 2012 by admin

Trots stor oro för kompetensbrist har nära nio av tio Europeiska arbetsgivare skurit ner på eller helt fryst investeringar i kompetensutveckling det senaste året. Det visar en färsk undersökning bland företagsledare.

Endast 18 procent av organisationerna planerar att öka investeringarna i vidareutbildning de kommande 12 månaderna. I samma undersökning uppger 43 procent att de i dagsläget har en brist på kompetens i företaget och 72 procent att organisationerna borde öka investeringarna i utveckling av personalen.

Källa: SvD.se, 26 April 2012
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Understanding social media in China

Posted in Aktuellt, Thailand / Asia on April 26th, 2012 by admin

The world’s largest social-media market is vastly different from its counterpart in the West. Yet the ingredients of a winning strategy are familiar.

No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube
Listing the companies that don’t have access to China’s exploding social-media space underscores just how different it is from those of many Western markets. Understanding that space is vitally important for anyone trying to engage Chinese consumers: social media is a larger phenomenon in the world’sa second-biggest economy than it is in other countries, including the United States. And it’s not indecipherable. Chinese consumers follow the same decision-making journey as their peers in other countries, and the basic rules for engaging with them effectively are reassuringly familiar.

Surveying the scene
In addition to having the world’s biggest Internet user base—513 million people, more than double the 245 million users in the United States1—China also has the world’s most active environment for social media. More than 300 million people use it, from blogs to social-networking sites to microblogs and other online communities.2 That’s roughly equivalent to the combined population of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In addition, China’s online users spend more than 40 percent of their time online on social media, a figure that continues to rise rapidly.

This appetite for all things social has spawned a dizzying array of companies, many with tools more advanced than those in the West: for example, Chinese users were able to embed multimedia content in social media more than 18 months before Twitter users could do so in the United States. Social media began in China in 1994 with online forums and communities and migrated to instant messaging in 1999. User review sites such as Dianping emerged around 2003. Blogging took off in 2004, followed a year later by social-networking sites with chatting capabilities such as Renren. Sina Weibo launched in 2009, offering microblogging with multimedia. Location-based player Jiepang appeared in 2010, offering services similar to foursquare’s.

This explosive growth shows few signs of abating, a trend that’s at least partially attributable to the fact that it’s harder for the government to censor social media than other information channels. That’s one critical way the Chinese market is unique. As you shape your own social-media strategy, it’s important to fully understand some other nuances of the country’s consumers, content, and platforms.

Consumers
China’s social-media users not only are more active than those of any other country but also, in more than 80 percent of all cases, have multiple social-media accounts, primarily with local players (compared with just 39 percent in Japan).3 The use of mobile technologies to access social media is also increasingly popular in China: there were more than 100 million mobile social users in 2010, a number that is forecast to grow by about 30 percent annually.4 Finally, because many Chinese are somewhat skeptical of formal institutions and authority, users disproportionately value the advice of opinion leaders in social networks. An independent survey of moisturizer purchasers, for example, observed that 66 percent of Chinese consumers relied on recommendations from friends and family, compared with 38 percent of their US counterparts.

Content
The competition for consumers is fierce in China’s social-media space. Many companies regularly employ “artificial writers” to seed positive content about themselves online and attack competitors with negative news they hope will go viral. In several instances, negative publicity about companies—such as allegations of product contamination—has prompted waves of microblog posts from competitors and disguised users. Businesses trying to manage social-media crises should carefully identify the source of negative posts and base countermeasures on whether they came from competitors or real consumers. Companies must also factor in the impact of artificial writers when mining for social-media consumer insights and comparing the performance of their brands against that of competitors. Otherwise, they risk drawing the wrong conclusions about consumer behavior and brand preferences.

Platforms
China’s social-media sector is very fragmented and local. Each social-media and e-commerce platform has at least two major local players: in microblogging (or weibo), for example, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo; in social networking, a number of companies, including Renren and Kaixin001. These players have different strengths, areas of focus, and, often, geographic priorities. For marketers, this fragmentation increases the complexity of the social-media landscape in China and requires significant resources and expertise, including a network of partners to help guide the way. Competition is evolving quickly—marketers looking for partners should closely monitor development of the sector’s platforms and players.

Crafting a winning strategy
While these unique Chinese market characteristics often create challenging wrinkles for marketers to contend with, they don’t invalidate the principles that underpin effective social-media strategy elsewhere (for more, see “Demystifying social media”). The following few examples illustrate how companies are applying some widespread social-media tenets in China.

Make content authentic and user oriented. Estée Lauder’s Clinique brand launched a drama series, Sufei’s Diary, with 40 episodes broadcast daily on a dedicated Web site. (Viewers also could watch segments on monitors located on buses, trains, and airplanes.) While skin care was part of the story line and products were prominently featured, Sufei’s Diary was seen as entertainment—not a Clinique advertisement—and has been viewed online more than 21 million times. Clinique’s online brand awareness is now 27 percent higher than that of its competitors, although social-media content costs significantly less than a traditional advertising campaign.

Adopt a test-and-learn approach. When Dove China first imported the Real Beauty social-media campaign to promote beauty among women of all looks and body types, Chinese consumers viewed the real women as overweight and unattractive. Dove switched tack and partnered with Ugly Wudi, the Chinese adaptation of the US television show Ugly Betty, to weave the Real Beauty message into story lines and mount a number of initiatives, including a blog by Wudi and live online chats. The effort generated millions of searches and blog entries, increased uptake of Dove body wash by 21 percent year over year after the show’s first season, and increased unaided awareness of Dove’s Real Beauty by 44 percent among target consumers. The estimated return on investment from this social-media campaign was four times that of a traditional TV media investment.

Support overarching brand goals with sustained social-media efforts. Starbucks China promotes the same message of quality, social responsibility, and community building across all of its social-media efforts, as well as in its stores. And Durex didn’t just establish a corporate account on Sina Weibo: it built a marketing team that both monitors online comments around the clock and collaborates closely with agency partners to create original, funny content. The company’s approach is designed to interact meaningfully with fans, generate buzz, and deepen customer engagement with the brand.

The sheer number of the more than 300 million social-media users in China creates unique challenges for effective consumer engagement. People expect responses to each and every post, for example, so companies must develop new models and processes for effectively engaging individuals in a way that communicates brand identity and values, satisfies consumer concerns, and doesn’t lead to a negative viral spiral. Another problem is the difficulty of developing and tracking reliable metrics to gauge a social-media strategy’s performance, given the size of the user base, a lack of analytical tools (such as those offered by Facebook and Google in other markets), and limited transparency into leading platforms. Yet these challenges should not deter companies. The similarity between the ingredients of success in China and in other markets makes it easier—and well worth the trouble—to cope with the country’s many peculiarities.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, Cindy Chiu, 26 April 2012
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The end of cheap China

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Thailand / Asia on April 25th, 2012 by admin

It´s all about Fact Based Management, right! // Johan

What do soaring Chinese wages mean for global manufacturing?

TRAVEL by ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, in one of the regions that makes China the workshop of the world, and an enormous billboard greets you: “Time is Money, Efficiency is Life”.

China is the world’s largest manufacturing power. Its output of televisions, smartphones, steel pipes and other things you can drop on your foot surpassed America’s in 2010. China now accounts for a fifth of global manufacturing. Its factories have made so much, so cheaply that they have curbed inflation in many of its trading partners. But the era of cheap China may be drawing to a close.

Costs are soaring, starting in the coastal provinces where factories have historically clustered (see map). Increases in land prices, environmental and safety regulations and taxes all play a part. The biggest factor, though, is labour.

On March 5th Standard Chartered, an investment bank, released a survey of over 200 Hong Kong-based manufacturers operating in the Pearl River Delta. It found that wages have already risen by 10% this year. Foxconn, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer that makes Apple’s iPads (and much more besides) in Shenzhen, put up salaries by 16-25% last month.
“It’s not cheap like it used to be,” laments Dale Weathington of Kolcraft, an American firm that uses contract manufacturers to make prams in southern China. Labour costs have surged by 20% a year for the past four years, he grumbles. China’s coastal provinces are losing their power to suck workers out of the hinterland. These migrant workers often go home during the Chinese New Year break. In previous years 95% of Mr Weathington’s staff returned. This year only 85% did.

Kolcraft’s experience is typical. When the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai asked its members recently about their biggest challenges, 91% mentioned “rising costs”. Corruption and piracy were far behind. Labour costs (including benefits) for blue-collar workers in Guangdong rose by 12% a year, in dollar terms, from 2002 to 2009; in Shanghai, 14% a year. Roland Berger, a consultancy, reckons the comparable figure was only 8% in the Philippines and 1% in Mexico.

Joerg Wuttke, a veteran industrialist with the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, predicts that the cost to manufacture in China could soar twofold or even threefold by 2020. AlixPartners, a consultancy, offers this intriguing extrapolation: if China’s currency and shipping costs were to rise by 5% annually and wages were to go up by 30% a year, by 2015 it would be just as cheap to make things in North America as to make them in China and ship them there (see chart). In reality, the convergence will probably be slower. But the trend is clear.

If cheap China is fading, what will replace it? Will factories shift to poorer countries with cheaper labour? That is the conventional wisdom, but it is wrong.

Advantage China
Brian Noll of PPC, which makes connectors for televisions, says his firm seriously considered moving its operations to Vietnam. Labour was cheaper there, but Vietnam lacked reliable suppliers of services such as nickel plating, heat treatment and special stamping. In the end, PPC decided not to leave China. Instead, it is automating more processes in its factory near Shanghai, replacing some (but not all) workers with machines.

Labour costs are often 30% lower in countries other than China, says John Rice, GE’s vice chairman, but this is typically more than offset by other problems, especially the lack of a reliable supply chain. GE did open a new plant in Vietnam to make wind turbines, but Mr Rice insists that talent was the lure, not cheap labour. Thanks to a big government shipyard nearby, his plant was able to hire world-class welders. Except in commodity businesses, “competence will always trump cost,” he says.

Sunil Gidumal, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur, makes tin boxes that Harrods, Marks & Spencer and other retailers use to hold biscuits. Wages, which make up a third of his costs, have doubled in the past four years at his factories in Guangdong. Workers in Sri Lanka are 35-40% cheaper, he says, but he finds them less efficient. So he is keeping a smaller factory in China to serve America and China’s domestic market. Only the tins bound for Europe are made in Sri Lanka, since shipping costs are lower than from China.

Louis Kuijs of the Fung Global Institute, a think-tank, observes that some low-tech, labour-intensive industries, such as T-shirts and cheap trainers, have already left China. And some firms are employing a “China + 1” strategy, opening just one factory in another country to test the waters and provide a back-up.

But coastal China has enduring strengths, despite soaring costs. First, it is close to the booming Chinese domestic market. This is a huge advantage. No other country has so many newly pecunious consumers clamouring for stuff.

Second, Chinese wages may be rising fast, but so is Chinese productivity. The precise numbers are disputed, but the trend is not. Chinese workers are paid more because they are producing more.

Third, China is huge. Its labour pool is large and flexible enough to accommodate seasonal industries that make Christmas lights or toys, says Ivo Naumann of AlixPartners. In response to sudden demand, a Chinese factory making iPhones was able to rouse 8,000 workers from their dormitory and put them on the assembly line at midnight, according to the New York Times. Not the next day. Midnight. Nowhere else are such feats feasible.

Fourth, China’s supply chain is sophisticated and supple. Professor Zheng Yusheng of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business argues that the right way to measure manufacturing competitiveness is not by comparing labour costs alone, but by comparing entire supply chains. Even if labour costs are a quarter of those in China to make a given product, the unreliability or unavailability of many components may make it uneconomic to make things elsewhere.

Dwight Nordstrom of Pacific Resources International, a manufacturing consultancy, reckons China’s supply chain for electronics manufacturers is so good that “there is no stopping the juggernaut” for at least ten to 20 years. This same advantage applies to low-tech industries, too. Paul Stocker of Topline, a shoe exporter with dozens of contract plants in coastal China, says there is no easy alternative to China.

It is fashionable to predict that China’s inland factories will supplant its coastal ones. Official figures for foreign direct investment support this view: some inland provinces, such as Chongqing, now attract almost as much foreign money as Shanghai. The reason why fewer migrant workers from the hinterland are returning to coastal factories this year is that there are plenty of jobs closer to home.

But manufacturers are not simply shifting inland in search of cheap labour. For one thing, it is not much cheaper. Huawei, a large Chinese telecoms firm, reports that salaries for engineers with a master’s degree are not even 10% lower in its inland locations than in Shenzhen. Kolcraft considered shifting to Hubei, but found that total costs would end up being only 5-10% lower than on the coast.

Topline looked into moving inland, but found huge extra costs there. Infrastructure for exports is still shoddy or slow (shipping by river adds a week), logistics are not fully developed and Topline’s entire supply chain remains on the coast. It decided to stay put.

Inland revenue?
Moving inland brings all sorts of unexpected costs. Newish labour laws in wealthy places such as Shenzhen make it costlier to shut down plants there, for example. It can cost more to ship goods from the Chinese interior to the coast than from Shanghai to New York. Managers and other highly skilled staff often demand steep pay rises to move from sophisticated coastal cities to the boondocks. Chongqing has more than 30m people, but it’s not Shanghai. A recent anti-corruption campaign there grew so violent that it terrified legitimate businessfolk as well as crooks.

The firms investing in China’s interior are chiefly doing so to serve consumers who live there. With so many inland cities booming, this is an enticing market. But when it comes to making iPads and smartphones for export, the world’s workshop will remain in China’s coastal provinces.

In time, of course, other places will build better roads and ports and supply chains. Eventually, they will challenge coastal China’s grip on basic manufacturing. So if China is to flourish, its manufacturers must move up the value chain. Rather than bolting together sophisticated products designed elsewhere, they need to do more design work themselves. Taking a leaf out of Germany’s book, they need to make products with higher margins and offer services to complement them.

A few Chinese firms have started to do this already. A visit to Huawei’s huge corporate campus in Shenzhen is instructive. The firm was founded by a former military officer and has been helped by friends in government over the years, but it now more closely resembles a Western high-tech firm than it does a state-backed behemoth. Its managers are top-flight. Its leaders have for several years been learning from dozens of resident advisers from IBM and other American consultancies. It has become highly professional, and impressively innovative.

In 2008 it filed for more international patents than any other firm. Earlier this year, it unveiled the world’s thinnest and fastest smartphones. In a sign that at least China’s private sector is beginning to take intellectual-property rights seriously, Huawei is locked in bitter battles over patents, not only with multinationals but also with ZTE, a cross-town rival that also wants to shift from being a low-cost telecoms-equipment maker to a creator of sexy new consumer products.

China does not yet have enough Huaweis. But it attracts plenty of bright young people who would like to build one. Every year another wave of “sea turtles”—Chinese who have studied or worked abroad—returns home. Many have mixed with the world’s best engineers at MIT and Stanford. Many have seen first-hand how Silicon Valley works. Indeed, Silicon Valley veterans have founded many of China’s most innovative firms, such as Baidu.

The pace of change in China has been so startling that it is hard to keep up. The old stereotypes about low-wage sweatshops are as out-of-date as Mao suits. The next phase will be interesting: China must innovate or slow down.

Source: The Economst, economist.com, 25 April 2012
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How to make teams effective

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 24th, 2012 by admin

People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, and my team, but few understand how to create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself. It has a lot to do with your understanding of the mission or objectives of your organization.

In a team-oriented environment, you contribute to the overall success of the organization. You work with fellow members of the organization to produce these results. Even though you have a specific job function and you belong to a specific department, you are unified with other organization members to accomplish the overall objectives. The bigger picture drives your actions; your function exists to serve the bigger picture.

You need to differentiate this overall sense of teamwork from the task of developing an effective intact team that is formed to accomplish a specific goal. People confuse the two team building objectives. This is why so many team building seminars, meetings, retreats and activities are deemed failures by their participants. Leaders failed to define the team they wanted to build. Developing an overall sense of team work is different from building an effective, focused work team when you consider team building approaches.

Twelve Cs for Team Building

Executives, managers and organization staff members universally explore ways to improve business results and profitability. Many view team-based, horizontal, organization structures as the best design for involving all employees in creating business success.

No matter what you call your team-based improvement effort: continuous improvement, total quality, lean manufacturing or self-directed work teams, you are striving to improve results for customers. Few organizations, however, are totally pleased with the results their team improvement efforts produce. If your team improvement efforts are not living up to your expectations, this self-diagnosing checklist may tell you why. Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to each of the following.

Clear Expectations
Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes? Do team members understand why the team was created? Is the organization demonstrating constancy of purpose in supporting the team with resources of people, time and money? Does the work of the team receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders?
Read more about Clear Performance Expectations.

Context
Do team members understand why they are participating on the team? Do they understand how the strategy of using teams will help the organization attain its communicated business goals? Can team members define their team’s importance to the accomplishment of corporate goals? Does the team understand where its work fits in the total context of the organization’s goals, principles, vision and values?
Read more about Team Culture and Context.

Commitment
Do team members want to participate on the team? Do team members feel the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do team members anticipate recognition for their contributions? Do team members expect their skills to grow and develop on the team? Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity?

Competence
Does the team feel that it has the appropriate people participating? (As an example, in a process improvement, is each step of the process represented on the team?) Does the team feel that its members have the knowledge, skill and capability to address the issues for which the team was formed? If not, does the team have access to the help it needs? Does the team feel it has the resources, strategies and support needed to accomplish its mission?

Charter
Has the team taken its assigned area of responsibility and designed its own mission, vision and strategies to accomplish the mission. Has the team defined and communicated its goals; its anticipated outcomes and contributions; its timelines; and how it will measure both the outcomes of its work and the process the team followed to accomplish their task? Does the leadership team or other coordinating group support what the team has designed?

Control
Does the team have enough freedom and empowerment to feel the ownership necessary to accomplish its charter? At the same time, do team members clearly understand their boundaries? How far may members go in pursuit of solutions? Are limitations (i.e. monetary and time resources) defined at the beginning of the project before the team experiences barriers and rework?

Is the team’s reporting relationship and accountability understood by all members of the organization? Has the organization defined the team’s authority? To make recommendations? To implement its plan? Is there a defined review process so both the team and the organization are consistently aligned in direction and purpose? Do team members hold each other accountable for project timelines, commitments and results? Does the organization have a plan to increase opportunities for self-management among organization members?

Collaboration
Does the team understand team and group process? Do members understand the stages of group development? Are team members working together effectively interpersonally? Do all team members understand the roles and responsibilities of team members? team leaders? team recorders? Can the team approach problem solving, process improvement, goal setting and measurement jointly? Do team members cooperate to accomplish the team charter? Has the team established group norms or rules of conduct in areas such as conflict resolution, consensus decision making and meeting management? Is the team using an appropriate strategy to accomplish its action plan?

Communication
Are team members clear about the priority of their tasks? Is there an established method for the teams to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback? Does the organization provide important business information regularly? Do the teams understand the complete context for their existence? Do team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other? Do team members bring diverse opinions to the table? Are necessary conflicts raised and addressed?

Creative Innovation
Is the organization really interested in change? Does it value creative thinking, unique solutions, and new ideas? Does it reward people who take reasonable risks to make improvements? Or does it reward the people who fit in and maintain the status quo? Does it provide the training, education, access to books and films, and field trips necessary to stimulate new thinking?

Consequences
Do team members feel responsible and accountable for team achievements? Are rewards and recognition supplied when teams are successful? Is reasonable risk respected and encouraged in the organization? Do team members fear reprisal? Do team members spend their time finger pointing rather than resolving problems? Is the organization designing reward systems that recognize both team and individual performance? Is the organization planning to share gains and increased profitability with team and individual contributors? Can contributors see their impact on increased organization success?

Coordination
Are teams coordinated by a central leadership team that assists the groups to obtain what they need for success? Have priorities and resource allocation been planned across departments? Do teams understand the concept of the internal customer—the next process, anyone to whom they provide a product or a service? Are cross-functional and multi-department teams common and working together effectively? Is the organization developing a customer-focused process-focused orientation and moving away from traditional departmental thinking?

Cultural Change
Does the organization recognize that the team-based, collaborative, empowering, enabling organizational culture of the future is different than the traditional, hierarchical organization it may currently be? Is the organization planning to or in the process of changing how it rewards, recognizes, appraises, hires, develops, plans with, motivates and manages the people it employs?

Does the organization plan to use failures for learning and support reasonable risk? Does the organization recognize that the more it can change its climate to support teams, the more it will receive in pay back from the work of the teams?
Read more about culture change.

Spend time and attention on each of these twelve tips to ensure your work teams contribute most effectively to your business success. Your team members will love you, your business will soar, and empowered people will “own” and be responsible for their work processes. Can your work life get any better than this?

Source: About.com, Susan M. Heatfield, April 2012
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Developing better change leaders

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 24th, 2012 by admin

Putting leadership development at the heart of a major operations-improvement effort paid big dividends for a global industrial company.

Few companies can avoid big, periodic changes in the guts of their business. Whatever the cause—market maturation, a tough macroeconomic environment, creeping costs, competitive struggles, or just a desire to improve—the potential responses are familiar: restructure supply chains; rethink relationships among sales, marketing, and other functions; boost the efficiency of manufacturing or service operations (or sometimes close them). Such changes start at the top and demand a relentless focus on nitty-gritty business details from leaders up and down the line.

Too often, however, senior executives overlook the “softer” skills their leaders will need to disseminate changes throughout the organization and make them stick. These skills include the ability to keep managers and workers inspired when they feel overwhelmed, to promote collaboration across organizational boundaries, or to help managers embrace change programs through dialogue, not dictation.

One global industrial company tackled these challenges by placing leadership development at the center of a major operational-improvement program that involved deploying a new production system across 200 plants around the world. While the need for operational change was clear—the performance of the company’s factories was inconsistent and in many cases far below that of competitors in terms of efficiency, productivity, and cost—so too were the organizational obstacles. Drives for improvement, for example, carried a stigma of incompetence; current performance was considered “good enough”; conflict tended to be passive-aggressive or was avoided entirely; and shop floor employees felt that they were treated as cogs and that their supervisors were enforcers. The effect of all this on employees was disengagement, a lack of trust in senior management, and a pervasive fear of making mistakes—a worry reinforced by the company’s strong culture of safety and of risk aversion.

These challenges were impossible to ignore, and that was probably a blessing in disguise: the senior team had to look beyond technical improvements and focus on helping the company’s leaders to master the personal behavioral changes needed to support the operational ones. To that end, the company mounted an intense, immersive, and individualized leadership program.1

The results are still unfolding, but after three years the company estimates that the improvement program has already boosted annual pretax operating income by about $1.5 billion a year. Furthermore, executives see the new leadership behavior as crucial to that ongoing success. Indeed, the senior executive who launched the program believes that without the inclusion of leadership development, it would have made only half the impact it actually did. She adds that the company has seen a tenfold return on its investment in each of the dozens of leaders trained thus far.

Scenes from the front lines of change
In this article, we’ll share the stories of three such leaders and examine how the changes they made in their leadership styles contributed to improved business results. Then we’ll step back and offer a few general leadership-development principles that we hope will be useful to other organizations contemplating large-scale, transformational changes.

Making sourcing more efficient
An executive we’ll call Annie is the company’s director of sourcing and logistics. Her charge: to help the sourcing operation improve its performance, from the mid- to the first quartile, without additional resources. Annie and her supervisor (the group’s vice president) concluded that the way to achieve this goal was to create a single global sourcing system instead of relying on the existing patchwork of regional and divisional ones. This approach would improve efficiency, take advantage of cheaper sources, and cut interaction costs.

But that meant engaging a global group of stakeholders, many of whom preferred acting independently. Some even mistrusted one another. The vice president knew that this problem would be very difficult for Annie; as he put it, “she used to move too fast, and people would miss her train.” Somehow, Annie had to build the skills—and quickly—to engage her colleagues on a journey where turning back was not an option.

Annie realized she needed to engage them not just intellectually but also emotionally, so they would become committed to the new approach and understand why it was better, even though many saw it as threatening to their autonomy and their ability to tailor services to local needs. Annie also recognized that she had a strong tendency to do all the work herself to ensure that it was done quickly and correctly. Learning to overcome that inclination would help her to articulate a more inspiring vision and bring more people on board. Along with a colleague who was going through leadership training at the same time, Annie worked on a number of skills, such as how to keep discussions focused on solutions and how to build on existing strengths to overcome resistance. She also developed 20 coaching vignettes, which helped her bring to life the mind-sets and behavior that had to change. These moves helped Annie establish the new vocabulary she needed to encourage colleagues to identify and eliminate issues that were getting in the way of the new sourcing approach.

As more than 1,000 employees across four regions adopted the new system, operational efficiencies quickly started to appear. What’s more, the effort encouraged interpersonal interactions that helped some employees overcome long-standing barriers to collaboration. The vice president highlighted the way the effort had encouraged North American employees to begin openly addressing issues they had with colleagues at a logistics service center in India, for example, and to move beyond mistrusting the workers there and resenting them for holding “exported jobs.” Such engagement skills spread across the network and began to take hold.

As collaboration improved, the cost savings grew: within 18 months, the sourcing group had eliminated the need for 50 positions (and helped the workers who held them to get new jobs elsewhere in the company). In the same time period, benchmarking suggested that the group as a whole had achieved first-quartile performance levels. What’s more, the experience strengthened Annie as a manager. “My answer might have been right before,” she says, “but it got richer. . . . I feel more confident. It is not about needing to prove myself anymore. I have much greater range and depth of influence.”

Boosting yields at a factory
Conor, as we’ll call one European plant manager, needed to boost yields using the company’s new production system. In the past, the industrial giant would have assigned engineers steeped in lean production or Six Sigma to observe the shop floor, gather data, and present a series of improvements. Conor would then have told plant employees to implement the changes, while he gauged the results—a method consistent with his own instinctive command-and-control approach to leadership. But Conor and his superiors quickly realized that the old way wouldn’t succeed: only employees who actually did the work could identify the full range of efficiency improvements necessary to meet the operational targets, and no attempt to get them to do so would be taken seriously unless Conor and his line leaders were more collaborative.

Workers were skeptical. A survey taken at about this time (in 2009) showed that plant workers saw Conor and his team as distant and untrustworthy. Moreover, the company couldn’t use salary increases or overtime to boost morale, because of the ongoing global economic crisis.

Conor’s leadership training gave him an opportunity to reflect on the situation and provided simple steps he could take to improve it. He began by getting out of his office, visiting the shop floor, and really listening to the workers talk about their day-to-day experiences, their workflows, how their machines functioned, and where things went wrong. They’d kept all this information from him before. He made a point of starting meetings by inviting those present to speak, in part to encourage the group to find collective solutions to its problems.

Conor explained: “As I shared what I thought and felt more openly, I started to notice things I had not been aware of, as other people became more open. We’d had the lean tools and good technology for a long time. Transparency and openness were the real breakthrough.” As the new atmosphere took hold, workers began pointing out minor problems and additional areas for improvement specific to their corners of the plant; within just a few months its yields increased to 91 percent, from 87 percent. Today, yields run at 93 percent.

Closing a plant
Pierre, as we’ll call him, was managing a plant in France during the darkest days of the global financial crisis. His plant was soon to close as demand from several of its core customers went into a massive and seemingly irreversible tailspin. The company was in a tricky spot: it needed the know-how of its French workers to help transfer operations to a new production location in another country, and despite its customers’ problems it still had €20 million worth of orders to fulfill before the plant closed. Meanwhile, tensions were running high in France: other companies’ plant closures had sparked protests that in some cases led to violent reactions from employees. Given the charged situation, most companies were not telling workers about plant closures until the last minute.

Pierre was understandably nervous as he went through leadership training, where he focused intently on topics such as finding the courage to use honesty when having difficult conversations, as well as the value of empathic engagement. After a lengthy debate among company executives, Pierre decided to approach the situation with those values in mind. He announced the plant closing nine months before it would take place and was open with employees about his own fears. Pierre’s authenticity struck a chord by giving voice to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. Moreover, throughout the process of closing the plant, Pierre recounts, he spent some 60 percent of his time on personal issues, most notably working with his subordinates to assist the displaced workers in finding new jobs and providing them with individual support and mentoring (something other companies weren’t doing). He spent only about 40 percent on business issues related to the closure.

This honest engagement worked. Over the next nine months, the plant stayed open and fulfilled its orders, even as its workers ensured that their replacements in the new plant had the information they needed to carry on. It was the only plant in the industry to avoid violence and lockouts.

Lessons observed
While every change program is unique, the experiences of the industrial company’s managers offer insights into many of the factors that, we find, make it possible to sustain a profound transformation. Far too often, leaders ask everyone else to change, but in reality this usually isn’t possible until they first change themselves.

Tie training to business goals
Leadership training can seem vaporous when not applied to actual problems in the workplace. The industrial company’s focus on teaching Pierre to have courageous conversations just as the ability to do so would be useful, for instance, was crucial as Pierre made arrangements to close his plant. In the words of another senior executive we spoke with, “If this were just a social experiment, it would be a waste of time. People need a ‘big, hairy goal’ and a context to apply these ideas.”

Build on strengths
The company chose to train managers who were influential in areas crucial to the overall transformation and already had some of the desired behavior—in essence, “positive deviants.” The training itself focused on personal mastery, such as learning to recognize and shift limiting mind-sets, turning difficult conversations into learning opportunities, and building on existing interpersonal strengths and managerial optimism to help broadly engage the organization.

Ensure sponsorship
Giving training participants access to formal senior-executive sponsors who can tell them hard truths is vital in helping participants to change how they lead. Moreover, the relationship often benefits the sponsor too. The operations vice president who encouraged Annie, for example, later asked her to teach him and his executive team some of the skills she had learned during her training.

Create networks of change leaders
Change programs falter when early successes remain isolated in organizational silos. To combat this problem, the industrial company deployed its leadership-development program globally to create a critical mass of leaders who shared the same vocabulary and could collaborate across geographic and organizational boundaries more effectively.

When Annie ran into trouble implementing the changes in some of the company’s locations in Asia, the personal network she’d created came to her rescue. A plant manager from Brazil, who had gone through the training with Annie, didn’t hesitate to get on a plane and spend a week helping the Asian supply chain leaders work through their problems. The company allowed him to do so even though this visit had nothing to do with his formal job responsibilities, thus sending an important signal that these changes were important.

Another tactic the company employed was the creation of formal “mini-advisory boards”: groups of six executives, with diverse cultural and business perspectives, who went through leadership training together. The mutual trust these teammates developed made them good coaches for one another. Pierre, for example, reported getting useful advice from his board as he finalized his plans to talk with his plant employees. The boards also provide much-needed emotional support: “The hardest part of being at the forefront of change is just putting your shoes on every day,” noted one manager we talked to. “Getting together helps me do that.”

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, April 2012
Abot the authors: Aaron De Smet is a principal in McKinsey’s Houston office, Johanne Lavoie is a senior expert in the Calgary office, and Elizabeth Schwartz Hioe is an associate principal in the New Jersey office.
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Tre vägar till ett jobb i en ny värld

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on April 22nd, 2012 by admin

Det är en tuff och helt ny jobbmarknad där ute och det krävs nya knep för att knipa jobben, konstaterar Harvard Business Review som samlar tips från sina olika experter i en specialserie. Här är några av dem:

1. Håll igång i mellan jobben
Även om arbetsgivarna i en färsk undersökning från Careerbuilder säger sig ha blivit mer förlåtande när det gäller en längre tids arbetslöshet (85 procent svarar ja), så säger de också att det krävs något extra för att välja den som varit utanför arbetsmarknaden ett tag.
Vad ser då bäst ut på cv:t? 79 procent av arbetsgivarna tycker att en tillfällig anställning är en bra grej- en sådan kan ju också leda till ett fast jobb. 61 procent tror på vidareutbildning, 60 procent på volontärarbete. Färre ser starta eget (28 procent) eller starta en blogg (11 procent) som det som skulle få dem att gå vidare med en kandidat. Om inget av ovan funkar råder Brent Rasmussen, Nordamerika-chef för Carreerbuilder, till följande, som hans efterforskningar visar är underutnyttjat: 1) Hör du inte något efter att ha skickat in ditt cv, följ upp. 2) Skaffa dig bra koll på verksamheten och kom gärna med nya konkreta idéer på vad de kan förändra.

2. Visa att du är speciell på pappret…
Samtidigt som en tredjedel av världens arbetsgivare har problem att hitta rätt folk så anger en lika stor andel bristande erfarenhet som skäl till varför de inte hittar nytt jobb, skriver Tammy Johns, vice vd på Manpower Group. I dagens karriärklimat är det viktigare än någonsin att känna sina styrkor och svagheter, menar hon, och ta reda på var man vill vara på väg – och därmed också hjälpa arbetsgivare se att man faktiskt kan vara rätt för jobbet, trots att de tror att de söker en annan profil.
Ingen sitter helt säkert när allt fler arbetsuppgifter outsourcas eller automatiseras. Richard McDermott, vd för McDermott Consulting menar att det inte räcker med att vässa sin kompetens. Man måste göra något för att skilja ut sig: * Bli superexpert inom en viss del av ditt område. * Bli själv konsult. * Ta inte ett jobb under din nivå.* Hitta en ny marknadsnisch där din expertis behövs.

3. …och var alltid redo på internet
Jobbsökandet sker inte längre bara när man aktivt söker ett nytt jobb. Våra profiler är ständigt tillgängliga.
Ett flertal studier visar att över 75 procent av arbetsgivare aktivt kollar kandidater på internet. Och de gräver allt djupare. Det skriver Michael Fertik, grundare av Reputation.com. Fler använder sig av datoriserade processer där kandidaterna sorteras in olika fack utifrån all möjlig tillgänglig information. Dyker du inte upp i rätt kategorier kommer du aldrig att hittas, menar han. Så det gäller att 1) Se till att din internetidentitet matchar din riktiga person. 2) Att du dyker upp på rätt sökord 3) Öka din trovärdighet inom de områden som är viktigast för den position du söker. 4) Försök få bort sådant som kan sänka dina chanser. Dorie Clark, konsult inom personliga varumärken, menar att man måste tänka som en politiker idag- jobbsökandet är en pågående kampanj där du och din profil måste hållas på rätt kurs och synas på rätt ställen.

Källa: SvD.se, Sara Lomberg, april 2012
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Men build networks. Women build relationships. What’s the difference, and how to do it.

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on April 21st, 2012 by admin

Part of my work involves figuring out why some women succeed and others do not. Yet I’ve worked mostly with men in my career, and I’ve always heard that men have bigger, stronger, bolder, and all-around better networks than women. So when I meet wildly successful women, especially in the male-dominated tech industry, it seems only natural to ask them about the importance of their networks. These women often answer me by talking about relationships. At first I thought this was a fluke: I’m asking about networks, so why are they responding by talking about relationships?

Eventually I realized that men build networks, but women foster relationships. And that this is more than just a semantic difference. Connections between men are more often based on transactions–one business action is traded for another. For women, it’s different. They are more likely to build their relationships over time, based on shared experiences with mutual benefits. And for the women I’ve met, this alternative way of building connections works just fine: These women sit on public company boards, lead highly profitable business ventures, and bring innovative offerings to market.

So how do you go about building the relationships you need for success? And what differentiates this from networking? These five steps will get you going.

Step 1: Assess where you are today
•What do you need to learn? How strong is your leadership ability, for example, or your domain expertise? Do you have a good handle on your financials? And if your customers are businesses, do you have access to any high-level people you need to work with?
•What is the status of your business? Are you about to run out of cash? Are you able to handle the volume of business?
•How strong, and how numerous, are your current relationships? Do you have people in your contact list who can help you or who can introduce you to someone who can?

Step 2: Set goals. Identify the people who can help you reach them
•Are there specific people you need to know in order to reach your goals?
•Which investors would benefit from having your company in their portfolio?
•What expertise or connections are you lacking?

Step 3: Create a relationship map
•Within your current contacts, who can help you reach your goal?
•Who do you know that can introduce you a wider circle of people who could help?
•If there are gaps, who in your circle can help you identify the types of people and specific people you should be targeting?

Step 4: Build relationships that bridge the gap between where you are now and the achievement of your goals
•Make a list of everyone you plan to reach out to. Then group them by the type of help they can offer. Some people may be able to help you sell to large enterprises. Others may be able to help you hone your pitch to investors.
•For each category, make a list of the top three topics you need to get smart about.
•Are there areas where you have no useful relationships at all, or where your relationships may not be strong enough? In those areas, figure out which events, conferences, or associations could help you build these relationships. Look for forums where you’re likely to share the values and experiences of the other people who are involved.
•Pick three forums that will yield the most valuable opportunities.

Step 5: Start reaching out
•Who do you reach out to first in your current relationship base? Who will you cold-call outside of your contact list?
•Be clear about the topic of conversation, articulating what you want and why. Generally, people want to help. They just need to be asked. You’ll be surprised.
•Which conferences, forums and events will be the most productive? What will you do to help establish meaningful relationships while also helping your business?
•Focus. You still have a business to run today.
•Pay it forward. Look for ways to help other people connect with people you might know.

Of course, all of this takes time, and for the newbie, more than a little guts. But for many successful women, it works. What have you got to lose?

Source: Patricia Fletcher, Inc.com, April 2012
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