Fyra saker du som chef behöver göra apropå #metoo

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 5th, 2017 by admin

De senaste veckorna har det ställts många frågor om chefsansvar efter alla avslöjanden om sexuella trakasserier och övergrepp på en lång rad arbetsplatser. Frågorna har bland annat rört hur man får reda på om ens egen personal är drabbad, hur man arbetar förebyggande, vad man gör om något uppdagas och i vilka fall man har en skyldighet att polisanmäla.

Här ger Eva Åberg från Audiendo svar på de vanligaste frågorna.

Chefens ansvar
Du behöver känna till arbetsmiljölagen och tillhörande föreskrifter om organisatorisk och social arbetsmiljö samt diskrimineringslagen och dess föreskrifter. De ställer idag höga krav på förebyggande, hälsofrämjande och rehabiliterande arbete.

Alla chefer från vd och nedåt med personalansvar för en eller flera medarbetare har ett delegerat arbetsmiljöansvar som inte bara gäller fast anställda utan även för korttidsanställda, praktikanter och inhyrd personal.

De senaste veckorna har det ställts många frågor om chefsansvar efter alla avslöjanden om sexuella trakasserier och övergrepp på en lång rad arbetsplatser Frågorna har bland annat rört hur man får reda på om ens egen personal är drabbad hur man arbetar fö

Det här behöver du göra:

1. Arbeta förebyggande för att det inte ska ske
Att säga ”vi har inga problem med det hos oss” är ibland en förevändning för att inte arbeta förebyggande med arbetsmiljö. Men oavsett om påståendet är sant eller ej måste alla arbetsplatser arbeta förebyggande enligt de föreskrifter som nämnts ovan.

Om du tänker göra en satsning för att arbeta emot sexuella trakasserier och övergrepp på din arbetsplats apropå #metoo kan du överväga att samtidigt väva in kränkande särbehandling av icke sexuell karaktär i satsningen eftersom även det drabbar väldigt många. Det kan till exempel handla om att bli sågad jäms med fotknölarna under ett avdelningsmöte, bli utfryst eller mobbad.

Kunskap ska finnas hos hos alla i din grupp om vad sexuella trakasserier och andra former arbetsmiljöproblem innebär och vem eller vilka de ska vända sig till när det upplever, ser eller hör något som inte är ok.

Vikten av ett väl fungerande, kontinuerligt värdegrundsarbete kan inte nog understrykas. Men tyvärr sker det på ett otillräckligt sätt i många organisationer. Ofta stannar det då vid en överenskommelse om några värdeord. Men om inte orden ges innebörd i form av gemensamt framtagna spelregler eller en uppförandekod som reglerar den interna såväl som den externa samvaron ger arbetet med värdeorden liten eller ingen effekt. Det behöver också finnas en evigt pågående process för att upprätthålla de goda beteendena och införliva nyanställda i organisationens värdegrund. Som tur är upplevs det arbetet för det mesta som både viktigt och engagerande för alla inblandade.

2. Tydliggöra för alla att det inte är accepterat, redan innan det sker
Detta måste uttalas, inte bara i de dokument ni upprättat. Ta alla chanser som omvärldens händelser erbjuder att ta upp ämnet vid era möten och berätta om vad nolltoleransen konkret innebär. Berätta också att du förväntar dig att alla medarbetare agerar förebilder såväl internt som externt och även säger ifrån om de exempelvis hör sexistiska kommentarer eller ser trakasserier.

Det är också lämpligt att informera om din organisations värdegrund och inställning till det här ämnet vid nyrekryteringar eller när du anlitar konsulter.

3. Fånga upp när det sker och åtgärda
Det här tycker många ledare är det svåraste. Vi har sett hur chefer i medierna svär sig fria för att informationen om övergrepp aldrig nådde fram till dem. De tycks ha missat en viktig del i chefsrollen, nämligen att du som chef ska se till att den här typen av information verkligen når fram till dig eller till någon annan i organisationen som har möjlighet att sätta in åtgärder.

Var vaksam på när prestation eller motivation sjunker hos någon medarbetare och försök alltid ta reda på varför förändringen skett. Visa omtanke och berätta enskilt vilken förändring du noterat och fråga om det finns ett problem eller en konflikt på jobbet som ligger bakom. Ha som mål att verkligen veta hur var och en av dina medarbetare har det på sin arbetsplats.

Som ledare har du dubbel lojalitet. Förutom den självklara att vara arbetsgivarens kanal till dina medarbetare är du även dina medarbetares kanal till organisationens ledning för att de senare ska kunna fatta informerade beslut. Men medarbetarnas förtroende att dela med sig av svåra saker kommer inte automatiskt i och med din chefsutnämning. Det är ett förtroende som du behöver lägga ned både tid och kraft på att bygga upp, såväl till fast personal, extraanställda som inhyrd personal. Detta är en viktig del i chefsrollen.

Om du som chef inte regelbundet för enskilda samtal med dina medarbetare annat än under de årliga medarbetarsamtalen bör du kanske tänka om. Du behöver finna former för betydligt fler enskilda, gärna informella, samtal i vardagen med var och en av medarbetarna. Möjligen behöver du här ta hjälp av grupp- eller teamledare, som dock inte har något formellt arbetsmiljöansvar. Känns uppgiften inte möjlig är din grupp kanske orimligt stor.

Extra svårt är chefens arbetsmiljöansvar om det ska utövas på distans. Men det är viktigt att veta att det formella ansvaret är lika stort trots avståndet och att ni behöver finna vägar för att få det att fungera lika väl som för andra medarbetare. Att ses då och då är viktigt eftersom alla samtal inte lämpar sig som videokonferenser eller ens telefonsamtal.

När något kommer till din kännedom behöver du agera skyndsamt. Det är förstås inte ok att vänta flera år som vi sett exempel på i medierna, inte ens månader eller veckor. Agera på dagen om du har möjlighet. Börja med att lyssna och ge stöd. Koppla så snart du kan in HR och följ era rutiner i arbetsmiljöplanen för att utreda, åtgärda och följa upp. Om HR-stöd och/eller rutiner saknas rekommenderar jag att du tar extern hjälp i ett så tidigt skede som möjligt.

4. I vissa fall måste du polisanmäla
Eftersom det förekommit publiceringar om arbetsgivare som polisanmält övergrepp och andra som valt att inte göra det, så har många undrat varför det hanterats så olika. Men får du kännedom om ett brott i efterhand, som exempelvis ett sexuellt övergrepp, har du naturligtvis möjlighet, men ingen formell skyldighet, att polisanmäla. Här har ni alltså rätt att samråda med offret och avgöra från fall till fall. Men det kan också vara så att din organisation har en policy för hur ni ska agera.

Skulle du vid något tillfälle få reda på att ett sexuellt övergrepp planeras (och du inte kan stoppa planerna) eller har påbörjats men inte fullbordats, har du skyldighet att anmäla detta till polisen. Det gäller oavsett om du är chef eller ej och oavsett om det sker på arbetstid eller inte.

Det finns naturligtvis mycket mer att berätta om chefsansvar i samband med #metoo, #tystnadtagning, #visjungerut och #medvilkenrätt. Framför allt om alla de verktyg du kan använda dig av.

Källa: Talarforum.se, december 2017
Länk
Av: Eva Åberg
Läs mer om Eva Åberg här

När styrelsen trodde att de tog ansvar

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on November 30th, 2017 by admin

Välkommen till en ny tids ledarskap!

I Nya Ögon 4 granskar vi det ansvar som kan ställas på styrelse och ledning i svallvågorna av metoo-debatten.

Koncernchefen för ett av Sveriges största bolag var mycket modemedveten. Det var bara ett problem. Varje gång han dök upp på kontoret i en kostym av nytt snitt, eller iklädd en scarf i spännande färger, så gick det inte många dagar förrän resten av ledningsgruppen klädde sig likadant.

En VD för en stålkoncern i Mellansverige behövde plötsligt dela sin arbetstid mellan huvudkontoret och en av enheterna. När han körde till produktionsenheten lät han kavajen hänga kvar på huvudkontoret, då det var bekvämare att köra bil i en tröja. En vecka senare hade majoriteten av produktionsenheten slängt kavajen och gick omkring i tröja på kontoret.

De här två exemplen, är förstås lite smålustiga. Men det är också exempel på den makt VD och ledning förvaltar. Inte bara genom beslutsfattande, utan genom sina värderingar och beteende. I en värld där värderingsstyrning blir allt viktigare i relation till målstyrning i företagen blir ledningens värderingar lika med företagets och vice versa.

Den företagskultur som råder orkestreras till stor del av ledningen. Den är ofta ett arv från föregående ledningsgrupper. De värderingar som förmedlas till medarbetare, genom tal, varumärkesguider, dagligt beteende, är inget som kan låsas in i skrivbordslådan efter arbetsdagens slut. I en allt mer transparent värld, är minsta detalj eller avvikande beteende alltid en knapptryckning bort från sociala medier och offentligheten. Om värdegrunden bara finns på papper och inte i medvetandet är den mycket skör.

Det har vi sett alltför många bevis på i samband med de senaste veckornas avslöjanden där missförhållanden i företagen pågått i åratal, ja decennier, utan att vare sig ledning eller styrelse ingripit. En gemensam värdenorm har saknats. Eller, ännu värre, vissa har haft fribrev. Företagets ”stjärnor” har stått ovanför normerna, de har tilldelats en inofficiell töjmån i sina beteenden. De historier som nu kommit fram har till stor del handlat om vissa branscher, där ”stjärnor” omhuldats till den grad att de trott sig stå över de övriga medarbetarna och agerat därefter.

I våra utvärderingsprocesser av styrelser och VD är frågor som berör värderingar och företagskultur viktiga för att kunna bedöma lämpligheten i att leda bolaget och skapa värde för aktieägare, medarbetare och andra intressenter.

Vi har genomfört drygt 150 utvärderingar i svenska företag och har noterat intressant fakta. Det är långt ifrån ovanligt att styrelse och VD står ganska långt från den dagliga hanteringen av värderingarna. När styrelsen, VD och ledningsteamet värderar påståendet: ”VD personifierar på ett bra sätt den kultur och de värderingar bolaget skall karaktäriseras av”, håller styrelsen och VD med om detta. Däremot har vi i ett antal fall sett hur de direktrapporterande chefernas uppfattning ofta är betydligt mer kritisk. Således föreligger det inte sällan en okunskap i toppen av bolagen om huruvida VD verkligen, på en daglig basis, leder bolaget i linje med den kultur som eftersträvas.

Vår tolkning är att bolagsstyrelser inte sällan saknar tillräcklig insikt om hur det praktiskt fungerar i ledarskapet, samt negligerar de här frågorna och inte hanterar dem som en viktig byggsten för företagets varumärke, fortlevnad och konkurrenskraft.

Med en pågående kamp om talangerna i en digital era, är det viktigare än någonsin att fånga upp dessa brister tidigt istället för att konstatera att det finns något på pränt och förutsätta att det fungerar.

Inte bara de styrelser vars företag skapar rubriker på grund av ett löst förhållningssätt till värderingsfrågor behöver fokusera på den egentliga företagskulturen, inte den som kommunicerats.

Om en VD kan få ett kontor att lägga kavajen hemma kan det inte vara svårare att inspirera till sundare värderingar som skapar starkare företag och välmående medarbetare.

Kort om oss på Lagercrantz Associates

Nya ögon på ledarskap

Det sägs att världens totala kunskap dubbleras var tredje år. Att styra ett företag i denna omsättningshastighet ställer onekligen krav på den utvalde.

I takt med förändringarna förändras även kravprofilen på Sveriges företags styrelser och ledningar.

Hur hanterar dagens ledare de nya omfattande regelverken, det ökade kravet på kundkontakt, digitalisering, förändrade köpbeteenden, media, miljöfrågor?

Förändringens pris läser vi om på näringslivssidorna. VD:ar och styrelseordföranden lever ett kortare liv och felrekryteringar kostar företag och aktieägare stora pengar.

Lagercrantz Associates startades 2012 med nya ögon på ledarskap, hållbara rekryteringar och styrelseutveckling.

Vi har många års erfarenhet, bred kompetens, stort kontaktnät, utvärderingsverktyg av ledarskap och en djup förståelse av aktieägarperspektivet.

Lagercrantz Associates erbjuder tre tjänster:

1. Executive Search
2. Board search
3. Fact Based Board Assessment

Tillsammans har detta byggt Lagercrantz Associates – en personligare boutique-firma för search och assessment, med en högre karat av kunskap på våra enskilda medarbetare och en gemensam passion för att finna den nya tidens ledare och styrkraft.

Vad innebär det att vara chef när medarbetarna består av en kombination av män, kvinnor och robotar?

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on November 27th, 2017 by admin

Vad innebär det att vara chef när medarbetarna består av en kombination av män, kvinnor och robotar?

De maskiner vi har vant oss vid i fabriker och kontor har framför allt varit verktyg. I morgon är de kolleger, eller åtminstone smarta system som kommunicerar med oss med människoliknande röster. Vi talar kanske för mycket om vilka jobb robotarna ska ta över och för lite om hur vi bättre kan samarbeta med dem. För när människa och maskin förväntas samarbeta skapas mängder av nya ledarskapsutmaningar.

Domstolar i USA rådfrågar redan en algoritm innan de bestämmer straffet för en dömd, IBM:s superdator Watson tar plats som en i läkarlaget för att stödja behandling till patient och en så kallad roboadvisor kommer att vara med när en finansiell rådgivare presenterar ett investeringsförlag till sin kund. Men vad gör chefen när en mänsklig anställd har en konflikt med en robot och de har olika åsikter kring hur ett uppdrag ska utföras? Eller när kunden klagar på robotens otrevliga kommentarer?

Morgondagens chefer måste tänka nytt och utvärdera vilken förstärkning de kan åstadkomma, vilken organisationsform som är mest lämplig och vilka värderingar de vill hålla fast vid när robotar värvas in i verksamheten. Den nya ledarrollen handlar om att på bästa möjliga sätt slå samman mänskliga och automatiserade roller, fördela ansvarsområden och ge alla de människor som är anställda möjligheter att bäst använda sina naturliga kompetenser.

På BMW:s fabrik i Spartanburg är man redan nära en sådan verklighet. Där jobbar så kallade ”cobots”, collaborative robots, sida vid sida med människor. Cobots är enklare robotar som är utvecklade för att kunna förstå sin omgivning och arbeta säkert nära människan. I fabriken har man som framtidsvision att varje produktionsledare tilldelas och tränar upp en utvald robot som sin partner.

Cisco förutspår att 60 procent av alla företag inom robottunga branscher kommer att anställa en så kallad Chief Robot Officer, som har till uppgift att optimera robotstyrkans dagliga uppgifter. Precis som en människa behöver en robot stöd för att förstå vilka uppdrag den ska utföra och vilka mål den ska uppnå. Robotarna behöver också medarbetarsamtal för att lära sig och utveckla sig – och roboten kan i sin tur kommunicera tillbaka mängder av data till sin närmaste chef med förslag på ytterligare förbättringar.

Även de högsta cheferna kan ha en robot vid sin sida. Enligt McKinsey kommer 25 procent av en nuvarande vd:s jobb att kunna automatiseras. En smart chef kan dra nytta av att en algoritm ofta är bättre på att delegera, schemalägga och koordinera uppgifter. Ny mjukvara, som till exempel amerikanska Orchestra, kan dela upp projekt i lämpliga arbetsströmmar, kalla in frilansare från ett register, ge dem tydliga arbetsuppdrag och följa upp med automatiskt utdelat feedbackansvar.

Managementstilar har kommit och gått genom åren, men den förändring som nu väntar är förmodligen större än något vi sett tidigare. Framtidens robotar kommer att kommunicera, interagera fysiskt, och skapa vanor med människor. Ledarskapsutmaningarna består av att designa komplexa system där automatiserade processer möter konstarten att höja människors förmågor bortom maskinernas banbrytande effektivitet. Kritiskt tänkande och kreativ problemlösning blir allt viktigare när algoritmernas rekommendationer ska värderas. Den verkliga nyckeln till framgång blir att optimera ekvationen mellan humankapacitet och automation, och att skapa sammanhållning mellan människa och maskin.

Källa: DI.se, 27 november 2017
Av: Sara Öhrvall
Om Sara Öhrvall: Sara är senior rådgivare inom digitalisering, föreläsare och styrelseledamot. Hon har tidigare drivit konsultföretag inom varumärken och innovationer.
Länk

Four secrets for turning insight into execution

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on November 27th, 2017 by admin

A well-designed leadership off-site is a great place to generate the big ideas that can take your business to the next level. You bring in a speaker, have an in-depth discussion, walk through an analysis, and suddenly, light bulbs go off. People see what they’ve been missing or what has been holding them back.

Unfortunately, as soon as people leave the event the light often begins to fade, and even those who complete planned tasks can lose sight of the big idea. Managers may be rigorous about their vision for implementation, but still find that execution varies widely — putting their business at risk and damaging trust and confidence on the team. “Are we going to have another one of those meetings where everyone signs up for stuff, and then no one does anything?” becomes an all-too-common refrain. As a leader, you might be tempted to throw up your hands. You would think that mature professionals could be counted on to follow through on their agreed-upon actions, right? Do you really have to hold their hands?

Well, yes, in a way, you do — for two reasons. First, brain science shows that new insights are fragile. In “The Neuroscience of Leadership,” published by this magazine, David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz show that when a new idea emerges, it is amorphous and faint, and thus more difficult to call to mind than something familiar. They explain that an engaging experience (like an off-site) is a great way to generate new insights and new connections in the brain. But to turn these new connections into repeatable action, they need to be reactivated again and again, until neural pathways become embedded in everyday thinking and decision making. Rock and Schwartz refer to this process as increasing the “attention density” given to a new idea. “Over time, paying enough attention to any specific brain connection keeps the relevant circuitry open and dynamically alive,” they write. “These circuits can then eventually become not just chemical links but stable, physical changes in the brain’s structure.” (Charles Duhigg’s analysis of habits and Dan Ariely’s description of predictable irrational behavior are both great additions on this subject.)

“Are we going to have another one of those meetings where everyone signs up for stuff, and then no one does anything?”

The second reason your people need more support for follow-up is the sheer volume of information they have to mentally sort and file every day — requests, alerts, introductions, announcements, and the list goes on. The constant noise can swamp even the most competent employee’s system for managing commitments.

Given these two factors, you can increase your team’s execution effectiveness by shifting your view of your role as a leader. Instead of being a taskmaster or allowing poor follow-up to undermine results, you can think of yourself as the architect of your team’s focus and attention — using simple practices to reactivate the insights that really matter over time. Here are four ways to start:

1. Document insights in real time, in vivid ways.
Don’t wait until the meeting or off-site ends. Instead, allocate some time near the end of the agenda for reflection — to capture key insights, outline project plans, and schedule next steps. Try sharing a project planning template. Give people time to check their calendars before asking them to commit to next steps. And, where possible, chronicle “aha” moments in ways that easily bring them back to life. I find hiring a person to serve as a graphic recorder, photographing key flip charts, or having people tell the story of the biggest insight from the meeting all make it easier to reactivate important insights later.

2. Be rigorous about your personal system for managing attention and commitments.
If you want to increase your team’s attention density, you need to proactively manage your own focus. There are many valuable methods available — for instance, David Allen’s Getting Things Done is explicitly designed to help you manage the flood of information inputs. The key is to have a personal routine for consciously directing your attention to what matters, and to follow it religiously. Having your own system helps you to choose how to direct your team’s attention, and sets the expectation that they should have similar systems. This is also the only way you or your team can make commitments you know you can keep.

3. Use questions to reactivate the “aha.”
In your team meetings, in your one-to-ones, and even when passing someone in the hall, try asking questions that prompt people to think more deeply about a big idea. “What did you find when you looked at the external market data?” “What is your goal for that sales call?” “Who are the new customers and who will be helping to set them up correctly?” Ask what the idea means to them, and how it can be applied in practice. As a leader, the questions you ask also let your team know what you expect and how they should prepare for discussions with you (an idea I learned from sales strategy expert Steve Thompson).

4. Notice everyone’s deadlines.
Too often, deadlines come and go, and no one mentions the hits or the misses. Unfortunately, this can signal that the project or the task isn’t important. By contrast, if you notice when a key date is coming up, you can ask the relevant individuals how the work is coming along, dig into challenges or delays, or thank your employees for solid execution. Doing so reinforces the idea that you are paying attention, and conveys the significance of everyone’s contributions. Simply recognizing when someone takes a crucial first step or shows signs of real effort to change can make a huge difference, especially when they are learning new habits. This need not become micromanaging if your focus is on helping people make progress toward the goal (rather than on catching their mistakes).

At first blush, you may think that adopting these four habits will cost you precious (and limited) time. But if you give them a try, I think you will find they increase the payoff from every insight your team develops. Isn’t that what we mean when we tell our teams we want them to do less and achieve more?

Source: Strategy-Business.com, November 2017
By: Elizabeth Doty
About the author: Elizabeth Doty is a former lab fellow of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and founder of Leadership Momentum, a consultancy that focuses on the practical challenges of keeping organizational commitments.
Link

How to create an agile organization

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 24th, 2017 by admin

Transforming companies to achieve organizational agility is in its early days but already yielding positive returns. While the paths can vary, survey findings suggest how to start.

Rapid changes in competition, demand, technology, and regulations have made it more important than ever for organizations to be able to respond and adapt quickly. But according to a recent McKinsey Global Survey, organizational agility—the ability to quickly reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities—is elusive for most. Many respondents say their companies have not yet fully implemented agile ways of working, either company-wide or in the performance units where they work, though the advantages are clear. Respondents in agile units report better performance than all others do, and companies in more volatile or uncertain environments are more likely than others to be pursuing agile transformations.

Few companies are yet reaping these benefits, but that may soon change; the results also indicate that organizational agility is catching fire. For many respondents, agility ranks as a high strategic priority in their performance units. Moreover, companies are transforming activities in several parts of the organization—from innovation and customer experience to operations and strategy—to become more agile. Finally, respondents in all sectors believe more of their employees should be working in agile ways. For organizations and their performance units that aren’t yet agile, the path to achieving agility depends on their starting points. But the results indicate some clear guidance on how and where they can improve, whether they are lacking in stability or dynamism.

Organizational agility is on the rise
Across industries and regions, most survey participants agree that the world around them is changing, and quickly. Business environments are increasingly complex and volatile, with two-thirds of respondents saying their sectors are characterized by rapid change. In such environments, the need for companies to demonstrate agility is top of mind: the more unstable that respondents say their environments are, the more likely they are to say their companies have begun agile transformations.

To date, though, few organization-wide agile transformations have been completed. Only 4 percent of all respondents say their companies have fully implemented one, though another 37 percent say company-wide transformations are in progress. When asked where their companies apply agile ways of working,3 respondents most often identify activities that are closest to the customer: innovation, customer experience, sales and servicing, and product management. This is not too surprising, since customer centricity is cited most often—followed by productivity and employee engagement—as the objective of agile transformations. Companies are also focusing on internal end-to-end processes. At least four in ten respondents say their companies are applying agile ways of working in processes related to operations, strategy, and technology, while roughly one-third say they are doing so in supply-chain management and talent management.

Looking forward, the results suggest that companies have higher aspirations for agility. Three-quarters of respondents say organizational agility is a top or top-three priority on their units’ agendas, and more transformations appear to be on the way. Of those who have not begun agile transformations, more than half say plans for either unit-level or company-wide transformations are in the works. Respondents across industries also report a desire to scale up agile ways of working. On average, they believe 68 percent of their companies’ employees should be working in agile ways, compared with the 44 percent of employees who currently do. By industry, respondents in telecom and the electric-power and natural-gas industries report the biggest differences between their actual and ideal shares of employees working in agile ways—followed closely by respondents in several other industries: media and entertainment, the public sector, oil and gas, pharma, and advanced industries.

What’s more, the survey also confirms that agility pays off. Eighty-one percent of respondents in agile units report a moderate or significant increase in overall performance since their transformations began. And on average, respondents in agile units are 1.5 times more likely than others to report financial outperformance relative to peers, and 1.7 times more likely to report outperforming their peers on nonfinancial measures.

Agile organizations excel at both stability and dynamism
In previous work, we have determined that, to be agile, an organization needs to be both dynamic and stable.7 Dynamic practices enable companies to respond nimbly and quickly to new challenges and opportunities, while stable practices cultivate reliability and efficiency by establishing a backbone of elements that don’t need to change frequently. The survey scored organizations across eighteen practices (see sidebar, “Eighteen practices for organizational agility.”), which our research suggests are all critical for achieving organizational agility. According to the results, less than one-quarter of performance units are agile. The remaining performance units lack either dynamism, stability, or both.

Of the 18 practices, the 3 where agile units most often excel relate to strategy and people. More than 90 percent of agile respondents say that their leaders provide actionable strategic guidance (that is, each team’s daily work is guided by concrete outcomes that advance the strategy); that they have established a shared vision and purpose (namely, that people feel personally and emotionally engaged in their work and are actively involved in refining the strategic direction); and that people in their unit are entrepreneurial (in other words, they proactively identify and pursue opportunities to develop in their daily work). By contrast, just about half of their peers in nonagile units say the same.

After strategy, agile units most often follow four stable practices related to process and people: entrepreneurial drive, shared and servant leadership, standardized ways of working, and cohesive community. When looking more closely at standardized ways of working, the agile units excel most on two actions: the unit’s processes are enabled by shared digital platforms and tools (91 percent, compared with 54 percent for others), and processes are standardized, including the use of a common language and common tools (cited by 90 percent of agile respondents and just 58 percent of all others).

Among the dynamic practices, process—and information transparency, in particular—is a strength for agile units. Within transparency, for example, 90 percent of agile respondents say information on everything from customers to financials is freely available to employees. Among their peers in other units, only 49 percent say the same. The second practice where agile units most differ from others is in rapid iteration and experimentation. More than 80 percent of agile respondents say their companies’ new products and services are developed in close interaction with customers and that ideas and prototypes are field-tested early in the development process, so units can quickly gather data on possible improvements.

The path to agility depends on the starting point

For the performance units that aren’t yet agile, the survey results suggest clear guidance for how to move forward. But organizational agility is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. The specific practices a unit or organization should focus on to become agile depend on whether it is currently bureaucratic, start-up, or trapped.

Bureaucratic units
By definition, bureaucratic units are relatively low in dynamism and most often characterized by reliability, standard ways of working, risk aversion, silos, and efficiency. To overcome the established norms that keep them from moving fast, these units need to develop further their dynamic practices and modify their stable backbones, especially on practices related to people, process, and structure.

First is the need to address the dynamic practices where, compared with agile units, the bureaucratic units are furthest behind. Only 29 percent of bureaucratic respondents, for example, report following rapid iteration and experimentation, while 81 percent of agile respondents say the same. A particular weakness in this area is the use of minimum viable products to quickly test new ideas: just 19 percent of bureaucratic respondents report doing so, compared with 74 percent of agile respondents. After that, the largest gap between bureaucratic units and agile units is their ability to roll out suitable technology, systems, and tools that support agile ways of working.

At the same time, bureaucratic units also have room to improve on certain stable practices. For example, bureaucratic units are furthest behind in performance orientation; in agile units, employees are far more likely to provide each other with continuous feedback on both their behavior and their business outcomes. What’s more, leaders in these units are better at embracing shared and servant leadership by more frequently incentivizing team-oriented behavior and investing in employee development. And it’s much more common in agile units to create small teams that are fully accountable for completing a defined process or service.

Start-up units
Start-up units, on the other hand, are low in stability and characterized as creative, ad hoc, constantly shifting focus, unpredictable, and reinventing the wheel. These organizations tend to act quickly but often lack discipline and systematic execution. To overcome the tendencies that keep them from sustaining effective operations, these units need to further develop all of their stable practices—and also broaden their use of the dynamic practices related to process and strategy in order to maintain sufficient speed.

First is focusing on a stronger overall stable backbone. On average, 55 percent of start-up respondents report that they implement all nine stable practices, compared with 88 percent of agile respondents who report the same. According to the results, a particular sore spot is people-related practices—especially shared and servant leadership. For example, just under half of start-up respondents say their leaders involve employees in strategic and organizational decisions that affect them, compared with 85 percent of their agile peers. Similar to bureaucratic units, respondents at start-up units also report challenges with process, particularly with regard to performance orientation. Within that practice, only 44 percent of respondents at start-up units say their people provide each other with continuous feedback on both their behavior and their business outcomes; 80 percent at agile units report the same.

Start-up units also have room to improve their use of dynamic practices, particularly in process and strategy. According to respondents, the agile units excel much more often than their start-up counterparts at information transparency—for example, holding events where people and teams share their work with the unit. Moreover, agile respondents are much more likely to say new knowledge and capabilities are available to the whole unit, which enables continuous learning. On the strategy front, the start-up units are furthest behind their agile peers on flexible resource allocation—more specifically, deploying their key resources to new pilots and initiatives based on progress against milestones.

Trapped units
The trapped units are often associated with firefighting, politics, a lack of coordination, protecting turf, and local tribes. These organizations find themselves lacking both a stable backbone and dynamic capabilities. In applying the stable practices, the trapped units are most behind on those related to people: specifically, shared and servant leadership and entrepreneurial drive. Just 13 percent of respondents at trapped units say they follow shared and servant leadership, compared with 89 percent of their agile peers. The dynamic practices in which they are furthest behind are process related, especially continuous learning and rapid iteration and experimentation.

Looking ahead
In response to the challenges that the survey results revealed, here are some principles executives and their units or organizations should act upon, whether or not they have already begun agile transformations:

Embrace the magnitude of the change. Based on the survey, the biggest challenges during agile transformations are cultural—in particular, the misalignment between agile ways of working and the daily requirements of people’s jobs, a lack of collaboration across levels and units, and employee resistance to changes. In our experience, agile transformations are more likely to succeed when they are supported by comprehensive change-management actions to cocreate an agile-friendly culture and mind-sets. These actions should cover four main aspects. First, leaders and people across the organization align on the mind-sets and behaviors they need to move toward. Second, they role-model the new mind-sets and behaviors and hold each other accountable for making these changes. Third, employees are supported in developing the new skills they need to succeed in the future organization. And finally, formal mechanisms are put in place to reinforce the changes, rewarding and incentivizing people to demonstrate new behaviors.8
Be clear on the vision. The results show that agile units excel most at creating a shared vision and purpose and aligning on this vision through actionable strategic guidance. In contrast, at companies that have not yet started a transformation, one of the most common limitations is the inability to create a meaningful or clearly communicated vision. An important first step in deciding whether to start an agile transformation is clearly articulating what benefits are expected and how to measure the transformation’s impact. This vision of the new organization must be collectively held and supported by the top leadership.
Decide where and how to start. Respondents whose organizations have not started agile transformations most often say it’s because they lack a clear implementation plan. While the right plan will vary by company, depending on its vision, companies should first identify the part(s) of the organization that they want to transform and how (for example, by prototyping the changes in smaller parts of the performance unit before scaling them up, or by making changes to more foundational elements that go beyond a single unit). Second, they should assess which of the 18 agile practices the organization most needs to strengthen in order to achieve agility, so that the actions taken across strategy, structure, process, people, and technology are mutually reinforcing. Third, they should determine the resources and time frame that the transformation requires, so the effort maintains its momentum but the scope remains manageable at any point in time.

Source: McKinsey.com, Octobr 2017
Authors: Karin Ahlbäck, Clemens Fahrbach, Monica Murarka and Olli Salo.
About the author: The contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Karin Ahlbäck, a consultant in McKinsey’s London office; Clemens Fahrbach, a consultant in the Munich office; Monica Murarka, a senior expert in the San Francisco office; and Olli Salo, an associate partner in the Helsinki office.
Link

Vilken chef har du? Så tacklar du de olika ledarstilarna

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 19th, 2017 by admin

Chefens sätt att styra har stor betydelse för hur en medarbetare mår.
Men vilka styrningssätt är de bästa – och vad stressar personalen mest?
”De allra flesta har problem med den otydliga chefen”, säger psykologen Sandra Guteklint.
Har du bytt jobb eller tjänst någon gång har du med all sannolikhet varit med om några olika typer av chefer. Det kan vara chefen med stort kontrollbehov, där detaljerna synas i sömmarna och du ges lite utrymme till att själv styra ditt jobb. Men det kan också vara chefen där du ges lite väl lösa tyglar och du får problem med att veta vad du ska prioritera. Den gemensamma nämnaren är att du som anställd måste tackla din chef, oavsett vilken stil han eller hon har.

”Ett bra tillfälle att göra det på kan vara i utvecklingssamtal, att man upplyser chefen om vad man behöver snarare än att undvika rätt eller fel. När presterar jag och mår bäst och vilken typ av chef behöver jag? Vissa behöver tydliga instruktioner och vissa behöver mycket frihet.”, säger ledarskapsutbildaren Markus Amanto.

Vilken chef har du? Di har delat upp dem i några olika kategorier med frågeställningen hur du som anställd kan tackla och jobba bäst med din chef.

Kompischefen
Med den här chefen har du kanske en relation även utanför jobbet eller så känner ni varandra så pass bra att chefen ofta pratar om privata saker på jobbet.

Nina Jansdotter, beteendevetare och jobbcoach, menar att det är närmast omöjligt att vara kompisar på jobbet – eftersom du då lätt favoriseras och kan bli isolerad av resten av gruppen.

”Om man ska vara kompis måste chefen vara lika bra kompis med alla, vilket är en omöjlighet. Annars blir det som en förälder som älskar ett barn mer, det går inte”, säger hon.

För den anställde gäller det att påminna om att ni inte kan vara kompisar på jobbet. Ett sätt att tydliggöra era roller kan vara att, på ett lite skämtsamt sätt, använda sig av titeln ”chefen”, menar Nina Jansdotter.

”Ibland kan man behöva vara tydlig, att man inte tycker att det är bra att ni är för nära på jobbet. Påpeka gärna att han eller hon inte ska ta det personligt utan att det handlar om situationen i stort, att det är svårt att vara vän när du är min chef”.

Annars finns risken att man blir utesluten ur sin grupp.

”Det har jag varit med om och det blev ett tråkigt slut. Personen blev sjukskriven på grund av utmattningsdepression. Hon blev helt isolerad och mobbades ut. Det är inte att föredra”, säger Nina Jansdotter.

Kontrollchefen
Här har du att göra med en person som helst gör ditt jobb själv. Chefen har lite tillit till sin personal och är oerhört rädd för att misslyckas.

”Chefen kanske känner sig pressad uppifrån och vill säkerställa att inget faller på honom eller hennes ledning. Eller att man har svårt att delegera och känna tillit andras kunskaper”, säger psykologen och psykoterapeuten Sandra Guteklint.

Nina Jansdotter tipsar om att försöka förklara att du kan sitta inne på lösningar som kan gagna företaget om du får göra det på ditt sätt.

”Då är det bra att visa på något konkret. Om chefen någon gång pekar mindre med hela handen och lämnade lite utrymme, då är det bra att ge feedback och tacka för förtroendet”, säger hon.

Sträckan att känna tillit från ”kontrollchefen” är, enligt Nina Jansdotter, ofta väldigt lång.

”Perfektionisterna har ofta ångest för att misslyckas, då måste de gradvis få inse att de inte misslyckas trots att de släpper lite. Men du måste förtjäna det förtroendet och det går inte snabbt.”

Uppsidan är att när du väl får förtroende kan det leda till att du på sikt ges stora mandat. Nina Jansdotter nämner chefer som på grund av sitt kontrollbehov ofta ta mer sig hela team av personer de anser är lojala och duktiga när de byter arbetsplats.

Den otydliga chefen
Psykologen Sandra Guteklint möter många anställda och det allra vanligaste problemet som de lyfter fram gällande chefer är otydliga chefer. Otydlighet kring mål, otydlighet kring arbetsbeskrivningar, roll och arbetsuppgifter.

“Dessa chefer ger sällan tydlig feedback och bekräftelse och sammantaget skapar det stress hos många”, säger hon.

Hon råder den anställde att prata med sin chef, alternativt söka stöd hos HR för att få bukt med problemet.

Markus Amanto liknar problemet med att köra bli utan blinkers.

”En av mina favoritdekaler bak på en bil är: Blinkers är bättre än tankeläsning.

I vår kommunikation är det lätt hänt både i jobbet och privat att vi förväntar oss att andra ska vara tankeläsare snarare än att vi uttrycker vad vi behöver och önskar.”, säger han.

Den kännslomässiga
Här handlar det om en högljudd person som sällan drar sig inte för att kritisera sina anställda öppet. Men ger också beröm.

”Den här chefen ska man inte ha om man är konflikträdd och tar saker och ting personligt. Om det är en emotionell typ så måste man kunna se att chefen ändå har ett gott hjärta”, säger Nina Jansdotter.

Den här typen av chefer är ofta passionerade i sitt jobb och har nära både till raseriutbrott, skratt och beröm, enligt beteendevetaren.

”Pendeln kan svänga åt båda håll. Men om man tycker att det är jobbigt med den typen av känslosamhet och ilska kan man bli sårad ofta och rädd och vara en hälsofara.”.

Den lata chefen – så kallade ”freeriders”
En kategori som inte levererar, som låter sina anställda göra jobbet men tar själv åt sig äran. Den här typen av chefer är inte längre särskilt vanliga, enligt Nina Jansdotter.

”Förr kunde man icke-leverera i tysthet. Idag är organisationerna mer transparanta, mer snabbrörligt och man är som anställd inte lika lojal längre”, säger hon.

Här gäller det som anställd att påtala problemet med sin chef, men räcker inte det gå vidare till chefens överordnade. Då är det stor chans att den underpresterande chefen inte får vara kvar.

”I vissa organisationer kan det ta längre tid, att man håller varandra om ryggen. Men jag upplever ändå att det inte går att missköta sig så länge. Man åker snabbare ut nu”.

Källa: DI.se, 19 oktober 2017
Länk

Culture for a digital age

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Digitalisering / Internet, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on August 23rd, 2017 by admin

Risk aversion, weak customer focus, and siloed mind-sets have long bedeviled organizations. In a digital world, solving these cultural problems is no longer optional.

Shortcomings in organizational culture are one of the main barriers to company success in the digital age. That is a central finding from McKinsey’s recent survey of global executives, which highlighted three digital-culture deficiencies: functional and departmental silos, a fear of taking risks, and difficulty forming and acting on a single view of the customer.

Each obstacle is a long-standing difficulty that has become more costly in the digital age. When risk aversion holds sway, underinvestment in strategic opportunities and sluggish responses to quick-changing customer needs and market dynamics can be the result. When a unified understanding of customers is lacking, companies struggle to mobilize employees around integrated touchpoints, journeys, and consistent experiences, while often failing to discern where to best place their bets as digital broadens customer choice and the actions companies can take in response. And when silos characterize the organization, responses to rapidly evolving customer needs are often too narrow, with key signals missed or acted upon too slowly, simply because they were seen by the wrong part of the company.

Can fixes to culture be made directly? Or does cultural change emerge as a matter of course as executives work to update strategy or improve processes?1 In our experience, executives who wait for organizational cultures to change organically will move too slowly as digital penetration grows, blurs the boundaries between sectors, and boosts competitive intensity. Our research, which shows that cultural obstacles correlate clearly with negative economic performance, supports this view. So do the experiences of leading players such as BBVA, GE, and Nordstrom, which have shown what it looks like when companies support their digital strategies and investments with deliberate efforts to make their cultures more responsive to customers, more willing to take risks, and better connected across functions.

Executives must be proactive in shaping and measuring culture, approaching it with the same rigor and discipline with which they tackle operational transformations. This includes changing structural and tactical elements in an organization that run counter to the culture change they are trying to achieve. The critical cultural intervention points identified by respondents to our 2016 digital survey—risk aversion, customer focus, and silos—are a valuable road map for leaders seeking to persevere in reshaping their organization’s culture. The remainder of this article discusses each of these challenges in turn, spelling out a focused set of reinforcing practices to jump-start change.

Calculated risks

Too often, management writers talk about risk in broad-brush terms, suggesting that if executives simply encourage experimentation and don’t punish failure, everything will take care of itself. But risk and failure profoundly challenge us as human beings. As Ed Catmull of Pixar said in a 2016 McKinsey Quarterly interview, “One of the things about failure is that it’s asymmetrical with respect to time. When you look back and see failure, you say, ‘It made me what I am!’ But looking forward, you think, ‘I don’t know what is going to happen and I don’t want to fail.’ The difficulty is that when you’re running an experiment, it’s forward looking. We have to try extra hard to make it safe to fail.”

The balancing act Catmull described applies to companies, perhaps even more than to individuals. Capital markets have typically been averse to investments that are hard to understand, that underperform, or that take a long time to reach fruition. And the digital era has complicated matters: On the one hand, willingness to experiment, adapt, and to invest in new, potentially risky areas has become critically important. On the other, taking risks has become more frightening because transparency is greater, competitive advantage is less durable, and the cost of failure is high, given the prevalence of winner-take-all dynamics.

Leaders hoping to strike the right balance have two critical priorities that are mutually reinforcing at a time when fast-follower strategies have become less safe. One is to embed a mind-set of risk taking and innovation through all ranks of the enterprise. The second is for executives themselves to act boldly once they have decided on a specific digital play—which may well require changing mind-sets about risk, and inspiring key executives and boards to think more like venture capitalists.

An appetite for risk
Building a culture where people feel comfortable trying things that might fail starts with senior leaders’ attitudes and role modeling. They must break the status quo of hierarchical decision making, overcome a focus on optimizing rather than innovating, and celebrate learning from failure. It helps considerably when executives make it clear through actions that they trust the front lines to make meaningful decisions. ING and several other companies have tackled this imperative head-on, providing agile coaches to help management learn how to get out of the way after setting overall direction for objectives, budgets, and timing.

However, delegating authority only works if the employees have the skills, mind-sets, and information access to make good on it. Outside hires from start-ups or established digital natives can help inject disruptive thinking that is a source of innovative energy and empowerment. Starbucks, for example, has launched a digital-ventures team, hiring vice presidents from Google, Microsoft, and Razorfish to help drive outside thinking.

Also empowering for frontline workers (and risk dampening for organizations) is information itself. For example, equipping call-center employees with real-time analysis on account profiles, or data on usage and profitability, helps them take small-scale risks as they modify offers and adjust targeting in real time. In the retail and hospitality industries, companies are giving frontline employees both the information (such as segment and purchase history) and the decision authority they need to resolve customer issues on the spot, without having to escalate to management. Such information helps connect the front line to the company’s strategic vision, which provides a compass for decision making on things such as what sort of discount or incentive to offer in resolving a conflict or what “next product to buy” to tee up. Benefits include improvements in the customer experiences (due to faster resolution) and greater consistency across the business in spotting and resolving problems. This lowers cost at the same time it improves customer satisfaction. In addition, frontline risk taking enables more rapid innovation by speeding up iterations and decision making to support nimbler, test-and-learn approaches. These same dynamics prevail in manufacturing, with new algorithms enabling predictive maintenance that no longer requires sign-off from higher-level managers.

Regardless of industry, the critical question for executives concerned with their organization’s risk appetite is whether they are trusting their employees, at all levels, to make big enough bets without subjecting them to red tape. Many CFOs have decided to shift all but the largest investment decisions into the business units to speed up the process. The CFO at one global 500 consumer-goods company now signs off only on expenditures above $250,000. Until recently, any spend decision over $1,000 required the CFO’s approval.

Making bold bets
At the same time they are letting go of some decisions, senior leaders also are responsible for driving bold, decisive actions that enable the business to pivot rapidly, sometimes at very large scale. Such moves require risk taking, including aggressive goal setting and nimble resource reallocation.

A culture of digital aspirations. Goals should reflect the pace of disruption in a company’s industry. The New York Times set the aspiration to double its digital revenues within five years, enabled in part by the launch of T Brand Studio as a new business model. In the face of Amazon, Nordstrom committed more than $1.4 billion in technology capital investments to enable rich cross-channel experiences. The Irish bank AIB decided customers should be able to open an account in under ten minutes (90 percent faster than the norm prevailing at the time). AIB invested to achieve this goal and saw a 25 percent lift in accounts opened, along with a 20 percent drop in costs. In many industries facing digital disruption, this is the pace and scale at which executives need to be willing to play.

Embracing resource reallocation. Nimble resource reallocation is typically needed to back up such goals. In many incumbents, though, M&A and capital-expenditure decisions are too slow, with too many roadblocks in the way. They need to be retooled to take on more of a venture-capitalist approach to rapid sizing, testing, investing, and disinvesting. The top teams at a large global financial-services player and an IT-services company have been reevaluating all of their businesses with a five- to ten-year time horizon, determining which ones they will need to exit, where they need to invest, and where they can stay the course. Such moves tax the risk capacity of executives; but when the moves are made, they also shake things up and move the needle on a company’s risk culture.

The financial markets are double-edged swords when it comes to bold moves. While they remain preoccupied with short-term earnings, they are also cognizant of cautionary tales such as Blockbuster’s 2010 bankruptcy, just three years after the launch of Netflix’s streaming-video business. Companies like GE have nonetheless plunged ahead with long-term, digitally oriented strategies. In aggressively shedding some of its traditional business units, investing significantly to build out its Predix platform, and launching GE Digital, its first new business unit in 75 years, with more than $1 billion invested in 2016, GE’s top team has embraced disciplined risk taking while building for the future.

Customers, customers, customers
Although companies have long declared their intention to get close to their customers, the digital age is forcing them to actually do it, as well as providing them with better means to do so. Accustomed to best-in-class user experiences both on- and off-line with companies such as Amazon and Apple, customers increasingly expect companies to respond swiftly to inquiries, to customize products and services seamlessly, and to provide easy access to the information customers need, when they need it.

A customer-centric organizational culture, in other words, is more than merely a good thing—it’s becoming a matter of survival. The good news is that getting closer to your customers can help reduce the risk of experimentation (as customers help cocreate products through open innovation) and support fast-paced change. Rather than having to guess what’s working in a given product or service before launching it—and then waiting to see if your guess is right after the launch takes place—companies can now make adjustments nearly real-time by developing product and service features with direct input from end users. This is already taking place in products from Legos to aircraft engines. The process not only helps derisk product development, it tightens the relationship between companies and their customers, often providing valuable proprietary data and insights about how customers think about and use the products or services being created.

Data and tools
Underlying the new customer-centricity are diverse tools and data. Connecting the right data to the right decisions can help build a common understanding of customer needs into an organizational culture, fostering a virtuous cycle that reinforces customer-centricity. Amazon’s ability to use customers’ previous purchases to offer them additional items in which they might be interested is a significant element in its success. The virtuous circle they’ve created includes customer reviews (to reassure and reinforce other shoppers), along with the algorithms that share “what customers who looked at this item also bought.” Of course, Amazon has also invested heavily in automated warehouses and a sophisticated distribution model. But even those were tied to the customer desire to receive merchandise faster.

A unifying force
At its best, customer-centricity extends far beyond marketing and product design to become a unifying cultural element that drives all core decisions across all areas of the business. That includes operations, where in many organizations it’s often the furthest from view, and strategy, which must be regularly refreshed if it is to serve as a reliable guide in today’s rapidly changing environment. Customer-centric cultures anticipate emerging patterns in the behavior of customers and tailor relevant interactions with them by dynamically integrating structured data, such as demographics and purchase history, with unstructured data, such as social media and voice analytics.

The insurance company Progressive illustrates the unifying role played by strong customer focus. Progressive’s ability to persuade customers to install the company’s Snapshot device to monitor driving behavior is revolutionizing the insurance space, and not just as a marketing tool. Snapshot helps attract the good drivers who are the most profitable customers, since those individuals are the ones most likely to be attracted by the offer of better discounts based on driving behavior. It also gives the company’s underwriters actual data in place of models and guesswork. This new technology is one that Progressive can monetize into a business unit to serve other insurers as well.

Busting silos
Some observers might consider organizational silos—so named for parallel parts of the org chart that don’t intersect—a structural issue rather than a cultural one. But silos are more than just lines and boxes. The narrow, parochial mentality of workers who hesitate to share information or collaborate across functions and departments can be corrosive to organizational culture.

Silos are a perennial problem that have become more costly because, in the words of Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza, “the interdisciplinary requirement of digital continues to grow. The possibilities created by combining data science, design, and human science underscore the importance both of working cross-functionally and of driving customer-centricity into the everyday operations of the business. Many organizations have yet to unlock that potential.”2 The executives we surveyed appeared to agree, ranking siloed thinking and behavior number one among obstacles to a healthy digital culture.

How can you tell if your own organization is too siloed? Discussions with CEOs who have led old-line companies through successful digital transformations indicate two primary symptoms: inadequate information, and insufficient accountability or coordination on enterprise-wide initiatives.

Getting informed
Digital information breakdowns echo the familiar story of the blind men and the elephant. When employees lack insight into the broader context in which a business competes, they are less likely to recognize the threat of disruption or digital opportunity when they see it and to know when the rest of the organization should be alerted. They can only interpret what they encounter through the lens of their own narrow area of endeavor.

The corollary to this is that every part of the organization reaches different conclusions about their digital priorities, based on incomplete or simply different information. This contributes to breaks in strategic and operating consistency that consumers are fast to spot. There isn’t the luxury of time in today’s digital world for each division to discover the same insight; a digital attacker or more agile incumbent is likely to swoop in before the siloed organization even knows it should be mounting a response. So the first imperative for companies looking to break out of a siloed mentality is to inspire within employees a common sense of the overall direction and purpose of the company. Data and thoughtful management rotation often play a role.

Data-driven transparency. Data can help solve the blind-men-and-the-elephant problem. A social-services company, for instance, created a customer-engagement group to better understand how customers interact with the company’s products and brands across silos—and where customers were running into difficulty. Among other things, this required close examination of how the company collected, analyzed, and distributed data across silos. The team discovered, for example, that some customers were cancelling their memberships because of the deluge of marketing outreaches they were receiving from the company. To address this, the team combined customer databases and propensity models across silos to create visibility and centralized access rights with regard to who could reach out to members and when. Among other achievements, this team:

created segment-specific trainings that offered an integrated view of each segment’s suite of needs and offerings that would meet them
drew on information from different parts of the organization to give a more developed picture on engagement, retention, and the total number of touches associated with various segments and customers
showed the net effect of the entire organization’s activities through the customer’s eyes
embedded this information into key processes to ensure information was accessible in a cross-disciplinary way—breaking siloed viewpoints and narrow understandings of the overall business model
Management rotation. Another way to achieve better alignment on the company’s direction is to rotate executives between siloed functions and business units. At the luxury retailer Nordstrom, for example, two key executives exchanged roles in 2014: Erik Nordstrom, formerly president of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores, became president of Nordstrom Direct, the company’s online store, while Jamie Nordstrom, formerly president of Nordstrom Direct, became president of the brick-and-mortar stores. This type of rotation can be done at different levels in an organization and helps create a more consistent understanding between different business units regarding the company’s aspirations and capabilities, as well as helping create informal networks as employees build relationships in different departments.

Instilling accountability
The second distinctive symptom of a siloed culture is the tendency for employees to believe a given problem or issue is someone else’s responsibility, not their own. Companies can counter this by institutionalizing mechanisms to help support cross-functional collaboration through flexibly deployed teams. That was the case at ING, which, because it identifies more as a technology company than a financial-services company, has turned to tech firms for inspiration, not banks. Spotify, in particular, has provided a much-talked-about model of multidisciplinary teams, or squads, made up of a mix of employees from diverse functions, including marketers, engineers, product developers, and commercial specialists. All are united by a shared view of the customer and a common definition of success. These squads roll up into bigger groups called tribes, which focus on end-to-end business outcomes, forcing a broader picture on all team members. The team members are also held mutually accountable for the outcome, eliminating the “not my job” mind-set that so many other organizations find themselves trapped in. While this model works best in IT functions, it is slowly making its way into other areas of the business. Key elements of the model (such as end-to-end outcome ownership) are also being mapped into more traditional teams to try to bring at least pieces of this mind-set into more traditional companies.

Start by finding mechanisms, whether digital, structural, or process, that help build a shared understanding of business priorities and why they matter. Change happens fast and from unpredictable places, and the more context you give your employees, the better they will be able to make the right decisions when it does. To achieve this, organizations must remove the barriers that keep people from collaborating, and build new mechanisms for cutting through (or eliminating altogether) the red tape and bureaucracy that many incumbents have built up over time.

Cultural changes within corporate institutions will always be slower and more complex than the technological changes that necessitate them. That makes it even more critical for executives to take a proactive stance on culture. Leaders won’t achieve the speed and agility they need unless they build organizational cultures that perform well across functions and business units, embrace risk, and focus obsessively on customers.

Source: McKinsey.com, August 2017
By Julie Goran, Laura LaBerge, and Ramesh Srinivasan
About the authors: Julie Goran is a partner in McKinsey’s New York office, where Ramesh Srinivasan is a senior partner; Laura LaBerge is a senior practice manager of Digital McKinsey and is based in the Stamford office.
Link

What’s missing in leadership development?

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on August 14th, 2017 by admin

Only a few actions matter, and they require the CEO’s attention.

Organizations have always needed leaders who are good at recognizing emerging challenges and inspiring organizational responses. That need is intensifying today as leaders confront, among other things, digitization, the surging power of data as a competitive weapon, and the ability of artificial intelligence to automate the workplace and enhance business performance. These technology-driven shifts create an imperative for most organizations to change, which in turn demands more and better leaders up and down the line.

Unfortunately, there is overwhelming evidence that the plethora of services, books, articles, seminars, conferences, and TED-like talks purporting to have the answers—a global industry estimated to be worth more than $50 billion—are delivering disappointing results. According to a recent Fortune survey, only 7 percent of CEOs believe their companies are building effective global leaders, and just 10 percent said that their leadership-development initiatives have a clear business impact. Our latest research has a similar message: only 11 percent of more than 500 executives we polled around the globe strongly agreed with the statement that their leadership-development interventions achieve and sustain the desired results.

In our survey, we asked executives to tell us about the circumstances in which their leadership-development programs were effective and when they were not. We found that much needs to happen for leadership development to work at scale, and there is no “silver bullet” that will singlehandedly make the difference between success and failure.

That said, statistically speaking, four sets of interventions appear to matter most: contextualizing the program based on the organization’s position and strategy, ensuring sufficient reach across the organization, designing the program for the transfer of learning, and using system reinforcement to lock in change. This is the first time we have amassed systematic data on the interventions that seem to drive effective leadership-development programs. Interestingly, the priorities identified by our research are to a large extent mirror images of the most common mistakes that businesses make when trying to improve the capabilities of their managers. Collectively, they also help emphasize the central role of technology today in necessitating and enabling strong leadership development.

Focus on the shifts that matter
In our survey, executives told us that their organizations often fail to translate their company’s strategy into a leadership model specific to their needs (whether it is, say, to support a turnaround, a program of acquisitions, or a period of organic growth). Conversely, organizations with successful leadership-development programs were eight times more likely than those with unsuccessful ones to have focused on leadership behavior that executives believed were critical drivers of business performance.1
The implications are clear for organizations seeking to master today’s environment of accelerating disruption: leadership-development efforts must be animated by those new strategic imperatives, translating them into growth priorities for individual managers, with empathy for the degree of change required. An important piece of the puzzle is enhancing the ability of leaders to adapt to different situations and adjust their behavior (something that requires a high degree of self-awareness and a learning mind-set). Leaders with these attributes are four times more prepared to lead amidst change.

Make it an organizational journey, not cohort specific
Ensuring sufficient reach across the organization has always been important to the success of leadership-development efforts. Organizations with successful programs were six to seven times more likely than their less successful peers to pursue interventions covering the whole organization, and to design programs in the context of a broader leadership-development strategy. The same went for companies whose leadership strategy and model reached all levels of the organization.

Achieving sufficient reach amidst today’s rapid change is challenging: most leadership-development programs are typically of short duration (a few weeks to several months), sporadic, and piecemeal—making it difficult for the program to keep up with changes in the organization’s priorities, much less develop a critical mass of leaders ready to pursue them.

Fortunately, technology isn’t just stimulating the need for change; it’s also enabling faster, more flexible, large-scale learning on digital platforms that can host tailored leadership development, prompt leaders to work on specific kinds of behavior, and create supportive communities of practice, among other possibilities.

Design for the transfer of learning
Technology can also help companies break out of the “teacher and classroom” (facilitator and workshop) model that so many still rely on, maximizing the value and organizational impact of what is taught and learned. Fast-paced digital learning is easier to embed in the day-to-day work flows of managers. Every successful leader tells stories of how he or she developed leadership capabilities by dealing with a real problem in a specific context, and our survey provides supporting evidence for these anecdotes: companies with successful leadership-development programs were four to five times more likely to require participants to apply their learnings in new settings over an extended period and to practice them in their job.

This is just one of several modern adult-learning principles grounded in neuroscience that companies can employ to speed the behavior and mind-set shifts leaders need to thrive in today’s fast-changing environment. Others include learning through a positive frame (successful leadership developers were around three times more likely to allow participants to build on a strength rather than correcting a development area), and providing coaching that encourages introspection and self-discovery (which also was three times more prevalent among successful leadership developers).

Embedding change
Leadership-development efforts have always foundered when participants learn new things, but then return to a rigid organization that disregards their efforts for change or even actively works against them. Given the pace of change today, adapting systems, processes, and culture that can support change-enabling leadership development is critically important. Technology can support organizational interventions that accelerate the process. For example, blogs, video messages, and social-media platforms help leaders engage with many more people as they seek to foster understanding, create conviction, and act as role models for the desired leadership behavior and competencies.

Also critical are formal mechanisms (such as the performance-management system, the talent-review system, and shifts in organizational structure) for reinforcing the required changes in competencies.2 In our latest research, we found that successful leadership-development programs were roughly five to six times more likely to involve senior leaders acting as project sponsors, mentors, and coaches and to encompass adaptations to HR systems aimed at reinforcing the new leadership model. Data-enabled talent-management systems—popularized by Google and often referred to as people analytics—can increase the number of people meaningfully evaluated against new competencies and boost the precision of that evaluation.

Most CEOs have gotten religion about the impact of accelerating disruption and the need to adapt in response. Time and again, though, we see those same CEOs forgetting about the need to translate strategy into specific organizational capabilities, paying lip service to their talent ambitions, and delegating responsibility to the head of learning with a flourish of fine words, only for that individual to complain later about lack of support from above. To be fair, CEOs are pulled in many directions, and they note that leadership development often doesn’t make an impact on performance in the short run.

At the same time, we see many heads of learning confronting CEOs with a set of complex interwoven interventions, not always focusing on what matters most.

But as the pace of change for strategies and business models increases, so does the cost of lagging leadership development. If CEOs and their top teams are serious about long-term performance, they need to commit themselves to the success of corporate leadership-development efforts now. Chief human-resource officers and heads of learning need to simplify their programs, focusing on what really matters.

Source: McKinsey.com, August 2017
By: Claudio Feser, Nicolai Nielsen and Michael Rennie
About the authors:Claudio Feser is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Zurich office; Nicolai Nielsen is an associate partner in the Dubai office, where Michael Rennie is a senior partner.
Link

Five easy ways to overcome procrastination

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 29th, 2017 by admin

If you know the “why” of your procrastinating, you can easily find the “how” to overcome it.

Procrastination is like a sore throat; it’s a symptom with many possible causes. Unless you know the cause, the treatment for the symptom might things worse. This column contains the five most common causes of procrastination and how to overcome them.

1. The size of a task seems overwhelming.
Explanation: Every time you think about the task it seems like a huge mountain of work that you’ll never be able to complete. You therefore avoid starting.

Solution: Break the task into small steps and then start working on them. This builds momentum and makes the task far less daunting.

Example: You’ve decided to write a book. Rather than sitting down and trying to write the book (which will probably cause you to stare at the blank screen), spend one hour on each of the following sub-tasks:

1. Jot down as many ideas as possible.

2. Sort the ideas into an outline.

3. List out anecdotes you’ll want to include.

4. Write a sample anecdote to determine style.

5. Review existing materials (e.g. presentations).

6. Assign those materials to sections of your outline.

7. Write the first three paragraphs of a sample chapter.

8. Create a schedule to write 2 pages a day.

2. The number of tasks seems overwhelming.
Explanation: Your to-do list has so many tasks in it that you feel as if you’ll never be able to finish them all, so why bother getting started?

Solution: Combine the tasks into a conceptual activity and then set a time limit for how long you’ll pursue that activity.

Example: Your email account is being peppered by so many requests and demands that you feel as if you can’t possibly get them done. Rather than fret about the pieces and parts, set aside a couple of hours to “do email.” Schedule a similar session tomorrow or later that day.

Thinking of the work as an activity rather than a bunch of action items makes them seem less burdensome.

3. A set of tasks seem repetitive and boring.
Explanation: You’re a creative person with an active mind so you naturally put off any activity that doesn’t personally interest you.

Solution: Set a time limit for completing a single task in the set and then compete against yourself to see if you can beat that time limit. Reward yourself each time you beat the clock.

Example: You’re a newly-hired salesperson who must write personalized emails to two dozen customers. The work involves quickly researching their account, addressing any issues they’ve had with the previous salesperson, and then introducing yourself.

Rather than just slogging through the work, estimate the maximum amount of time it should take to write one letter (let’s say 5 minutes). It should thus take you 120 minutes (2 hours) to write all of them.

Start the stopwatch, write the first email. If you have time left over, do something else (like read the news). When the stopwatch buzzes, reset, write the second email, etc.

4. The task seems so important that it’s daunting.
Explanation: You realize that if you screw this task up, it might mean losing your job or missing a huge opportunity. You avoid it because you don’t want to risk failure.

Solution: Contact somebody you trust and ask if they’ll review your work (if the task is written) or act as a sounding board (if the task is verbal). Doing the task for your reviewer is low-risk and thus the task is easier to start. The reviewer’s perspective and approval provides you extra confidence when you actually execute the task.

Example: You need to write an email demanding payment from a customer who’s in arrears. Because you don’t want to damage the relationship and yet need to be paid, it’s a difficult balancing act–so difficult that you avoid writing the email.

To break the mental log-jam, ask a colleague or friend if they’ll review your email before you send it to see if it hits the right tone. Writing the email then becomes easier because you’re writing it for your friend to read rather than for the customer.

Problem: You just don’t feel like working.
Explanation: You’re feeling burned out and generally unmotivated, so you’re finding it very hard to get down to work.

Solution: You have two choices: 1) reschedule the activity for a time when you’ll be more motivated or 2) motivate yourself in the short-term by setting a reward.

Example: You need to write a trip report but you’re tired after a long day of travel. While you know that the report will be more accurate if you write it now, you decide to write it tomorrow morning after breakfast and coffee–a time when you’re typically more motivated.

Alternatively, you motivate yourself short-term promising yourself that you’ll buy and download a book that you’ve been wanting to read… but only if you write the report tonight.

Source:Inc.com, 7 July 2017
Author: Geoffrey James
Link

The CEO’s guide to competing through HR

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 25th, 2017 by admin

Technological tools provide a new opportunity for the function to reach its potential and drive real business value.

A leading US healthcare company was struggling recently to recruit more nurses and stem high staff turnover. Patients were suffering, and the crisis was beginning to hit revenues.

Instead of just continuing to “firefight,” however, the company’s human-resources department responded by launching an in-depth analysis of the tenures in the group’s nursing population, noting in its study some surprising correlations between length of service, compensation, and performance.

HR leaders quickly saw the source of the problem—as well as a solution. They raised the minimum rewards for those early in their tenure and tweaked the total rewards for those with longer career paths, with the result being that the company retained more early-tenure, high-performing nurses. When the company rolled out the plan more widely, employee engagement increased and productivity jumped by around $100 million.

The story shows what can happen when HR steps out of its traditional silo and embraces a strategic role, explicitly using talent to drive value rather than just responding passively to the routine needs of businesses. That’s a transformation many companies have been striving to make in recent years as corporate leaders seek to put into practice the mantra that their people are their biggest asset.

Some companies are making progress. The best HR departments are creating centers of excellence (COEs) in strategic areas such as organizational development, talent acquisition, and talent management. They are also providing better support to line managers via strategic HR business partners, and gaining points for pulling up from administrative minutiae to work on the long-term health of the business.

But there is still a long way to go. We hear continued frustration from business and HR leaders alike that the value of the much touted “strategic” approach remains at best unquantified, at worst ill-defined and poorly understood. Too many HR organizations still fail to make a hard and convincing connection between talent decisions and value.

This article sets out an agenda for renewed action. We believe the time is right to accelerate the reinvention of HR as a hard-edged function capable of understanding the drivers of strategy and deploying talent in support of it—most importantly as a result of the availability of new technological tools that unleash the power of data analytics.

The new HR—at a glance
New roles
Short of rewriting job descriptions and changing roles right away, companies should launch a tailored training program for the best HR business partners—the ones who show the potential to become truly strategic talent value leaders (TVLs). Additionally, launching targeted and rotational career-development opportunities that move HR leaders into business roles, and vice versa, can jumpstart the development of TVLs.

People analytics
The first step for companies is to assess data readiness—how personnel data can enable analytics insights that add value to HR. Sustained progress will require a dedicated analytics capability, including roles, capabilities, and data governance.

HR operations
Most companies are already standardizing and centralizing key work flows. Next-generation automation technologies—robotics, cognitive agents, and natural-language processing, for example—will accelerate efficiency.

Resources
Making HR more agile requires companies to establish a rigorous strategic-planning process that lays out which initiatives HR will pursue each year to drive value and which ones it will not.

To advance the agenda, we believe businesses need to concentrate on four things: rethinking the role of business partner to enable a better understanding of the vital link with strategy, using people analytics to identify the talent actions that will drive the value, fixing HR operations so they are not a distraction from HR’s higher mission, and focusing HR resources in more agile ways so as to support these fresh priorities. Companies that take these steps will move toward a next generation of HR that’s data driven, not experience driven; systematic, not ad hoc; and consistent, not hit and miss. (For more, see sidebar, “The new HR—at a glance.”)

Rethink the role of the business partner
The starting point is for HR business partners—those senior HR individuals who counsel managers on talent issues—to stop acting as generalists and show that they really own the critical talent asset. This is a big enough change that it calls for a change in roles: replacing the business-partner role entirely with a new talent value leader (TVL), who would not only help business leaders connect talent decisions to value-creating outcomes but would also be held fully accountable for the performance of the talent.

The talent value leader
A TVL should have real authority over hiring and firing, even if actual decision rights remain with managers in the way actual spending decisions are taken by budget owners rather than being dictated by the finance function. Think of the manager of a European football team who is responsible for allocating resources using acquisition, compensation, evaluation, development, motivation, and other levers to maximize the players’ collective performance.

Unlike the typical HR business partner of today, TVLs should be held to account using metrics that capture year-to-year skills development, capability gaps, engagement, and attrition. And to the maximum extent possible, they should be disconnected from the day-to-day concerns of operational HR so as not to get pulled back into dealing with employee issues—that means eliminating the HR liaison role that so many HR business partners play today.

TVLs, however, won’t succeed without being able to deliver analytically driven talent insights to business managers systematically. This is a substantial change from today; while many HR business partners are resourceful and smart advisers to managers, few possess a data and analytical mind-set or the appropriate problem-solving tool kit.

When adopted, the expanded HR role we are describing starts to be taken seriously, as some companies are beginning to discover. A leading global materials company, for example, has been moving in this direction, specifying competencies for its HR leaders that now include the ability to “use analytics to diagnose and prescribe talent actions,” to “translate talent decisions into profit-and-loss impact,” and to “measure talent outcomes and their impact on value while holding managers accountable.” The results have been significant. After an adjustment period, internal surveys show managers are substantially more satisfied with the support they receive from HR. Anecdotally, we also hear that more business leaders are scripting a role for their talent advisers during the strategic business-planning processes.

Broader leaders for a bigger role
A key challenge, of course, is where to find appropriate candidates to fill these bigger HR shoes. Many business partners, after all, have grown up in traditional HR roles with an operational-service culture. HR departments should therefore start a cohort-based, high-potential program that balances rotations in and out of HR with dedicated time for skill building. Companies can also reward executives from other functions for stints in HR, and potential HR leaders should experience line and other functional-leadership roles—in finance, for example—in order to build better business-strategy capabilities. Eileen Naughton recently stepped in to run people operations at Google from her role as managing director and vice president of sales and operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland. And Pepsico has begun to fill some HR roles with people from engineering, technology, or process-oriented backgrounds: leaders at the soft-drink giant say that engaging the business with data is critical to expanding the strategic role of HR.

Put people analytics at the core
Many organizations have already built extensive analytics capabilities, typically housed in centers of excellence with some combination of data-science, statistical, systems-knowledge, and coding expertise. Such COEs often provide fresh insights into talent performance, but companies still complain that analytics teams are simple reporting groups—and even more often that they fail to turn their results into lasting value. What’s missing, as a majority of North American CEOs indicated in a recent poll, is the ability to embed data analytics into day-to-day HR processes consistently and to use their predictive power to drive better decision making.

In today’s typical HR organization, most talent functions either implicitly or explicitly follow a process map; some steps are completed by business partners or generalists, others by HR shared services, and still others by COE specialists. Many of these steps require a recommendation or decision by a human being—for example, the evaluation of an employee’s performance or the designation of a successor to a specific role.

Embedded analytics, by contrast, either inform or replace these steps with algorithms that leverage the data to drive fact-based insights, which are then directly linked to the deployment steps in the process. For example, many companies now use HR analytics to address attrition, allowing managers to predict which employees are most likely to leave and highlighting turnover problems in a region or country before the problem surfaces. By making the development and delivery of insights systematic, HR will start to drive strategic talent value in a more consistent way, rather than episodically and piecemeal as at present.

To understand more concretely the role of people analytics in an HR organization’s journey toward a more strategic role, let’s look closely at a single process—succession planning—and then assess the potential business impact of a broader suite of initiatives.

Analytics in action: Succession planning
A standard approach starts with a talent-management or organizational-development COE laying out the process for the organization, designing the tools or templates, and training key stakeholders in what to do. Managers might then sit down with their HR partners and discuss potential succession candidates for key roles—ideally taking skills, competencies, and development pathways into account (in practice, of course, there may be a bit of “gut feel”). A traditional best-practice process would then create individual development plans for potential successors, based on the gap between that person and the potential role. As vacancies occur, these potential successors may or may not be tapped, much depending on whether the manager (or his or her HR partner) bothers to refer back to those plans.

An analytics-driven succession-planning process looks and feels very different. First, machine-learning algorithms might review years of succession data so as to understand success factors in a given role. Using that insight, the company might then derive the top five internal candidates for that role, accompanied by customized development plans (that is, what courses to take, what skills to build) based on their individual competencies. Such information would support subsequent strategic decisions, consultations between managers and strategic HR partners, and cross-functional assessments of enterprise bench strength.

Business impact
The real prize is for those that can use data analytics not just to improve a single process, like recruitment or retention, but also to drive business performance—as has happened at a leading global quick-service restaurant business. The company mined data on employee personality traits, leadership styles, and working patterns and introduced changes that have improved customer service and had a tangible impact on financial performance (see “Using people analytics to drive business performance: A case study,” forthcoming on McKinsey.com).

To achieve such impact across the board, leaders will have to make significant investments in analytics skills and capabilities—but the returns should be commensurate. Based on a study of a range of industries with diverse workforces, operating models, and financial features, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that companies using a portfolio of HR-analytics solutions could realize an increase of 275 basis points in profit margins, on average, by 2025. These increases will likely come about through productivity gains among front- and middle-office workers (which can translate into revenues or other increased-output opportunities) and through savings in recruiting, interviewing time, training, onboarding, and attrition costs.

Fix HR operations
The current reality of HR, as many business partners will attest, is that of the function routinely being pulled into operational issues and distracted from its core strategic mission. McKinsey research, indeed, shows that typical HR departments still spend close to 60 percent of their time and resources on transactional and operational HR, despite decades of pushing work out to shared services; the best-performing HR departments spend less than 40 percent of their time and resources on these transactional activities.

As part of its continuing transformation, HR must therefore raise service levels and improve the employee experience, using next-generation automation tools and standardized processes to drive higher productivity. There are three critical operational priorities for the HR organization of the future: continuous process improvement, next-generation automation technology, and user-experience-focused service improvement.

Continuous process improvement
Based on our work with companies, we see several ways to make HR operations more efficient—including finding further things that individuals and managers can do more easily themselves—notably by providing direct access to information or transactions online, introducing simpler processes, and ensuring clearer decision making. It’s also worth considering more geographically diverse sourcing of work and talent, as a leading agricultural company did when it found deep pockets of high-end instructional design talent in several Indian cities. These people, it turned out, not only were less costly but proved themselves capable of delivering equal or better service than the relatively well-compensated instructional designers who had served the businesses previously, mostly from the United States and Western Europe. There is always scope for smarter sourcing of external vendors, whether through insourcing or outsourcing: one US insurance company, for example, improved its reliability and cut the overall cost of its payroll process in half by bringing it back in-house.

Next-generation automation technology
New automation technologies will soon reshape a number of HR processes, building on core human-resource-management-system platforms (both on premises and in the cloud). Robotic process automation (RPA), smart work flows, cognitive agents, and natural-language processing, for example, will automate HR tasks previously carried out by people. The case of a leading global automotive-component manufacturer that was struggling with its employee-onboarding process is instructive. Thanks to the cross-functional complexity of the work flow, with different HR people needed to complete steps such as employee paperwork and scheduling orientation—and with IT, facilities, and security people needed to complete others—onboarding used to take weeks. RPA solved the problem with a bot that can access multiple systems, follow an intelligent work flow, and initiate communications. Onboarding time, on average, has been reduced by more than two-thirds, many errors created by manual tasks have been eliminated, and the journey has become more compelling for the individual.

Toward a new HR philosophy
For operational HR, the new frontier of technology is cognitive agents, especially when paired with natural-language processing. The former have developed to the point where in many cases employees can’t tell that they’re interacting with a piece of software. Natural-language processing may not yet offer seamless unstructured voice conversations for an HR setting—but leading HR-service organizations already leverage chat as a communication channel to answer most questions, “learn” from past interactions, and conduct “warm” handoffs when needed. One major international food and beverage company believes these automated technologies can reduce its costs by 20 percent while maintaining or increasing service levels (for instance, by enabling 24/7 immediate response).

User experience
Operational effectiveness is a critical part of employee satisfaction with HR. But whether it’s understanding the customer decision journey in marketing or understanding user needs as the foundation to driving digital user experience, other areas of the business have sought to improve customer satisfaction in ways that most HR departments generally have not. The HR department at the Orlando International Airport is a notable exception. It found that staff employed by about 60 organizations based at the airport, ranging from airlines and security to retail and janitorial, faced a common set of challenges. These challenges were both undermining the employees’ job satisfaction and affecting the quality of services they were providing for passengers and other customers. An overhaul of the staff experience tackled both problems. The airport revamped its shuttle-bus schedules, reducing commuting time for workers using the employee parking lots, which had a tangible effect on morale at the start of the day. The airport also made it easier for employees to find their way through its buildings and facilities. Finally, it took an entirely new approach to onboarding employees, providing them with updated weekly information so that everyone, regardless of their role, could help customers with queries about directions, the availability of services, or events taking place in other parts of the airport.

Focus HR resources in more agile ways
The changes discussed not only require the HR organization to recruit a new cadre of TVLs and to use people analytics to drive business value—they also demand a new type of agile organizational structure. Applying agility to the organization of HR will be critical to HR’s ability to deliver a harder link between talent decisions and value.

Agile HR: A case study
It’s easiest to understand HR agility through an example. A leading European bank implemented an agile HR model aligned to this vision, with great results. Previously siloed HR resources responded to opportunities or issues slowly and inefficiently, their work dominated by transactional and operational tasks. Morale was low as a result of a lack of role clarity and a surfeit of meetings aimed at engaging every conceivable HR stakeholder. In response, the bank’s HR leaders implemented an agile “flow to the work” organizational model: there are a limited number of deep specialists and talent value leaders in a few global roles, and they are supported by strong shared-service centers and a pool of multiskilled HR professionals—people with capabilities to perform most HR actions and who are responsible for much of the talent work.

The model reduced the HR budget by 25 percent in its first year of implementation, the goal being 40 percent within three years. Just as important, the HR organization is working with renewed purpose, implementing key talent initiatives faster and substantially accelerating HR’s response to opportunities and issues. Now fewer in number, the bank’s HR business partners (TVLs in all but name) and COE leaders are devoting much more of their time to connecting talent to business strategy.

Agility, operations, and structure
As this example suggests, the move toward a more agile HR organizational model has both operational and structural implications. Operationally, HR functions need to be able to create a solid backbone of core processes that either eliminate the clutter or camouflage the complexity to the business, all while delivering the basics (such as payroll, benefits, recruiting, and simple employee and manager transactions) without error or delay.

Agility, combined with analytics, also suggests structural change, particularly for centers of excellence. With more automation of insight generation, and especially the mass customization and delivery of those insights through technology, HR COEs will probably be a much smaller group in the HR organization of the future. Shorn of transactional resources and unburdened by operational responsibilities, these pools of talent will be able to work across disciplines (talent management, learning and development, and organizational design), supporting the new talent value leaders and business as a whole.
Calls for a more assertive and strategic role for HR are not new. The idea that the CHRO (controller of human capital) should be part of a C-suite triumvirate that includes the CEO (principal owner of strategy) and the CFO (owner of financial capital) has been championed by our colleague Dominic Barton, among others. But if HR leaders are to finally achieve the promise of being strategic—the sustained delivery of talent insights and actions that drive real business value—they will need to transform their own function to provide a foundation. By changing the way HR interacts with the business on strategic questions, notably through the creation of new talent value leaders, HR can gain responsibility and accountability for driving talent-linked value. By deploying data-driven insights and solutions in a systematic way, HR can dramatically ramp up the level of talent insight it delivers to the business. By driving continuous improvement in operational performance, HR can create the space for its leading thinkers to drive strategic talent insight and solutions. And by adopting a more agile approach to its resources, HR can drive significant productivity and focus execution and investments on the core initiatives each year that are proven to link to value.

Source: McKinsey.com, July 2017
Authors: Frank Bafaro, Diana Ellsworth and Neel Gandhi
About the author(s)
Frank Bafaro is a consultant in McKinsey’s Southern California office; Diana Ellsworth is an associate partner in the Atlanta office, where Neel Gandhi is a partner.
Link