Kvinnor i maktpositioner i svenskt näringsliv

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on mars 31st, 2021 by admin


Källa: Allbright, 2021

After covid19: Trends that will define 2021 – and beyond

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on mars 28th, 2021 by admin

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, and its effects will last. Here are some factors that business leaders should keep in mind as they prepare for the next normal.

Businesses have spent much of the past nine months scrambling to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. While the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet won, with a vaccine in sight, there is at least a faint light at the end of the tunnel—along with the hope that another train isn’t heading our way.

2021 will be the year of transition. Barring any unexpected catastrophes, individuals, businesses, and society can start to look forward to shaping their futures rather than just grinding through the present. The next normal is going to be different. It will not mean going back to the conditions that prevailed in 2019. Indeed, just as the terms “prewar” and “postwar” are commonly used to describe the 20th century, generations to come will likely discuss the pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 eras.

In this article, we identify some of the trends that will shape the next normal. Then we discuss how they will affect the direction of the global economy, how business will adjust, and how society could be changed forever as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

How the COVID-19 crisis and the recovery are shaping the global economy

The return of confidence unleashes a consumer rebound

There are lines outside stores, but they are often due to physical-distancing requirements. Theaters are dark. Fashions are in closets rather than on display. If the Musée du Louvre were open, the lack of tourists might even create the opportunity for an unobstructed view of the Mona Lisa. In these and other ways, consumers have pulled back.

As consumer confidence returns, so will spending, with “revenge shopping” sweeping through sectors as pent-up demand is unleashed. That has been the experience of all previous economic downturns. One difference, however, is that services have been particularly hard hit this time. The bounce back will therefore likely emphasize those businesses, particularly the ones that have a communal element, such as restaurants and entertainment venues.

That isn’t to say that consumers will act uniformly. McKinsey’s most recent consumer survey, published in late October, found that countries with older demographics, such as France, Italy, and Japan, are less optimistic than are those with younger populations, such as India and Indonesia. China was an exception—it has an older population but is conspicuously optimistic.

But China’s profile proves a larger point. The first country to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was also the first to emerge from it. China’s consumers are relieved—and spending accordingly. On Singles Day, November 11, the country’s two largest online retailers racked up record sales. That wasn’t just a holiday phenomenon. While manufacturing in China came back first, by September, so had consumer spending. Except for international air travel, Chinese consumers have begun to act and spend largely as they did in precrisis times. Australia also offers hope. With the pandemic largely contained in that country, household spending fueled a faster-than-expected 3.3 percent growth rate in the third quarter of 2020, and spending on goods and services rose 7.9 percent.

How fast and deep confidence will recover is an open question. In late September, for example, the US consumers surveyed were more optimistic than before but still cautious, reporting that they planned to buy holiday gifts for fewer people and keep an eye on discretionary spending. Only around a third had resumed out-of-home activities, compared with 81 percent of consumers in China, 49 percent in France—and just 18 percent in Mexico. New lockdowns and, critically, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines have and will affect those numbers. The point is that spending will only recover as fast as the rate at which people feel confident about becoming mobile again—and those attitudes differ markedly by country.

Leisure travel bounces back but business travel lags

People who travel for pleasure will want to get back to doing so. That has been the pattern in China. The CEO of one major travel company told us that, beginning in the third quarter of 2020, business was “pretty much back to normal” when referring to growth. But it was a different normal: domestic travel was surging, but international travel was still depressed given pandemic-related border restrictions and concerns about health and safety. In China as a whole, hotel occupancy and the number of travelers on domestic flights were more than 90 percent of their 2019 levels at the end of August, and over the October Golden Week holiday, more than 600 million Chinese hit the road, around 80 percent of last year’s figure. Because of confidence in the country’s health and safety measures, domestic travel is almost back to the level seen prior to the pandemic, and high-end domestic travel is actually ahead of it.

By definition, leisure travel is discretionary. Business travel is less so. In 2018, business-travel spending reached $1.4 trillion, which was more than 20 percent of the total spending in the hospitality and travel sector. It also brings in a disproportionate share of profits—70 percent of revenues globally for high-end hotels, for example. During and after the pandemic, though, there is a question about business travel: Exactly when is it necessary? The answer is almost certain to be not as much as before. Video calls and collaboration tools that enable remote working, for example, could replace some onsite meetings and conferences.

The larger context is also informative. History shows that, after a recession, business travel takes longer than leisure travel to bounce back. After the 2008–09 financial crisis, for example, international business travel took five years to recover, compared with two years for international leisure travel.

Regional and domestic business travel will likely rebound first; some companies and sectors will want to resume in-person sales and customer meetings as soon as they safely can. Peer pressure may also play a part: once one company gets back to face-to-face meetings, their competitors may not want to hold back. All told, however, a survey of business-travel managers found that they expect business-travel spending in 2021 will only be half that of 2019. While business travel will return at scale, and global economic growth will generate new demand, executives in the field think that it may never recover to the 2019 level.

In short, leisure travel is driven by the very human desire to explore and to enjoy, and that has not changed. Indeed, one of the first things people do as they grow more prosperous is to travel—first close to home and then further afield. There is no reason to believe that the rise in global prosperity will reverse itself or that human curiosity will diminish. But the effective use of technology during the pandemic—and the economic constraints that many companies will face for years after it—could augur the beginning of a long-term structural change in business travel.

The crisis sparks a wave of innovation and launches a generation of entrepreneurs

Plato was right: necessity is indeed the mother of invention. During the COVID-19 crisis, one area that has seen tremendous growth is digitization, meaning everything from online customer service to remote working to supply-chain reinvention to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve operations. Healthcare, too, has changed substantially, with telehealth and biopharma coming into their own.

Disruption creates space for entrepreneurs—and that’s what is happening in the United States, in particular, but also in other major economies. We admit that we didn’t see this coming. After all, during the 2008–09 financial crisis, small-business formation declined, and it rose only slightly during the recessions of 2001 and 1990–91. This time, though, there is a veritable flood of new small businesses. In the third quarter of 2020 alone, there were more than 1.5 million new-business applications in the United States—almost double the figure for the same period in 2019.

Yes, many of those businesses are single-person establishments that could well stay that way—think of the restaurant chef turned caterer or the recent college graduate with a cool new app. So it’s intriguing that the volume of “high-propensity-business applications” (those that are likeliest to turn into businesses with payrolls) has also risen strongly—more than 50 percent compared with 2019. Venture-capital activity dipped only slightly in the first half of 2020.

The European Union has not seen anything like this response, perhaps because its recovery strategy tended to emphasize protecting jobs (not income, as in the United States). That said, France saw 84,000 new business formations in October, the highest ever recorded, and 20 percent more than in the same month in 2019. Germany has also seen an increase in new businesses compared with 2019; ditto for Japan. Britain is somewhere in between. A survey published in November 2020 of 1,500 self-employed people found that 20 percent say they are likely to leave self-employment when they can. At the same time, however, the number of new businesses registered in the United Kingdom in the third quarter of 2020 rose 30 percent compared with 2019, showing the largest increase seen since 2012.

On the whole, the COVID-19 crisis has been devastating small business. In the United States, for example, there were 25.3 percent fewer of them open in December 2020 than at the beginning of the year (the bottom was in mid-April, when the figure was almost half). US small-business revenue fell more than 30 percent between January and December 2020. But we’ll take good news where we can get it, and the positive trend in entrepreneurship could bode well for job growth and economic activity once recovery takes hold.

Digitally enabled productivity gains accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution

There’s no going back. The great acceleration in the use of technology, digitization, and new forms of working is going to be sustained. Many executives reported that they moved 20 to 25 times faster than they thought possible on things like building supply-chain redundancies, improving data security, and increasing the use of advanced technologies in operations.

How all that feeds into long-term productivity will not be known until the data for several more quarters are evaluated. But it’s worth noting that US productivity in the third quarter of 2020 rose 4.6 percent, following a 10.6 percent increase in the second quarter, which is the largest six-month improvement since 1965. Productivity is only one number, albeit an important one; the startling figure for the United States in the second quarter was based in large part on the biggest declines in output and hours seen since 1947. That isn’t an enviable precedent.

More positively, in the past, it has taken a decade or longer for game-changing technologies to evolve from cool new things to productivity drivers. The COVID-19 crisis has sped up that transition in areas such as AI and digitization by several years, and even faster in Asia. A McKinsey survey published in October 2020 found that companies are three times likelier than they were before the crisis to conduct at least 80 percent of their customer interactions digitally.

That evolution has not always been a seamless or elegant process: businesses had to scramble to install or adapt new technologies under intense pressure. The result has been that some systems are clunky. The near-term challenge, then, is to move from reacting to the crisis to building and institutionalizing what has been done well so far. For consumer industries, and particularly for retail, that could mean improving digital and omnichannel business models. For healthcare, it’s about establishing virtual options as a norm. For insurance, it’s about personalizing the customer experience. And for semiconductors, it’s about identifying and investing in next-generation products. For everyone, there will be new opportunities in M&A and an urgent need to invest in capability building.

The COVID-19 crisis has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations—and an opportunity to transform them. To the extent that they do so, greater productivity will follow.

How businesses are adjusting to the changes prompted by the COVID-19 crisis

Pandemic-induced changes in shopping behavior forever alter consumer businesses

In nine of 13 major countries surveyed by McKinsey, at least two-thirds of consumers say they have tried new kinds of shopping. And in all 13, 65 percent or more say they intend to continue to do so. The implication is that brands that haven’t figured out how to reach consumers in new ways had better catch up, or they will be left behind. We expect that, in developing markets—Brazil and India, for example—the pandemic will accelerate digital shopping, albeit from a low base. Consumers in continental Europe have bought more online but aren’t as enthusiastic as those in Britain and the United States to continue doing so.

Specifically, the shift to online retail is real, and much of it will stick. In the United States, the penetration of e-commerce was forecast in 2019 to reach 24 percent by 2024; by July 2020, it had hit 33 percent of total retail sales. To put it another way, the first half of 2020 saw an increase in e-commerce equivalent to that of the previous ten years. In Latin America, where the payments and delivery infrastructure isn’t as strong, e-commerce use doubled from 5 to 10 percent. In Europe, overall digital adoption is almost universal (95 percent), compared with 81 percent at the start of the pandemic. In normal times, getting to that level would have taken two to three years. Strikingly, the biggest increases came in countries that had previously been relatively cautious about shopping online. Germany, Romania, and Switzerland, for example, had the three lowest online-penetration rates prior to the COVID-19 crisis; since then, usage increased 28, 25, and 18 percentage points, respectively—more than in any other markets.

Dig a little deeper, though, and there are some cautionary notes, such as the conspicuous lack of brand loyalty among online buyers. Perhaps most telling, in a recent McKinsey survey, only 60 percent of consumer-goods companies say they are even moderately prepared to capture e-commerce-growth opportunities. As one executive told us, “when it comes to selling directly to consumers, we don’t really know where to start.” That concern is certainly valid. Direct-to-consumer selling requires the development of new skills, capabilities, and business and pricing models. But the trend is clear: many consumers are moving online. To reach them, companies have to go there, too.

Supply chains rebalance and shift

Think of it as “just in time plus.” The “plus” stands for “just in case,” meaning more sophisticated risk management. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed vulnerabilities in the long, complicated supply chains of many companies. When a single country or even a single factory went dark, the lack of critical components shut down production. Never again, executives vowed. So the great rebalancing began. As much as a quarter of global goods exports, or $4.5 trillion, could shift by 2025.

Once businesses began to study how their supply chains worked, they realized three things. First, disruptions aren’t unusual. Any given company can expect a shutdown lasting a month or so every 3.7 years. Such shocks, then, are far from shocking: they are predictable features of doing business that need to be managed like any other.

Second, cost differences among developed and many developing countries are narrowing. In manufacturing, companies that adopt Industry 4.0 principles (meaning the application of data, analytics, human–machine interaction, advanced robotics, and 3-D printing) can offset half of the labor-cost differential between China and the United States. The gap narrows further when the cost of rigidity is factored in: end-to-end optimization is more important than the sum of individual transaction costs. That’s one reason why agencies such as the US Department of Defense are diversifying their networks of suppliers for essentials, such as in healthcare manufacturing and microelectronics.

And third, most businesses do not have a good idea of what is going on lower down in their supply chains, where subtiers and sub-subtiers may play small but critical roles. That is also where most disruptions originate, but two-thirds of companies say they can’t confirm the business-continuity arrangements with their non-tier-one suppliers. With the development of AI and data analytics, companies can learn more about, audit, and connect with their entire value chains.

None of those things means that multinationals are going to ship all or most of their production back to their home markets. There are good reasons to take advantage of regional expertise and to be in place to serve fast-growing consumer markets. But questions on security and resiliency mean that those companies are likely to be more thoughtful about the business cases for such decisions.

The future of work arrives ahead of schedule

Before the COVID-19 crisis, the idea of remote working was in the air but not proceeding very far or fast. But the pandemic changed that, with tens of millions of people transitioning to working from home, essentially overnight, in a wide range of industries. For example, according to Michael Fisher, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, there were 2,000 telehealth visits recorded at the organization in all of 2019—and 5,000 a week in July 2020. Fisher thinks telehealth could account for 30 percent of all healthcare visits in the future. In Japan, fewer than 1,000 institutions offered remote care in 2018; by July 2020, more than 16,000 did.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates that more than 20 percent of the global workforce (most of them in high-skilled jobs in sectors such as finance, insurance, and IT) could work the majority of its time away from the office—and be just as effective. Not everyone who can, will; even so, that is a once-in-several-generations change. It’s happening not just because of the COVID-19 crisis but also because advances in automation and digitization made it possible; the use of those technologies has accelerated during the pandemic. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted in April 2020 that “we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

There are two important challenges related to the transition to working away from the office. One is to decide the role of the office itself, which is the traditional center for creating culture and a sense of belonging. Companies will have to make decisions on everything from real estate (Do we need this building, office, or floor?) to workplace design (How much space between desks? Are pantries safe?) to training and professional development (Is there such a thing as remote mentorship?). Returning to the office shouldn’t be a matter of simply opening the door. Instead, it needs to be part of a systematic reconsideration of what exactly the office brings to the organization.

The other challenge has to do with adapting the workforce to the requirements of automation, digitization, and other technologies. This isn’t just the case for sectors such as banking and telecom; instead it’s a challenge across the board, even in sectors not associated with remote work. For example, major retailers are increasingly automating checkout. If salesclerks want to keep their jobs, they will need to learn new skills. In 2018, the World Economic Forum estimated that more than half of employees would need significant reskilling or upskilling by 2022.

Evidence shows that the benefits of reskilling current staff, rather than letting them go and then finding new people, typically costs less and brings benefits that outweigh the costs. Investing in employees can also foster loyalty, customer satisfaction, and positive brand perception.

Workforce development was a priority even before the pandemic. In a McKinsey survey conducted in May 2019, almost 90 percent of the executives and managers surveyed said their companies faced skill gaps or expected to in the next five years. But only a third said they were prepared to deal with the issue. Successful reskilling starts with knowing what skills are needed, both right now and in the near future; offering tailored learning opportunities to meet them; and evaluating what does and doesn’t work. Perhaps most important, it requires commitment from the top that inculcates a culture of lifelong learning.

The biopharma revolution takes hold

The announcement of several promising COVID-19 vaccines has been a much-needed shot of good news. There will be challenges to rolling out these vaccines on the scale needed, but that does not lessen the accomplishment.

Unlike previous vaccines, many of which use an inactivated or attenuated form of a virus to create resistance to it, the vaccines created by Moderna and the BioNTech–Pfizer partnership use mRNA. This platform has been under development for years, but these are the first vaccines that have secured regulatory approval. The “m” is for “messenger” because the molecules carry genetic instructions to the cells to create a protein that prompts an immune response. The body breaks down mRNA and its lipid carrier within a matter of hours. (WHO lists 60 candidate COVID-19 vaccines that have advanced to clinical trials; many don’t use mRNA.)

Just as businesses have sped up their operations in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic could be the launching point for a massive acceleration in the pace of medical innovation, with biology meeting technology in new ways. Not only was the COVID-19 genome sequenced in a matter of weeks, rather than months, but the vaccine rolled out in less than a year—an astonishing accomplishment given that normal vaccine development has often taken a decade. Urgency has created momentum, but the larger story is how a wide and diverse range of capabilities—among them, bioengineering, genetic sequencing, computing, data analytics, automation, machine learning, and AI—have come together.

Regulators have also reacted with speed and creativity, establishing clear guidelines and encouraging thoughtful collaboration. Without relaxing safety and efficacy requirements, they have shown just how quickly they can collect and evaluate data. If those lessons are applied to other diseases, they could play a significant role in setting the foundation for the faster development of treatments.

The development of COVID-19 vaccines is just the most compelling example of the potential of what MGI calls the “Bio Revolution”—biomolecules, biosystems, biomachines, and biocomputing. In a report published in May 2020, MGI estimated that “45 percent of the global disease burden could be addressed with capabilities that are scientifically conceivable today.” For example, gene-editing technologies could curb malaria, which kills more than 250,000 people a year. Cellular therapies could repair or even replace damaged cells and tissues. New kinds of vaccines could be applied to noncommunicable diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

The potential of the Bio Revolution goes well beyond health; as much as 60 percent of the physical inputs to the global economy, according to MGI, could theoretically be produced biologically. Examples include agriculture (genetic modification to create heat- or drought-resistant crops or to address conditions such as vitamin-A deficiency), energy (genetically engineered microbes to create biofuels), and materials (artificial spider silk and self-repairing fabrics). Those and other applications feasible through current technology could create trillions of dollars in economic impact over the next decade.

Portfolio restructuring accelerates

The COVID-19 crisis provoked divergent, even dramatic, reactions, with some industries taking off and others suffering badly; the effect was to shake up historic norms. When the economy settles into its next normal, such sectoral differences can be expected to narrow, with industries returning to somewhere around their previous relative positions. What is less obvious is how the dynamics within sectors are likely to change. In previous downturns, the strong came out stronger, and the weak got weaker, went under, or were bought. The defining difference was resilience—the ability not only to absorb shocks but to use them to build competitive advantage. Over the course of a decade, companies can expect losses of 42 percent of a year’s profits from disruptions.

In October 2020, McKinsey evaluated 1,500 companies by “Z-Score,” which measures the probability of corporate bankruptcy. The higher the score, the stronger the company’s financial position. The research found that the top 20 percent of companies (the “emerging resilients”) that had improved their Z-Scores during the current recession had increased their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by 5 percent; the others had lost 19 percent. The emerging resilients, the evidence shows, are pulling away from the pack.

The implication is that there is a resiliency premium on recovery. Top performers won’t sit on their strengths; instead, as in previous downturns, they will seek out ways to build them—for example, through M&A. That’s why we expect to see substantial portfolio adjustment as companies with healthy balance sheets seek opportunities in a context of discounted assets and lower valuations. In fact, that may already be happening: deal making began to pick up midyear.

A second factor that tilts the odds in favor of portfolio restructuring is the availability of private capital. Special-purpose acquisition companies, which merge with a company to take it public, are “having a moment” in 2020, as McKinsey recently noted. Through August 2020, they had accounted for 81 out of 111 US IPOs.

Much more important is private equity (PE). Globally, PE firms are sitting on almost $1.5 trillion of “dry powder”—unallocated capital that’s ready to be invested. The COVID-19 crisis has hurt in some ways, with global deal value down 12 percent compared with the first three quarters of 2019 and deal counts down 30 percent.

On the other hand, global fundraising has stayed strong—$348.5 billion through September 2020, on par with the previous five years—and deal making in Asia has more than doubled. The PE industry has a reputation of zigging when others are zagging, making deals in difficult times. And it has history on its side: returns on PE investments made during global downturns tend to be higher than in the good times. Put it all together, and we don’t think the PE industry is going to keep its powder dry for much longer; there are simply going to be too many new investment opportunities.

Green, with a touch of brown, is the color of recovery

All over the world, the costs of pollution—and the benefits of environmental sustainability—are increasingly recognized. China, some of the Gulf States, and India are investing in green energy on a scale that would have been considered improbable even a decade ago. Europe, including the United Kingdom, is united on addressing climate change. The United States is transitioning away from coal and is innovating in a wide array of green technologies, such as batteries, carbon-capture methods, and electric vehicles.

To cope with the 2008–09 financial crisis, there were substantial government stimulus programs, but few of them incorporated climate or environmental action. This time is different. Many (though by no means all) countries are using their recovery plans to push through existing environmental policy priorities:

  • The European Union plans to dedicate around 30 percent of its $880 billion plan for COVID-19-crisis plan to climate-change-related measures, including the issuance of at least $240 billion in “green bonds.”
  • In September 2020, China pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2060.
  • Japan has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050.
  • South Korea’s Green New Deal, part of its economic-recovery plan, invests in greener infrastructure and technology, with the stated goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • While campaigning, US president-elect Joe Biden pledged to invest $2 trillion in clean energy related to transportation, power, and building.
  • Canada is linking recovery to climate goals.
  • Nigeria plans to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies and to install solar-power systems for an estimated 25 million people.
  • Colombia is planting 180 million trees.

The imperative for businesses is clear along two fronts. First, businesses need to respond to the sustainability concerns of investors. It’s possible, albeit speculative, that the COVID-19 crisis foreshadows what a climate crisis could look like: systemic, fast moving, wide ranging, and global. There is a case, then, for businesses to take action to limit their climate risks—for example, by making their capital investments more climate resilient or by diversifying their supply chains.

More significantly, the growth opportunities that a green economy portends could be substantial. BlackRock, a global investment company with around $7 trillion in assets under management, noted in its 2021 Global Outlook that, “contrary to past consensus,” it expects that the shift to sustainability will “help enhance returns” and that “the tectonic shift towards sustainable investing is accelerating.” Green growth opportunities abound across massive sectors such as energy, mobility, and agriculture. Just as digital-economy companies have powered stock-market returns in the past couple of decades, so green-technology companies could play that role in the coming decades.

How the COVID-19 crisis could change society

Healthcare systems take stock—and make changes

Healthcare system reform is difficult. While caution is necessary when lives are involved, one consequence is that modernization is often slower than it needs to be. Learning from the experiences associated with COVID-19 can show the way to build stronger postpandemic healthcare systems.

Consider the case of South Korea. When the MERS virus struck in 2015, resulting in the deaths of 38 Koreans, the government was stung by widespread public criticism that it had not responded well. As a result, it took action to improve its pandemic preparedness—and it was ready when COVID-19 hit in January 2020. Large-scale testing, as well as tracing and quarantine measures, began almost immediately. And it worked. While the country began seeing a significant increase in new cases in December, fewer than 1,000 South Koreans died from COVID-19 in all of 2020.

No doubt, governments all over the world will set up task forces, inquiries, and commissions to examine their actions related to the COVID-19 crisis. The key is to go beyond the temptation simply to assign blame (or credit). Instead, the efforts need to be forward thinking, with an emphasis on turning the painful lessons of COVID-19 into effective action.

Being better prepared for the next pandemic, on both national and international levels, has to be a high priority. Too often, investments in prevention and public-health capabilities are undervalued; the experience of COVID-19 demonstrates how costly, in both lives and livelihoods, such thinking can be. An upgrade of public-health infrastructure and the modernization of healthcare systems, including the wider use of telemedicine and virtual health, are two areas to address.

Business will also have a role. Employers should take the opportunity to learn from the pandemic how to redesign workplaces, build healthier work environments, and invest effectively in employee health.

The hangovers begin as governments tackle rising debt

The scale of the fiscal response to the COVID-19 crisis was unprecedented—and three times bigger than seen for the 2008–09 financial crisis. In the G-20 alone, fiscal packages are estimated at more than $10 trillion. Few question the humanitarian and economic cases for strong action. But even in an era of low interest rates, the reckoning could be painful.

In February 2020, Janet Yellen, who is Joe Biden’s choice to become Secretary of the Treasury, said that “the US debt path is completely unsustainable under current tax and spending plans.” Since then, the US federal government has allocated trillions in COVID-19-crisis relief. That has put the country into new fiscal territory, with the US public debt projected to be bigger than the economy in fiscal year 2021—the first time that has been the case since shortly after World War II.

Canada is projecting a deficit of 343 billion Canadian dollars—an increase of more than 1,000 percent over the deficit in 2019—pushing national debt above 1 trillion Canadian dollars for the first time. In China, the $500 billion fiscal stimulus will raise the country’s fiscal deficit to a record 3.6 percent of GDP. In the United Kingdom, debt rose to more than £2 trillion, a record and more than 100 percent of GDP. In the eurozone, the combined budget deficits in October were 11.6 percent of GDP, compared with 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020; total debt hit a record 95 percent of GDP. That looks comparatively trivial compared with Japan, which has the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratio, at more than 200 percent. And while debt repayments from 73 poor countries have been frozen, the obligations still exist.

As the pandemic recedes, governments will have to figure out how to address their fiscal difficulties. Although interest rates are generally low, that could mean raising taxes or cutting spending—or both. Doing so could risk slowing the recovery and stimulating political backlash. But high levels of public debt carry their own costs, crowding out private debt and limiting the resources available to governments as they service their debt.

While interim measures, such as improving government operations, monetizing assets, and reducing fiscal leakages, can be helpful, the long-term answer is growth and productivity. That’s largely how the United States managed to reduce its national debt from 118 percent of GDP in 1946 to a low of 31 percent in 1981. Promoting growth will require supportive regulation, well-trained workforces, and the continued diffusion of technologies. Most of all, it will require individuals, businesses, and governments to be willing to embrace change.

Paying down debt isn’t exciting to do. But for economic stability—and in fairness to future generations—it needs to be taken seriously, not kicked down the road.

Stakeholder capitalism comes of age

The idea that businesses should seek to serve the interests of consumers, suppliers, workers, and society, as well as shareholders, isn’t new. The American chocolate maker Milton S. Hershey put it this way more than a century ago, “business is a matter of human service.” In 1759, capitalism’s philosopher king Adam Smith noted in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that the individual is “sensible too that his own interest is connected with the prosperity of society, and that the happiness, perhaps the preservation of his existence, depends on its preservation.” Moreover, the free market itself has been a positive social force, fueling the economic growth that has brought dramatic advances in health, longevity, and general prosperity around the world.

Even so, there is widespread distrust for business as usual, as a number of surveys and elections have shown. That’s where stakeholder capitalism comes in—as a bridge between businesses and the communities of which they are a part. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the interconnectedness of business and society. “It will be a true inflection point,” says Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the State Bank of India. “And whatever we learn through this process—it must not go to waste.”

The increasing prominence of the idea of stakeholder capitalism is more than just talk (although there is admittedly still a good deal of talk). For example, companies that become certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the interests of all stakeholders in their decision making, including by changing their governance structures to that effect. The first B Corporations were certified in 2007; now, there are more than 3,500 of them.

None of that means that companies should eschew the pursuit of profit. As some of our colleagues recently noted, “There is a term for an enlightened company with the most perfect intentions that does not make money: defunct.” Instead, it’s an argument to infuse profit, a readily measured metric, with a sense of purpose—something that humans naturally seek.

We do not believe there is a conflict between the two. In a study that looked at 615 large- and midcap US publicly listed companies from 2001 to 2015, MGI found that those with a long-term view—something that’s a core of stakeholder capitalism—outperformed the rest in earnings, revenue, investment, and job growth. And a McKinsey Global Survey in February 2020 found that a majority of the executives and investment professionals surveyed said they believed that environmental, social, and governance programs already create short- and long-term value and will do so even more five years from now.

Stakeholder capitalism isn’t about being the most woke or about fending off pesky activists. It’s about building the trust—call it the “social capital”—that businesses need to keep doing business. And it’s about recognizing that creating long-term shareholder value requires more than just focusing on shareholders.

In March 2020, some of our McKinsey colleagues argued that the COVID-19 crisis could be the “imperative of our time.” A month later, we noted that it could bring a “dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order.” We stand by those assertions. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an economic and human catastrophe, and it’s far from over. But with vaccines beginning to roll out, it’s possible to be cautiously optimistic that the next normal will emerge this year or next.

And we believe that, in some ways, that normal could be better. With good leadership, from both business and governments, the changes we described—in productivity, green growth, medical innovation, and resiliency—could provide an enduring foundation for the long term.

Source: McKinsey.com, January 2021
By Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal


DEBATT: Distansarbete och flexibelt arbete måste vara här för att stanna

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Digitalisering / Internet on mars 26th, 2021 by admin
Möjligheten att arbeta var och när som helst har blivit en absolut nödvändighet för företagen med potential att gynna både arbetsgivare och arbetstagare, oavsett kön. Men potentialen kan vara ännu större för kvinnor. Det skriver Michelle Senecal de Fonseca, chef för norra Europa på molntjänstföretaget Citrix.

I början av 2020 bestod för första gången någonsin den amerikanska arbetskraften av fler kvinnor än män. En enorm milstolpe för jämställdhetskampen efter årtionden av outtröttligt arbete. Sedan slog covid till och i april 2020 stod kvinnor för 55 procent av USA:s jobbförluster den månaden. Dessvärre är detta också en trend globalt.

Enligt konsultföretaget McKinsey är antalet förlorade arbetstillfällen på grund av covid-19 1,8 gånger större för kvinnor än för män. Samma rapport anger att kvinnor står för 39 procent av de globala anställningarna men för 54 procent av den totala andelen förlorade arbetstillfällen. I Storbritannien kunde ekonomer från universiteten i Cambridge, Oxford och Zürich se att det är 4 procentenheter troligare att kvinnor har förlorat sina jobb än män – 17 procent av kvinnorna hade nyligen blivit arbetslösa, jämfört med 13 procent av männen. Och det är en och en halv gånger troligare att brittiska mödrar än fäder har förlorat eller slutat sina jobb på grund av nedstängningarna, enligt Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Resultatet är att pandemin har förflyttat jämlikheten mellan könen 30 år bakåt i tiden. Vi har inte sett en så låg andel kvinnor på arbetsmarknaden sedan början av 80-talet.

Trots det finns möjligheter för kvinnor just på grund av pandemin. Nu när vi börjar fundera på livet efter pandemin har vi en möjlighet att återuppbygga till det bättre och se till att ”det nya normala” är bättre för den kvinnliga delen av arbetskraften. Vad kan då företagsledare göra för att det ska bli så? Jag tänker så här om var vi kan börja:

Distansarbete och flexibelt arbete måste vara här för att stanna

Möjligheten att arbeta var och när som helst har blivit en absolut nödvändighet för företagen med potential att gynna både arbetsgivare och arbetstagare, oavsett kön. Men potentialen kan vara ännu större för kvinnor. 2019 fann ONS att kvinnor kan offra lön i utbyte mot kortare resor till jobbet och därigenom skapa ett ”pendlingslönegap”. Analyser av officiella data visade att längre pendlingsavstånd var förknippade med högre lön för både män och kvinnor, men att kvinnor tillbringade 20 procent mindre tid med att resa till jobbet. Om vi plockar bort behovet av att pendla kan kvinnor vara villigare att söka och acceptera bättre jobb på högre nivå som de tidigare har avfärdat på grund av kontorets placering.

Se deltidsarbete som riktigt arbete

När kvinnor får barn är det vanligt att de övergår till deltid och flexibel arbetstid. Men flexibiliteten har i själva verket ofta ett pris och de hamnar i en situation där de fortfarande arbetar heltid, med samma förväntningar och KPI:er, men för 20 eller 40 procent lägre lön. Förutom att hindra kvinnors karriärer och till och med leda till utbrändhet, förstärker detta lönegap mellan könen ytterligare.

Genom att anta ett mer målorienterat förhållningssätt kan företag se till att anställda med flexibel arbetstid får lön utifrån hur de bidrar till verksamheten. Konkret kan man visa att man värderar resultat högre än nedlagd tid genom att anta en flexibel arbetspolicy eller tillämpa komprimerade arbetsveckor eller på något annat sätt, bara de fungerar för både arbetstagare och arbetsgivare. Och genom att erbjuda dessa arbetsupplägg till alla medarbetare kan vi börja tackla stigmat i det som på engelska kallas ”mommy track”, det vill säga den väg i en kvinnas liv som prioriterar moderskapet.

Stöd mäns och kvinnors privatliv på samma sätt

De lärde tvistar ännu om män gör mer hushållsarbete och tar hand om barnen mer som ett resultat av covidkrisen (beror på vem man frågar). Men nedstängningen har helt klart inneburit en möjlighet för familjer att skapa en bättre balans mellan betalt arbete, hushållsarbete och barnomsorg. Även om företagsledare inte har kontroll över vad som händer i deras medarbetares hem, så har vi en möjlighet att stötta familjer i att få en mer könsbalanserad jämvikt.

Se upp för platsfavorisering

För mig var en av de tydligaste fördelarna med att bli tvungen att låta mina medarbetare gå över till 100 procent distansarbete demokratiseringen av organisationen. Även i multinationella bolag finns det en tendens att favorisera den plats man befinner sig på och arbeta närmast de personer som finns i ens närhet. När alla befinner sig bara ett videosamtal bort är det enklare att ha fler personer ”i rummet” och få tillgång till en ökad tankemångfald. Det leder till en jämnare spelplan, för när cheferna inte bara kan gå till medarbetaren intill dem kan de ta ett steg tillbaka och verkligen fundera på vem som är bäst för jobbet.

Detta innebär självklart en möjlighet för alla kön. Men vi måste vara noga med att vi inte tappar den här möjligheten till förbättring när vi återvänder till kontoret. Många företag kommer förmodligen att anta en ”hybridmodell” för sitt arbete, där medarbetare har möjlighet att arbeta både hemifrån och på kontoret. Ett sådant scenario får inte innebära att kontoret blir ett ”klubbhus” för den grupp som väljer att arbeta där, oavsett om det är äldre medarbetare som inte behöver hämta på dagis eller yngre medarbetare som uppskattar möjligheten att umgås med kollegor. Chefer måste vara vaksamma på kulturen på kontoret och snabbt ta tag i situationer som blir mindre inkluderande.

Låt inte luckor i CV:n avskräcka dig

Historiskt sett är det mammor som oftast har luckor i sina CV:n på grund av att de tagit hand om barn. Och när det även är kvinnorna som oftast förlorat eller slutat sina jobb på grund av covid, kommer denna potentiella barriär att bli mer utbredd än någonsin efter pandemin. Chefer och rekryterare får därför inte låta sig avskräckas av luckor i CV:n, utan bör istället fundera över hur de kan stötta kvinnor (och män) som återvänder till arbete. Har du ett program för arbetsåtervändande? Kan du ge stöd till dem som behöver uppdatera sina kunskaper? Kan du ge returnships – praktikplatser för vuxna som står en bit ifrån arbetsmarknaden – liknande de som Amazon och Facebook erbjuder?

Glöm inte att luckor i CV:n ofta innebär att tid tillbringats med att utveckla värdefulla förmågor. I vårt kapitalistiska samhälle värderar vi sällan det som vi inte får betalt för, men visa mig en förälder som lotsat sina tre barn i olika årskurser genom distansundervisning, så ska jag visa dig en mästerförhandlare med tidsplanerande superförmågor och en examen i IT-support!

Det tog oss tre decennier att komma dit vi var före covid. Vi kommer inte att komma dit igen över en natt. Men som företagsledare har vi möjlighet att bidra till att skapa ett mer inkluderande samhälle och återuppbygga det till det bättre.



Källa: Realtid.se, mars 2021
Av: Michelle Senecal de Fonseca, Chef för norra Europa på molntjänstföretaget Citrix

Så identifierar du digitala härskartekniker

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Digitalisering / Internet on mars 23rd, 2021 by admin

Att ha kameran avstängd, att ligga ner så att allt som syns bara är ett par näsborrar – eller att svara på mejl i stället för att lyssna. Det är några exempel på härskartekniker i digitala möten. Retorikexperten Elaine Eksvärd förklarar hur du identifierar dessa beteenden.

”Sluta mjuta mig som någon jävla diktator” säger en ilsken Alice Teodorescu Möwe, politisk chefredaktör på Bulletin på ett möte med styrelsen som gick helt över styr för några veckor sedan och som Expressen lagt ut ljudfiler från.

Retorikexperten Elaine Eksvärd har länge studerat härskartekniker i fysiska möten. Alla är inte så aggressiva och tydliga som i exemplet ovan, men härskartekniker finns även digitalt. Här listar hon några av dem:

1. Stänger av kameran. Någon stänger aktivt av kameran när jag har ordet.

2. Avstängd kamera hela mötet. ”Om Magdalena Ribbing hade varit i livet så hade hon nog sagt att det vore god digital etikett att ha kameran på”, säger Elaine Eksvärd. Vi behöver se ansikten och tolka in rätt kroppsspråk och röstläge. Det finns tre förmildrande omständigheter till att ha kameran avstängd: dålig uppkoppling, nionde mötet för dagen eller dålig hårdag (även om vi brukar klara att kamma oss på jobbet).

3. Multi-taskaren. Det är uppenbart att personen håller på med någonting annat. Hen har ett nollställt uttryck och det flimrar av olika ljus i ansiktet när personen öppnar olika hemsidor på nätet.

4. Den selektiva. Lyssnar när vissa pratar och passar på att mejla när andra pratar.

5. Kidnapparen. Kidnappar mötet med sin egen agenda och pratar mer för att det är kul än att de har något att säga. Men kul kanske inte stod på agendan.

6. Möteshållaren som tröttar ut folk. Möten ska inte vara mer än 45 minuter åt gången, gärna med interaktion. Vissa kör tretimmarsmöten men det är vi inte designade för.

7. Att inte stänga av mikrofonen.

8. Att ha ett power point-maraton. Våga interagera och titta på folk.

9. Testosteronperspektivet. Många män har grodperspektivet och man ser bara stora näsborrar i skärmen. Det är mycket bättre att ha kameran i ögonhöjd. Att ligga ner i ett digitalt möte är att göra sig lite för bekväm.

Källa: DN.se, 22 mars 2021

Hur kommer distansarbetet att utvecklas framöver?

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Digitalisering / Internet, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 22nd, 2021 by admin

Microsofts Vivachef: De anställdas upplevelse av distansarbete blir en ledningsfråga

Ungefär fyra av fem företag (78 procent) ser det som en utmaning att stödja distansarbetare under de närmaste två åren, enligt 451 Research. De svåraste utmaningarna är att skapa balans mellan arbete och privatliv, att förse de anställda med rätt teknik, att hålla arbetsmoralen i gruppen uppe och att kunna behålla kompetensen.

Läs mer här.

The executive’s guide to better listening

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 21st, 2021 by admin

Strong listening skills can make a critical difference in the performance of senior executives, but few are able to cultivate them. Here’s how.

A senior executive of a large consumer goods company had spotted a bold partnership opportunity in an important developing market and wanted to pull the trigger quickly to stay ahead of competitors. In meetings on the topic with the leadership team, the CEO noted that this trusted colleague was animated, adamant, and very persuasive about the move’s game-changing potential for the company. The facts behind the deal were solid.The CEO also observed something troubling, however: his colleague wasn’t listening. During conversations about the pros and cons of the deal and its strategic rationale, for example, the senior executive wasn’t open to avenues of conversation that challenged the move or entertained other possibilities. What’s more, the tenor of these conversations appeared to make some colleagues uncomfortable. The senior executive’s poor listening skills were short-circuiting what should have been a healthy strategic debate.Eventually, the CEO was able to use a combination of diplomacy, tactful private conversation, and the bureaucratic rigor of the company’s strategic-planning processes to convince the executive of the need to listen more closely to his peers and engage with them more productively about the proposal. The resulting conversations determined that the original deal was sound but that a much better one was available—a partnership in the same country. The new partnership presented slightly less risk to the company than the original deal but had an upside potential exceeding it by a factor of ten.The situation facing the CEO will be familiar to many senior executives. Listening is the front end of decision making. It’s the surest, most efficient route to informing the judgments we need to make, yet many of us have heard, at one point or other in our careers, that we could be better listeners. Indeed, many executives take listening skills for granted and focus instead on learning how to articulate and present their own views more effectively.This approach is misguided. Good listening—the active and disciplined activity of probing and challenging the information garnered from others to improve its quality and quantity—is the key to building a base of knowledge that generates fresh insights and ideas. Put more strongly, good listening, in my experience, can often mean the difference between success and failure in business ventures (and hence between a longer career and a shorter one). Listening is a valuable skill that most executives spend little time cultivating. (For more about one executive’s desire to be a better listener, see “Why I’m a listener: Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer.”)

The many great listeners I’ve encountered throughout my career as a surgeon, a corporate executive, and a business consultant have exhibited three kinds of behavior I’ll highlight in this article. By recognizing—and practicing—them, you can begin improving your own listening skills and even those of your organization.

1. Show respect

One of the best listeners I have ever observed was the chief operating officer (COO) of a large medical institution. He once told me that he couldn’t run an operation as complex as a hospital without seeking input from people at all levels of the staff—from the chief of surgery to the custodial crew. Part of what made him so effective, and so appealing as a manager, was that he let everyone around him know he believed each of them had something unique to contribute. The respect he showed them was reciprocated, and it helped fuel an environment where good ideas routinely came from throughout the institution.

The COO recognized something that many executives miss: our conversation partners often have the know-how to develop good solutions, and part of being a good listener is simply helping them to draw out critical information and put it in a new light. To harness the power of those ideas, senior executives must fight the urge to “help” more junior colleagues by providing immediate solutions. Leaders should also respect a colleague’s potential to provide insights in areas far afield from his or her job description.

Here’s an example: I recall a meeting between a group of engineers and the chief marketing officer (CMO) at a large industrial company. She was concerned about a new product introduction that had fallen flat. The engineers were puzzled as well; the company was traditionally dominated by engineers with strong product-development skills, and this group had them too. As the CMO and I discussed the technological aspects of the product with the engineers, I was struck by their passion and genuine excitement about the new device, which did appear to be unique. Although we had to stop them several times to get explanations for various technical terms, they soon conveyed the reasons for their attitude—the product seemed to be not only more efficient than comparable ones on the market but also easier to install, use, and maintain.

After a few minutes, the CMO, who had been listening intently, prompted the engineers with a respectful leading question: “But we haven’t sold as many as you thought we would in the first three months, right?”

“Well, actually, we haven’t sold any!” the team leader said. “We think this product is a game changer, but it hasn’t been selling. And we’re not sure why.”

After a pause to make sure the engineer was finished, the CMO said, “Well, you guys sure seem certain that this is a great product. And you’ve convinced the two of us pretty well. It seems that customers should be tripping over themselves to place orders. So assuming it’s not the product’s quality that’s off, what else are your customers telling you about the product?”

“We haven’t spoken to any customers,” the engineer replied.

The CMO blanched. As the conversation continued, we learned that the product had been developed under close wraps and that the engineers had assumed its virtues would speak for themselves. “But maybe not,” said the team leader. “Maybe we ought to push it a little more. I guess its good traits aren’t so obvious if you don’t know a lot about it.”

That engineer had hit the nail on the head. The device was fine. Customers were wary about switching to something untested, and they hadn’t been convinced by the specs the company’s sales team touted. As soon as the engineers began phoning their counterparts in the customers’ organizations (an idea suggested by the engineers themselves), the company started receiving orders.

Had the CMO looked at the problem by herself, she might have suspected a shortcoming with the product. But after some good listening and targeted follow-up questions, she helped to extract a much better solution from the engineers themselves. She didn’t cut the conversation short by lecturing them on good marketing techniques or belittling their approach; she listened and asked pointed questions in a respectful manner. The product ultimately ended up being a game changer for the company.

Being respectful, it’s important to note, didn’t mean that the CMO avoided asking tough questions—good listeners routinely ask them to uncover the information they need to help make better decisions. The goal is ensuring the free and open flow of information and ideas.

I was amused when John McLaughlin, the former deputy director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, told me that when he had to make tough decisions he often ended his conversations with colleagues by asking, “Is there anything left that you haven’t told me . . . because I don’t want you to leave this room and go down the hall to your buddy’s office and tell him that I just didn’t get it.” With that question, McLaughlin communicated the expectation that his colleagues should be prepared; he demanded that everything come out on the table; and he signaled genuine respect for what his colleagues had to say.

2. Keep quiet

I have developed my own variation on the 80/20 rule as it relates to listening. My guideline is that a conversation partner should be speaking 80 percent of the time, while I speak only 20 percent of the time. Moreover, I seek to make my speaking time count by spending as much of it as possible posing questions rather than trying to have my own say.

That’s easier said than done, of course—most executives are naturally inclined to speak their minds. Still, you can’t really listen if you’re too busy talking. Besides, we’ve all spent time with bad listeners who treat conversations as opportunities to broadcast their own status or ideas, or who spend more time formulating their next response than listening to their conversation partners. Indeed, bad listening habits such as these are ubiquitous (see sidebar, “A field guide to identifying bad listeners”).

I should know because I’ve fallen into these traps myself. One experience in particular made me realize how counterproductive it is to focus on your own ideas during a conversation. It was early in my career as a consultant and I was meeting with an important client whom I was eager to impress. My client was a no-nonsense, granite block of a man from the American heartland, and he scrutinized me over the top of his reading glasses before laying out the problem: “The budget for next year just doesn’t work, and we are asking our employees to make some tough changes.”

All I heard was his concern about the budget. Without missing a beat, I responded to my client and his number-two man, who was seated alongside him: “There are several ways to address your cost problem.” I immediately began reeling off what I thought were excellent suggestions for streamlining his business. My speech gained momentum as I barreled ahead with my ideas. The executive listened silently—and attentively, or so it seemed. Yet he didn’t even move, except to cock his head from time to time. When he reached for a pen, I kept up my oration but watched with some annoyance as he wrote on a small notepad, tore off the sheet of paper, and handed it to his associate. A smile flitted almost imperceptibly across that man’s face as he read the note.

I was already becoming a bit peeved that the executive had displayed no reaction to my ideas, but this little note, passed as though between two schoolboys, was too much. I stopped talking and asked what was written on the paper.

The executive nodded to his associate. “Show him.”

The man leaned across the table and handed me the note. My client had written, “What the hell is this guy talking about?”

Fortunately, I was able to see the humor in the situation and to recognize that I had been a fool. My ego had gotten in the way of listening. Had I paid closer attention and probed more deeply, I would have learned that the executive’s real concern was finding ways to keep his staff motivated while his company was shrinking. I had failed to listen and compounded the error by failing to keep quiet. Luckily for me, I was able to get a second meeting with him.

It’s not easy to stifle your impulse to speak, but with patience and practice you can learn to control the urge and improve the quality and effectiveness of your conversations by weighing in at the right time. Some people can intuitively grasp where to draw the line between input and interruption, but the rest of us have to work at it. John McLaughlin advises managers to think consciously about when to interrupt and to be as neutral and emotionless as possible when listening, always delaying the rebuttal and withholding the interruption. Still, he acknowledges that interrupting with a question can be necessary from time to time to speed up or redirect the conversation. He advises managers not to be in a hurry, though—if a matter gets to your level, he says, it is probably worth spending some of your time on it.

As you improve your ability to stay quiet, you’ll probably begin to use silence more effectively. The CEO of an industrial company, for example, used thoughtful moments of silence during a meeting with his sales team as an invitation for its junior members to speak up and talk through details of a new incentive program that the team’s leader was proposing. As the junior teammates filled in these moments with new information, the ensuing rich discussion helped the group (including the team leader) to realize that the program needed significant retooling. The CEO’s silence encouraged a more meritocratic—and ultimately superior—solution.

When we remain silent, we also improve the odds that we’ll spot nonverbal cues we might have missed otherwise. The medical institution’s COO, who was such a respectful listener, had a particular knack for this. I remember watching him in a conversation with a nurse manager, who was normally articulate but on this occasion kept doubling back and repeating herself. The COO realized from these cues that something unusual was going on. During a pause, he surprised her by asking gently, “You don’t quite agree with me on this one, do you? Why is that?” She sighed in relief and explained what had actually been bugging her.

3. Challenge assumptions

Good listeners seek to understand—and challenge—the assumptions that lie below the surface of every conversation. This point was driven home to me the summer before I went to college, when I had the opportunity to hang out with my best friend at a baseball park. He had landed a job in the clubhouse of the Rochester Red Wings, then a minor-league farm team for the Baltimore Orioles. That meant I got to observe Red Wings manager Earl Weaver, who soon thereafter was promoted to Baltimore, where he enjoyed legendary success, including 15 consecutive winning seasons, four American League championships, and one World Series victory. Weaver was considered fiery and cantankerous, but also a baseball genius. To my 18-year-old eyes, he was nothing short of terrifying—the meanest and most profane man I’d ever met.

Weaver wasn’t really a listener; he seemed more of a screamer in a perpetual state of rage. When a young player made an error, Weaver would take him aside and demand an explanation. “Why did you throw to second base when the runner was on his way to third?” He’d wait to hear the player’s reasoning for the sole purpose of savagely tearing it apart, usually in the foulest language imaginable and at the top of his lungs.

But now and then, Weaver would be brought up short; he’d hear something in the player’s explanation that made him stop and reconsider. “I’ve seen that guy take a big wide turn several times but then come back to the bag. I thought maybe if I got the ball to second really fast, we could catch him.” Weaver knew that the move the player described was the wrong one. But as ornery as he was, he apparently could absorb new information that temporarily upended his assumptions. And, in doing so, the vociferous Weaver became a listener.

Weaver called his autobiography It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts. That Zen-like philosophy may clash with the Weaver people thought they knew. But the title stuck with me because it perfectly states one of the cornerstones of good listening: to get what we need from our conversations, we must be prepared to challenge long-held and cherished assumptions.

Many executives struggle as listeners because they never think to relax their assumptions and open themselves to the possibilities that can be drawn from conversations with others. As we’ve seen, entering conversations with respect for your discussion partner boosts the odds of productive dialogue. But many executives will have to undergo a deeper mind-set shift—toward an embrace of ambiguity and a quest to uncover “what we both need to get from this interaction so that we can come out smarter.” Too many good executives, even exceptional ones who are highly respectful of their colleagues, inadvertently act as if they know it all, or at least what’s most important, and subsequently remain closed to anything that undermines their beliefs.

Such tendencies are, of course, deeply rooted in human behavior. So it takes real effort for executives to become better listeners by forcing themselves to lay bare their assumptions for scrutiny and to shake up their thinking with an eye to reevaluating what they know, don’t know, and—an important point—can’t know.

Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education, is one such listener. He believes that his listening improves when he has strong, tough people around him who will challenge his thinking and question his reasoning. If he’s in a meeting, he makes sure that everyone speaks, and he doesn’t accept silence or complacency from anyone. Arne explained to me that as a leader, he tries to make it clear to his colleagues that they are not trying to reach a common viewpoint. The goal is common action, not common thinking, and he expects the people on his team to stand up to him whenever they disagree with his ideas.

Duncan uses a technique I find helpful in certain situations: he will deliberately alter a single fact or assumption to see how that changes his team’s approach to a problem. This technique can help senior executives of all stripes step back and refresh their thinking. In a planning session, for example, you might ask, “We’re assuming a 10 percent attrition rate in our customer base. What if that rate was 20 percent? How would our strategy change? What if it was 50 percent?” Once it’s understood that the discussion has moved into the realm of the hypothetical, where people can challenge any underlying assumptions without risk, the creative juices really begin to flow.

This technique proved useful during discussions with executives at a company that was planning to ramp up its M&A activity. The company had a lot of cash on hand and no shortage of opportunities to spend it, but its M&A capabilities appeared to have gone rusty (it had not done any deals in quite some time). During a meeting with the M&A team and the head of business development, I asked, “Listen, I know this is going to be a little bit shocking to the system, but let’s entertain the idea that your team doesn’t exist. What kind of M&A function would we build for this corporation now? What would be the skills and the strategy?”

The question shook up the team a bit initially. You have to be respectful of the emotions you can trigger with this kind of speculation. Nonetheless, the experiment started a discussion that ultimately produced notable results. They included the addition of talented new team members who could provide additional skills that the group would need as it went on to complete a set of multibillion-dollar deals over the ensuing year.

Throughout my career, I’ve observed that good listeners tend to make better decisions, based on better-informed judgments, than ordinary or poor listeners do—and hence tend to be better leaders. By showing respect to our conversation partners, remaining quiet so they can speak, and actively opening ourselves up to facts that undermine our beliefs, we can all better cultivate this valuable skill.

Source: McKinsey.com, March 2021

Sverige 4:e sämst i värlen! Sannolikheten för att gå vidare i en anställningsprocess sjunker redan i 40-årsåldern

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on mars 15th, 2021 by admin

Enligt World Values Survey är Sverige det fjärde sämsta landet i världen på att respektera årsrika personer (SvD 3/5 2020). Delegationen för senior arbetskraft, som överlämnade sitt betänkande i slutet av förra året, slog fast att det inom alla områden finns stereotyper om äldre som svaga, betungande för samhället och i beroendeställning.

Vidare visar studier att sannolikheten för att gå vidare i en anställningsprocess sjunker redan i 40-årsåldern, vid 65 är chansen näst intill obefintlig, och kvinnor drabbas hårdare än män. En orsak är att många arbetsgivare har uppfattningen att äldres produktivitet är låg samt ser dem som mindre flexibla och inte lika lättlärda, vilket saknar stöd i forskningen (TT 9/12 2019).

Samma bortsortering syns i medierna. Enligt docent Maria Edström försvinner människor från mediebevakningen i samband med pensionering och kvinnor börjar förekomma mer sällan när de är drygt 50 (DN 6/10 2020). Därefter är de äldre som väl skildras antingen sköra och behöver hjälp eller ”en sensationell maratonlöpare”, trots att 1,7 miljoner svenskar är över 70 år och variationen mellan människor är stor.

Dessutom är äldre en grupp som växer. Under de senaste hundra åren har medellivslängden höjts med 23 år för både kvinnor och män. 2030 väntas antalet personer som har fyllt 65 år ha ökat till 2,5 miljoner och 2070 beräknas hälften av dödsfallen ske efter 90 års ålder.

Det betyder att arbetslivet behöver förlängas, vilket gör det lätt att hålla med delegationen för senior arbetskraft om att arbetsgivares attityder till äldre och ett längre arbetsliv måste förändras – samt att all ålderism bör motverkas.

Sverige snart sämst i Norden på jämställdhet

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on mars 12th, 2021 by admin

Sverige faller i jämställdhetsrankningar jämfört med andra nordiska länder men även jämfört med andra europeiska länder, visar en ny rapport av Allbright.

Sveriges näringsliv faller i jämställdhetsranking i europeisk jämförelse och om trenden håller i sig är Sverige snart sämst i Norden, säger Allbright i stiftelsens senaste rapport över börsbolagens jämställdhet senaste årtiondet: ”Mycket gjort. Mest kvar.”

Medan andelen kvinnor i ledningsgruppen hos svenska storbolag stått still på en fjärdedel de senaste fem åren har land efter land kommit ikapp Sverige, skriver Allbright. Då riskerar Sverige snart bli sämst i Norden och, om bara fyra år, tillhöra den sämre halvan i Europa.

– En av fyra är kvinnor i ledningsgruppen var en framsynt nivå 2015. Nu krävs nya grepp, utbildningar och diskussioner ute i bolagen. Vd:arna behöver uppenbarligen hjälp av alla chefer och medarbetare, säger Lundeteg.

Hon fortsätter:

– Bolagen behöver bli bättre på att mäta och utbilda inom bolagen. Börs-vd:arna klarar uppenbarligen inte jobbet ensamma, säger Amanda Lundeteg.

Med den utvecklingstakten dröjer det, enligt Allbrights beräkningar, till 2030 innan inga bolag helt saknar kvinnor i ledningen och till 2042 tills det blir lika många kvinnor som män i ledningen.

“Endast elva procent av cheferna i börsens ledningsgrupper har utländsk bakgrund”

Utöver jämställdhet så behöver börsbolagen även arbeta med andra typer av diskriminering, skriver Allbright. Trots att andelen högutbildade är lika stor bland inrikes som utrikes födda så har endast elva procent av cheferna i börsens ledningsgrupper utländsk bakgrund. Detta kan jämföras med en tredjedel av befolkningen i stort.

– När Sverige närmar sig jämställdhet finns samtidigt mycket arbete kring annan diskriminering kvar att ta tag i, för att svenska näringslivet ska kunna leverera i världsklass, säger Lundeteg.

Hon fortsätter:

– Svenska företag diskriminerar personer utifrån namn, hudfärg och bakgrund, visar flera studier. Det är ett enormt slöseri på kompetens och resurser för både samhälle och individ, säger Lundeteg. I Sverige har vi kunnat synliggöra orättvisor och ta stora kliv i arbetet för ökad jämställdhet med hjälp av statistik. Men arbetet får inte stanna vid kön. Diskrimineringen är långt bredare och allvarligare än så, säger Lundeteg.



Källa: Realtid.se, 8 mars 2021





Jämställda styrelser har bättre lönsamhet och omsättning – oavsett bransch

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on mars 8th, 2021 by admin

Almis årliga kartläggning av svenska styrelser visar att utvecklingen mot jämställdhet går långsamt. Trots forskning som visar att jämställda styrelser är mer effektiva.

”Vi behöver öka förståelsen för hur viktigt ett aktivt styrelsearbete med rätt kompetenser är för ett bolags utveckling”, säger Britta Burreau, vd för Almi Företagspartner.

Almi sammanställer årligen en rapport där de kartlägger antalet kvinnor som sitter i bolagsstyrelser. I den senaste rapporten framgår det att utvecklingen till fler jämställda styrelser är långsam.

”Vi behöver öka förståelsen för hur viktigt ett aktivt styrelsearbete med rätt kompetenser är för ett bolags utveckling. En jämställd styrelse är en viktig del i detta för att få bredden av kompetenser och erfarenhet. Och vi vet att jämställdheten ökar då man rekryterar in nya ledamöter”, säger Britta Burreau, vd för Almi Företagspartner.

För kartläggningen används Jämställdhetsmyndighetens definition av en jämställd styrelse där det anses råda en jämn könsfördelning då andelen kvinnor respektive män är 40 till 60 procent eller jämnare.

Den första kartläggningen som Almi gjorde var 2013, då 13 procent av de undersökta bolagen hade en jämn könsfördelning. År 2021 har 15 procent av bolagen en jämställd styrelse.

”Det här är en trögrörlig materia. Företag byter sällan styrelseledamöter och när man väl byter rekryterar man ofta i befintliga nätverk och tidigare kontakter. Det är mindre vanligt att våga utmana genom att söka i helt andra miljöer och strukturer.”

Årets kartläggning kompletterades med en undersökning som visar att företag med jämställda styrelser har en högre lönsamhet och omsättning än övriga företag.

Studien undersökte cirka 43.000 svenska aktiva aktiebolag, både noterade och onoterade, med minst två styrelseledamöter och minst fem anställda och/eller 5 miljoner eller mer i omsättning.

”Det intressanta vi kan se är att företag som har en jämn könsfördelning i sin styrelse också har högre lönsamhet och högre omsättning än bolag med ojämn könsfördelning. Det säger något om förmågan att ta till sig diversifierad kunskap och erfarenheter”, säger Malin Malmström, professor i entreprenörskap och innovation vid Luleå tekniska universitet, som genomförde undersökningen.

Genom rapporten visar Malin Malmström hur kompositionen av en styrelse påverkar ett bolags effektivitet.

”Det har pågått en debatt kring bolagsstyrelsers kompositioner och vad den har för betydelse för bolagens effektivitet vilket många resonerar olika om. Den här rapporten visar att det handlar om effektiviteten i bolag, att man uppnår en högre effektivitet om man har en mer könsdiversifierad styrelse. Vi hoppas att dessa resultat kan motivera till att påskynda den utveckling vi behöver se.”

Initiativtagare till undersökningen är Anna Lundmark Lundbergh, vd för Almi Värmland. Hon menar att rapporten kan vara det som behövs för att vi ska komma ännu längre.

”Malin Malmströms rapport visar att jämställda styrelser har bättre lönsamhet och omsättning, oavsett bransch, kön på vd eller antal anställda. Vi och de företag som vi investerar i upplever en enorm skillnad i arbetet när styrelsen är jämnt könsfördelad och man har rätt kompetens runt bordet. Nu visar även siffrorna det vilket behövs för att utvecklingen ska kunna ta fart.”

Jämställdhetsfrågan är viktig även för Almi Företagspartners själva. Britta Burreau förklarar att det är ett perspektiv som ofta finns med.

”Frågan har hög prioritet både i vår egen organisation och i arbetet med våra kunder. Vi har ett tydligt uppdrag och tydliga mål som innebär att vi ska bidra till ökad jämställdhet i näringslivet. Vår utgångspunkt är att jämställdhet bidrar till att företag blir konkurrenskraftigare och till ökad tillväxt och lönsamhet. Dessutom förbättrar det företagets image och attraktionskraft.”



Källa: DI.se, 7 mars 2021

3 Prerequisites for Earning the Right to Coach Others

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 3rd, 2021 by admin

If there is one ideal from the coaching world that executive coach Madeleine Blanchard believes would benefit managers and leaders in today’s organizations, it’s this: “You have to earn the right to coach others.”

“Because of their position power, managers can do certain things that coaches would never dream of doing,” says Blanchard. “For example, telling people what to do and how to do it. It is part of the job of being a manager, but it doesn’t necessarily build trust. Many managers who want to coach their people can take for granted what coaches work hard to earn.”

Blanchard shares three coaching prerequisites that will serve those striving to be great leaders who coach— first, a focus on serving others, second, self awareness, and third, self regulation. It’s a high ideal, says Blanchard—but for managers and organizations up to the challenge, the results can be spectacular.

Blanchard points to what happened at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Europe where managers were taught how to be more coach-like.

“Coca-Cola Russia won the PRIZM award from the International Coach Federation. It’s a great example of a company that went all in on establishing a coaching culture. Using a combination of seven external coaches and forty certified internal coaches, the company trained a thousand managers in coaching skills.”

By all measures, the initiative made a huge difference in the bottom line performance of the plant and the 3,000 people working there, says Blanchard.

“Turnover was cut by two-thirds, from 78% to 26%. Employee engagement increased by over 25%. And most important, subsequent internal surveys showed that managers who had been taught coaching skills reported enhanced interpersonal relationships, increased innovation, and increased trust in management. The company’s organization value index, which measures the extent to which people report referring to and using company values to make decisions, increased by 86%.

“These types of results are critical in a world where everything is changing so fast and where employee skillsets need constant sharpening. Across all functions in an organization, a manager’s job is to encourage a growth mentality that will help people succeed, not just tell them how to do their job and save feedback for an annual performance review.”

“It all starts with a serving mindset,” says Blanchard. “Seeing leadership as serving others. That can be a daily challenge,” explains Blanchard.

“As a manager, there are going to be days where it’s like, ‘I’m not feeling particularly service oriented right now.’ So I think it requires real dedication to a higher purpose. Anyone who steps into a leadership position needs to make a conscious decision that they are there to be in service to their people, not just to manage tasks.”

That journey begins with a heightened sense of self awareness, says Blanchard.

“Self awareness is the starting point for any leadership journey. I don’t think it’s talked about nearly enough, even in professional coach training. That’s why I love a self awareness tool we use at our company that measures people’s perception of you as a leader in four critical areas—are you perceived as ablebelievablecaring, and dependable?

“Any place you fall down on this assessment points out a trouble area that’s going to impact your credibility as a leader-coach—and your effectiveness in guiding others to higher levels of performance.”

But knowing and doing are two different things. That leads Blanchard to the third prerequisite for the leader-coach—self regulation.

“After choosing to serve and self awareness, self regulation is needed for you to be the best version of yourself. It’s listening instead of telling, which means inhibiting the 99 things that pop into your head that you want to say but that won’t add value for the person being coached. It is easy to forget that listening means you aren’t talking—the person being coached should be doing most of the talking. When the person who is coaching does feel the need to give in to the urge to talk, here are the questions they first need to ask themselves:

  • Will this question spark insight for the coachee? Or is it to satisfy my own curiosity?
  • Do they really need to hear this? Do I need to say it?
  • Will what I want to say really make a difference?
  • Is it worth the time it will take to express, when time is limited?

“You have to be rigorously honest with yourself, fiercely focused on what matters most, and willing to practice extraordinary discipline. In the rough and tumble of a manager’s day, who is really signed up for that program? As it turns out, not everyone. But that is what is required, and it is not easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no.”

Blanchard adds, “If you are my manager, I have to listen to you but I don’t have to confide in you. I don’t have to do anything beyond being reasonably civil and getting the job done. That’s compliance, which is a job requirement, but it’s not the same as a commitment to a relationship that will enable my development.

“Being more coach-like as a leader means being impeccable in your own behavior or at least making the effort, which for most of us is a 24/7 uphill climb. It’s critical to developing the type of relationship that builds commitment instead of just compliance. If you want that kind of relationship—which the data shows is critical for highest performance, discretionary effort, and engagement—you’re going to have to have deeper conversations with your people about what’s important to them. That will include growth discussions, their dreams for their career, and the parts of their performance and personalities that they really need to work on to develop.

“But you need to be impeccable and trustworthy. Why would anyone reveal the parts and the places they feel they need to develop if they don’t trust you to not hold those thoughts against them?

“That’s what people are looking for in organizations today—especially in the leadership, learning, and talent development space. L&D leaders want managers to inspire and bring out the best in their team members to be better listeners and ask better questions, which are skills that can only be sharpened through self awareness, self regulation, and having a serving mindset.”

“It’s a lofty ideal, and it takes practice, but it’s worth the effort to create the types of organizations that bring out the best in people for the customers they serve.”

Source: Kenblanchard.com. 3 March 2021