February 5, 2017 / Stress / Work-Life Integration / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on the Upside of Stress

On January 26, 2017, Sue Bethanis hosted clinical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist Professor Ian Robertson. Dr. Robertson is an expert at applying the latest psychological and neuroscience research to contemporary political, health, social, economic and business affairs in a very accessible manner. Professor Robertson discussed his new book, The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper, a revelatory study of how and why we react to pressure in the way we do, with real practical benefits to how we live.

Favorite Quote:

“In order to control your anxiety you have to believe that you can.”

Robertson says in order to gain control of your emotional state, thinking patterns and behavior there is a fundamental prerequisite that must exist before you can exercise that control – you need to believe that it is possible.

Insights:

Stress plays a huge part in leaders’ lives and can be both a hindrance and motivator. When your perception of a demanding situation exceeds your ability to cope with that demand – you feel anxious. Anxiety is the activation of the autonomic nervous system which prepares us for fight or flight. This is meant to prepare us to deal with short term danger or opportunity and also gives us the ability to focus.

Too much stress can be debilitating. A moderate amount is extremely good for the mind. Robertson explains that stress causes the brain to secrete a chemical called noradrenaline. “The brain doesn’t perform at its best with too little or too much of this chemical. There’s a sweet spot in the middle where if you have just the right amount, the goldilocks zone of noradrenaline, that acts like the best brain-tuner.”

Anxious responses are habits that we learn. To overcome a habit you need to engage in repetition in order to reshape and gradually replace your old habit with a new habit. Most of us are impatient and easily get demoralized or discouraged. Often, taking a medication reduces your belief in your own ability to control these habits and sabotage the hard work you need to do in order to change an emotional habit. People have a desire for a fast fix.

Robertson says that here is evidence that young adults that have little to no adversity in their lives end up becoming more emotionally vulnerable than those with moderate levels of adversity. “Paradoxically, there is a sweet spot of stress that people need to experience in their lives for them to achieve emotional resilience when they are adults. The overprotection of young people and having a slightly coddle existence means that they are going to be more emotionally vulnerable in the real world of work and all the stresses that go with it.” They experience symptoms of arousal because they have never really experience failure or threat.

Unlike animals that live in the moment, humans can torture themselves with past memories and anticipation of future ones. We can expand this indefinitely and make ourselves anxious long beyond the period of acute stress and make it become chronic.

According to Robertson, there are distinct techniques we can learn in order to reframe our approach to stress. “We can change the chemistry of the brain just as much as any antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug can, but we have to learn the habits to do that,” he says. Genes cannot be changed by environment or experience but the functioning of genes can. “We have the ability to shape our mental destiny.”

  • Breathe. Take five long, low breaths in and out. Temporarily apply a routine that you have practiced and anticipated in advance can change the chemistry of your brain and help you build confidence.
  • Set goals. Setting goals for ourselves also helps to change the chemistry of our brain. He says, “It could be as seemingly small as getting out of the house and walking 200 yards down the street — something that challenges you to a degree and gives you a feeling of accomplishment to have completed.” The good feeling you get when you achieve a goal increases the dopamine in our brain and part of the reward network. Increased dopamine is a natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety drug. This is where behavior is very important. If you are feeling anxious setting small goals for yourself can stretch you. Achieving these goals will allow your brain to create this natural anti-anxiety compound.
  • Squeeze your hand. According to Robertson, “One way to give the left frontal part of your brain a boost is to squeeze your right hand for 45 seconds, release it for 15.”
  • Visualize it.  Say the words “I feel excited.” Our mind only knows what emotion we are having by context. So, we can trick our mind to be excited instead of anger or upset. “Practice an imagined situation so when you actually come to that, you won’t have to try to remember how to handle it”, says Robertson. It will become a habit.
  • Posture. You can also change your posture out of the defensive, aggressive, or defeated posture into a calm and erect posture. Robertson believes that people who adopt a power pose actually feel more in charge or confident. Posture affects our psychological state and the functioning of our brain.

What we found most interesting:

“One of the greatest motivations that humans have is to feel in control,” says Robertson. Feeling out of control is hugely anxiety provoking and particularly so for some people more than others. If we can predict what is going to happen even if what is going to happen is no good you can engage in this amazing capacity of the human brain to plan and prepare. “Most people can adjust to most situations. The change is not comfortable, but you can get there.” The trouble with uncertainty is you can’t engage in mental preparation and planning. This creates a sense of being out of control. Being out of control is an extreme example of helplessness where you don’t believe there is anything you can do to change the outcome, and that leads to passivity. According to Dr. Robertson, “If I can predict something that is going to happen in my mind I can enact certain scenarios and anticipate certain outcomes (hopefully success). Once you stop taking positive actions it pushes your brain into a flight response. Once it is in that mode it is difficult for it to activate the reward and anticipation mode.”

To learn more about Dr. Robertson and his thoughts on shaping your brain’s response to pressure, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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December 2, 2016 / Strategy / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on Defining Your Edge of Disruption

On November 28, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted Julie Williamson, Chief Growth Enabler for Karrikins Group. Julie is a leading voice in how organizations create sustainable growth by linking communication, design, strategy, sales, marketing, and service. Julie and Sue discussed her newest book, co-authored with Peter Sheahan, Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, Create More Value, and Become the Obvious Choice.

Favorite Quote:

“Change is not an event it simply is how we are.”

Insights:

Successful leaders need the courage to challenge tradition, the optimism to envision opportunity amid change and the curiosity to explore new territory. These leaders’ cutting-edge knowledge and flexibility at “the edge of disruption” give them an “elevated perspective” on the market. Their deep connections result in “elevated relationships” and their value-based work create an “elevated impact.”

Julie’s interviews with worldwide leaders show they share similar strategies for building businesses that “matter” to their industries, employees, customers and communities. They consider their companies’ distinctive capabilities and reputations, and they work with their clients to learn what issues are most important to them and what problems they need to solve. Established companies are afraid of disruption. The process of discovering your edge of disruption goes beyond looking internally. When you are standing on the edge of disruption you are escaping the “gravity” to who you have always been and you are starting to look out towards what you can be. Julie believes that there is a thrill that come along with standing at the edge and asking “What else could we be doing?”

The “edge of disruption,” which leads to an elevated perspective, marks the collision of new and old technologies and strategies. People who believe passionately about what they do are able to create a spark and light a fire for an entire industry. These leaders are inspired to help companies grow by creating more value and not just by taking costs out of the business.

Elevated Perspectives – It takes courage, optimism, and curiosity to have an elevated perspective. You need to know what is going on outside of your own “organization container.” As a leader you need to model the way. If others don’t see you looking around the corner, asking questions, being curious and being optimistic they are going to model your behavior. You need to figure out how to make time for your people to think, read, listen, and participate in things that take them out of their day-to-day.

Elevated Relationships – In today’s interconnected world there is no major problem that matters that you can solve on your own. When you start to solve problems that require interconnectedness then you are really starting to tackle the big issues for your industry. You need to rethink your current relationships and leverage them to solve the biggest problems that are out there.

Elevated Impact – An elevated impact aligns with an elevated perspective and elevated relationships. The leaders who’ve built companies that matter share certain personal attitudes. This includes a belief that they can negotiate win-win outcomes to benefit their companies, employees, clients, industries and communities. They all share an “authentic commitment to doing well by doing good” and taking a stand for the best interests of their customers and community.

What we found most interesting:

The desire to control and anticipate and dictate the future is something that scientific management has always emphasized (predictability, patterning, etc.). In today’s world, things happen too quickly for this to be too relevant or useful. Things are also not as linear as they once were. Julie says, “We are seeing the need for people to be comfortable with ambiguity. You need to have the confidence to know that you have the courage, skills, knowledge and expertise to step forward even when you don’t know exactly what you are stepping into.”

To learn more about Julie Williamson, listen to her WiseTalk recording.

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November 1, 2016 / Strategy / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on How to Win in the Age of Disruption

On October 20, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted Terence Mauri, a highly regarded leader speaker, author, and Entrepreneur Mentor In Residence (EMiR) at London Business School. He is an Inc. Magazine columnist, and advisor to executives and entrepreneurs around the world. Terence discussed his new book, The Leader’s Mindset: How to Win in the Age of Disruption, and spoke with Sue about how to inspire new leadership thinking to help you disrupt your industry, your organization and, ultimately, yourself.

Favorite Quote:

“If we are lucky, we get about 960 months (80 years) on this planet. Use that number as an energizer. We often accommodate what we should not accommodate for far too long.”

Insights:

Disruption is a word that can easily lose its meaning. Disruption means thinking and doing what others are not doing. Every disruption is innovative by virtue of it being a disruption, but not every innovation is a disruption. An innovation is an incremental improvement, where a disruption is when you do something big and bold that is 10x different or 10x faster. Many companies are still doing things the old way. According to Mauri, “It is time to upgrade, let go, and refresh.”

Thinking Big Mindset – Most of the time we think too small and think in incremental change. Thinking big is about imagination. Thinking big is also about acting small (disciplined) to execute on the details. The big problems that exist in the world are not going to be solved with incremental thinking.

Acting Bold Mindset  – To get ahead you need to have courage and resilience. You need Sisu – a Finnish word that means resilience, courage, and fierce tenacity. It is a mental toughness that happens in the face of adversity. Acting bold is also about having a voice and having the confidence to speak up. We can teach that by modeling that behavior. You need to give others permission and a signal that they have a duty of care and responsibility to speak up when they have an opinion, idea or contribution to make. That is how we grow and develop as a society. People are more courageous when they have a clear purpose and passion in life.

Learning Fast Mindset – The speed of change is breathtaking in the age of disruption. Unless you are constantly learning you are going to become the status quo very quickly. The learn fast mindset is about becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Reading, connecting, networking, putting yourself in new situations, and asking yourself – When was the last time I learned something new? You need to be passionate about your business and industry and the trends that are both exciting and scaring you. Learn fast is a survival skill in the age of disruption.

On Moonshot Thinking  – Moonshot thinking is about reimagining the future and trying to think 10X bigger rather than 10% bigger. The idea is to disrupt your thinking and take yourself out of the status quo. You need to shift your perspective so you can have the breakthrough ideas. Moonshot thinking demands you to rethink assumptions about what is possible. If you don’t have a strategy for changing the status quo at a personal or professional level you end up becoming it.

The 3 Box Tool for Disruption

  • Box 1 – Is about optimizing the present. Putting your best foot forward and doing the basics brilliantly. That’s what we are good at and where we spend most of our time.
  • Box 2 – Is about selectively letting go of the past. Let go of things that are holding you back. We need to be more courageous in doing this.
  • Box 3 – Is about creating the future. You need to have a plan and vision for your future. This is very difficult because we live in a time of constant noise and distraction. Too much information can lead to a poverty of attention. We have an attention crisis. Most managers and leaders struggle to focus on what matters every day.

What we found most interesting:

“Most successful people are self-confessed failure pioneers.” They are adept at failing faster and using failure as a learning tool. Failure is not the opposite of success; it is the stepping stone to success. Failure is a fundamental part of innovation and creativity. We need to look at failure as a way to get a step closer to success.

To learn more about Terence Mauri and his thoughts on disruption, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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October 1, 2016 / Strategy / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on Embracing Disruption for a Competitive Advantage

On September  22, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted Cat Lee, Head of Partner Marketing at Pinterest. Known as one of the most innovative shopping platforms in the world, Pinterest has revolutionized how people discover products and content, and how customers engage with businesses. Cat gave WiseTalk an insider’s view on how Pinterest has become an extremely disruptive social media powerhouse while building a marketplace of 100 million users.

Favorite Quote:

“Authenticity is about not holding back your point of view and saying what needs to be said in a skillful way with warmth and respect.” 

Insights:

On How Pinterest is a Disruptor in Advertising
At its core, “Pinterest is about exploration and discovery. The big opportunity for businesses on Pinterest is that there is no trade-off between the experience it provides to users and businesses.” Pinterest customers are open-minded to the ideas that come from businesses because they are native to the Pinterest experience. 75 percent of the ideas on Pinterest are from businesses because they are useful, actionable and relevant to users.

What’s unique about the Pinterest platform audience is the intent that can be modeled out based on user actions. The way that people search on Pinterest is based on exploration.  If you look at the consumer journey through a partner’s point of view (business), it closely resembles the marketing funnel. The consumer starts with casual browsing, then moves on to engagement (pinning), and then finally the consumer moves to the mindset of wanting to take action.

The Importance of Talent and Processes to Disruption
Cat believes it is important to focus on organizational health in addition to organizational smarts. Through both, you get efficiency and speed in how the teams can work together and ultimately disrupt the market.  A key component is communication. If all employees have the same information it empowers everyone to do their best and be in alignment of what’s most important to the company. Macro level processes helps teams go faster.

Cat also believes, “you are doing your best work when you are leveraging your strengths and making sure that they are well balanced.  You don’t need to worry about weaknesses as much as helping people to do their best work.”

What We Found Most Interesting:

  • The Four Values of Pinterest Knit: The best products come from “knitting,” where everyone works together— from engineering and design to marketing and community. Innovation happens when disciplines “knit” together.
  • Put Pinners First: If something doesn’t work for Pinners, it doesn’t work for Pinterest.
  • Go: The best way to find out if something works is to try it and learn as you go.
  • Be Authentic: Being honest and open (and sometimes saying the hard thing) is a core value.

To learn more about Cat Lee and her thoughts on disruption, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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August 1, 2016 / Strategy / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on Transformation for the Digital Age

On July 20, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted David Rogers, professor at Columbia Business School and the author of the recent book The Digital Transformation Playbook. David is a globally-recognized leader on digital business strategy. David talked with Sue about why traditional businesses need to rethink, adapt, and learn from todays’ digital disruptors and innovators.

Favorite Quote:
“The reason that digital technologies matter so much to businesses is because it matters to customers. Through technology, customers can discover, learn, interact, and influence each other. It’s changing the relationship businesses have with their customers.”

Insights:
Digital transformation is a question — How does a business that was started before the digital era need to adapt in order to grow, thrive, and reach its next stage of profitable growth?
According to Rogers, digital transformation really isn’t about technology, it’s about changing strategic thinking and organizations’ need to upgrade their thinking across these five domains of strategy:

  1. Customers – Businesses need to shift from thinking about their customers as targets (who they market to) to thinking about them as networks. We need to look at customers as active and dynamic participants and partners. Technology is changing the customer relationship with businesses and with each other. There is now a much more reciprocal dynamic relationship with customers and it is important to understand the ways that they (customers) are interacting with each other and making decisions. Businesses now have better insight into the customer’s very rapidly changing path to purchase.
  2. Competition – We are shifting from a world where traditional competition was very much a zero-sum game. We are now not only dealing with rivals within our industry, but also with competitors from outside our industry (for example, Uber and the auto industry). We are now in an environment where companies are dealing with “co-opetition”. The same company may be your fiercest rival and a critical business partner.
  3. Data – Traditionally, data was expensive to obtain and was primarily used in an organizational silo fashion to manage processes and forecasting. Basically, businesses used data to operate more efficiently and effectively. Now, data is everywhere. There is an incredible sea change in unstructured data which is commonly called “Big Data”. We are now seeing businesses that can bring this data together in an integrated fashion. Instead of just improving operating efficiency data can be used to create new value and to innovate and drive the business forward.
  4. Innovation – There is a big shift from the traditional model of innovation that is based on senior organizational leaders making tough decision and placing big bets. We are shifting to a model that is based upon a process David Rogers calls “rapid experimentation.” The role of leadership is very different in this model. Instead of trying to figure out the answer, leaders set the goal and the question of innovation and enable their organization to figure out how they can effectively learn as quickly and rapidly as possible. Digital technologies now enable continuous testing and experimentation so that business leaders don’t sink everything into one big bet that may or may not work.
  5. Value – The last domain of digital transformation is the value a business delivers to its customers. Industry definitions and borders are becoming much more fluid and evolving. As the environment changes, businesses need to shift from taking a static view of who they are. Every business should look at every change and new technology and ask itself, “How can this create a new opportunity for me to deliver value to my customers that I wasn’t able to deliver yesterday?” It is important to be thinking about how to be as relevant to your customer today and going forward as you’ve been in the past.

On Data Sharing:
Certain industries are more comfortable with sharing data and there are certainly key differences among age groups.

  • Brand Trust – Even when an individual is hesitant to share data, if there is a particular brand where they thought they had a trusted relationship with for more than six months they were more likely to share their data.
  • Creating Value – People are really influenced by the perception that there is value being exchanged. When they feel that by giving the data to your company they can see that it allows you to serve them better, they are much more open to the idea of sharing data.

On Learning to Experiment:
Experimentation is really just an iterative process of what does and doesn’t work. Thinking about innovation as a series of experiments is about organizing your innovation process around learning.
There are a couple of different types of experiments and as a manager it is important to understand the distinctions.

  • Convergent Experiments – You start with a specific question and you are converging on an answer (example: an A/B test). In the ideal situation, these experiments can actually be designed using a scientific method.
  • Divergent Experiments – There is not a single specific question like an A/B test. You are posing an unknown set of questions that require a different process design. This is where you might be putting a prototype in the hands of customers or discovering through an iterative process what may be most meaningful for the business. The process may actually generate new questions for each stage. The ultimate goal is to test as many assumptions as possible behind a general idea of an innovation.

What We Found Most Interesting:
Businesses must understand the importance of strategies to build platforms, not just products. In the digital era, the competition shift is being driven by the growth of platform business models – a business that creates value by facilitating direct interactions between different types of customers. So, instead of the business creating the value – the business is creating value by bringing together different parties that are each contributing and exchanging different kinds of value themselves.

To learn more about David Rogers and his thoughts on digital disruption, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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July 16, 2015 / Strategy / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

On June 25, 2015, Sue hosted Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Leadership and Learning, the Chair of the Organizational Behavior department, and the founding director of “The Leadership Transition” executive education program at INSEAD. Herminia is the author of the new book, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader and was named a Thinkers50 most influential business guru. Herminia helped us understand the common traps that get in the way of stepping up to bigger leadership positions. She explained how change really works when we are attempting to grow professionally, and how applying the “outsight” principle reshapes our image of our selves, our jobs and our potential.

Favorite Quote:
“Until you can feel it in your bones, it’s very hard to have thinking drive your behavior.”

Insights:

  • The “outsight” principle means learning by going outside the norm. It’s an external perspective that you get from doing new things and experimenting, by interacting with new people, going outside your past experience, outside your usual network of contacts and getting a more external perspective to open your eyes to a different reality.
  • Traditional leadership development methods tend to emphasize learning through introspection, which is the opposite of the outsight principle. Sue inquired about this juxtaposition. While there is a place for introspection in developing leaders, Herminia’s research showed that behavior that drives attitudes and thought processes as opposed to other way around, particularly when the end state is unclear. When transitioning from A to B, and B as the end state is known, it’s easier to plan the steps to get to B. But when the end state is unknown or murky, all the thinking in the world is theory and likely to not match reality. When transitioning to a leadership role for the first time, Herminia explains the only way to aspire to that goal in a way that’s motivating, is to get closer to it through experimentation. Only then will you have fresh material for reflection afterwards.
  • To gain outsight, Herminia suggested three areas for aspiring leaders to create some experiments: redefining your job, extending your network away from the usual suspects, and being more playful with yourself. Getting started with experiments in these three areas, especially with job activities and network building, will help you gain positive momentum. The people you meet along the way make a huge difference because they become kindred spirits or people who can guide you or you can bounce ideas off of because they are going through something similar. The more time spent thinking about it and conceptualizing this concept, the slower the learnings will come. But those who take action even if they aren’t sure where they are going, or because it feels unnatural, will learn more quickly.

What we found most interesting:
As people try to step up to leadership, they sometimes experience the authenticity trap. Things that don’t feel comfortable for people tend to feel inauthentic. But Herminia explained authenticity can be a defense against learning and a defense against getting out of your comfort zone. Authenticity can be defined in a number of ways, but when people hide behind it they tend to mean, “being as I’ve always been.” Which is not great, because you can be authentic and change a lot. She says, “The way you actually become really authentic is by changing and adapting and by doing so, mean you remain true to yourself in an evolving way…we all want to be ourselves at work but we want to be ourselves in a way that takes into account growth and evolution.”

To learn more about Herminia’s experience, listen to the Wise Talk recording.

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April 28, 2015 / HR / Talent Management / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on The Future of Work and Talent Management

Our April WiseTalk guest was Jacob Morgan, author, speaker and futurist. From Jacob, we learned about the five Macro trends driving the Future of Work, which are giving rise to other trends such as the freelance economy and the collaboration economy. The trends shaping the Future of Work will shift power from organizations to the employee, and in many ways this shift is already underway. Our key takeaway from this conversation is companies need to be thinking now about how they can create a workplace that people want to work in, to attract and retain talent and stay relevant in the future.

Favorite Quote:
“In the future, companies that want to hire employees will need to create an environment where people want to work instead of need to work.”

Insights:

  • According to Jacob, most organizations want to know why things are changing in the workplace, but are not always aware of the five macro trends shaping the Future of Work:
    • New behaviors are entering organizations, which are being shaped by social technologies. They are changing the way we collaborate, communicate, and share.
    • New technologies, such as collaboration platforms, big data, wearable devices, and the Internet of things, are entering companies.
    • The Millennial workforce: by 2020, an estimated 50% of the U.S. workforce will be Millennials. This will drive a huge shift as this demographic doesn’t know what it’s like to sit in a cubical, to commute an hour to and from work, and to use legacy technology.
    • Mobility: anytime, anywhere and on any device. Jacob explains the new theme for the Future of Work is “connect to work” because access to the Internet is all anyone will need to be able to do work.
    • Globalization: we are operating in a world where boundaries do not exist, making it easier to transact work and collaborate with anyone in the world.
  • In Silicon Valley, many companies are already challenged with attracting and retaining top talent. But according to Jacob, retention will become less relevant in the future. He believes people will work for a portfolio of companies rather than one company, and citied examples of the freelancer economy, such as Uber. When Sue mentioned that model may not be as ubiquitous for engineers, as companies may not want to share that top talent, Jacob mentioned a number of organizations are already using a high percentage of freelance engineers. However, his experience indicates that most organizations are not willing to be public about their contingent workforce.
  • Before companies think about the Future of Work, they need to think about where they are going. The key is to understand how the workplace is changing, before thinking about a strategy and tactics for change. Look at the world around you to see what is changing, then ask what experience you want to create so that you can make sure your company stays relevant.

What we found most interesting:
Jacob explained the biggest driver of the Future of Work is a changing assumption about why companies exist. Because people have expenses and bills, they have traditionally needed to work at a company. This assumption held as true until recently. Now, people have options, such as starting their own company or freelancing, which means the war for talent has never been greater. Because of this, organizations have to create a place where people want to work, not need to work. That “want” is causing these changes. Companies need to consider how they get people to want to work for them. Rethinking management practices, flexibility policies, technologies, and what your company stands for all help to create a place that people want to be.

To learn more about Jacob’s experience, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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April 8, 2015 / HR / Talent Management / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Hiring Top Talent

On March 30, 2015, Sue hosted Lou Adler, CEO/Founder of The Adler Group, a training and search firm which helps companies make hiring top talent a systematic business process, and author of the books, The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired: A Performance-based Hiring Handbook and the Amazon best-seller, Hire With Your Head. Lou explained why the wrong talent strategies hinder the ability to hire the right talent, and shared an overview of how performance-based hiring can bridge that gap.

Favorite Quote:
“If you want to hire a great person, you need a great job. It’s not a bunch of skills. Skills and competencies describe a person, not a job.”

Insights:

  • When it comes to hiring the A-team, Lou has seen many companies use the wrong strategy. It starts with an assumption of a surplus of talent. Then, a boring job is posted, candidates are interviewed and companies hope they can hire someone from that pool quickly. According to Lou, this is fundamentally a bad strategy. A top person is not looking for a lateral move and not looking for speed. Companies are too focused on the cost of hiring rather than on the impact of hiring good people. Instead, they need a strategy that goes after the A-level person.
  • Because top people are looking for career moves, a generic job description, with a generic listing of skills and competencies, does little to attract the talent companies are looking for. Instead, Lou says to focus on the work, make the work impactful and customized to the person. Tell them what they’re going to do. For example, “build a team of accountants to go IPO in 6 months” has more impact than “5 years of experience with CPA from Big4 accounting firm.” Stop trying to force fit people into generic job descriptions.
  • Performance-based hiring is impactful because it starts with a mindset of talent scarcity, and is a systematic business process. Job descriptions reflect the work to be done. A talent-centric sourcing process establishes an ideal candidate profile of the person taking the job at the onset to identify passive candidates and build a talent pool. Interviewing questions are tied to related performance objectives. According to Lou, this method leads to no more than four candidates for interviewing. It’s a quality over quantity approach.

Try It:
Try reframing your typical job descriptions into performance-based jobs. Ask your company’s hiring manager these questions:

  • What does the person need to do to be successful doing this job? What would they need to do within 30 days to indicate they’re on point to get there? Once you understand the objectives, then process the steps to get the final objective.
  • Alternatively, look at job description language, i.e. 5 years of X or X personality, such as “must be aggressive,” and ask, “What does this look like on the job?” Here, you are converting important skills and experiences to how they make an impact on the job.

What we found most interesting:
Many companies still use behavioral interviewing to hire. However, Lou said there is lack of research to prove it predicts performance, that technique only minimizes mistakes. He believes generic competencies are not universal, due to many situational issues that determine if someone will be successful or not in a position. He went on to say, “Few people are motivated to do every type of work, under every situation, in every circumstance, for every person.”

To learn more about Lou’s experience, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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March 3, 2015 / HR / Talent Management / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Disrupting Talent Management

On February 26, 2015, Sue Bethanis hosted Steve Cadigan, a Silicon Valley talent, people and culture expert, founder of Cadigan Talent Ventures LLC, a Silicon Valley-based talent strategies advisory firm, and former Vice President of Talent at LinkedIn. Steve helped us understand why traditional talent sourcing and hiring methods are in need of disruption, shared his vision on how disruption can benefit both prospective employees and employers, and shared innovative ideas for changing the way employers source talent.

Favorite Quote:
“If you want to win the war for recruiting, you have to change the game.”

Insights:

  • The process of recruiting and building an organization is still in its infancy of what it can be and could be. The traditional model is “I have a need”, put a job description together, hire a recruiter, and the recruiter hunts for talent. Steve thinks the reason this model perpetuates is due to priority and ownership. He believes talent drives value creation but rarely sees the right investment of priority, attention and time from executive teams. It’s the last thing on their agenda, the people systems are an afterthought bolted onto an ERP solution, and boards of directors rarely have people serving on them who have a strong understanding of the powerhouse muscle of talent. He believes ownership of talent belongs with the whole company, not just human resources, especially in Silicon Valley, where the biggest thing a company needs to be great at is building a great team. It should be a core responsibility and the biggest muscle being working on.
  • Steve believes the employee-employer relationship is changing, and power is shifting to employee, particularly in Silicon Valley. Potential employees have more information available to them, more choice, and can decide where they want to go to. He argues that an employer brand in a company that’s growing is almost as important if not more important than your product brand. Consumers want to buy from someone who treats their employees well and is providing a good work environment. Brand can’t be spun anymore. It’s the collective voice of Glassdoor, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, bloggers, all of which is the manifestation of the voice of your employees.
  • In an increasingly transparent world, instead of investing in a huge recruiting team, Steve argues the better investment is to try to make your organization the desired destination for the best people in the world. This is different from needing a few hours to source and interview every week. This is about what kind of environment, culture, organizational structure, communication plan, relationships, how the workspace is designed, etc., which contribute to a differentiator in answering the question, why does someone want to come work here? Steve believes if companies do that well, and they know what kind of person they’re looking for, they’ll create a magnetic pull for talent. Hunting for talent in the traditional sense won’t allow a company to scale fast enough.

What we found most interesting:

Inherently, Steve thinks recruiting is broken because, as has been proven time and again, the traditional hiring process is not the best indicator of job performance. The best hires he’s made were those hired through internships, where the candidate is interviewing the company and the company is interviewing the candidate.

To learn more about Steve’s experience, and hear some of the innovative ideas for recruiting, hiring and building company culture, listen to the recording here.

 

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