It turns out that once again the general consensus, paradoxically referred to as “common sense,” is wrong. For decades we have believed that, while psychopaths may not be nice people, they are great for beating the competition and making the big bucks. So while you may not want to marry a psychopath, or even work for one, when it comes to your money, you do want a psychopathic investment advisor who can play the game for blood.
How do you rev up a huge, international company? How do you stay innovative in a traditional industry? How do you make brands relevant and exciting?
Bernardo Hees, CEO of Kraft Heinz, may have highlighted these three challenges in his talk at the Executives’ Club of Chicago, but they’re hardly unique to him. Many CEOs struggle to shake off staid processes and stimulate growth. It’s just that Bernardo Hess happens to be doing it at a company with $26.5 billion in annual revenue.
It’s not that business leaders are uncaring, it’s just that their job is to focus on one thing: profit. Diversity may be a good thing for the world, but let’s face it, for-profit companies are not social-service agencies. For them there are two primary questions about diversity. Does increasing workplace diversity affect my bottom line? And if so, how?
In an era when most employment discrimination is considered unethical (and often illegal), one prejudice continues to thrive unchallenged at work — ageism.
It’s hard not to think of phrenology — the debunked pseudo-science that measures your mental abilities from the shape of your skull — when reading the memo from (now former) Googler James Damore. In it, he credits major biological differences between men and women for much of the disparity between their career paths. His presentation is sound — the memo is thoughtful and well-written. But when it comes to the science, he’s extremely naïve.
During the high-stress, adrenaline-inducing, always-on days, you may find yourself thinking wistfully of calmer moments with fewer obligations. Until the quiet hits you. Then there’s a whole new set of challenges to face.
If you’re being chased by a bear, you don’t have to run faster than the bear. You just have to run faster than the other guy who’s being chased. At a Chicago Executive’s Club panel on cyber security, we learned the same principle applies to defending your company against cyber attacks.
Peak performance strategies can give business leaders a leg up on the competition, even though the true path to success lies in an old joke. A guy says to a taxi driver, “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” And the taxi driver answers, “Practice, practice, practice.”
The taxi driver is right, of course. To get to Carnegie Hall — or any other arena of high achievement — you have to work hard to hone your skills. But psychologists have learned that peak performance takes more than skill development. Even the most highly trained performers won’t achieve their best without the right mental tools.
There’s a fundamental puzzle at the core of the gender diversity issue. By now, it is well established that businesses led by women and teams that include women tend to outperform their all-male competitors. Large, well-designed, global studies have supported this finding again and again.
So, if you’re a business leader who wants to see your company thrive, why aren’t you rushing to hire women into senior roles as fast as possible?
It started out fine. Interesting, high-powered women invited to a lovely luncheon sponsored by a financial services firm. A panel of three women who are outstanding leaders in the hospitality industry. Beautiful setting, tasty food — it seemed as if it would be all good.
So why did I flee an hour later, rudely walking out before the event was over? There were two main problems.
Just about everyone sometimes finds his or her job overwhelming, but truly extreme jobs are exceptional in their demands on your time and your energy.
These jobs can be highly stimulating, satisfying, and lucrative. But they can also lead to health problems, relationship issues, and emotional burnout. If that’s sounds familiar, here are some key elements to help you determine if your job is extreme:
The annual performance review is dead — or so some writers would have us believe. Many companies are looking for better ways to provide employee feedback, evaluate performance, and calculate raises and bonuses. I first wrote about the drawbacks of performance reviews five years ago. Recently, Grant Levitan of RHR International wrote a good summary of the shortcomings of the annual review process.
In isolated systems, things gradually fall apart. So says physics since Sadi Carnot first articulated the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1824. Over time, a system that is not taking in energy gradually becomes less organized and less effective.
How many organizations are closed systems, inwardly focused, rigid, and monotonous? No wonder they gradually deteriorate, not because of any bad intentions or external catastrophes, but because of the entropy, the disorder, that is bound to happen. And what’s so sad it that often human systems are closed because the members are trying to preserve order.