Hiring and Recruiting: ” How CEOs Can Personally Recruit Top Talent ?” | Paul Spiegelman | Inc.com


Take a cue or two from Justin Yoshimura, a 23-year-old Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, who is his company’s lead headhunter.

I recently received a note from the CEO of a company in San Francisco who wanted me to check out a letter posted on his website that he uses to attract talented employees. I’m impressed with his unique approach to hiring in what is an incredibly competitive market: software engineers in Silicon Valley.

Before I get more into his hiring strategy, let me tell you more about this CEO. Justin Yoshimura is only 23 years old, and he’s already a serial entrepreneur. Like me, he was raised in Los Angeles, but unlike me, he started thinking about business very early. At age 12, he had 25 lemonade stands, and a couple of years later he got into e-commerce selling–a lot–on eBay. He soon realized that the key to customer retention is online loyalty programs, so he built his current company, 500 friends, a cloud-based loyalty software-as-a-service that rewards customers.

There are several things I find refreshing about Yoshimura’s hiring tack : 

1. It’s unlike any other I’ve seen. How many CEOs do you know who personally reach out to find good talent?

2. He’s humble. In his letter, he talks about the fact that 500 friends sometimes makes mistakes in the hiring process. He also promises to rectify those mistakes quickly.

3. He talks openly about trust. He mentions the relationships a new employee could have with other co-workers at his company, building that sense of trust before an individual even starts his first day on the job.

4. He’ll fund employees who want to be entrepreneurs. He recognizes that many of his new employees want to start their own business someday, so he promises them seed capital for new ventures after only two years of employment.

I don’t see any gimmicks here. I see someone who is genuine about his recruiting approach.

And Yoshimura gets big payback. He’s been able to recruit and hire senior executives and engineers without ever bringing on a headhunter, even though he’s competing with many bigger, better-funded companies with more resources dedicated to finding talent. He’s also built a team of trusted employees who are empowered and accept accountability for their successes and failures. And he’ll be able to look back and feel rewarded that he had a tremendous impact on the lives of the people he worked with and gave them entrepreneurial opportunities in the process.

So when you’re looking for your next key hire, think of Yoshimura and this job well done. If trust, honesty, humility, and opportunity worked for him, think of what they can do for you.

Top 5 Things to Look For In a “Personal Trainer” | LifeFitness

For some people, working out feels natural, almost like an addiction. Not for this girl. Every day I beg myself – Please go work-out, please go work-out. And, if you’re like me, who better to push you than a trainer ?

I mix personal trainers into my weekly workout routine to keep me on task, teach me new things and hold me accountable when I start skipping my lunges. Here are some things to look for when  choosing a personal trainer:

Honesty: Make sure you can trust your personal trainer, because hearing the truth is the only way to improve and make progress. Don’t pick a trainer who tells you look bad when you don’t, but find a trainer that has the guts to point out the obvious. When I first met my trainer she complimented some things, but also pointed out my problem areas with blunt force. I laughed, considered her suggestions, and thanked god someone had the guts to tell me. I knew we were on the right track.

Creativity: Find a trainer who knows how to mix up the workout on the fly. If you feel like they are following a play card, you’ll realize you could do that yourself. You want a person that will come up with interesting workout ideas when, on any particular day, you have a new area you want to target. Once I was put on a Pilates trapeze. Was it graceful? Absolutely not. But I had a blast and I worked out just a little bit longer because it was so different.

Balance: A personal trainer should push you beyond what you personally thought your limits were. If a session feels too comfortable, you won’t see results and will stop coming back. But, he or she should find balance and be aware of your limits. If you feel like someone is always pushing you to a point of you’ll dread your sessions and start to skip them. Find someone that can give you a good mix.

Attention to Detail: I need a trainer who won’t let me get away with the wrong body position and forces me to do it right. You can do ab work for practically hours if you’re doing it incorrectly. Get someone who notices the subtle differences in your positioning and it will make a huge difference long-term.

Attitude: Find a trainer who you enjoy being around. Personally, the cheerleader-type would exhaust me during a 6 a.m. workout and the drill sergeant type would terrify me. I like someone who can keep on task but is also pleasant. Positive reinforcement will keep you excited to do better with each workout.

It’s not easy to find a trainer that fits you just right. If you’re having trouble, ask your gym for advice on which person might work best with your style. And if you don’t have a good fit at the moment, there are ways move on from the relationship gracefully. I love this SparkPeople.com post with tips on breaking up with your personal trainer.

If you’ve found your dream personal trainer, make sure they know. Simply telling them can help to make the relationship stronger and feel more personal. 


“Employee Engagement” : Here’s Why It’s a World-wide Problem | by: Jacque Vilet

Employee Engagement has become one of the top human capital concerns of all U.S and companies globally, especially those companies that have a global footprint.

As executives are contending with this issue for their U.S. workforce, they are finding that their operations in the rest of the world are having similar problems. Executives are realizing that employee engagement is a global issue.

Which countries have higher engagement scores, and which have lower scores?  Why engagement is a global problem ?? 

Here are some brief facts on global engagement :  

  • Just two-thirds of employees worldwide are engaged.
  • Company loyalty is at a five (5) year low.
  • More than 40 percent of the global workforce intends to leave their current employer within five (5) years.
  • Employee engagement across the world has stagnated at 2008 levels, Companies need to understand how engagement and its drivers differ by region. They can then segment their workforce and target engagement programs appropriately.

Employee Engagement by region : 

Where do people take pleasure in their work? Where do people like to go the extra mile for their company?

Let’s look at global engagement scores by region.This 2011 survey by Effectory was conducted among over 12,000 respondents in 47 countries. The scores were based on a 10-point scale, 10 being the most positive.

Europe: Confidence in management and the future is low, and that negatively influences engagement. Employees in Northern/Western Europe score higher on willingness to change and retention. Giving trust and reaching consensus is key. Employees in Southern Europe believe they have a negative working environment, and have low efficiency, low motivation and low productivity. Role clarity and leadership also receive low scores. So although there are differences between the two regions, the overall scores are OK.

North America: The satisfaction with immediate co-workers and their motivation is a point of particular concern. Scores seem to be at the global average with Engagement and Willingness to Change. Satisfaction, Leadership and Role Clarity are a little above the average. (This may be a shock to readers!)

Asia: Asia has not suffered economically like the Western world has. Consequently jobs are more plentiful. In China and India in particular, employees are quick to leave an employer if they don’t believe there is enough career development opportunity. Key is the ability to “job-hop” for more money and bigger job titles. Being treated with respect and quality of leadership are cited by employees as most influential to their motivation and engagement at work. Don’t be fooled by the overall low scores. They are almost totally due to the very low scores by Japan. Overall most of Asia is at the global average.

Japan: It has had a depressed economy for 20 plus years, which is the largest cause of lower employee engagement. Japanese employees are virtually disengaged, but they also have no intention of leaving, which doesn’t do much for productivity. Employees not only don’t care about their jobs, but they are upset with their company and their managers and spread this malaise to those around them. Job security is the main concern and engagement takes second place to that. Japan’s scores really pull down the Asia composite scores.

China: For workers in China, employee engagement is more influenced by their perceptions of fair pay than by their satisfaction with recognition. Money has historically been the primary motivator for Chinese employees. This focus on pay could also be due to the speed of economic growth in their country and the extreme demand for talent which drives up pay levels. Pay then, unlike other countries — with the possible exception of India — is the most important driver.

Australia: The workload reduces the fitness and health of employees that in turn gives rise to stress and low productivity. Employees view their leaders as effective in building business strategies, but feel there are low scores in Role Clarity of their company’s future direction and overall levels of confidence in leaders. Employees perceive that their organization’s ability to clearly articulate available career paths is low. Australia also scores low on Satisfaction.

South America: This region has the highest scores. Employees are proud and due to their strength in the global marketplace they work very long hours. Reducing the workload would produce more engaged employees. A huge 74 percent of South American workers feel motivated to go beyond their formal job responsibilities. South America also enjoys the highest levels of employee pride.

South Africa: Employees find themselves working under very poor conditions. There is low confidence in job security. Employees show lower intention to stay with their employer regardless of career status. Employees feel they are not properly engaged through their supervisors. The low scores are for Satisfaction, Leadership and Role Clarity.


 There are varying weaknesses and strengths in the specific areas of employee engagement across the world. Understanding the differences is important.

Just like many other talent management programs in multinational companies, one size does not fit all worldwide. Employee engagement programs need to be tailored to meet specific needs.


Business On The Ropes: “Instilling a Culture of Consequences”,When Your Organization Has Lost Its Drive | by: Joe Evans

When a business’s culture stagnates and complacency sets in, performance declines, growth stalls and existing customers sense the lack of drive and erosion of value. In situations where a business has lost its drive and begun to backslide, the cure is to begin the process of resetting to a performance-based culture – a move that can have a significant impact on an organization’s long-term economic performance. This article addresses instilling a performance-based culture as a means of improving upon product and service delivery and concentrating on three main components: goals, incentives, and measures.

Why Culture Can Degrade Over Time 

It is well accepted among organizational theorists that companies with strong cultures outperform those without. Organizational culture usually starts with the style of leadership adopted from founders or senior executives of the organization, but that influence is quickly diminished over the life of the business as other coefficients of culture become more powerful.

Undoubtedly, culture is impacted by many factors. Sometimes corporate culture is nurtured by involved and caring management where it flourishes and sustains, while other times the culture gets dinged and damaged over the years to the point of being un-repairable. Among the many not-so-positive factors that might harm the culture are: major restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and frequent changes in leadership at the corporate level.

Factor 1: Mission Drift 

Businesses naturally evolve and change. While that is occurring, executives come and go, key customers rise and fall in prominence to the overall business model and financial turmoil in the economy forces detours in business plans that were not anticipated. Change and evolution are good and to be expected, but over time, businesses can also experience “mission drift”. Let’s define that term for our purposes. In young businesses, the early years are spent on highly-focused activity, normally limited to the organization’s core competencies and intended purpose. As the business experiences prosperous years of growth, the organization’s workforce expands to keep up. Roles change as key resources stretch to take on new responsibilities and try to transition some of their knowledge about their old role to someone else. Interpretation creeps in. So does improvisation.

It is at this point that the original organizational culture and initial passion that the business has grown up with gets a test, as potentially damaging dilution of those attributes begins to occur as fresh blood being pumped into the environment. It is also at this inflection point that culture can begin to transform. Sometimes the change is positive. New ideas are added to the mix and innovation is revitalized. The key is to take measures to preserve the core essence of goodness that allowed the growth to transpire in the first place and keep the culture fresh, vibrant and reflective of the values and strategy held dear by the business.

Factor 2: The Relentless Charge 

The relentless charge to expand creates fatigue and burnout within the organization and can also lead to an exhausted and ambivalent workforce that is detrimental to growth, innovation and operational excellence of our business. That does not mean that we cannot push or should coast along and slack-off in regards to advancing the betterment of our businesses. However, it does mean that we must have a formula mixed correctly in order to fuel our business for the long-run. We need to think in terms of running a marathon and not a sprint. Given that, the formula must be calibrated to the culture and it must also be attenuated to our business strategy and goals.

During boom times, business leaders must listen to the signals our business is sending us. Organizations get tired and need rest cycles too. Not quite the same as we humans need rest, but instead, organizations cannot endlessly expend energy without replacing it along the way. Like humans, businesses need cycles of work and then rejuvenation. Constant full-speed acceleration, without maintaining the organizational pistons, will wear out the engine and momentum will slow. This means that balance is needed between the need to constantly move the organization forward and the need to recharge energy and celebrate successes along the way.

Factor 3: Complacency 

One of the biggest enemies culture faces is complacency. Complacency can come from having reached a level of comfort that accompanies some degree of achievement and feeling of success. Once significant achievement milestones has been reached, employees throughout the organization sometimes gravitate towards remaining where it is comfortable and feels safe. Why risk what we’ve worked hard to get? Complacency develops out of our natural desire for the predictability of a routine over the uncertainty of change.

So why is it that complacency is a cause for concern? The primary issue with complacency is that we cannot remain in a fixed position when our environment is moving and changing around us. To do so guarantees that we will be passed by competing businesses that embrace change. Businesses that do not systematically strive for improvement and growth will plateau, stagnate and then decline. Those businesses that continue to reach beyond the status quo and adapt to evolutionary changes in their environment (markets, economic developments and emerging trends) will thrive.

Strong leadership during growth periods is essential to curtail strategic dilution and avoid organizational complacency (one of the negative outcomes of uncontrolled growth). To understand why, let us examine the potential impact of poor leadership.

Non-proactive leadership during a growth period can slowly erode confidence  throughout the organization and lead to complacency and disconnectedness. So why would business growth possibly lead to complacency and disconnectedness?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but these outcomes show themselves when people begin focusing on the wrong things as a result of the business-essential tacit knowledge held by the original core team (the same team that had helped keep the ship on course early on) being stretched and worn thin. Some workers begin to feel overworked, while others may feel vastly underutilized.

So what do you do when your organization’s culture has been pummeled and is no longer reflective of the workplace that once was?

What’s The Ideal Target ? 

Clearly, a broken culture must be addressed by changing it, but that requires a vision of the target culture be in place before attempting any transformative actions as well as a realistic plan for change. Ultimately, the goal of the cultural reset is to create a strong and positive culture that is well-aligned with the organization’s core values.

A strong organizational culture is one that is extremely well aligned to a common set of core values, making policy and procedure changes easier to introduce. However, rigidity and group-think are two risk factors that accompany strong organizational beliefs and corporate dogma. Having a strong culture is certainly preferable to a weak one, but is not entirely the optimal situation.

A healthier model is the performance-centric culture, striking a balance between the desirable attributes of a strong culture and the equally important ingredients of goals, incentives, measures, flexibility and acceptance. A performance-centric organization allows for and promotes diversity in thought and business innovation but does not tolerate complacent behavior. Such organizations have developed corporate mores that promote accountability and reward performance target achievement while accepting and embracing challenges to the status quo. In such organizations, bureaucracy and group-think are viewed as the demons of innovation that must be kept in check in order to allow fragile new and game-changing business ideas to survive and one day be implemented.

Research shows that organizations with performance-centric cultures experience better financial growth. One such study, conducted in 2003 by Harvard Business School, reported that culture has a significant impact on an organization’s long-term economic performance. The study examined the management practices at 160 organizations over ten years and found that culture can enhance performance or prove detrimental to performance. Performance-centric organizations witnessed far better financial growth. Another study, conducted in 2002 by the Corporate Leadership Council, found that cultural traits such as risk taking, internal communications, and flexibility are some of the most important drivers of business performance.

The Reward: A Culture With A Bias For Action 

Make no mistake, transforming a culture is not easy and requires an organization to seek change. Unfortunately, an organization mired in mission drift, exhausted from the relentless charge and / or suffering from complacency is not an ideal patient to respond quickly to treatment. Conditions that developed over a long period of time will require a careful and paced culture change program as opposed to an attempt to introduce quick fixes that create more disruption and distraction.

For those organizations that succeed in change, the rewards are enormous.

Realizing the Benefits 

Performance-based cultures unify employees and naturally bridges organizational gaps such as hierarchy or geography. In a performance-based culture, the organization feels and behaves much like a family. This commitment helps guide employees to do the right things right and strive to advance the business in the absence of explicit direction.

Perhaps most importantly, employees in performance-based cultures demonstrate a marked bias for action – remaining fundamentally dissatisfied with the status quo and thinking and acting more like owners of the business. They show accountability and take personal responsibility for overall business performance and not just their own domains. As such, the culture tolerates very little bureaucratic debate and expects team players who display high levels of passion and commitment to achieving organizational goals.

Wharton professor cites “Ethics” bigger role in global business | by: Miguel R. Camus

THE need for increased corporate governance is a trend that is here to stay as ethics plays a bigger role in the global business scene in the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis in the US four years ago, business ethics expert Thomas Donaldson has said.

Donaldson, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told reporters and columnists in a discussion that more firms are looking at their identity and values, and at reputational risk to drive growth while increasing shareholder value.

“Governance is a process that aims at discipline, identity and direction for a firm as opposed to how we usually think of governance. The board structure, does it have the contents, that’s just the means to the end of achieving those things,” Donaldson said in Manila last week.

“ We need to think in the area of governance, about culture, about the leadership resources of governance, and structure things accordingly,” he added. Donaldson, who has consulted dozens of corporations including BP Plc. in the aftermath of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, noted that true transparency should be a concerted effort, encompassing all segments of society, but that the private sector should nonetheless take the lead in promoting good governance within its ranks.

“ We’re going to regulate the incentives [that] financial-services people get and we are going to require that there be risk specialists on boards of directors,” he said. “But the next crisis will have very little to do with the mechanisms. In the end, the industry, the level of knowledge within the industry, will outstrip the capacity of the legislators to handle things.”

Donaldson was a guest of Manuel V. Pangilinan-led First Pacific Co. Ltd., an investment company listed in Hong Kong whose local units include Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. The meeting was part of a senior management program of First Pacific companies to keep pace with corporate-governance trends worldwide. During the discussion, Pangilinan likened corporate governance to both a science and an art.

“ You get a quick sense of whether companies are governed or not,” he said.

Speaking for PLDT and Metro Pacific, Pangilinan added that good corporate governance has resulted in increased participation from investors overseas. “It brings a lot of foreign shareholders into the picture because they can know that our governance results in something,” he said.

Donaldson said there is no “one size fits all” approach to building an effective good governance strategy but, as mentioned, new trends are emerging and corporations should keep an eye on them.

“ I’d like to see more directors having access to  information that’s simply past their job. But this is difficult but I think it’s doable. I would like to see more directors in-touch with their managers, employees,” he added.

The same should go with their interactions with management, Donaldson said.

“ The question is not simply ‘Are we making money?’ but also, ‘How are we doing with respect to our identity, our values?’” he added. As corporations move to improve their profile in terms of good ethics and values, business-school programs in the US have  taken steps in this direction.

“ It’s hard to find a business school that doesn’t have some dedicated faculty and courses. One of the things that fueled it is the financial crisis,” Donaldson said.


“ FIVE ” Self-Defeating Behaviours, that Ruin Companies & Careers | by: Rosabeth Moss Kanter

In turbulent times, it’s hard enough to deal with external problems. But too often people and companies exacerbate their troubles by their own actions. Self-defeating behaviors can make any situation worse. Put these five on the what-not-to-do list.

Demanding a bigger share of a shrinking pie

Leaders defeat themselves when they seek gain when others suffer, for example, raising prices in a time of high unemployment when consumers have less to spend, to ensure profits when sales are down. McDonald’s raised prices three percent in early 2012 and by the third quarter, faced the first drop in same-store sales in 9 years. The executive responsible for that strategy was replaced.

At bankrupt Hostess Brands, bakery workers refused to make concessions (though the Teamsters did), thereby forcing the company to liquidate, eliminating 18,000 jobs. By trying to grab too much, the bakery union could lose everything. This happens to executives too. A manager in a retail company demanded a promotion during the recession, because he was “indispensable,” he said. The CEO, who had cut her own pay to save jobs, fired him instead. Greed makes a bad situation worse.

Getting angry

Anger and blame are unproductive emotions. Post-U.S. election, defeated Mitt Romney blamed his defeat on “gifts” that “bought” the votes of young people, women, African-Americans, and Latinos for President Obama. Losing the Presidency is a big defeat, but Romney further defeated future electoral prospects with public bitterness and insults. History might remember the bitterness, not his gracious concession speech.

Anger hurts companies too, especially if misplaced. Years after a tragic explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 in which 11 people lost their lives, BP was back in the news with a record fine and criminal charges. Former CEO Tony Hayward defeated himself and damaged the company in the public mind by issuing bitter statements about how unfair this was.

Angry words leave a long trail. An employee in another company who threw a temper tantrum over a denied proposal was surprised that this episode was still recalled two years later, overwhelming his accomplishments. He was the first terminated in a reorganization. Bitterness turns everything sour.

Giving in to mission creep

Sometimes self-perpetuated decline occurs more slowly, through taking core strengths for granted while chasing the greener grass. I can’t say that this is happening to Google, a company I admire, but I do see potholes ahead — although driverless cars are an extension of mapping software close to Google’s core strength in search. But should Google expand its territory to be a device maker and communications network provider, building a fiber-optics and mobile network? This could be mission creep. Perhaps Google should focus on improving Googling.

Trying to become something you are not while there’s plenty of value in who you are can be self-defeating. For professionals, this can mean branching out into new fields while falling behind in the latest knowledge in the field that made their reputation. People can get caught in the middle — not yet good enough to compete in the new area, while losing strength in the old area.

Adding without subtracting

A related form of self-defeat is to allow bloat. Adding new items without subtracting old ones is how closets get cluttered, bureaucracies expand, workloads grow out of control, national budgets go into deficit, and people get fat. It takes discipline to cut or consolidate some things for every one added. Too often that discipline is missing.

A technology company tacked on acquisitions without integration, which made acquired companies happy. But one consequence was 17 warring R&D groups and the lowest R&D in the industry. Bankruptcy followed. Growing without pruning is bad for gardens and for business.

Thinking you’ll get away with it

Whatever “it” is — lying, cheating, foreign corrupt practices, or swallowing extra bites of chocolate — lapses cannot remain secret for long in the digital age. Believing otherwise is delusional. The mistake will show up somewhere — in routine audits, unrelated FBI investigations, smartphone photos by strangers, or the bathroom scale. In the ultimate example of self-defeating behavior, too many otherwise-intelligent politicians, military leaders, and CEOs think with their zippers, thereby jeopardizing companies, countries, and careers.

Happily, there’s a cure for self-defeating behaviour : Get over yourself. 

Humility prevents self-defeat. A desire to serve others, an emphasis on values and purpose, a sense of responsibility for long-term consequences, and knowledge of both strengths and limitations can make it easier to avoid these traps. Google has enjoyed outstanding success, but that doesn’t mean it will succeed at everything. The bakery union that fought Hostess into liquidation had solidarity, but perhaps it, too, should have eaten a little humble pie. 

The 5 Drivers of Happiness at Work | by:Jessica Pryce Jones | WSJ

I am in a wood-paneled boardroom of a large multinational waiting to make a pitch. My stomach lurches as I anticipate having to use the “H” word to the CEO. It just feels too “new-agey” to associate with the hard-numbered world of business.

“We’re here to talk about happiness. Happiness at work.” The words sound so flaky; “happy clappy” and “happy hippy” ping into my mind even though the numbers tell their own story.

We’ve all had to face and deal with a very different working world, especially since the financial crisis and ensuing recession. Data which we’ve gathered since 2006, shows that people everywhere feel less confidence, motivation, loyalty, resilience, commitment and engagement. And whether your local economy is in a state of boom or bust, employees are experiencing similar pressures and bosses can only squeeze until the pips squeak for so long.

But imagine a mindset which enables action to maximize performance and achieve potential in these tough times. At the iOpener Institute for People and Performance, we understand that this is another way of describing happiness at work.

Our empirical research, involving 9,000 people from around the world, reveals some astonishing findings. Employees who report being happiest at work:

  • Stay twice as long in their jobs as their least happy colleagues
  • Spend double their time at work focused on what they are paid to do
  • Take ten times less sick leave
  • Believe they are achieving their potential twice as much

And the “science of happiness at work” has big benefits for individuals too. If you’re really happy at work, you’ll solve problems faster, be more creative, adapt fastest to change, receive better feedback, get promoted quicker and earn more over the long-term. So how can you get to grips with what it’s all about?

Our research shows that there are five important drivers that underpin the science of happiness at work.


This is about what you do, so it’s made up of some of the core activities which happen at work. Like having clear goals, moving positively towards them, talking about issues that might prevent you meeting your objectives and feeling heard when you do so. You’ll do all this best when you feel appreciated and valued by your boss and your colleagues. So it’s not just about delivering: it’s about doing that within collaborative working relationships too.

Here’s what Daniel Walsh, executive vice president at one of the world’s leading transport and logistics organizations, Chep, said about his insight into the value of his colleagues’ contributions:

“I was very task-focused and goal-oriented early in my career and I delivered significant deals. But afterwards it would take a few weeks to mop up the wreckage because I was more gung-ho than I needed to be. I had a meeting with my mentor who said, “look this has got to stop. You’re delivering fantastic results but you’ve got to take people with you.

“Now I try to create an environment where people feel their opinions or views matter and I appreciate what they bring to the table. I can’t do my job on my own.”

2. Conviction.

This is the short-term motivation both in good times and bad. That’s the key point: keeping going even when things get tough, so that you maintain your energy, motivation and resources which pull you through. Key to doing this is feeling that you’re resilient, efficient and effective. In fact, our data clearly shows that we’re much more resilient than we are aware but we’re much less aware of how variable our motivation is and how to manage it. Actively deciding to do this can make a huge difference.

As Adam Parr, CEO of Williams F1 said, “a driver who gets out of a car when it’s spun off or he’s been hit and it’s all gone horribly wrong and reminds himself that he’s privileged to do the work and there’s a job to be done—that takes him to another level.”

3. Culture.

Performance and happiness at work are really high when employees feel they fit within their organizational culture. Not fitting in a job is like wearing the wrong clothes to a party—all the time. It’s hugely draining and de-energizing. If you’re in the wrong job, you’ll find that the values mean little to you, the ethos feels unfair or political and you don’t have much in common with your colleagues. What’s interesting about our data is that employees like their organizational cultures a lot less than they did in pre-recession times: in particular “generation Y-ers” or “millennial” workers really don’t seem to like what they’re experiencing at work.

So any business which wants to attract and retain top young talent and find the leaders of tomorrow, needs to start addressing this issue today.

4. Commitment.

Commitment matters because it taps into the macro reasons of why you do the work you do. Some of the underlying elements of commitment are perceiving you’re doing something worthwhile, having strong intrinsic interest in your job and feeling that the vision of your organization resonates with your purpose. We’ve seen commitment decline for the majority of employees post-recession as leaders and organizations think that tuning into this soft stuff is a waste of time. It isn’t.

It’s how you enable your employees to understand why they should make a greater discretionary effort for you. What is important is to recognize that the five factors work as an ecosystem. That means if one of the five drivers isn’t functioning well, the others will be affected. For example if you don’t feel high levels of commitment, it’s likely that your contribution will be affected. When contribution goes down, conviction, especially the motivation part of it, tends to go down with it. And that obviously has an effect on your confidence too.

5. Confidence.

Confidence is the gateway to the other four drivers. Too little confidence and nothing happens: too much leads to arrogance and particularly poor decisions. Without greater levels of self-belief, the backbone of confidence, there will be few people who’ll take a risk or try anything new. And you can’t have confident organizations without confident individuals inside them.

Here’s what Dr Rafi Yoeli, founder of Urban Aeronautics, the leading Israeli fancraft aviation entrepreneur said:

“We’ve built a flying machine that’s half way between a Harrier jump jet and a helicopter. We work very differently here, it’s organic engineering. You need a high level of curiosity and of expertise if you’re going to make something extraordinary. And you need an even higher level of confidence to put it together.”

And finally, understanding what makes you happy at work and how that affects your performance offers a whole new way of managing yourself, your career and your opportunities. And by the way, the CEO at the beginning of the piece told me that, “when you said happiness, it really resonated with me. I’m so unhappy in my job, I hate what I do and I can barely bring myself to come in every day.”

By – Jessica Pryce Jonesis the CEO and founder of the iOpener Institute. She is the author of, “Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success”. 

IKEA In India: Heading Into Untapped Retail Terrain | Forbes Inc.

With WALMART’s India foray into front-end retail…sidetracked by a corruption probe, it looks like IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant,will be the multinational to bring in the largest retail investment to the newly reformed, massive, messy Indian market:

” Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram said the Foreign Investment Promotion Board has cleared Ikea’s proposal to invest €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) to set up 25 stores in India “.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which will now study the plan, is widely expected to give the go-ahead, especially because it has already received the foreign investment board’s recommendation. The board is required to send all investment proposals of more than 12 billion rupees, or $218 million, to the cabinet.

That $1.9 million is not arriving in one go—the initial investment will be $757 million with the rest spread out over some timeline. And IKEA, which set up shop in Thailand last year, hasn’t specified its 25 locations in India. I’m curious to see if they double up (or triple up, as the plans in Bangkok dictate) in the larger cities or move into smaller, more uncertain regions.

Its arrival in the country will certainly shake up the furniture sector, pegged at $8 billion and predominately informal. IKEA will also need, like Walmart—if it gets in—to be content with an urbane middle class in the country. (Although it can stretch beyond the limited luxury reach of recent foreign entree’s, like the Pavers England and Brooks Brothers.)

India’s retail appetite is rising, but not at the pace of other Asian economies….

Projections from the Economist Intelligent Unit predicts its sales growth will level off at 5.4% by 2015, while China’s will be more than double that—and even Vietnam will approach 10 percent. Indian apparel consumption is predicted to increase considerably, and, luckily for Walmart, its purchase of food is expected to surpass China. Furniture and household product spending is not.

The Hindu (news daily), recently assessed the hurdles IKEA would likely face in the country. One domestic furniture executive denied concerns that the chain would gobble up the market share:

” There is no collision course with IKEA. It will definitely add competition to the market as IKEA is an ultra big-box retailer. If it has to survive in India, it will have to play on the volume metrics. Real estate costs are highly prohibitive and they will have to create products suited for the Indian climate and style.” 

IKEA has said that they won’t do the latter, promising that their products will maintain their Scandinavian aesthetic. That style issues seems a misplaced concern. Wealthier Indian consumers have proven they are comfortable with Western products. (The Hindu’s note about equipping consumers for the store’s infamous, exhausting ‘DIY’ assemblage also feels hyperbolic—if anyone can DIY, it is India.) But the real estate question is noteworthy—its costs are an important caveat to the brand’s expansion plans.

Those famed blue-and-yellow behemoths, averaging about 30,000 square feet, must plop down in cities whose commercial real estate prices are, according to a  McKinsey report, on par with those in New York. In New Delhi, the costs are four-fold greater than in Bangkok. The Indian capital, though, with its per capita income a notch above $3,000, has something close to a seventh of Bangkok’s average spending power.

5 Great Challenges Ahead for HR & Leaders | by: Meghan M. Biro | Forbes.

Whew !! Glad that’s over. Now the U.S election’s been settled businesses can go back to business, employees can get back to work and job-seekers can expect to find more open roles. Money sitting on the sidelines will come back into the economy as investment in people, training, technology and…..the real innovation starts to move forward.

Or will it? I feel as though we’ve had a Goodbye, uncertainty and Hellooo, uncertainty, moment. We’re still perched on the edge of the so-called fiscal cliff, waiting for leadership to show up. 2013 promises to be one of the most challenging years yet for Leaders and HR pros as they are forced to pick a path around healthcare regulations that haven’t been written, some level of tax reform that hasn’t been defined (er, Simpson-Bowles anyone?) and employee frustration with lack of growth, potential loss of benefits, and dimming hopes of retirement. Whatever your politics, we’re all in the same boat, and it’s listing badly. The leader’s seat is still vacant. Can you believe it?

Take a look at this 2012 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, Challenges Facing HR Over the Next 10 Years, and ‘developing leaders’ takes the number two spot of concerns HR must address as identified by  52 percent of respondents.  This is a big jump from the 2010 survey, in which a mere 29 percent of respondents named leadership development a pressing HR challenge. In business, as in the rest of life, leadership skills are critical now more than ever.

Taking the number one spot in the SHRM survey with 60 percent of respondents is ‘retaining and rewarding the best employees’.  This makes sense as a lead-in, since I’d argue the best employees are leaders – people leaders, management leaders, creative leaders, technical leaders or sales leaders. We need to fill the leadership gap, and fast.

Let’s look at the top five challenges to developing leaders and think a bit about how to address them. Here are five must haves for every leader – let’s start a revolution right now:


1) Invest in leadership development. Whether you believe leaders are born or made, companies still need to invest in their best employees to develop and sustain leadership qualities. We’re not talking advanced training in PowerPoint here; it’s a good tool, but at best it’s a tool. Real leadership training involves exposing your best employees to an immersive leadership environment, e.g: an Executive Education Program or similar programs offered by MIT, the Kellogg  School of Management, Wharton, HBS and other top universities. It’s a big investment, but it’s a form of long-term planning: build the best team you can, then invest to make them better. Your people will recognize the investment in them, and both the business and the individual will reap the rewards.


2) Create a culture of collaboration. Leaders are at their best when the company culture demands collaboration. Rewarding individual success is necessary but not sufficient.  Only in a culture of collaborators will organizations have developing leaders working together to bring other employees up and into the circle of leadership.


3) Develop communications skills. We may expect our leaders to be good communicators but too often it’s not the case. Communication styles vary widely; what may work for one organization may not work for another. This is part of developing a company culture: you need to set the bar high for communications skills, give people training where they come up short, and correct style mis-matches before harm is done. Good communicators build teams and trust; poor communicators create and feed uncertainty.


4) Drive and sustain real accountability. Leaders must be accountable. They can’t be like Homer Simpson (DO’H! It was like that when I got here – it ain’t my problem!); they must own the problems they need to solve and own their failures to be credible when claiming success.


5) Be human and reward emotional intelligence. Yes, I’m a huge fan of emotional intelligence; yes, it belongs on any ‘top five’ leadership traits list. As organizations work with emerging leaders HR must stay focused on helping new leaders hone their emotional intelligence. This is crucial. Leaders be human please.


Finally, Leaders and HR people must act now to advocate for employees of all levels – we too must be leaders. One way to start is to join with or support SHRM leaders when they visit Congress in DC this week to raise awareness of employer concerns about retirement security and employer-provided education assistance.  Our employees, and our developing leaders, need our support to fight against uncertainty about retirement, and they also need our support to ensure companies can help employees grow by ensuring education assistance remains available for associate, undergraduate, and graduate course work. In this new world of work employees will need to reinvent themselves over and over again; employers must be able to support them in this task.


HR and leaders alike have many responsibilities. Maybe among the most important is developing the next generation of leaders and being more innovative as times change rapidly before our eyes. 

Where would you start ? I’d love to know…..