How Employees Shaped Strategy at the New York Public Library | HBR #libraries #employee #engagement #innovation #strategy #organizationalexcellence #strategicplanning #services


The New York Public Library is one of the largest public libraries in the world, with 18 million visitors yearly, a budget of nearly $300m, and 93 branches. It serves vastly diverse populations…

Library leaders knew that given the immense changes brought on by digital innovations, as well as shifts in the communities that the Library served, it would need to evolve. How to transform such a huge, iconic institution, wrapped in history, into a nimble player? How to provide hyper-local services tailored to the diverse needs of its patrons while also upholding a consistent and high standard of service?

In the spring of 2014, we proposed a radical approach: offer anyone on staff – over 2,500 individuals, many of them union members – the chance to shape the library through strategic conversations with senior leaders. READ MORE: How Employees Shaped Strategy at the New York Public Library | Harvard Business Review

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To Hold #Women Back, Keep Treating Them Like Men [Opinion] | HBR #business #genderequality #diversity


Are men and women different? While almost every executive I have ever met, anywhere in the world, says yes, most diversity policies are designed as if the answer were no.

Last week, the Global Head of Diversity of a leading professional services firm told me that she “didn’t want to be treated differently.” That, I answered, is why most professional services firms are still hovering well below the 20% female partner level. As long as men and women are treated exactly the same by organizations, most women will continue to be shut out of senior roles.

And yet for the past 30 years, managers have been taught to do just this: treat men and women exactly the same. That is considered the progressive thing to do. Any suggestion of difference was, and often still is, labelled a bias or a stereotype, especially by many women, eager to demonstrate that they are one of the guys, or the in-group. READ MORE: To Hold Women Back, Keep Treating Them Like Men | HBR.

What Happens When You Talk About #Salaries @Google | WIRED #women #genderequality #sexism #tech #compensation #pay


READ IT: What Happens When You Talk About Salaries at Google | WIRED.

Build #STEM Skills, but Don’t Neglect the #Humanities | HBR #STEMMA @HarvardBiz


Snip

Instead of just STEM, we should perhaps be promoting STEMMA — raising a new generation that also has greater capacities for managing collective human endeavors and appreciating the arts. Management education – the new “M” in the acronym – has not always been infused with humanistic thinking, but it must become more so. Our goal must be to cultivate the thoughtful enterprise leaders of the future. Meanwhile, regarding the “A,” how could it be beneficial to the future to deemphasize the arts, which inform our knowledge of beauty and meaning in human affairs? All the brilliant discoveries of STEM will not solve the grand challenges of today’s world — ignorance, poverty, intolerance, and political conflict – without the practical wisdom of humanities-trained leaders.

READ MORE: Build STEM Skills, but Don’t Neglect the Humanities | HBR

Top Complaints from #Employees About Their #Leaders | HBR #leadership #emotionalintelligence #communication @HarvardBiz


If you’re the kind of boss who fails to make genuine connections with your direct reports, take heed: 91% of employees say communication issues can drag executives down, according to results from our new Interact/Harris Poll, which was conducted online with roughly 1,000 U.S. workers.

In the survey, employees called out the kind of management offenses that point to a striking lack of emotional intelligence among business leaders, including micromanaging, bullying, narcissism, indecisiveness, and more. In rank order, the following were the top communication issues people said were preventing business leaders from being effective… READ MORE: The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders | HBR

Why Compassion Is a Better Managerial Tactic than Toughness | HBR #mentoring #emotionalintelligence


Very timely article on emotional intelligence and compassion in leadership. Well worth the read.

Stanford University neurosurgeon Dr. James Doty tells the story of performing surgery on a little boy’s brain tumor. In the middle of the procedure, the resident who is assisting him gets distracted and accidentally pierces a vein. With blood shedding everywhere, Doty is no longer able to see the delicate brain area he is working on. The boy’s life is at stake. Doty is left with no other choice than to blindly reaching into the affected area in the hopes of locating and clamping the vein. Fortunately, he is successful.

Most of us are not brain surgeons, but we certainly are all confronted with situations in which an employee makes a grave mistake, potentially ruining a critical project.

The question is:  How should we react when an employee is not performing well or makes a mistake?

Frustration is of course the natural response — and one we all can identify with. Especially if the mistake hurts an important project or reflects badly upon us.

The traditional approach is to reprimand the employee in some way. The hope is that some form of punishment will be beneficial: it will teach the employee a lesson. Expressing our frustration also may relieve us of the stress and anger caused by the mistake. Finally, it may help the rest of the team stay on their toes to avoid making future errors.

Some managers, however, choose a different response when confronted by an underperforming employee: compassion and curiosity.  Not that a part of them isn’t frustrated or exasperated — maybe they still worry about how their employee’s mistakes will reflect back on them — but they are somehow able to suspend judgment and may even be able to use the moment to do a bit of coaching.

What does research say is best? The more compassionate response will get you more powerful results.

READ MORE: Why Compassion Is a Better Managerial Tactic than Toughness | Harvard Business Review

2014/2015 Results from the DAM Foundation Salary Survey | Dam Foundation #digitalasset


This second iteration of the DAM Foundation salary survey was conducted in 2014 in an effort to build a continuous body of linear data on the demographics, duties, and salaries of Digital Asset Managers. Results include trends in the hiring, retention, and pay of demographic groups in the developing profession of digital asset management. Building on the results of the survey conducted two years previously, the DAM Foundation continues its mission to set standards in digital asset management, and to be the premier source of information to the community of digital asset management professionals. READ MORE: 2014/2015 Results from the DAM Foundation Salary Survey | Dam Foundation

Are You a Holistic or a Specific Thinker? | Erin Meyer | Harvard Business Review


READ: Are You a Holistic or a Specific Thinker? | Erin Meyer | Harvard Business Review

Snip: In a specific culture, people usually respond well to receiving very detailed and segmented information about what is expected of each of them. If you need to give instructions to a team member from this kind of culture, focus on what that person needs to accomplish and when. Conversely, if you need to motivate, manage, or persuade someone from a holistic culture, spend time explaining the big picture and how all the pieces slot together.

Nice or Tough: Which Approach Engages Employees Most? | HBR


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It’s probably no news to most people who work that poor leaders produce disgruntled, unengaged employees. Our research also shows convincingly that great leaders do the opposite — that is, that they produce highly committed, engaged, and productive employees.

And the difference is cavernous — in a study of 160,576 employees working for 30,661 leaders at hundreds of companies around the world, we found average commitment scores in the bottom quarter for those unfortunate enough to work for the worst leaders (those leaders who had been rated in the bottom 10th percentile by their bosses, colleagues, and direct reports on 360 assessments of their leadership abilities). By contrast, average commitment scores for those fortunate enough to work for the best leaders (those rated in the 90th percentile) soared to the top 20th percentile. More simply put, the people working for the really bad leaders were more unhappy than three quarters of the group; the ones working for the really excellent leaders were more committed than eight out of ten of their counterparts.

What exactly fosters this engagement? During our time in the training and development industry we’ve observed two common — and very different — approaches. On the one hand are leaders we call “drivers”; on the other, those we call “enhancers.”

Drivers are very good at establishing high standards of excellence, getting people to stretch for goals that go beyond what they originally thought possible, keeping people focused on the highest priority goals and objectives, doing everything possible to achieve those goals, and continually improving.

Enhancers, by contrast, are very good at staying in touch with the issues and concerns of others, acting as role models, giving honest feedback in a helpful way, developing people, and maintaining trust.

Which approach works best? When we asked people in an informal survey which was most likely to increase engagement, the vast majority opted for the enhancer approach. In fact, most leaders we’ve coached have told us that they believe the way to increase employee commitment was to be the “nice guy or gal.”

But the numbers tell a more complicated story. In our survey, we asked the employees not only about their level of engagement but also explicitly, on a scale of one to five, to what degree they felt their leaders fit our profiles for enhances and drivers. We judged those leaders “effective” as enhancers or drivers who scored in the 75th percentile (that is, higher than three out of four of their peers) on those questions.

Putting the two sets of data together, what we found was this: Only 8.9% of employees working for leaders they judged effective at driving but not at enhancing also rated themselves in the 10% in terms of engagement. That wasn’t very surprising to many people who assume that most employees don’t respond well to pushy or demanding leaders. But those working for those they judged as effective enhancers were even less engaged (well, slightly less). Only 6.7% of those scored in the top 10% in their levels of engagement.

Better to be Nice and Tough Chart

Essentially, our analysis suggests, that neither approach is sufficient in itself. Rather, both are needed to make real headway in increasing employee engagement. In fact, fully 68% of the employees working for leaders they rated as both effective enhancers and drivers scored in the top 10% on overall satisfaction and engagement with the organization.

Clearly, we were asking the wrong question, when we set out to determine which approach was best. Leaders need to think in terms of “and” not “or.” Leaders with highly engaged employees know how to demand a great deal from employees, but are also seen as considerate, trusting, collaborative, and great developers of people.

In our view, the lesson then is that those of you who consider yourself to be drivers should not be afraid to be the “nice guy.” And all of you aspiring nice guys should not view that as incompatable with setting demanding goals. The two approaches are like the oars of a boat. Both need to be used with equal force to maximize the engagement of direct reports.

via Nice or Tough: Which Approach Engages Employees Most? | Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman | Harvard Business Review.

Is It OK to Yell at Your Employees? | Michael Schrage | HBR


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Steve JobsJeff Bezos. Martha Stewart. Bill Gates. Larry Ellison. Jack Welch. Successful. Visionary. Competitive. Demanding. And each with a well-deserved reputation for raising their voices. They yelled. Yelling was an integral part of their leadership and management styles.

Is that bad? Is that a flaw?

Harvard Business School recently published and popularized a case study of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s recently retired manager and the most successful coach in English Premier League history. Ferguson was a fantastic leader and motivator. But Sir Alex was particularly famous for his “hair dryer treatment”: When he was angry with his players, he shouted at them with such force and intensity it was like having a hair dryer switched on in their faces.

Does that make Sir Alex’s leadership less worthy of study and emulation?

Of course, that’s sports. Elite coaches worldwide are notorious for yelling at their talented athletes. Vince Lombardi, Mike Ditka, Bela Karolyi, Pat Summitt, and Jose Mourinho were comparably effective at raising their voices to command attention and results. They inspired great performances and even greater loyalty.

High-decibel intensity is similarly found in special forces training and commands in the military. Yelling is intrinsic to elite military unit culture. It’s expected, not rejected. But perhaps the inherent physicality and emotional stresses of those fields make yelling more acceptable than in more creative and aesthetic endeavors.

But wait: Even the seemingly genteel world of classical music evokes clashes other than cymbals. The world’s best and most highly regarded conductors are frequently famous for raising their voices even higher than their batons. Arturo Toscanini, Herbert von Karajan, and even Daniel Barenboim had reputations for making sure their sharper words were heard above the flatter music. For world-class symphony orchestras, world-class conductors’ critiques are seldom sotto voce.

There’s surely never been a shortage of movie and theater directors who emphatically raise their voices to raise the level of performance of their actors and crew. Neither Stanley Kubrick nor Howard Hawks, for example, were mutes.

What’s true for the collaborative arts holds true for the collaborative sciences, as well. Nobelist Ernest Rutherford was a force of nature who rarely hesitated to firmly and loudly make his questions and concerns known during his astonishingly successful tenure running Cambridge’s Cavendish Lab. His Cavendish was arguably the most important experimental physics lab in the world.

To be sure, yelling doesn’t make someone a better leader or manager. But the notion that raising one’s voice represents managerial weakness or a failure of leadership seems to be prima facie nonsense. The empirical fact pattern suggests that in a variety of creative and intensely competitive talent-rich disciplines around the world, the most successful leaders actually have yelling as both a core competence and brand attribute. These leaders apparently benefit from the acoustic intensity of their authenticity and the authenticity of their intensity.

But is that a good thing? Or a necessary evil?

Stanford Professor Bob Sutton, who authored the managerial cult classic The No Asshole Rule is not quick to condemn leaders and managers who raise their voices with intent.

“To me it is all about context and culture,” he told me via email, “and the history of the relationship. So in some settings, yelling is accepted and is not viewed as a personal insult, but an expected part of leadership. The National Football League is an example… I once tried to teach the ‘no asshole rule’ to a group of folks from NFL teams, and in that context, many of the behaviors that might be shocking in a school, company, or hospital were normal. Much of it comes down to intent and impact, so does it leave the person feeling demeaned and de-energized? Or is it taken as acceptable and expected, and even as a sign of caring?”

Exactly. Would you pay more — and better — attention if you were being yelled at by someone who cares as much about the quality of your work as you do? Or would you find it demotivating? Conversely, if — or when — you raise your voice to a colleague, a boss, or a subordinate, do they hear someone whose passion matters more than their volume?

When I look at the organizations that seem to have the greatest energy and drive, the conversations aren’t whispered and the disagreements aren’t polite. Raised voices mean raised expectations. The volumes reflect intensity, not intimidation.

In other words, yelling isn’t necessarily a bug; it can be a feature — a poignant one.

Sutton concluded his email as follows: “Remember the late and great J. Richard Hackman from Harvard? He yelled at me now and then — I mean yelled, swearing, calling me an idiot — when I was about to make some bad career choices. I appreciated it at the time and have loved him more for it over the years. I knew he was doing because he cared and wanted to make sure I got the message. I wish he were here to yell at me right now.”

If you’re yelling because humiliating and demeaning people is part of who you are, you’ve got bigger professional issues than your decibel level. Your organization needs a quiet conversation about whether your people should work a little louder. But if raising your voice because you care is part of who you are as a person and communicator, your employees should have the courtesy and professionalism to respect that.

Is It OK to Yell at Your Employees? | Michael Schrage | Harvard Business Review