Not long ago, promotions went to employees with the most technical expertise. Companies bent over backward to gain specialized industry knowledge, so it made sense to promote based on its merit. But the times, as they say, are a-changin’. At a certain point in history, technical ingenuity began to take a back seat to interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. In fact, a recent study by Harris Poll found that 77 percent of employers believe these “soft skills” are as important as talents directly related to specific job functions.
I witnessed this shift while working with one female executive who rose through the ranks to a senior position based on her technical prowess. Those skills opened numerous doors on her path to leadership, but she suddenly experienced a bit of a disconnect.
This new role put her in charge of a team, and her instincts took over when team members presented solutions to problems. She would fall back on her years of experience to provide better answers. This gradually caused employees to rely on her whenever they had problems instead of trying to solve them on their own. She continued to “show them the way” but soon faced resistance and plummeting morale — to the point that human resources received negative comments about her leadership style.
She had built her career on technical smarts, but her performance measure no longer relied on those abilities. Success was now achieved by her ability to build relationships, develop employees, and motivate a high-performing team.
In other words, she lacked what most modern companies crave: emotional intelligence.
While power transitions can be volatile, a new leader can succeed by using strategies to keep everyone on the same page.
President Donald Trump’s transition to the White House has been a fascinating study in leadership turf battles. The businessman-turned-politician has kept several advisors close rather than embrace a traditional hierarchy.
The result – internal conflict among prominent figures vying for influence – isn’t exclusive to politics. When an agency we were advising was seeking a new leader, it tapped an internal executive for the interim but ultimately chose an external candidate. Unfortunately, he immediately faced overwhelming distrust and hostility.
As any business expands — either domestically or internationally — it can be a challenge to maintain a consistent company culture. Communication might suddenly need to bridge time zones, and messages will need to stay consistent despite language or cultural barriers. An expansion can affect organizational design and the centralization of resources, potentially making employees feel detached.
A CEO’s departure is like a captain leaving his ship. A smooth, amicable transition lets the company weather the storm; anything less destroys the boat.
“With the CEO gone, who will steadfastly guide us through choppy waters?” employees wonder. Will the fresh CEO be an adept navigator, adjudicator, and leader? Those closest to the outgoing leader might even jump ship with her, meaning new crew will have to be hired, too.
With proper planning, even the snowiest of CEO storms won’t knock the craft off course.
You have a million things to consider when investing your startup’s money. Developing your product is just the beginning. Then come the marketing, sales, and accounting considerations. But throughout all this, you can’t overlook the single most important financial consideration: your team. Your employees, after all, become part of what you sell.
Think the Olympics were a big distraction at work? Turns out, a major sporting event can’t compete with the likes of coffee breaks, small talk, or trips to the loo. Each edges out even the internet as the top three distractions in the workplace.
There’s good reason to be concerned with the additional distractions. Roughly 55 percent of workers are already distracted during the workday, and just one in three says it’s possible to ignore workplace disturbances.
But in times of distraction, you’re presented with a unique opportunity: to create a shared experience for the individuals in your company.
A global expansion can be a company’s greatest triumph or its most difficult period. Moving into new markets can mean increased reach and revenue. But if you focus too much on the big changes to your bottom line, you may end up with disgruntled employees working hard just to keep pace with this rapid growth.
We live in an age of data. Big data. The ability to collect and use data to make business decisions has become table stakes for any organization looking to gain operational efficiencies, drive innovation, obtain market share, and manage targeted and timely development of human capital. Looking back even five years, a McKinsey Global Institute report communicated the value of big data.
“We estimate that a retailer using big data to the fullest has the potential to increase its operating margin by more than 60 percent. Harnessing big data in the public sector has enormous potential, too. If US healthcare were to use big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than $300 billion in value every year. Two-thirds of that would be in the form of reducing US healthcare expenditure by about 8 percent.” (MGI, 2011)
Over the course of these past five years, we have gained a lot of capability and capacity to help us manage all of this data. And yet, many organizations still feel as though they’re falling behind.