The TED conference (for Technology, Entertainment, Design) started in 1984 to bring together people from those three worlds. Since then it has expanded in scope to become a great marketplace of ideas. We especially recommend the presentations by Al Gore, David Pogue, Chris Jordan, Howard Rheingold and Larry Lessig. There is something there for you, for sure.


From Humatica

Andros Payne is CEO of our associate partner, Humatica. He is one of our favorite thinkers on the subjects of adaptive organizations, human capital, and an advocate for understanding the strategic advantage of a talent/performance culture.

How Big Is Your HRM Gap?: Download PDF
Rigorous Performance Feedback: Download PDF

From Harvard Business Review

What Can Coaches Do For You?
by Diane Coutu, and Carol Kauffman (January, 2009)

Today's business leaders increasingly rely on coaches for help in understanding how to act in a demanding and volatile world. These confidants and advisers can earn up to $2,000 per hour. To understand what they do to merit that money, HBR conducted a survey of 140 leading coaches and invited five experts to comment on the findings. Commentators and coaches agreed that the reasons for engaging coaches have evolved over the past decade. Ten years ago, most companies hired a coach to help fix toxic behavior at the top. Today, most coaching is about developing the capabilities of high-potential performers or acting as a sounding board. As a result of this broader mission, there's a lot more fuzziness around coaching engagements, whether it be with regard to how coaches define the scope of engagements, how they measure and report on progress, and what credentials a company should look for when selecting a coach. Do companies and executives get value from their coaches? When we asked coaches to explain the healthy growth of their industry, they said that clients keep coming back because "coaching works." Yet the survey results also suggest that the industry is fraught with conflicts of interest, blurry lines between what is best handled by coaches and what should be left to mental health professionals, and sketchy mechanisms for monitoring the effectiveness of a coaching engagement. The bottom line: Coaching as a business tool continues to gain legitimacy, but the fundamentals of the industry are still very much in flux. In this market, as in so many others today, we have to conclude that the old saw still applies: Buyer beware!

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Why Did We Ever Go Into HR?
Two recent Harvard MBAs who chose human resources as a career explain why it's the next big thing.
by Matthew D. Breitfelder and Daisy Wademan Dowling

Two recent Harvard MBAs decided to do the unexpected and enter human resources. They switched gears not to achieve work/life balance or avoid tough challenges but to get in early on a good thing, as any smart value investor would. The authors see HR sitting in the middle of the most important competitive battleground in business.

Finding and retaining the best talent has become an increasingly vital competitive advantage, making HR a truly strategic function for any company today. Companies such as Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, PricewaterhouseCoopers and MasterCard recognize the real value of excellent, motivated employees and are investing time and energy accordingly; in the process, they are defining what the authors call "the New HR."

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Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model
by Nitin Nohria, Boris Groysberg, and Linda-Eling Lee

Motivating employees begins with recognizing that to do their best work, people must be in an environment that meets four basic emotional drives. The authors identify the organizational levers that companies and frontline managers have at their disposal as they try to meet workers' deep needs.

Reward systems that truly value good performance fulfill the drive to acquire. The drive to bond is best met by a culture that promotes collaboration and openness. Jobs that are designed to be meaningful and challenging meet the need to comprehend. Processes for performance management and resource allocation that are fair, trustworthy, and transparent address the drive to defend. Equipped with real-world company examples, the authors articulate how to apply these levers in productive ways.

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What Your Leader Expects of You
by Larry Bossidy

A CEO's best people, says Bossidy, know when a situation calls for them to get involved. They generate ideas--remembering that some of the best ones may sound crazy at first. They are willing to collaborate, putting the long-term good of the company above short-term goals of their divisions. They step up to lead initiatives, even if the outcome is uncertain. They develop leaders among their people, especially through direct involvement in performance appraisals. They stay current on world events and anticipate how those events may affect the company and its competition. They drive their own growth by exposing themselves to new people and ideas and by accepting demanding assignments. And they sustain these behaviors in bad times as well as good.

But the boss should also provide clarity of direction; set goals and objectives; give frequent, specific, and immediate feedback; be decisive and timely; demonstrate honesty and candor; and offer an equitable compensation plan. Executives who aren't lucky enough to have such a boss can create such a compact with their own subordinates, and demonstrate by example. The result will be to improve team and company performance and accelerate individual growth.

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Building Your Company's Vision
by James C. Collins, Jerry I. Porras

Companies that enjoy enduring success have a core purpose and core values that remain fixed while their strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. Managers who master a discovery process to identify core ideology can link their vision statements to the fundamental dynamic that motivates truly visionary companies--that is, the dynamic of preserving the core and stimulating progress.

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Other articles of interest

Values Drive Performance
Bill George, former President and CEO of Medtronics. This short article is adapted from his book Authentic Leadership (Jossey-Bass).

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Try Feed Forward Instead of Feedback
Marshall Goldsmith (adapted from Leader to Leader). This is a very constructive, forward-looking technique that we've used successfully at the conclusion of longer programs, when participants have come to know each other well.

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