Courage is the quality that distinguishes great leaders from excellent managers.
Over the past decade, I have worked with and studied more than 200 CEOs of major companies through board service, consulting, and research as a member of Harvard Business School’s faculty. I’ve found the defining characteristic of the best ones is courage to make bold moves that transform their businesses.
Courageous leaders take risks that go against the grain of their organizations. They make decisions with the potential for revolutionary change in their markets. Their boldness inspires their teams, energizes customers, and positions their companies as leaders in societal change.
The dictionary definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” Courageous leaders lead with principles–their True North–that guide them when pressure mounts. They don’t shirk bold actions because they fear failure. They don’t need external adulation, nor do they shrink from facing criticism.
Courage is neither an intellectual quality, nor can it be taught in the classroom. It can only be gained through multiple experiences involving personal risk-taking. Courage comes from the heart. As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.”
It takes bold decisions to build great global companies. If businesses are managed without courageous leadership, then R&D programs, product pipelines, investments in emerging markets, and employees’ commitment to the company’s mission all wither. These organizations can slip into malaise and may eventually fail, even if their leaders can move on to avoid being held accountable.
Why do some leaders lack courage? Many CEOs focus too much on managing to hit their numbers. They avoid making risky decisions that may make them look bad in the eyes of peers and external critics. Often, they eschew major decisions because they fear failure. I know, because it happened to me.
In my first year as CEO of Medtronic, I passed up the opportunity to buy a rapidly growing angioplasty company because it faced patent and pricing risks. While those risks proved valid, Boston Scientific bought the company instead, transforming both enterprises and creating a formidable competitor for Medtronic. I didn’t have the courage to accept short-term risk to create long-term gain. It took Medtronic two decades of expensive research and development programs and additional acquisitions to become the leader in this field.
Let’s look at some recent examples of courageous leaders whose actions transformed their companies:
Alan Mulally When Mulally arrived at Ford, he found a depleted organization losing $18 billion that year and unwilling to address its fundamental issues. To retool Ford’s entire product line and automate its factories, Mulally borrowed $23.5 billion, convincing the Ford family to pledge its stock and the famous Ford Blue Oval as collateral. His bold move paid off. Unlike its Detroit competitors, Ford avoided bankruptcy, regained market share, and returned to profitability.
Mary Barra In contrast to Mulally, General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and his predecessors refused to transform GM’s product line, even as the company’s North American market share slid from 50 percent in the 1970s to 18 percent. When the automobile market collapsed in late 2008, Wagoner was forced to ask President George W. Bush to bail the company out. Even so, GM declared bankruptcy months later.
Mary Barra, GM’s CEO since 2014, demonstrates the difference courage can make. Immediately after her appointment, she testified before a hostile Senate investigating committee about deaths from failed ignition switches on Chevrolet Camaros. Rather than make excuses, Barra took responsibility for the problems and went further to attribute them to “GM’s cultural problems.” Three years later, she is well on her way to transforming GM’s moribund, finance-driven culture into a dynamic, accountable organization focused on building quality vehicles worldwide.
Paul Polman When Polman became Unilever’s CEO in early 2009, he immediately began transforming the company, declaring bold goals to double revenues and generate 70 percent from emerging markets. He aligned 175,000 employees around sustainability, publishing the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan with well-defined metrics the following year. Polman’s efforts in his first eight years returned 214 percent to Unilever shareholders. Nevertheless, Kraft Heinz, owned by Brazilian private equity firm 3G, made a hostile bid to acquire Unilever on February 17, 2017. Polman immediately wheeled into action, convincing KHC to drop its bid two days later. Then he announced seven bold moves to enhance shareholder value without compromising the company’s ambitious long-term plans.
In comparison, Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld quickly capitulated when confronted by activist Nelson Peltz in 2012. He wanted to split Kraft’s global business by spinning off its North American grocery products unit, which Rosenfeld wound up leading as an international business renamed Mondelez. Without the ability to access global markets, the old Kraft went into a period of decline, making it vulnerable to 3G’s 2015 takeover; meanwhile, Mondelez is adrift with declining revenues and earnings.
Indra Nooyi: Named CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, Nooyi foresaw the coming shift among consumers, especially the millennial generation, to healthier foods and beverages. She immediately introduced PepsiCo’s strategy “Performance with Purpose,” that focuses on complementing the company’s core soft drink and snack business with healthy foods and beverages. In 2013, PepsiCo was challenged by activist Peltz to split the company, but Nooyi steadfastly refused. Instead, she restructured her leadership team to deliver strong near-term performance while continuing to invest in her transformation strategy.
Nooyi’s arch-rival, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, decided instead to concentrate on sugar-based soft drinks while ignoring these obvious trends. As a result, Coca-Cola’s performance has consistently lagged PepsiCo’s. Since 2011, PepsiCo stock is up 70 percent, while Coca-Cola’s has increased only 15 percent.
The courage cohort
There are literally thousands of competent managers who can run organizations efficiently using pre-determined operating plans, but few with the courage to transform entire enterprises.
The courage cohort includes Delta’s Richard Anderson, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Xerox’s Anne Mulcahy and Ursula Burns, Nestle’s Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Novartis’ Dan Vasella, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Merck’s Ken Frazier, and Alibaba’s Jack Ma. They join the growing list of authentic leaders that have made courageous decisions to build great global companies.
To quote poet Maya Angelou, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” Boards of directors need to examine their leaders carefully to determine if they have the courage to navigate their organizations through turbulent times while enduring hardship, risk, and criticism to ensure they are building sustainable enterprises./p>
With more courageous leaders like those cited above, the business world will be able to create enormous value for all its stakeholders.
Bill George is Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, former Chair & CEO of Medtronic, and author of Discover Your True North.
This content was originally posted on HBSWK.hbs.edu on 4/24/17.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
In life there are those key make-or-break moments that, if bridged correctly, take us to the next important phase in life. The transition from primary school to secondary school is one such moment. And from secondary school to higher learning is another. Then there’s arguably the most important one of all, the bridge from post-secondary to career.
At any point along this journey, if any one of these bridges is not crossed properly (or at all), the ramifications for the remainder of a person’s life are staggering given the realities of life in the 21st Century.
And yet very little is done to prepare or assist the vast majority of Americans who make these transitions. A student is given a certificate or a diploma, the appropriate paperwork is filled out, and she is off to the next phase of her life.
Despite advances in technology, very little about what is known about a student follows that person through each transition. While transcripts will move with a student across each bridge, very little else will. Examples of student work, insights into the ways in which any given student learns best, and important measures of how students engage or work collaboratively or solve problems simply are not passed from teacher to teacher, institution to institution, or institution to employer.
This is a huge disservice, not only to students themselves but to faculty, institutions and employers. Insight into how a student scores on tests is simply not enough information – at least not any more. Whether a student tests well or not is increasingly irrelevant to how a student uses what she or he has learned in real-world situations. The degree to which students are able to demonstrate an ability to deconstruct problems, source necessary information, and put that information to practical use is of far greater importance in our 21st Century world. As is evidence of critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurialism and inventiveness.
All of this is an argument for portfolios—as part of the learning process and as a way for students to cross each critical bridge in their lives, bringing with them all the diverse, holistic evidence of their readiness for the next big set of challenges.
Portfolios used in classroom settings enable a new pedagogy that is focused on blended learning; the use of multimedia in instruction and student work; flipped classroom constructs; and project-based learning. Portfolios also encourage reflection, collaboration, iteration, and engagement with faculty and fellow students.
At Pathbrite, we’ve invented a way for teachers to create 21st Century ways to move standard lesson plans and syllabi into a construct we call Learning Maps. A course can be composed of a series of Learning Maps, each of which have their own set of activities. Maps and activities can be associated with a standard set of rubrics or learning outcome statements.
As students navigate these learning maps and complete each activity, they’re applying what they’re learning in the real world and bringing the application of that learning back in the form of digital artifacts. As activities are completed, the student’s course portfolio is being built out.
Feedback on individual artifacts or a whole portfolio is provided by faculty and / or fellow students in real time. Faculty also score artifacts and the entire portfolio along the way. At the end of an academic term, both the student and the institution have a powerful set of evidence about what that student learned and accomplished in the course, which goes well beyond a bubble test.
As students then begin to prepare to cross that last bridge from post-secondary education to career, they are able to curate from among all their curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, in addition to work experience they may have gained, to create customized portfolios for use in applying to internships or jobs. Employers are then better able to evaluate job readiness and an individual’s fit to available opportunities based on a whole set of variables that are most relevant to their needs (i.e., not grades).
We must arm our students with the right resources to cross each of life’s critical bridges. Moreover, faculty, institutions and employers must have the fullest possible picture of the human being they will be working with in order to set up the best possible conditions for success. Portfolios for classrooms and careers do just that.
Originally posted on: Linked In By: Heather Hiles
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
"What do you want to do with your life?" It's a question that almost every young adult is faced with after graduating college or university. For some, the answer is simple: grad school, medical school, travel or volunteer. For many, the answer is unclear.
It's difficult to know what you want to do with your life without experience. For me, I tried as much as I could before I graduated university -- including running my own business, which I sold when university ended in order to live in Australia and Singapore -- and gained even more great experiences that shape much of what I have done in life. Today's young adults are tomorrow's leaders, a generation exposed to more information and resources than many of us thought possible. The Internet and social media offer more opportunities for self-education than ever. With this in mind, young adults are asking: Do I need higher education?
(1) There are a lot of lessons that you won't learn in the classroom: A master's program is not an across-the-board answer for all; it really depends on your field of study. When it comes to something quantitative like accounting, an MBA will likely give you a high ROI. If you're going into a field that is more focused on coming up with creative ideas or sales pitches, hands-on experience may be a more effective teaching tool. Learning how to interact and collaborate with people is essential for success. Anyone who works in an office can attest to the fact that good people skills are a necessity.
(2) Soft skills are essential to becoming successful: A broad knowledge is key when it comes to successful networking. It is life experience and self-education that develop these skills; for example, following key entrepreneurial influencers, or writing a daily blog to develop writing skills. Information is more readily available than ever; access to education is literally in the palm of your hand.
(3) Customers want the best experience: When it comes to the market, your level of education becomes much less relevant. Higher education may look great on paper, but it's not going to guarantee that you can satisfy an unhappy customer. There are a plethora of websites and blogs dedicated to sharing knowledge about customer care, entrepreneurship, leadership and the like. I have found these types of resources to be very useful and informative. As a business owner, I actively keep myself informed and up-to-date with the industry. It also connects me to influential people that I can learn from.
(4) When exploring career paths, ask yourself: What does day-to-day work look like? One thing people tend to overlook when pursuing a career is asking this simple, yet necessary, question. Business verbiage is very ambiguous; it's best to ask people working in the field or participate in an internship if you can. Look up blog posts on people's experiences in a given field or reach out to someone who inspires you. Connecting and engaging will help give you an inside look at a career experience.
(5) Temporary work is somewhat of a "stepping stone": Consider this before committing to higher education. Entry jobs provide you the opportunity to get your feet wet and explore different types of work environments. How do you come across these job opportunities? Do your research. LinkedIn is a great tool that reveals people's backgrounds and career evolution and is a good gauge of what kind of experience you'll need.
(6) Ten heads are better than one: If you're interested in entrepreneurship, the incubator model is something to consider. The latest learning experience offers a hub where like-minded individuals can come together, collaborate and learn from one another through hands on experience. Why not start up your own? Another great option is a post-secondary diploma or certificate; these are typically one year in length and often offer a co-op that provides hands-on work experience. There may be opportunities to complete the course online, giving you time to work in conjunction to achieving your degree.
(7) Social media is an essential tool for exploring your passions and planning your future: There is a wealth of knowledge readily available, whether it be reading tweeted articles or watching educational videos like Ted Talks. The important thing is to expose yourself to as much as you can so that you can confidently decide your future endeavours.
Originally Posted On: Huffingtonpost.com
I work in recruitment and on an average day I review anywhere between 40-70 CV’s. Each corporate job opening will receive on average of 200-250 applications. To progress your application and to receive the invite to interview you need to stand out.
Unfortunately, I have not (yet) discovered a ‘one size fits all’ solution that will land you an interview with every job application you make but I am aware of what should be included on your CV to catch my attention and hopefully, other hiring managers too. 24% of hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds looking at CV’s, so you need to make every second count.
Contact informationStart with your contact details: at least one telephone number & email address. Home Address is also helpful, especially if you are applying for positions locally as clients recognise that you will be able to get to work with little or no problems – a big positive! Any job-seeker considering relocation, please include this information on your CV so that you are not disregarded.
The opening statementProceed with an opening paragraph/objective/personal summary. This needs to be personal and it needs to be accurate. Some of the most common words included in a CV are ‘motivated’, ‘driven’, ‘responsible’ etc. therefore try to think outside of the box and limit any use of these! The statement itself need be no longer than two or three sentences and should make an impact. It should also be tailored to every job application you make. I cannot begin to explain the despair I feel when reviewing a CV in application for a Property Management position and in the very first paragraph I discover they want to become a teacher.
Education / QualificationsDependent on the level of position you are applying to, decipher how relevant your education/qualifications are. If you are a graduate with very little or no work experience, this part of the CV should follow the opening statement – particularly if you studied the same area of interest to the role you are applying to.
If, however, you have some experience under your belt in line with the role you are applying to, there is no need for this information to be included so early in the CV. Your studies (GCSE’s/A ‘Levels/Degree) may not be relevant to the role you are applying to and can be included at the bottom of your CV. 72% of employees explained that having a specific skill set was more valued by the employer, than their education.
ExperienceStart with the most recent experience at the top. Who wants to scroll endlessly through pages and pages of work history to find out what you are doing now! Tailor your experience to demonstrate relevance of responsibilities and utilise bullet points to concisely deliver your message.
If you are seeking your first role, think about your ‘secret skills’ that you may have acquired doing voluntary work experience or as your hobby. Did you lead on a project whilst at school? Did you accomplish your DofE? Demonstrate your soft skills with these types of examples. It truly does speak volumes of your character but do not misconstrue the information!
If you are looking to enter a new industry, include your transferable skillset. These include interpersonal, communication, organisational and leadership skills. 61% of employers believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills.
If you are an experienced professional looking for a similar position, your job title is not the be all and end all of what you do. Company X will do things very differently to company Z so be sure to follow each position with a list of responsibilities. Summarise your achievements at the end of each job role and use industry jargon that your employers will understand, so long as it adds value to your CV.
InterestsIf they are not interesting don't include them! Remember you are applying to a job role and every bit of information on your CV will be considered in line with your application.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Molly Shoesmith
Demand for big data expertise is growing every day, as more and more companies become aware of the benefits of collecting and analysing data. Unfortunately, the number of people trained to analyse this data isn’t growing in line with the demand. This creates a challenge for companies looking to hire expert people, especially for smaller firms less able to compete on salary and benefits.
The good news is that, even if you’re having trouble recruiting data scientists because of stiff competition, or if you simply haven’t got the budget to recruit, you can still access big data skills. Hiring in-house staff isn’t the only way – let’s look at some of the best alternatives.
Focus on attracting or developing certain skills
I believe there are six key skills required to work with big data: analytical skills, creativity, a knack for maths and statistics, computer science skills, business acumen, and communication skills. Rather than hiring people with these skills, you may be able to build on your existing skills in-house. For example, you may have an IT person who already covers the computer science side of things who would love the opportunity to learn about analytics. You could pair them up with a creative, strategic thinker who understands the business’s needs and you’re well on your way to having the skills you need without hiring anyone new.
Nurture your existing talent
Developing your existing people is a brilliant place to start, especially in smaller businesses or companies on a tight budget. Increasingly colleges and universities are putting courses online for free. Some of the courses offer certificates of completion or other forms of accreditation, some don’t. But the skills learned should be more important than a piece of paper.
Excellent examples include the University of Washington’s Introduction to Data Science course, which is available online at Coursera (www.coursera.org/course/datasci), or Stanford’s Statistics One course, also available on Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/course/stats1). For those interested in the programming side of things, check out Codecademy’s Python course.
Thinking outside the box
It’s worth considering unusual sources where you might be able to recruit help, either on a permanent basis or on a temporary basis (such as getting help to analyse data for a one-off project). Universities with a data science department, or any kind of data institute for that matter, are a good place to start. You could offer an internship, taking on some students to help with an analysis project, or you could see if the university is open to a joint project of some kind. If you’ve got data to crunch, they may very well be up for crunching it! In return you could mentor students on the key skills needed to survive in business or offer interview training and practice.
Thinking outside the box is really about finding creative ways to pull the necessary skills together in whichever way works for you. It may be easy to find someone with statistical and analytical skills but they may fall short on business insights or communication skills … but that needn’t be a problem if other staff could help supplement those skills.
Also consider whether there’s an opportunity to create an industry group with other companies facing similar challenges to your own. Even if you’re not keen to share detailed data with these companies (they probably don’t want to with you either), you can still pool resources to get data analysis done on a large scale without necessarily sharing your private data. Remember that data can always be aggregated or anonymised to remove specifics that you don’t want shared.
Harness the power of the crowd
You might consider crowdsourcing your big data project. Crowdsourcing is a way of using the power of a crowd to complete a task. (If you haven’t heard of crowdsourcing before, you’ve probably heard of crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, which operate on a similar basis – using the power of a crowd to achieve a goal.)
A few crowdsourcing platforms, like Kaggle, now allow thousands of data scientists to sign up for big data projects. A business can then upload the data they have, say what problem they need solving, and set a budget for the project. It’s a great option for companies with a small amount to spend, or those who want to test the waters. But it’s also a regular resource for big firms like Facebook and Google. Some firms are even known to recruit full-time analysts from crowdsourcing platforms if they’ve been blown away by the work they’ve done. This gives you an idea of the quality of talent on crowdsourcing platforms.
Tapping into external service providers
If none of the above options work for you, you can still make the leap into big data. A great way to supplement missing skills, particularly when it comes to the statistical, analytical and computer science aspects, is to hire external providers to handle your data and analytics needs. There are more and more big data providers and contractors springing up who are able to source or capture data on your behalf and analyse it (or work with data you already have). Some big data providers are household names, like Facebook and IBM, but you certainly aren’t limited to big blue-chip companies. There are tons of smaller providers out there who have a great deal of experience working with small and medium-sized firms, or expert knowledge of specific sectors.
As always, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my post. Here at LinkedIn and at Forbes I regularly write about management, technology and Big Data. If you would like to read my future posts then please click 'Follow' and feel free to also connect via Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, and The Advanced Performance Institute.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes can access big data skills – and on almost any budget. My new book Big Data for Small Business For Dummies is packed with ideas and information on how to get started with big data, along with real-life examples from a wide range of sectors.
You might also be interested in my new and free ebook on Big Data in Practice, which includes 3 Amazing use cases from NASA, Dominos Pizza and the NFL. You can download the ebook from here: Big Data in Practice eBook.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Bernard Marr
Every single day we make hundred of decisions: Should I hit the snooze button or not? What time should I leave for school/work? Should I exercise today? And if so, what time? What should I eat for dinner? Should I work more hours today or go home? Etc.
There are hundreds of things, if not more, that have to be decided on daily. Some decisions are important, but most are trivial. Unfortunately, studies have shown that as humans, our capacity to consistently make well thought out decisions is finite.
What this means is that when you use your brainpower earlier in the day deciding what to eat for breakfast, you’ll consequently have less of it later in the day when you have to decide if you should have that piece of cake or not. This is what’s known as decision fatigue, which is the psychological condition where making a decision in the present will reduce your decision making ability in the future.
John Tierney, coauthor of the New York Times bestselling book “Willpower,” says,
“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue - you’re not consciously aware of being tired - but you’re low on mental energy.”Simply put, every decision you make uses up your mental energy. Just the simple act of thinking about whether you should choose A or B will tire you out and reduce your brainpower. This means that the more decisions you have to make throughout the day, the weaker your decision making process will become.
This is why many successful individuals like Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein decided to reduce the amount of decisions they make throughout the day by doing things such as choosing to adopt a monotonous wardrobe.
They understood that less time spent on making decisions meant more brainpower and time for everything else.
For the majority of the time Obama spent in office, he always wore either a gray or blue suit. In an article by Michael Lewis for Vanity Fair, President Obama explained why he did this,
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”Steve Jobs famously wore the same black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneakers every day. This quickly became his signature look as well as a part of the overall brand of Apple. Steve also understood that he had a finite capacity of brainpower to make well thought out decisions. A minute more a day using his brainpower to decide which T-shirt to wear is less brainpower he would have to think about his company.
Albert Einstein was also known for owning several variations of the same gray suit so that he wouldn’t have to waste time and brainpower deciding on which outfit to wear every morning.
If you’re constantly worrying every day about little decisions like what to wear, you’ll become more mentally exhausted as the day progresses. In order to save your mental power for the important decisions of the day, you have to learn to automate the mundane decisions you go through every day so that you don’t have to constantly think about them and waste brainpower.
Here are some things you can do:
1. Like Steve, Zuckerberg and Einstein, find a few t-shirts, sweaters, jeans, and dresses you like and buy multiple quantities of them. Then essentially wear the same thing every day.
2. Schedule a set time to exercise every day. Don’t constantly use your brainpower trying to think about when is a good time to exercise.
3. Do your grocery shopping at the same time once a week.
4. Design a morning routine. The morning is filled with a lot of mundane decisions that you can learn to automate such as what to wear, what to eat, what time to leave, what time to wake up, etc. You can automate all your morning decisions with a routine.
5. Make a few meals that you have every day the same. This can be a great dieting tool, but the main idea is you don’t want to be worrying about what to make, which ingredients to use and what the nutritional value of each meal is throughout the day, every day.
These are just 5 of the hundreds of decisions that you make throughout the day that you can learn to automate. But truthfully, you could probably automate and eliminate about 80% of the decisions you make every day. You just have to be aware of this concept and learn to notice which decisions aren’t high quality important decisions and then delegate those.
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Thank you for reading! Have a beautiful day.
Edited by LinkedIn Campus Editor Miki Ding
Originally posted on Linked IN by:Vincent Carlos
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