A few weeks ago, Fortune Magazine released it’s 2011 list of the 25 Top Companies for Leaders. These 25 companies were voted the companies with the best leadership development programs. While the first few companies aren’t surprising (IBM, General Mills, P&G) the list takes a surprising turn. A significant number of the companies are international (including McKinsey, which insists it doesn’t have a headquarters). In addition, GE (one the pinnacle of leadership development) has fallen out of the top 10. The inforgraphic below lays out the companies by region. Click on the graphic to read the entire article.
Archives For November 2011
Stanford professor (and LDRLB guest) Bob Sutton illustrates wo examples from his book Weird Ideas That Work. Sutton encourages individuals to ignore superiors and peers, and suggests trying to learn from people who have solved the same problems you face.
I am fascinated by change. Well, not really. Like most humans I am quite threaten by change. However, as an organizational scholar, I am fascinated by how some organizations managed to successfully lead their people through change and others fail miserably. For this reason, I was excited to read and review the updated version of Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers (full disclosure: I was provided a review copy by the publisher).
In Sacred Cows, Robert Kriegel and David Brandt explore change. Specifically, they explore why people hold on to outmoded beliefs, process and practices despite evidence the are ineffective. The authors use numerous real-life examples to explain how to identify the sacred cows in an organization that are no longer effective and how to put them to pasture (their words, not mine). They cover how to overcome resistance and prepare an environment for change.
When reading the book, my mind kept going back to Senge’s concept of mental models. Specifically, mental models and sacred cows are a way of life…they make operations easier. However, when those sacred cows no longer serve you but actually hinder you from productivity, it is time to get rid of then. Senge also recommended shifting mental models, however he doesn’t go into enough depth about just HOW to do that. For that, you’ll have to read Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers.
This week I’ve been re-reading Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton’s under-appreciated classic Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense. The book is a call to action for evidence based management filled with intriguing anecdotes about companies who might just be doing a better job understanding human nature than common sense dictates.
Tucked into the book is the story of Tandem Computers, an early computer company that is now a division of Hewlett-Packard. The company had an interesting policy about salary negotiations – it didn’t. Companywide, salary was not discussed with potential new hires until after they’d accepted the offer. Even at the most senior levels, potential hires were told that the company paid a competitive salary and offered a competitive benefits package.
Those that insisted on knowing the salary before accepting the offer quickly found their offer withdrawn. The philosophy behind this innovative talent management policy is simple: if people come for the money, they will leave for the money. However, if they joined because they like the company, found the work meaningful and enjoyed the culture, then they would be more likely to stay and make a long-term contribution.
There’s a growing body of research suggesting that incentives like bonuses and commissions may not be as useful in knowledge work – the notion being that employees would focus too much on the bonus and not enough on the job. The Tandem example seems to take this further; suggesting that when salary is open for discussion it becomes a far bigger issue than it ought to be for someone intrinsically motivated to do the work.
Tandem Computers is a near-apocryphal case of how this philosophy plays out, however, I’ll be keeping an ear to the ground for similar examples.
David Burkus is the editor of LDRLB. He speaks, consults and serves on the faculty of management at Oral Roberts University’s College of Business.