The new status symbol: it’s not what you spend – it’s how hard you work

24. April 2017

Date: 24-04-2017
Source: The Guardian

The rich used to show how much they could spend on things they didn’t need. Today, a public display of productivity is the new symbol of class power

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he starts each day at 3.45am, while Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had talked about her 130-hour workweek.

Almost 120 years ago, during the first Gilded Age, sociologist Thorstein Veblen coined the term “conspicuous consumption”. He used it to refer to rich people flaunting their wealth through wasteful spending. Why buy a thousand-dollar suit when a hundred-dollar one serves the same function? The answer, Veblen said, was power. The rich asserted their dominance by showing how much money they could burn on things they didn’t need.

While radical at the time, Veblen’s observation seems obvious now. In the intervening decades, conspicuous consumption has become deeply embedded in the texture of American capitalism. Our new Gilded Age is even more Veblenian than the last. Today’s captains of industry publicize their social position with private islands and superyachts while the president of the United States covers nearly everything he owns in gold. Read the rest of this entry »


The Holy Grail of Future Work

5. October 2016
Photo of Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells

Kelli Wells is Executive Director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation. 

OCT 5, 2016 Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Understanding the future of work is difficult, if not impossible. According to the MacArthur Foundation, 65% of today’s schoolchildren will eventually be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet.

As technology, globalization, and many other factors continue to redefine work, one constant will be the need for soft skills, or “skills for life.” Peer-to-peer deliberation, brainstorming, and collaboration are familiar to working professionals today, but we can’t assume that they come naturally, especially to the millions of students without access to proper training and college- and career-planning resources. In fact, a growing global skills gap suggests that many young workers are already falling behind.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy has 5.9 million job openings, while 7.8 million people remain unemployed. In Europe, 5.6 million young people are unemployed, while another two million are neither working nor in school. Read the rest of this entry »


Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply

31. August 2016

Date: 31-08-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Companies put more time and money into teasing out job applicants’ personality traits

Many jobs that can’t be automated or outsourced require such ‘soft skills’ as critical thinking, empathy, or other abilities that computers can’t easily simulate.

The job market’s most sought-after skills can be tough to spot on a résumé.

Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co-workers.

Those traits, often called soft skills, can make the difference between a standout employee and one who just gets by. Read the rest of this entry »


The HR Person at Your Next Job May Actually Be a Bot

3. August 2016

Date: 03-08-2016
Source: Technology Review

Chatbots are being prepped to take over many administrative tasks.

The next time you’re hired, you might find yourself getting information about payroll, vacations, and expenses by talking to a chatbot instead of consulting a handbook for new employees or talking to someone in HR.

A startup called Talla, based in Boston, is working on chatbots designed to help new workers get up to speed and be more productive. The company is using advanced machine learning and natural language processing techniques in an effort to create software that is smarter than the average bot. Read the rest of this entry »


Best-Paid CEOs Run Some of Worst-Performing Companies

25. July 2016

That’s what I would call “meritocracy”, isn’t it? (hfk)

Date: 25-07-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Analysis by MSCI calls into question the idea that high CEO pay helps drive better results

MSCI found that $100 invested in the 20% of companies with the highest-paid CEOs would have grown to $265 over 10 years. The same amount invested in the companies with the lowest-paid CEOs would have grown to $367.

The best-paid CEOs tend to run some of the worst-performing companies and vice versa—even when pay and performance are measured over the course of many years, according to a new study.

The analysis, from corporate-governance research firm MSCI, examined the pay of some 800 CEOs at 429 large and midsize U.S. companies during the decade ending in 2014, and also looked at the total shareholder return of the companies during the same period.

MSCI found that $100 invested in the 20% of companies with the highest-paid CEOs would have grown to $265 over 10 years. The same amount invested in the companies with the lowest-paid CEOs would have grown to $367. The report is expected to be released as early as Monday. Read the rest of this entry »


Tom Peters Wants You to Read

7. July 2016

strategy + business, Published: May 26, 2016

The legendary management guru believes burying your nose in a book can be the most effective strategy for succeeding in business.

by Theodore Kinni

Tom PetersTom Peters. You know the guy. He branded himself with an “!” after his name. He and Bob Waterman wrote one of the best-selling business books of all time,In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies(Harper & Row, 1982).

Peters is one of the handful of people who helped transform the business book genre from a staid backwater into a mass market — with 1.8 million titles in print, it’s the fifth-largest book category on Amazon. He has written 29 of those titles and sold more than 10 million copies of them. In the process, Peters helped define the term business guru and inspired more wannabes than Madonna. At age 73, he enjoys an engaged, multigenerational audience, including 135,000 Twitter followers.

Because Peters is a voracious reader, I thought he would make an ideal subject for my monthly “Required Reading” column for strategy+business, in which business notables call out a very short list of books they think leaders should read. But a brief call to New Zealand, where Peters goes to beat the New England winters, to discuss his four favorite books somehow turned into a one-and-a-half-hour marathon.

“I have to tell you a story about a neighbor of mine in Massachusetts who would be on anybody’s top 10 list of [Warren] Buffett–like people,” Peters opened. “I was at a dinner with him 18 months ago and, out of nowhere, he said, ‘You know what the number one problem is with big company CEOs?’ I said, ‘I can think of at least 70 things, but damned if I can narrow it down.’ And out of his mouth pops, ‘They don’t read enough.’” Read the rest of this entry »


In The Future We’ll All Have Multiple Jobs

1. June 2016

Date: 01-06-2016
Source: FastCompany

Robots may replace us at menial tasks, but we are more likely to be moonlighting to advance our careers in the future.

The latest report from Adobe reveals that a majority (70%) of U.S. office workers report loving their jobs. In fact, they love work so much, they spend a lot of off hours thinking about it, and are likely to have a second job to help them improve the first.

This love fest stands in sharp contrast to several recent reports. According to Gallup’s most recent count, only 32.2% of respondents say they are engaged at work, while a recent study by the Marcus Buckingham Company, a management consultancy, found only 19% of U.S. employees reported being involved, enthusiastic, and committed.

Adobe’s findings, titled “Work in Progress,” were the result of surveying just over 1,000 U.S. office workers. The survey gauged their sentiments about the future of work. Read the rest of this entry »