The measure of a man: Performance reviews: not dead yet

17. February 2016

Date: 17-02-2016
Source: The Economist

Employers are modifying, not abolishing them

IN RECENT months the business press has reverberated with cheers for the end of performance reviews. “Performance reviews are getting sacked,” crows the BBC. They “will soon be over for all of us”, rejoices the Financial Times. Such celebration is hardly surprising. Kevin Murphy, a performance-review guru at Colorado State University, sums up the general feeling about them: an “expensive and complex way of making people unhappy”. The problem is, they are not in fact being scrapped.

A survey in 2013 by Mercer, a consulting firm, of 1,000 employers in more than 50 countries reported that 94% of them undertook formal reviews of workers’ performance each year and 95% set individual goals for employees; 89% calculated an overall score for each worker and linked pay to these ratings. It is true that a number of big companies have announced that they are abandoning annual performance reviews; this month IBM did so, joining Accenture, Adobe, Deloitte, GE, Microsoft and Netflix. In reality, though, they are no more getting rid of performance reviews than a person who shifts from drinking whisky to wine is becoming teetotal. Employee reviews are being modified, not abolished, and not necessarily for the better. Read the rest of this entry »

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Six social-media skills every leader needs

17. February 2013

Date: 17-02-2013
Source: The McKinsey Quarterly

Organizational social-media literacy is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage. Learn, through the lens of executives at General Electric, how you and your leaders can keep up.

Few domains in business and society have been untouched by the emerging social-media revolution—one that is not even a decade old. Many organizations have been responding to that new reality, realizing the power and the potential of this technology for corporate life: wikis enable more efficient virtual collaboration in cross-functional projects; internal blogs, discussion boards, and YouTube channels encourage global conversations and knowledge sharing; sophisticated viral media campaigns engage customers and create brand loyalty; next-generation products are codeveloped in open-innovation processes; and corporate leaders work on shaping their enterprise 2.0 strategy.

This radical change has created a dilemma for senior executives: while the potential of social media seems immense, the inherent risks create uncertainty and unease. By nature unbridled, these new communications media can let internal and privileged information suddenly go public virally. What’s more, there’s a mismatch between the logic of participatory media and the still-reigning 20th-century model of management and organizations, with its emphasis on linear processes and control. Social media encourages horizontal collaboration and unscripted conversations that travel in random paths across management hierarchies. It thereby short-circuits established power dynamics and traditional lines of communication.

We believe that capitalizing on the transformational power of social media while mitigating its risks calls for a new type of leader. The dynamics of social media amplify the need for qualities that have long been a staple of effective leadership, such as strategic creativity, authentic communication, and the ability to deal with a corporation’s social and political dynamics and to design an agile and responsive organization.

Social media also adds new dimensions to these traits. For example, it requires the ability to create compelling, engaging multimedia content. Leaders need to excel at cocreation and collaboration—the currencies of the social-media world. Executives must understand the nature of different social-media tools and the unruly forces they can unleash. Read the rest of this entry »


GE’s Billion-Dollar Bet on Big Data

1. May 2012

Date: 01-05-2012
Source: Businessweek

General Electric’s first research laboratory was housed in a barn in upstate New York; its newest is going up in Silicon Valley. In a vivid illustration of how the locus of U.S. innovation has shifted from the East to the West Coast, GE is pouring $1 billion into a facility in San Ramon, Calif., that will be staffed with as many as 400 people.

New hires for the Global Software Center, which is set to open in June, are coming from Oracle, SAP, and Symantec. Bill Ruh, the vice president running the venture, was lured away from Cisco Systems last year. The tech industry veteran says persuading developers to forgo windfalls from initial public offerings to come work at an industrial stalwart is not as difficult as one might think. “They want to be in on the Next Big Thing,” he says.

The big thing Ruh is referring to is called “big data,” the fast-growing market for information technology systems that can sift through massive amounts of data to help companies make better decisions. Just as information on millions of Facebook users is prized by advertisers, the details companies amass from their operations can be used to cut costs and boost profits. Norfolk Southern, which buys diesel locomotives from the Fairfield (Conn.) company, uses customized software to monitor rail traffic, reducing congestion and allowing trains to move at higher speeds. The fourth-largest U.S. railroad estimates that making trains run an average of 1 mile per hour faster will save more than $200 million. Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Laudicina of A.T. Kearney: Rethinking Outsourcing

24. August 2009

aus der aktuellen Business Week über die Zukunft der “Reset Economy”:

Maria Bartiromo talks to the consulting firm chairman about rethinking outsourcing

By Maria Bartiromo

Whether we are truly emerging from recession—as a Wall Street Journal survey of economists and other reports contend—or are setting ourselves up for another reversal, one thing seems clear: When the global economy awakes from its long nightmare, there will be “a new normal.” In short, it won’t be business as usual. To get a sense of the changes afoot, I talked with Paul Laudicina, chairman of the worldwide consulting firm A.T. Kearney and an expert in business strategy.

MARIA BARTIROMO

What kinds of changes—for both countries and companies—do you see coming out of all this turmoil? Read the rest of this entry »


“An emotional, social, economic reset”

24. August 2009

“This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle. It represents a reset,” Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, said today. “It’s an emotional, social, economic reset.”

And the biggest impact of this “reset” will be greater government involvement in the economy, and in the affairs of business, for better or worse.

“People who understand that will prosper,” Immelt said. “Those who don’t will be left behind.” Read the rest of this entry »