Josh Bersin

Much research shows that pay is a “hygiene factor,” not an “engagement factor.” In other words, in most cases if compensation is not high enough, people will leave—but increasing compensation does not directly increase engagement (with certain exceptions).

Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement

The employee-work contract has changed, compelling business leaders to build organizations that engage employees as sensitive, passionate, creative contributors. Two years of research and discussions with hundreds of clients suggest five major elements and underlying strategies that work together to make organizations “irresistible.”

The Journey to Exceptional Performance

When it comes to corporate financial performance, we typically think in absolute terms, measuring ROA in percentage points. We are less accustomed to thinking of corporate performance in relative terms, but knowing a company’s relative performance is essential to setting and achieving performance improvement targets and, eventually, exceptional performance.

Running on Data: Activity Trackers and the Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is often described as a collection of connected sensors, but it is actually a much more complex concept. It involves not only the connection and integration of devices that monitor the physical world—temperature, pressure, altitude, motion, proximity to something else, biometrics, sound, images, and so forth—but also the aggregation, relationship, and analysis of the information those devices create in order … [ Read more ]

Josh Bersin

Management’s job is not to manage work but rather to develop, coach, and help people. Rewarding managers only for making their numbers incentivizes what we call “talent hoarding:” attracting the best people and holding onto them for years. To help people get the coaching and support they need to grow, forward-thinking companies reward managers for what we call “talent production:” developing people who leave their … [ Read more ]

Josh Bersin

A … key engagement driver is the need for continuous and ongoing recognition. As soft as it seems, saying “thank you” is an extraordinary tool to building an engaged team. We studied this topic and found that “high-recognition companies” have 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than companies with poor recognition cultures. These companies build a culture of recognition through social reward systems (tools that give … [ Read more ]

Rob Del Vicario, Michael E. Raynor, Mumtaz Ahmed

Calculating a company’s relative performance … is not straightforward, and for at least two reasons. First, we wish to capture the performance of the company that is a function of those factors most subject to the company’s control. When it comes to assessing a company’s historical performance, we typically wish to separate out the material impact that year, industry, and company size have on profitability. … [ Read more ]

Sandy Pentland

We have an assumption in our society about how markets automatically distribute things optimally. But Adam Smith himself said that it’s the social interactions interacting with the market that cause equitable distribution. In his view, the invisible hand suggests that the exchanges between people establish the norms that divide market opportunity. So it is the social exchanges that are the main actor, not the market.

In … [ Read more ]

John Levis, Don Fancher, Eziah Syed, John Hudson

IP management now goes well beyond protecting one’s inventions. For instance, patent filings can be used as a very important sensing mechanism. A disciplined program of monitoring and reviewing filings that have the potential to be relevant to one’s space enables companies to stay on top of emerging threats and identify trends. … IP-related activities were historically used for protecting your own products and services; … [ Read more ]

Alexander Börsch, Nicolai Andersen

There are two main factors that make meaningful investment in innovation harder to manage than other corporate activities. First, innovation is fraught with uncertainties. It deals with the future, requiring assumptions about future market needs, market trends, dominating technologies, and many other factors. The outcomes of innovation projects are, therefore, highly uncertain. …

Second, there is a tension between the short term and the long term. … [ Read more ]

Alexander Börsch, Nicolai Andersen

Innovation projects have varying levels of risk and potential returns. They can be radical (with high risk and return potential) or incremental (with low risk and return potential) as well as several degrees in between. A conscious effort to classify innovation projects according to their risk/return profile and manage the resulting portfolio according to pre-defined goals shifts the focus away from individual projects in favor … [ Read more ]

James Guszcza, Bryan Richardson

By now there are hundreds of examples … in which analytics involving the most traditional of data sources outperform traditional modes of decision-making. …

Each case … involves “sorting” or “prioritization” decisions that (a) are central to an organization’s operations; (b) are made repeatedly, typically by experts relying on professional judgment in varying degrees; and (c) incorporate quantifiable information that is readily available, yet commonly used … [ Read more ]

James Guszcza, Bryan Richardson, Daniel Kahneman

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, the Nobel Prize-winning founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman … writes of two fictitious mental processes that he calls System 1 (“thinking fast”) and System 2 (“thinking slow”). System 1 mental operations are rapid and automatic; they are biased toward belief and confirmation rather than analysis and skepticism; they tend to jump to conclusions and infer causal relations based on … [ Read more ]

James Guszcza, Bryan Richardson

Anita Woolley of Carnegie-Mellon University and her collaborators constructed a measure of collective intelligence and found that it is roughly as predictive of group performance as IQ is of individual performance. Surprisingly, collective intelligence is not explained by factors such as group satisfaction, cohesion, or motivation. Instead, the strongest predictors of collective intelligence—and group success—are equality of conversational turn-taking (measured using sociometric data) as well … [ Read more ]

Mark Cotteleer, Maria Ibanez, Geri Gibbons

Research in behavioral economics and behavioral operations offers ample evidence that humans frequently make poor choices in the face of uncertainty. Whereas classic economic theory suggests individuals make decisions under risk by calculating an “expected value” (that is, the average value or “utility” of all the possible outcomes weighted by their probabilities), extensive analysis of actual behavior shows systematic violation of this rule and suggests … [ Read more ]

Alain de Botton

We’ve all got so many different things in us, so many different potentials in us, but the modern world responds and rewards specialization, people who know how to zero in on a particular thing. The ideal sweet spot is that you’re very interested in a specialized bit of the world that society needs but where there are few other competitors, and you can draw a … [ Read more ]

Alain de Botton

We live in a world partly driven by the ideology of the United States that is very forward-looking, very optimistic, very much placing the emphasis on individual achievement and the possibilities that are open to everyone so long as they work hard, which is a beautiful philosophy of life but also a very punishing one. It places huge responsibility on the individual to perform and … [ Read more ]

Alain de Botton

I think capitalism, as I see it, is a concept that to date has been very useful and very good at delivering answers to many human needs that have plagued human beings for most of their history. You know, we are now very good at delivering food, construction material, certain kinds of information, transport, logistics, legal knowledge, financial knowledge, medical knowledge and assistance. These things … [ Read more ]

Cognitive Technologies: The Real Opportunities for Business

Because cognitive technologies extend the power of information technology to tasks traditionally performed by humans, they can enable organizations to break prevailing trade-offs between speed, cost, and quality. We present a framework by which to explore where cognitive technologies can benefit your company.