The Smarter People Blog

Human Capital Analtyics thoughts, views and opinion, from SPP thought leadership and industry experts.

Discovering Your Authentic Leadership

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There have been 1,000 studies in the past 50 years to determine the definitive styles, characteristics, or personality traits of great leaders. A February 2007 Harvard Business Review article highlighted that no one can be authentic by trying to imitate someone else. Young & Rubicam CEO Ann Fudge said, All of us have the spark of leadership in us, whether it is in business, in government, or as a nonprofit volunteer. The challenge is to understand ourselves well enough to discover where we can use our leadership gifts to serve others.Thus, a leader should:

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Is this the right time to revolutionize your L&D?

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There are a number of reasons why it’s time to build your winning L&D organization, but perhaps the biggest is the growing expectation that L&D is a strategic partner to the business. That’s right: it’s expected of you. If it isn’t, if will be. If no one has told you to be more strategic and people in your organization think that a tactical L&D is ideal, you have the biggest opportunity of all. You can do things your way, with the opportunity to build a strategic partnership from scratch. By being proactive, you set the rules of engagement.

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From: Your Global CEOs—Here’s What Really Keeps Us Up at Night

From: Your Global CEOs—Here’s What Really Keeps Us Up at Night

This year PwC released their 20th Global CEO Survey. They share insights from 1,379 CEOs from 79 countries revealing issues such as competing in the age of divergence, managing man and machine, gaining connectivity without losing trust, and making globalization work for all.

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Step 7: Make Smarter Decisions by Checking our Egocentrism

Step 7: Make Smarter Decisions by Checking our Egocentrism

Decisions have to be sound and implemented effectively. Decision-making success is a function of decision quality and implementation. One cognitive bias trap we fall into is called egocentrism bias. This type of bias is when we assign more credit to ourselves for an outcome than an outside party would attribute. For example, “I deserve the bonus this month more than the others on my team because I worked harder.” We put too much emphasis on our own actions. Another form of egocentrism is attributing more blame to ourselves than an outside party would attribute.

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Step 4: Make Smarter Decisions using the Anchoring Effect

Step 4: Make Smarter Decisions using the Anchoring Effect

One cognitive bias that affects decision making is that of anchoring. We depend on anchoring every day to predict outcomes of events. When you need to estimate or predict an outcome, you have a starting point – that’s your anchor. If you’re familiar with the negotiation tactic of starting high, then you’re familiar with anchoring. I remember a college friend once said she was failing a class and was scared to tell her parents, so she concocted a story to tell them that she was pregnant and getting married. Then, after her parents would go into a tailspin, she would tell them she was joking, but she was failing Chemistry. I now realize that my friend’s anchor, or starting point, was high (pregnant and getting married) and winning the parental negotiation by bringing their tempers down on failing a class. This tactic is also used in retail every day – the MSRP makes the sale price seem more attractive. When you’re making a decision, be aware of the anchor you’re using, or in many cases you need to be aware of the anchor that’s being used against you.

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Step 1: Make Smarter Decisions by Accepting Sunk Costs

Step 1: Make Smarter Decisions by Accepting Sunk Costs

One cognitive bias in human decision-making is the sunk-cost trap, or escalation of commitment. Over the past forty years, there has been lots of research focused on sunk costs and their effects on human behavior. The sunk-cost trap is a tendency for people to escalate commitment to a course of action in which they have made substantial prior investments of time, money, and other resources. With high sunk costs, people become overly committed, even if the results have been relatively poor. They have a hard time cutting their losses. Alternatively, they keep investing because the initial investment was so large and the situation continues to escalate. I’m sure you can think of both business and personal situations in which you have doubled down on a failing investment due to high sunk costs.

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7 Steps to Making Smarter Decisions

7 Steps to Making Smarter Decisions

You’re making poor decisions every day in your personal life, in business, and about your learning investments – sometimes unbeknownst to you and only because you’re human. Have you thought about how and why you make the decisions you do? There are many types of cognitive biases involved in decision making, and you fall into the traps of these biases every day. They affect all of us and are rooted in human nature; thus, they cannot be avoided. It isn’t about a lack of intelligence—it’s about being people.

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Your Grittiness Can Create a New Habit Loop

Your Grittiness Can Create a New Habit Loop
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I just finished Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. For those of you who haven’t read it, the book talks about the combination of passion and persistence—not necessarily genius—that leads to success. I scored a 4.4 on her grit scale, which means that I am grittier than about 85% (one standard deviation above the mean) of the Americans in her sample.

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PwC 19th Annual Global CEO Survey

PwC 19th Annual Global CEO Survey
Your Company May Have Been Hacked and FYI - It’s Not So Pretty

I readily admit it - I am a bit of a nerd. Not a “Big Bang Theory” type of nerd, but a “life hack” nerd. I love to hack your companies and see what you are doing and I love to see what is revealed when others hack your companies too. During a hack, you sometimes find that the wizard behind the curtain is scary and sometimes, simply beautiful!

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Ford Pinto

Ford Pinto

In 1968, Ford decided to produce the Pinto, a car that weighed less than 2,000 pounds and cost less than $2,000. The Pinto promise was to take on the foreign imports, save jobs for Americans, and make profits for the shareholders. In order to realize this promise, they compressed the normal 3.5 year development process into 2 years so that it would be ready to sell in 1971.

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Get Your Nerd On! Read the NEW Human Capital Analytics Book!

Get Your Nerd On! Read the NEW Human Capital Analytics Book!

Vestrics, a Smarter People Planning partner, just released their third book: Optimize Your Greatest Asset – Your People: How to Apply Analytics to Big Data to Improve Your Human Capital Investments by Gene Pease, their Founder.  Vestrics is a predictive analytics and workforce optimization solution provider.  As with all Vestrics books, there is a plethora of background research, case studies, applied techniques, and industry expert POVs.

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How does your organization decide where to invest?

How does your organization decide where to invest?

How does an organization balance investments in R&D versus operational improvements? Start-ups may spend up to 20% of revenue on R&D, while mature organizations drop to single digits. This is an act of science and art, as one startup’s CEO spent heavily on sales and marketing since his previous startup lost the industry due to not spending enough...but that came at the expense of R&D. As Yogi Berra said, “Predicting is very hard, especially when about the future.”

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