First, let’s start with survey of the 50th edition of McKinsey Quarterly. It holds nearly 200 pages on a single theme: the future of management. It explores seven themes: the new managerial intuition, the new frontiers of strategy, artificial intelligence and leadership, evolving organization, longevity organizations, productivity and growth, the future of capitalism.
“Prosperity is not limited to the accumulation of money. It is measured by the quality of political / economic solutions that a company has.”
There can be retained some ideas for each of the seven themes. Here they are.
The new managerial intuition
There are three forces that now taint all management decisions (emerging markets, technology and the aging of the population) change of pace.
With new emerging markets on the scene between 2010 and 2025, 440 cities generate half of global GDP growth. Of these cities, 95% are medium-sized cities that most managers have never heard of, such as Tianjin, China, Kumasi, and Ghana.
The disruptive technology: very small companies can now – in a short time and with very little capital – threaten the supremacy of large organizations. This forces leaders to make quick decisions in a climate of high uncertainty.
The aging of the population for the first time in the history of mankind is such that the population could reach a plateau in most parts of the world. In some areas, the population has even begun to decline. Since 2013, 60% of people live in an area where the fertility rate is not sufficient to ensure the creation of a new generation equivalent to the previous one.
Two-thirds of the growth of a business depends on external conditions, such as those outlined above. The other third is dependent on the ability of the company to take advantage of these conditions. Over the next decades, the greatest challenge leaders will struggle to corporate inertia to take advantage of business opportunities quickly.
The new frontiers of strategy
Forget Black Swans like Nassim Taleb. Beware rather the gray rhinoceros. Isolated in a zoo, they are impossible to miss. But in the forest, gray rhino merges with the greenery. It is noted that when a rhino swoops down on you, you have almost zero chances… How to distinguish one?
By becoming aware of our biases and our prejudices at the time of decision-making ideas. More objectivity, research and discipline, less intuition.
- By revisiting the notion of victory today, winning is not the company that wins the first place. Rather it is one that redefines the rules.
- By migrating to the notion of capacity to that of competence: rather than draw a fragmented what-your-organization-can-do list, try to see what it controls.
Artificial intelligence and leadership
Can a computer make better decisions as a manager? Sometimes it can. During the Industrial Revolution, machines have replaced human power. This time, they surpass the brain capacity. Sometimes this power will complement the human brain. Sometimes the machine will make the human brain obsolete.
Where the manager can enjoy an added value of AI? In the understanding of complex human and social issues: staff motivation (further focusing on the emotional intelligence of employees and their “soft skills”), understanding the political context of a volatile market or a new mode.
A computer answered questions posed to it. The leader’s role will be to ask the right questions, and to address the anomalies detected in the machine.
The Learning Organization
Here are some helpful questions to ensure that an organization does not stagnate:
– Do our leaders have the skills and abilities needed to achieve our growth targets?
– Do we take the necessary steps to allow our employees to develop different skills and abilities of those machines?
– How can we use social networks to accelerate the exchange of ideas and processes?
– What do we want to see as standardize processes (modeled on those in our industry, for example) and what processes do we want to be unique?
– What sections of our structure could be virtual?
– How technology could help us to relocate some functions to optimize the talent, customer relationships and costs in emerging markets?
The concept of life is now defined in terms of cycles rather than years. Organization survives product cycles and innovations, not the passage of years. A key to try: the rotation of managers, from one position to another, from one department to another, from one division to another.
Productivity and sources of growth
These include the reduction of tariff barriers, open markets and technological advances. But over the years, the quality of management will become a major source of gain – or decline – in productivity. The study of sectors such as steel and automobile showed that one productive enterprise different from another is not the resources available to it or the size of its investment. It is the quality of the decisions of its managers. Managers themselves rarely mention the management style as a productivity factor. However, development of employee skills, for example, is associated with greater productivity. And investment in training is a management decision.
It was believed that the role of capitalism was the allocation of resources and strength and self-regulation. The 2008 crisis showed that we had it all wrong. The role of capitalism is limited to creation. Capitalism is good at creating business opportunities. For the distribution of wealth and the regulation requires a human intervention, not an invisible hand. Reviewing the role of capitalism is also redefining prosperity. This is not limited to the accumulation of funds. An individual, a corporation, are successful when they found solutions to the many challenges of their daily lives. We have more economic solutions, political and social, the more successful we are, individually and collectively. So, it redefines grows beyond GDP growth.
And what is the role of business in the post-crisis financial capitalist economy?
A prosperous society is one where we found a maximum of solutions to everyday challenges for citizens. Companies therefore have the task of designing products and services that help solve effectively the practical problems of clients to whom they are intended.
To go further with the subject, among the speakers of the annual meeting of the Montreal Corporate entrepreneurship development there was Sergio Escobar, organizer of Startup Weekend Montreal and co-director (along with Maurice Busbud LP) Montreal activities, an incubator of Founder Institute. Sergio Escobar conference focused on the qualities required to be a successful entrepreneur. He also identified the DNA of bad contractors. Let’s talk.
The incubator Founder Institute was founded in Silicon Valley in 2009. It is present in 70 cities. Founder Institute focuses on entrepreneurs, not the projects. Anyone wishing to join the incubator must submit to a personality test. The results account for 50% of the decision to accept or reject a candidate.
The six types of entrepreneurs according to Founder Institute
- Hustler: he – or she – always has a trick up his sleeve to charm anyone to sell them anything. This category embraces extreme extroverts;
- Innovator: those are entrepreneurs that constantly experimenting to reinvent the wheel. They ask themselves: “What if…?”
- Machines: they are in “problem solving” mode. They seek and find. And always at the expense of time that should be devoted to solving existing problems;
- Prodigy: he – or she – is endowed with an innate business acumen accompanied by an unusual talent. And he – or she – knows how to make the most of their talents;
- Strategist: he – or she – always has a plan. They seek and find the optimal method;
- Visionaries: they are always looking ahead, never back.
And here are the 5 personality traits and behaviour types specific to poor entrepreneurs:
- Aggressiveness of a predator plays nasty tricks sooner or later. Especially in a world where a predator sometimes focuses on cooperation (alliance with its competitors in order to achieve our purposes). An aggressive predator can create image problems with customers because the predator often succumbs to the temptation to reduce service or quality to earn more;
- Constant excuses: nothing is ever their fault. They are always victim of circumstances. They never assume anything. They refuse to be caught out. In short, they always have good excuses, but you never apologize;
- Deception as business strategy: there is a world between strategy and deception. Sometimes you have to use cunning. For example, when seeking funding or you negotiate a transaction. But most people know where to stop. Others constantly cross the border;
- Emotional instability: the emotional roller coaster and entrepreneurship do not mix. The entrepreneurship requires passion, certainly. But it must be expressed positively. Employees, customers, suppliers want to know what to expect from the contractor. None normally wants to adjust to a new character every day;
- Narcissistic personality: How do you recognize a narcissist? The joke is that it is he who quickly says to his interlocutors: “Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?” Who wants to work or do business with the Sun King? You can always endure a little. But unless you have no alternative, we will quickly look elsewhere.
According to the Founder Institute, those who have one or more of the five characteristics are very poor entrepreneurs. This information is always useful when choosing your employer, your clients, your suppliers or partners.
The best US employers
On to the employers, who is the best employer in the US in 2014? According to the sixth ranking of Glassdoor, it is the consulting firm Bain & Company. This ranking is based solely on employee feedback. The employer does not meet any questionnaire. Employees volunteer to share their opinions on the Glassdoor site. They fill out a quick survey rated by their employer and its CEO. Registration is limited. The comments are then evaluated to determine who deserves the title of best employer. Last year it was Google. This year, it slips to # 8, giving way to Bain & Company.
“A good employer meets basic needs: recognition, achievement and human relations. Not so simple.”
Here are the top 10 US employers (according to Glassdoor, large company category) and why they deserve the title:
- Bain & Co: because it contributes to solving major problems and that it cares to develop careers;
- Twitter: because one is surrounded by bright personalities;
- LinkedIn: because they really care for employees;
- Eastman Chemical: because there are numerous career opportunities;
- Facebook: because of the culture and many non-monetary benefits;
- Guidewire: because it is intellectually stimulating;
- Interactive Intelligence: because you can build a challenging career;
- Google: for all that it teaches;
- Orbitz Interactive: because it reward creativity
- Nestlé Purina: because there really work as a team.
Passing through the previous list reminds a good employer is simply one that fills the basic needs of its employees: recognition, achievement and human relations. To be happy, humans need challenges, pats on the back and being surrounded with their peers. This is not rocket science. And yet, how many employers fill those needs? Maybe this is too simple?
How to hire the best employer in the US, Bain & Co
What kind of candidates the best employer in the United States searches for? Here are some answers:
- Candidates with strong analytical skills to solve complex problems;
- Candidates able to explain complex concepts simply. And especially able to raise enthusiasm for the proposed solutions;
- Candidates who can think of something other than their own person. Who want to contribute to the success of the team;
- Candidates who approach life in a positive way;
- Humble candidates able to recognize their limitations and willing to learn from their colleagues. Candidates open to the idea of coaching and being coached.
At a first glance, the above five criteria seem self-evident. But when you think about it honestly, you realize how much they are demanding. If Bain & Co really expects all of its employees to comply, we understand it is nice to work there. You should feel pretty mature and good about yourself to fulfill all the above criteria at once. For those of us who are not, here is something to inspire us to be happier at work… and make colleagues happier.