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December newsletter: 5,000 members and growing!

Thank you to everybody who has submitted ideas and comments – it adds a different dimension to the Newsletter! Please keep them coming to Tina. For the next issue of the newsletter, we would love to hear what you are excited about in the year ahead. In the mean time, keep reading Lynda’s blog - you can read and comment here.

What does 2011 have in store for us?


As we start the new decade, here’s Lynda’s outlook for the next 12 months. “The next year is looking more promising, and companies have started ‘constructive work’ after the recession of the last couple of years, but are doing so in an intelligent fashion,” she said. “The growing focus on carbon and cost management will be mirrored by a growing focus on organisations and teams working together across distances. Do these organisations have the tools for this? Possibly not, but the tools exist – and so does the mindset.

“As well as facilitating distance working, we will be learning from Gen Y on how to use this growing degree of connectivity to encourage the formation of enhanced networks as well as produce outcomes as a team.

“Speaking of teams: we have increased our own team here at the Hot Spots Movement (more on that later) and now have nine nationalities working with us – increasingly diverse! We will complete phase 2 of the Future of Work Research Consortium and have already opened up Phase 3 for applications. In addition, my new book will be out in 2011 so it’s an exciting year for all of us!”

What makes a book?


Lynda has just finished the manuscript for her next book, and in the next issue of the newsletter, we will be asking her about her writing process, how she finds inspiration, and how she uses other great writers and researchers to provide the complete picture. If you have a question you’d like to ask Lynda about the writing process – and if you want to pick the brains of a bestselling business author! – then email your questions to Tina by January 15. We will try to include as many as possible.

MEET THE TEAM: welcome to Mandeep!


Mandeep has joined us in Singapore as Hot Spots Development, Coach and Asia Strategy, to spearhead the Hot Spots activity in Asia. In a career spanning more than two decades in the corporate world, she developed an acute understanding of people issues in emerging economies and of managing scale and complexity. She has
substantial experience in building high performing teams, managing people and culture issues arising out of M&As and in managing change and leadership development.

Having mentored high performers and coached business leaders. Mandeep is passionate about understanding the role of the people dimension in increasing shareholder value in companies.
She is an active supporter of causes such as the education of children, especially girls in her home country of India, and creating livelihood for youth and women in the unorganised sector.

We’re delighted to welcome Mandeep to the team!

Ask Generali

At the Hot Spots Movement, we have been working with Generali this year, and partnered with the Group’s Innovation Academy to deliver part of their Leonardo programme for junior leaders. The Leonardo programme is a really exciting series of international workshops, designed to create a community of junior managers within the Group that focus on cultural and organisational differences and use them as the springboard for personal and professional growth.

We spoke to Laura Sfrisio and Gisella Lazzarini from the Innovation Academy to learn a bit more about Leonardo, and how they feel that individuals within Generali will benefit from the Hot Spots element of the programme. Click here to read more.


End of the middle manager

Is middle management becoming obselete? In her column in the Harvard Business Review, Lynda says yes. She explains: “Attitudes toward management have changed. As my research makes clear, Gen Y workers see no value in reporting to someone who simply keeps track of what they do, when much of that can be done by themselves, their peers, or a machine. What they do value is mentoring and coaching from someone they respect: from a master—not a general manager.”


Click here to read the article in full.

Setting the agenda

Staying with Harvard Business Review, Lynda will be part of the HBR Agenda team that features in the January 2011 issue. The team consists of two dozen business and management leaders, who have been tasked with outlining what projects they'll take on in 2011 – and the team will report back during the year on their progress.

Lynda detailed the Future of Work Consortium, in particular how the research during 2011 will help companies identify where they lag behind in capabilities required for the future. You can read her answer in full here.

Lynda joins an illustrious group of people on the HBR Agenda team, and we recommend reading each member’s plans. Some of the team has been featured in the Hot Spots Movement network in previous issues – you will recognise the names!
 
The rest of the team is: Dan Ariely, Tim Brown, Peter Capelli, Thomas H Davenport, Esther Duflo, Claudio Fernandez Araoz, Vijay Govindarajan, J. Richard Hackman, Herminia Ibarra, Paul Kedrosky, A G Lafley, Charlene Li, Jack Ma, Jean Francois Manzoni, Daniel Pink, Michael E Porter, Edgar H Schein, Eric Schmidt, Klaus Schwab, Clay Shirky, Joseph E Stiglitz, Robert I Sutton, and Laura D Tyson.

Some facts and figures about the Future of Work community portal


This is the second time we have brought together executives from across the world to debate the Future of Work. We use a combination of a community portal, webinars and face-to-face meetings to really connect this virtual community. As in everything, the more you practise, the better you get - and we are delighted that we are really learning (perhaps even becoming masterful?) about how to create virtual communities.

Membership use of the portal has grown by 43 per cent, and the number of discussion threads has trebled. We have seen how the members of the community are more willing to share content and to use the portal for longer periods of time to help generate ideas and solve challenges in the organisation – as a workplace tool.

The portal obviously serves as the ‘communications hub’ for FoW2 but we also like to observe it from a bird’s eye perspective to see how this kind of online co-creation works and how to ensure results are produced. The good news is that the community portal is clearly working, and throughout 2011 we’ll share the lessons learnt with you as they epitomise how organisations will work – both within, and to the outside world (anyway, as we identified during FoW1, this line is increasingly blurred….).


Cool office: MindTree


MindTree’s former chief operating officer Subroto Bagchi, whose designation is now Gardener, has first refusal on his office in Bangalore – a conference room with stunning views – but anyone can use the space when he isn’t there. The IT consultancy is non-conventional and civic-minded: its brand identity was designed by a child who suffers from cerebral palsy. Visitors at the main entrance see a “living logo” – a tree framed to form the letter M.

Read Aparna Raje’s interview with Bagchi here.

Tycoons pledge their fortunes to charity

Will 2010 be remembered as the year of Mark Zuckerberg? He was the subject of the hit film The Social Network – tipped for Oscar success in 2011 – where he came across as a complex and unsympathetic character. But earlier this month, it was announced he had joined 15 other billionaires who have pledged to give the majority of their fortunes to charity. He joins filmmaker George Lucas, New York Mayor Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.


But, in reading the news story, what struck us as interesting was the statement by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, that Internet entrepreneurs have a “unique interest in philanthropy” as the dotcom companies are more likely to change the world. As Gen Y becomes an increasingly online and virtual working society, does this mean we are all more predisposed to use our time and efforts for good causes? Or, is it a case that the younger generation (Zuckerberg is only 26) that wants to give back, and the online phenomenon is just a coincidence?
 
We would be interested to hear your thoughts: email Tina with your comments.

Who’s in our network?


This month, we’d like to introduce you to a special member of our network, and it’s not an individual but an organisation. We are lucky to be working with the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) – which owns John Lewis and Waitrose – and have been inspired by the group’s approach to business. All 70,000 permanent members of staff are partners in the Group, which has a portfolio of 273 shops, an online and catalogue business, a production unit and a farm with a turnover of nearly £7.4 billion in 2009. In 2009, the JLP distributed £151 million in profit to its partners – representing almost eight weeks’ pay. The JLP was created in 1920 by John Spedan Lewis (pictured), the son of the founder of the original store.


More than financial dividends, however, the Partnership inspires its full-time staff to be a part of innovation within the business. This could be through suggesting cost-cutting measures, new product ideas, or new methods. You can read how some of these ideas became reality here – it’s really exciting to see how a company culture like this can benefit the bottom line as well.
 
We aren’t the only ones who have seen how valuable this model can be: the JLP is one of a number of private companies that will advise the public sector on staff management, particularly setting up mutuals, so staff can have a stake in how services are run.


In a recent interview, JLP chairman Charlie Mayfield said: "While not a guaranteed solution to today's challenges, the strengths of an employee-led model – such as an empowered and informed work force and a close alignment of motivation between management and employees – has helped us create a strong culture of trust, innovation and customer service.”

Blog watch – websites we like

As a year-end bonus, we’re giving you two sites we have been reading recently – one on management, and one that is less business-focused. The first is Management Innovation eXchange (MIX), an open innovation project aimed at reinventing management. The site is crammed full of ideas and practices from the MIX community, as well as a group of management thought leaders, the Mavericks.


While the Financial Times is compulsory reading for most of us on a daily basis, it also has a really interesting selection of blogs on the site. We have been reading Material World, written by the FT’s fashion editor Vanessa Friedman. Now, before you read the word fashion and immediately rule it out, think again! Friedman covers the industry side, and gives useful insight into the mechanics and economics of some of the world’s most desired brands.

And, we also learned that Pantone’s colour for 2011 is honeysuckle. Apparently, the colour “emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.” Quite.


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