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HOT SPOTS NEWSLETTER: diversity and inclusion

Following on from the general election in the UK, the most prominent example of teamwork in decades has been put together: a coalition government. Time will tell if it will work! While we’re not going to look at coalitions in general in this issue of the newsletter, we are going to take a closer look at diversity – a word that came up many times as the three parties entered discussions to form a workable solution. How does diversity and inclusion work in your organisation?

We really do enjoy hearing from members of the Hot Spots Movement, and urge you to keep us updated with developments in your company, and ideas you have – we’d love to discuss them in a future edition of the newsletter!

Learning lessons from Enigma

Lynda has been thinking a lot about diversity, following on from the appointment of a new coalition team as government in the UK. In this case, the diversity comes from different ideologies, but in corporations it can be cultures and nationalities.

Even though it is increasingly important for many companies today, Lynda explains that building teams with very different beliefs and styles is not new. She says: “Over the coming decades we can expect working with very different people to be a simple fact of life.”

“Perhaps one of the most famous problem solving exercises was the team that cracked the Enigma code in Bletchley Park during the Second World War. These where not simply mathematicians – but rather a group of people from many disciplines – engineers, cryptographers, language experts, moral philosophers, classicist, ancient historian and crossword puzzle experts. It was this combination of diverse ideas and insights that created the answer.”

To read more, click here.

What does diversity and inclusion mean in your organisation?

One of the most dynamic topics within the Future of Work Research Consortium has been diversity and inclusion, and what it means in an organisation. Andrea Elliott from Shell said: “Inclusion means a workplace where differences are valued; where everyone has the opportunity to develop skills and talents consistent with our values and business objectives.” She pointed out that Shell sees D&I as an enabler for business success, not least by bringing about a better understanding of an increasingly varied customer base.

David Dalpe from Thomson Reuters points out that the company’s senior executives should take the lead. He said: “One thing that makes D&I initiatives successful in our organisation is that the commitment to making them a priority starts from the top, and I think this is critical for gaining commitment throughout the rest of the organisation. It must extend to senior leadership talent as well - there needs to be a visible commitment to attracting, developing and retaining diverse talent into the most senior leadership positions. ”

Lynda turned interviewer and put a couple of questions to Andrea. Click here to read more.

Findings announced for first Future of Work Research Consortium

The third and final live event for the Future of Work Research Consortium was held in London a couple of weeks ago. Seventy executives from around the world were present, with another 60 participating via webinar.

Speaking at the event, Lynda said: “What’s clear is that crafting the positive future will require executives around the world to make some tough decisions and actions. However, to do this they need a deep understanding of the forces impacting organisations and work; a set of ideas and action-oriented tools about what they can do; and the will and courage to make this happen.

“The big companies of the future won’t be where innovation takes place. They’ll be producing and marketing, and innovation will take place in small businesses. We’re already seeing this trend in the pharmaceutical industry.

“The ever-connected world is bringing about a different need for collaboration and with it new perception of diversity and empathy as we’ll be getting ‘close up’ to a lot of people, whom we would never have got to know before. I therefore predict that we’ll see a lot more empathy.”

The methodology used by the research consortium is the first to use a methodology of co-creation that brings together academia and practice around an online community portal. The Future of Work has brought together 200 executives from some of the most important corporations and organisations around the world. These include: Nokia, BT Global Services, Shell, Save the Children, World Vision International, Thomson Reuters, Colt, Novo Nordisk, Ferrero, Nomura, RBS, ABSA, Novartis, Unilever, Randstad , SAP, ThoughtWorks, Singaporean Ministry of Manpower, ARM and Tata Consulting Group.

You can read Lynda’s blog post on the findings here.

View the webinar

WATCH HERE! You can access the recording of the Future of Work webinar here to watch the findings.

Update on stage two

As we mentioned recently, we will be launching stage two of the Future of Work Consortium in October. This second phase builds on the initial achievements, with a clear focus on taking action around the four most crucial themes that emerged:

  • How do executives support the development of a talent pool and leadership cadre that is ‘future proofed’? What role will collaboration, high-value networks and crucible experiences have on the development of leaders, and how can these experiences be delivered?
  • What are the means by which organisations can build and support the communities, networks and ecosystems that are so crucial for the future? How can these networks be understood, and what tools can be developed to aid their evolution?
  • How do we craft the teams and collaborative working in a world that is increasingly virtual? What will it take to truly understand these new forms of working and create developmental and training solutions to meet them?
  • What are the implications for those functions and groups tasked with delivering the future of work – in particular the learning, organisational development and human resource functions? What competencies will these functions needs in the future and how can they be developed and structured?

More than 15 organisations are already committed to join Phase 2; if you think your organisation should join them, email Tina for details.

Exclusive to community members

We will be opening up the Future of Work portal so it can be viewed by members of the Hot Spots community. Keep checking the website for announcements!

New programme in development – building leadership capacity

At the Hot Spots Movement, we’re continually pulling together our latest research and analysis so we can help organisations build innovation through collaboration by working with their teams.

We are putting together the final touches to a brand new training programme that will bring together the Hot Spots Performance Model and tools and the cutting-edge findings from the Future of Work – for the first time. This new programme will focus on training team leaders rather than teams, ensuring that the skills stay within the organisation and can benefit many more people.

We are running a pilot at the moment, but the expected outcome is that the participants (team leaders) will develop into future-proofed leaders of high-performing complex and virtual teams, as well as learning how to adapt their leadership skills when the dynamics and make-up of their team changes. Rather than fixing a problem, or building one Hot Spot, we anticipate that this new programme will build leadership capacity inside an organisation.

We will update you when the programme is finalised; if you’re interested in becoming one of the pilot organisations, please email Tina for details.

Social media: update on the Hot Spots case study

Strategist Noa Gafni, who is working with the Hot Spots Movement to enhance our online presence, explains how we can use these new tools to build networks outside the organisation (see diagram).

She explains: “The rise of social media is one example of how building networks and communities outside of one’s company is becoming increasingly important. Companies can leverage this trend by building ways that the core fan base of a company can promote the company themselves through multiple channels. Social media engagement should be a conversation that involves the fans - who can be consumers or other businesses - as well as the brand.

“One key way to promote engagement is by keeping content cyclical. At the Hot Spots Movement, we share our content in a variety of forms (such as blog posts, photos, videos, and so on) through social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more. In turn, our readers, fans and subscribers respond by commenting and sharing our content with their networks. We then use this information when creating and sharing new material, ensuring we have an efficient two-way dialogue.”

What’s your business book of the year?

Lynda is on the judging panel for the FT and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year 2010. She joins Jorma Ollila, chairman of Nokia, and Shriti Vadera, adviser to the G20 Presidency, Helen Alexander, president of CBI; Mario Monti, president of Bocconi University; Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times; and Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of The Goldman Sachs Group.

What have we been reading at the Hot Spots Movement? Several votes for Superfreakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Steven J Dubner (more below) – including in the brand new iBook version for iPad, and Malcolm Gladwell’s follow-up to Blink, What the Dog Saw. What is your choice for business book of the year? Email Tina – we’ll let you know the most popular books in a future newsletter.

Developing networks: who’s in our network?

This month: Freakonomics author Steven D Levitt. If Levitt, who is professor of economics at the University of Chicago, had been a professor when we were at university, things might have turned out differently! Together with co-author Stephen J Dubner, they have authored two Freakonomics books and write a brilliant blog.

There is a really interesting recent post entitled "Has American Pop Music Displaced Local Culture", authored by Dubner. It references a working paper looking at the effect of communications technologies and increased globalisation but deduces - surprisingly - that American pop is no more prevalent today than it was in the 1960s; in fact, countries outside the USA have a substantial bias towards domestic music.

Simon Cowell is probably developing a franchised series along these lines as we speak ...

Blog watch – community sites we like

It should come as no surprise that McKinsey & Company have a great website, packed full of content. They also have a quarterly newsletter which is really interesting reading. This month, we’re reading how lessons from the Renaissance can be incorporated into today’s R&D labs. You can subscribe here.

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