Economist Andrew McAfee studies the fascinating relationship between technology and the workforce. Is the workplace as we know it at threat, or will the ‘robolution’ free up more time for innovation and creativity?
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With all of the recent hype about Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” conversation is rampant about women’s success. Do we give up cooing our babies to sleep in exchange for the corner office? Do we speak up at the risk of sounding like a witch? Can we truly “have it all?” Do we even want to?
Here’s what’s missing from this conversation: what about our innate simple desire to be happy?
I am consistently amazed by how many successful, professional women with VP titles and six-figure salaries flock to my Happiness Workshops because they are starving for just one taste of joy. Yes, accomplishment is an ingredient of happiness, but so are healthy relationships, an abundance of positive emotions and greater life purpose. Too many women today are racing so furiously to do everything that we have no time to just be. Sure, our smiles are perky and our handshakes firm, but underneath it all, we aren’t happy. We’re panicked that we can’t get it all done, worrying that we’re constantly disappointing someone, angry that we are passed up for the promotion and sad that we have no time to relax. We’re trying to balance six plates on five perfectly manicured fingers, and it isn’t working.
Perhaps we’re sacrificing happiness for success. Though our opportunities have dramatically increased throughout the past 35 years, researchers have reported that women today are less happy than our counterparts thirty years ago.
While common Western wisdom believes that success leads to happiness, hundreds of research studies show that the opposite is true. Happy people are more successful in every possible measure. Happy people are physically healthier, have better relationships and are more productive at work. Customers like working with happy staff; employees prefer a happy boss. You get the idea.
As is, most people hate their jobs. According to Gallup, approximately 70% of all employees dislike their jobs, leading to $300 billion in lost profitability annually. For women, though, the added stress of unequal power and status, role prioritisation between executive/lover/mother, plus our genuine concern for others escalates our unhappiness.
We are too important to the workplace to allow this to continue. It’s time to end this madness. Let’s claim our happiness and demand it at home and in the workplace. We still make most of the home and purchasing decisions, so we need to take a stand. As the old adage says, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
But happiness doesn’t mean another gift certificate for a mani/pedi. It means creating opportunities for the distinct challenges that women face. It means honoring the powerful nature of creative feminine energy. It means not only supporting a woman’s biological right to have a baby, but also leveraging her nurturing instinct in general. How many companies know that most women are motivated intrinsically by collective, social action? Those who do could be at a huge advantage.
Ladies, here is our responsibility. We need to believe that we deserve happiness above all else. We need to own it and claim it. We need to love our full selves and bring that confidence to work and life. Rather than follow conformist rules about who you should be or what you ought to do, know that your voice matters, that your essence is electric and speak up with pride. Know that you offer strengths that no one else does. Use them. Forget balance and work for integration, getting very clear on what YOU need to be happy. Do you need 30 minutes once a week by yourself to exhale the stress? Do you need one night a month to be with girlfriends so that you can recharge your batteries and feel sexy? Does having time to paint or read or garden feed your soul? Then claim it. People treat your time as you allow them to, so if you don’t protect your need happiness time, why should others? Know what matters and put a stake in the ground. Believe that you are worthy of happiness. And know that in claiming your happiness, it will lead to greater success.
So should we lean in? Maybe. But how about companies also extend out? Know what motivates women – and every employee for that matter. Humans are happiest when they are appreciated for who they are. We thrive when working our strengths, not trying to fix weaknesses or fit into norms. Ask for our opinions, solicit our ideas, lean into us and learn. Empower us to be us and we’ll all win.
Corporate value statements, company ethics, codes of conduct…the list goes on. At best, an invaluable business tool, at worse a meaningless, superfluous byword.
Some are poorly defined and open to interpretation, while some simply paint an idealistic image based on a predetermined set of ideals a company believes its customers and employees would like to see.
But for many these statements act as a fantastic catalyst to help a company grow. Top companies around the world such as Sainsbury’s, Virgin and Enron swear by them, attributing customer satisfaction, high levels of retention and successful recruitment, to their corporate value statements.
So do they matter, or they just a buzzword to help the executives feel better about themselves?
Last year an article from the Harvard Business Review suggested the idea that consumers want to have a relationship with a brand is more fiction than it is reality. Yet in a world where reputation and trust are generally considered great drivers of corporate value, surely a shared set of values between brand and consumer can play a major role.
Take Kellogg, for example, who recently produced their annual corporate responsibility report which focused on how the company is developing the marketplace, workplace, community and its environmental efforts.
The report outlines Kellogg’s ‘K Values’, a set of guidelines which form the basis of their corporate culture and helps to foster a sense of community among employees. They believe loyal consumers see brands as a reflection of themselves, and that in order to succeed in the marketplace their workforce should mirror the values of their customers – who they are and what they value.
The question is: do customers really care what a company believes?
A study by Harvard Business Review suggests they do. Of the 7000 consumers who were asked about their relationship with major companies, 64 percent cited shared values as the primary reason. This was by far the greatest driver, with only 13 percent citing frequent interactions with the brand as a reason for having a relationship.
Reputation is equally as important, and now that consumers have immediate access to a company’s lineage, they expect more and have no trouble boycotting those that fail to live up to their increasingly high standards. Last year, a survey from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found more than two thirds of customers avoid buying a product if they dislike the parent company.
Evidently, values run deep and need to be translated efficiently into actions. More than just appearing to please customers, the way a company talks about them when they are not present, the level of service they provide and how they treat employees are all equally important. It’s about living the values you preach.
But if the corporate values are to serve as an adequate foundation from which an organisation can support and drive the long-term business strategy, they need to be embedded within the processes of the company and the behaviours of leaders and employees at all levels.
One way to do this is through workshops and surveys across the business to gauge consumer and employee perceptions about the company’s current values and behaviours, with the goal of determining if those values are still relevant and durable.
More than simply being something both parties can agree on, the act of a company living out the values it preaches can act as a great motivator to employees.
Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between workplace morale and corporate results, revealing that employees who feel more engaged with their company generally deliver better performance and stay in their roles longer. This goes back to ensuring a company’s actions are in line with its value statements. If a company isn’t serious about living out its own value statement, there’s little point in having one.
Muhammad Ali once commented that he hated every minute of training, famously saying: "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."
His ability to see things in the long-term, looking at the bigger picture rather than short-term accomplishments would help Ali become the most famous athlete of all time, the only man to become the three-time heavyweight champion of the world, who many simply refer to as ‘the greatest’.
But the path to greatness isn’t an overnight journey.
Growing up in 1950’s Louisville, Cassius Clay Jnr was fun-loving yet purposeful, mischievous but astute. At the age of 12, he had his bike stolen at a local fair. Upon reporting the incident to Joe Martin, a policeman who happened to be training an amateur boxing team at the local gym, Clay said, “I'm gonna whip him if I can find him." Martin suggested that Clay should first learn how to fight and offered him the chance to take up boxing.
By the age of 18, Cassius Clay was the finest amateur boxer in the world, winning the 1960 light-heavyweight Olympic gold medal. Four years later he would join the Nation of Islam, change his name to Muhammad Ali and beat Sonny Listen to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World. But this was just an early step on his path to greatness.
Few will come close to the Ali’s achievements, but the methods he used to reach such dizzying heights, both in and out of the ring were built around four fundamental principles we’re all capable of adopting into our life. This was Steve McDermott’s message to the London Business Forum at Bafta headquarters.
Steve is a three times winner of the European Motivational Speaker of the Year Award and author of international best-selling personal development book, How to be a Complete and Utter Failure in Life, Work and Everything: 44 1/2 Steps to Lasting Underachievement.
Using humour to make people laugh as well as think, he began by explaining how Ali’s strict set of personal guidelines were critical to his success, and recounted the time Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War, famously saying, “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong”.
Ali’s stand for freedom outraged a nation but inspired a generation. He was stripped of his title, handed a $10,000 fine and sentenced to five years in jail – a sentence he never actually served. Ali was a man of strict, non-negotiable personal values, a trait Steve believes is critical to an individual’s success.
“The first point is to identify what your values are, and secondly, if there’s only one point you take from this round, it’s that values are non-negotiable – That’s the key,” said Steve.
Values within an organisation help shape the conduct of its staff, along with its relationship with the outside world, but Steve believes that values are equally as important to an individual. “How many people in the room as an organisation have some values? How many people have some values outside of work?” He asked the room.
“A great person is shaped by their values and the strength of integrity in which their life is led by them. If the path to greatness is a long one, then values help shape our behaviours throughout the journey,” explained Steve.
But Ali’s values alone were not enough to take him to greatness. They had to be backed up by a clear view of where he was going, combined with the ability to get others to buy into his vision. For this, Steve believes Ali was a genius.
In 1962, Ali fought the sharp-punching veteran Archie Moore. Before the fight, Ali poetically predicted “Archie Moore must fall in four”. This irritated Moore, who responded by saying he had developed a new punch especially for the fight called ‘The Lip Buttoner’. But Ali was correct and defeated Moore with a fourth round knockout, true to his word.
Ali called this “future history”, a powerful visualisation technique which he used to programme his mind for success in the ring. Steve has been using a similar technique for the past 20 years and encouraged audience members to do the same.
“Think of your dreams, professionally and in personal life, but imagine yourself two years from now, so you’re talking about your dreams as if they’ve already happened.”
He explained how this activity encourages us to emotionally engage with our future achievements, increasing the likelihood of them actually happening.
“What most people do in business is to start from here and simply look forward. This is very left side of the brain planning; producing reports based on numbers, which if you’re a right side of the brain type of person you might find very boring. This exercise forces you to use the right part of your brain, which is the imagination side. It’s back from the future planning which makes you act as though these things have already happened.”
Like Ali, future-orientated people have a vision which they’re clear on, but this only counts for about ten percent of people according to Steve who explained that the other 90 percent of people find themselves stuck in the now and the past. He believes this is because most people consider themselves victims of circumstance, whereas a small minority are different. Like Ali, they take full accountability of their actions.
Steve goes as far as to say that most companies have little idea what business they’re actually in. “You say to them, why does your organisation exist and they reply ‘to make money’. That’s no mission or purpose. No reason to get out of bed in morning.”
Ali’s purpose was to help people. 1988 he told the New York Times, "I never talk about boxing. It just served its purpose. I was only about 11 or 12 years old when I said 'I'm gonna get famous so I can help my people.'"
Steve believes this type of thinking is integral to becoming great in business. “You need to identify what business you’re in, but you also need a personal mission statement for yourself. For me, this is the bit that’s missing in many individuals. They say ‘I’ve got my values, I have a vision, but it’s still not doing it for me.’ Write a mission statement for yourself – something to get you out of bed in the morning.”
He went on to explain that a mission statement can act as a solid foundation and give an individual a greater sense of purpose. Muhammad Ali’s was simply: “I am the greatest”, an aspirational statement which Steve linked this to his own experience.
Starting out as a professional speaker, Steve decided he would tell people that he was one of the top ten motivational speakers in the UK. At the time this was untrue, yet no one picked him up on it. Before long Steve was recognised as one of the best motivational speakers in the country.
And why stop there? Soon after, Steve started telling people he was one of the top ten motivational speakers in Europe, leading him to secure a number of speaking gigs around Europe and win the European Motivational Speaker of the Year award three times.
Throughout his career, Ali used goals help give clarity to his values, vision and purpose, and Steve’s final task helped highlight his final point about the importance of setting positive goals.
“In this card write a goal for yourself. Put your address on it and we’ll post it back to you in six months. Make sure what you’ve written is positive, personal and present tense. Just like with future history, you need to write as if you’ve already done it. Not ‘one day I’m going to be the greatest’, but ‘I am the greatest.’”
He believes that the mere process of writing down a goal can go a long way in making it actually happen, slotting the idea into one’s subconscious. “Only three percent of people bother to think about their goals and actually write them down. But if you do, there’s an 80 percent chance that it will actually happen.” He said.
Steve ended his presentation with an epilogue, describing the time Ali fought Yorkshireman, Richard Dunn in Munich. A week before the fight, promoter, Mickey Duff, asked Ali if he could have his gloves to auction off at a benefit dinner for British fighter Chris Finnegan who had lost an eye. Ali agreed and immediately after the fight, Duff jumped into the ring to get the gloves, afraid Ali may have forgotten his promise. Ali’s cornerman, Angelo Dundee handed the gloves to Duff, who walking away, felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Ali, who said to Duff “look inside the gloves”. In one glove it said, ‘Ali wins’ in the other glove it said ‘KO, round 5’.
By this point Ali had stopped predicting fights publicly, but he wanted to do a something extra for Chris Finnegan. “Wherever he went, whoever he was with Ali’s generosity was evident,” commented Duffy.
Ali knew his purpose, was clear with his vision and unwavering in his values. His legacy transcended the world of sport, allowing him to create a world for himself which allowed him to express himself like no other man of his time.
Steve’s presentation perfectly highlighted the points he believes all companies and individuals should possess in order to achieve greatness. More than the sum of its parts, it’s the cumulative effect, relying on the fundamental elements; value, vision, purpose and goals.
The pension landscape has changed forever and the task for employers is staggering. Regardless of size, all employers will need to introduce compulsory pension arrangements for all their employees.
So why has auto-enrolment been thrust upon us? Well we have a potential retirement timebomb here in the UK. On the one hand people simply aren’t saving enough towards their retirement and on the other we have an ageing population with people living longer. The need for the UK to start saving more towards retirement is undeniable and the auto-enrolment legislation is seen as a politically acceptable start.
However, the legislation places a huge compliance burden upon employers. When you look at this legislation in greater detail it is extraordinarily complicated! The legislators have underestimated the complexity of the relationship that UK plc has with its employees and, in an effort to make sure that “all employees” really means “all employees” they have gone beyond what is generally considered practical. However, whatever the rights and wrongs of compulsion and whatever the complexities, we are now left with the need to comply. Although pensions minister Steve Webb recently announced his department are going to try and simplify things, for those companies with more than 250 employees whose latest staging date is 1st February 2014, this will not change the landscape significantly.
So how has the industry responded? How have the compliance complexities of auto-enrolment been tackled? Why is Premier’s auto-enrolment proposition recognised within the industry as one of the best auto-enrolment solutions from an adviser? The simple reason is that we have looked at this from the Employers perspective with a view to offering a single solution which uses technology to make life simple rather than for the sake of it. Our approach is to work with employers to find the best pension solution for their specific circumstances and to then make compliance as easy as possible.
Many employers are assuming that their payroll provider will have the end to end solution. Unfortunately this is not going to be the case. We have found that at present most payroll providers are still developing their auto-enrolment proposition and their proposition, when ready will not cover the communication and compliance aspects which are key to a full solution. So it is important to ask the right questions and to ensure that you get a full solution.
Indeed some of our clients have even found that their current pension provider is not willing to take on the additional compliance and membership requirements of Autoenrolment. Those that do are often looking to increase their charges. All of this has come as a shock to employers and even more of a shock to employees from whose pension pots the charges are deducted.
We would be very interested to hear from any employer who has been surprised (pleasantly or otherwise) by the answers that they have had from Pension and Payroll providers and any “war stories” regarding Autoenrolment implementation. Generally, we find that the truth is weirder than fiction.
Increased global competitiveness and ongoing technological innovations create wave after wave of challenges for businesses trying to stay ahead of the competition. Over the next decade these factors will shape the future of work and impact key aspects of the workplace including workforce size, business strategy and management practices.
Here are a few predictions on how the workforce will change in the next ten years:
It’s a woman’s world
Ignore James Brown. A survey conducted by Booz & Company reported that up to a billion women are expected to join the workplace in the next decade. It’s thought that the increase will not only improve gender equality, but also encourage global economic growth.
To expedite the rise companies need to facilitate educational and cultural changes in the workplace. Dr. Leila Hoteit, a principal with Booz & Company said: “Allocating capital for investment in women’s businesses is fruitless if women do not have the education and training to run a business successfully, or the cultural perception that they can compete economically with men. The measures needed to create change in each of these areas will vary according to a country’s level of economic development.”
There’s a view that the countries able to tap into entire talent pool will see higher growth, whilst world-wide research shows a clear link between empowering women and GDP growth, literacy rates, infant mortality rates.
Over the past 50 years, all aspects of the Oil and Gas industry, from the reservoir to the end customer have become far more complex. Regulatory, competitive and risk management pressures are forcing Oil and gas companies, and their National Oil Company brethren, to expend vast sums of money in the quest for ever greater margins as well as improved safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance.
In the international arena, many governments are pressuring their National Oil Companies to make challenging, high-paying careers available to their people. But the one constant in this highly-turbulent environment is people – the people who have to operate and maintain equipment, who have to make smart decisions, who have to lead others in what are often adverse environmental conditions and who have to respond perfectly when something goes wrong. It’s these people, the often unplanned for variable in the performance equation, who have the greatest impact on the ultimate success or failure of any major capital initiative in the Oil and Gas industry.
So if there has been so much change in the Oil and Gas industry over the last 50 years, why are we still training our people the same way we were in the 1950s? Using 1950’s theories and technologies? Why aren’t we taking advantage of the latest – proven – strategies, tools, technologies and methods to develop our personnel, the same way we are adopting new technologies? In short, if our personnel are so important to our success with our major capital efforts, why do we develop them so poorly?
As part of their Business Insights Series, Imperial College invited Tech City Chief Executive and ex-Facebook VP, Joanna Shields, to discuss entrepreneurship and its importance in the development of economic growth in the UK.
Shields left Facebook at the end of 2012 to play an integral part in the build of the East London’s Silicon Roundabout. Previous to Facebook, Joanna held board level positions at leading companies such as Google, AOL and Bebo.
Tech City is a government project started by David Cameron in 2011 with the aim of accelerating innovation in the tech start-up community. Under the scheme, new companies will receive the help and support they need in order to expand internationally. A great focus has also been placed on bringing in direct foreign investment.
Joanna’s inspiration and passion helped a full amphitheatre dream about life in a start-up world: “What’s out there is incredible. I get Goosebumps just thinking about the potential for all of you. There’s never been a better time to ‘start-up’ in London.” Shields said, adding that in terms of tax policies and investment schemes to help support entrepreneurs, the UK has by far the best package in the world.
An example of this is ‘Tax Box’, in which product developers are able to make up to £10 million in profits before paying any tax. Additionally, distances between political, financial and tech centres in London are incredibly small, compared to the US.
“There’s a movement happening across the UK. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear about tech clusters forming. We need digital skills across the board – coding is not the absolute solution. There’s a need for all kind of professions, engineers, marketers, strategy execs, to build successful start-ups. By democratising the tools and processes for starting a new business, a lot of great ideas will come to the market and as a result, jobs will be created, youth unemployment will be tackled and economy will grow.” She said.
But Shields was clear to point out the noticeable lack of inspiring and positive attitude in UK. “Entrepreneurs aren’t as valid and admired as TV stars or music idols. Shouldn’t we celebrate talented people who create jobs through innovation and entrepreneurship? In the US, Mark Zuckerberg is a celebrity and a role model. Let’s make Summly, Makie Lab and Mind Candy heroes…”
The inspirational talk couldn’t have ended better as Shields posed the question: “What’s your quest?” She added that the next big thing could come from you. Sometimes great ideas need to wait for the market to be ready and sometimes ideas fail, but so what? Dust yourself off and start again.
We often hear about webinars as the latest trend in digital marketing – a progressive way to promote your services by sharing your expertise with the public. So here we are: four years after hosting our first one, we have decided to take a closer look at our numbers to provide you with evidence of a webinar’s value as an effective marketing tool.
Are you aware that around one-fifth of online of users are using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones? Do you have a plan for marketing your product and/or service to the influx of mobile users on the Internet? Strategies tailored for mobile devices are an important part in order to keep your business competitive both in the real world and online. How does this affect your business?
Your website - How does your website look when viewed on a four inch screen? This isn’t including the resolutions that are produced by smartphones and tablets. If you have trouble navigating your website on this smaller display, imagine how your visitors must feel. According to statistical information, 53 percent of users will abandon your website and never return if they can’t operate it the first time. You can improve the user experience without completely renovating your site by:
- Using a redirect command to a mobile subdomain that is specifically built for mobile devices. These subdomains can be named mobile.yoursite.com in order to differentiate from desktop and mobile devices. Your website can detect what kind of device is accessing it and redirect the visitor to the mobile-friendly area.
- Using CSS coding in your website to scale images and fonts according to screen resolution. If you don’t know how to modify your CSS file, you should seek the appropriate professional help. However, there are many tutorials on the Internet that can help you develop the coding in order to save you time and money from building a whole new website.
- Using conversion services that can create mobile versions of your site without programming or adding subdomains. Many of these services are subscription-based as little as £10 per month. However, it may be worth the investment.
Apps - One of the biggest attractions to mobile devices is the never-ending list of apps that are regularly developed. Even the smallest of apps could help build a strong customer-base if it’s useful in any fashion. If you don’t have the skills to develop an app, you could invest in having someone develop one for you. The apps doesn’t need to be extravagant. For example, why not make a recipe book that has an integrated shopping list if you own a restaurant? An app needs to be:
- Easy to use
- Compatible with various operating system versions
- Tailored to fit the niche of your business
- Advertised on your website as well as Google Play and iTunesHigh
ROI - Most companies that have developed a strategy for engaging mobile users have experienced a much greater return on investment than they do from other methods. How do they accomplish such an increase in revenue?
- Quick payment methods
- Easy to navigate website
- Focused effort on selling to mobile device users
While you may have a working strategy that is helping to fill your bank accounts, there is a great amount of money to be made from those using mobile devices. A majority of people who have these devices don’t leave home without them. You could engage your consumer-base regardless of where they are or what they are doing. Since mobile users spend more money per transaction and have a greater return-on-investment, you could be missing out on a great deal of income. As mobile technology is advancing at a rapid pace, it is worth your time to at least investigate the possibility of developing your own marketing strategy for mobile users.
With a stagnant economy and the recent scandals over the contamination of meat products across the EU, food and beverage companies face a number of challenges. From the tightening of regulations and operating margins, to supplier quality issues, these challenges vary considerably, but it’s not all gloomy for food processors. Through quality management, companies can develop a seamless food and beverage operation which standardises, centralises and streamlines data throughout the value chain.
Whilst an integrated quality management system can help deliver superior performance, a number of challenges still exist outside of the value chain function, coming in from every angle and forcing food and beverage organisations to create operational models which help ensure strategic objectives around quality, finance, and operations are met.
More and more companies are utilising Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) as a platform for communication and collaboration across the value chain. This platform enables organisations to view process data from a central point and reduces the resources needed to ensure the overall standard of products and processes. Using this technology will help food and beverage companies to optimise their end-to-end processes and take these challenges head on.
On Wednesday 22nd May, Kelly Kuchinski of Sparta Systems will present a free WTG Webinar which explores the potential for food and beverage companies to achieve full visibility, prevent recalls and achieve overall operational excellence through an integrated approach to quality management.
Kelly is a recognised expert in the food and beverage industry, with over 20 years’ experience in consumer packaged goods, chemicals, life sciences and technology. Prior to joining Sparta Systems, Kelly focused on developing products and solutions to support companies across multiple industries to enhance functionality, increase efficiencies and reduce costs.
Ahead of Sparta’s webinar, we look at some of the major concerns facing the food and beverage industry:
1. Tightening Regulatory Environment
The quality of products in the food and beverage industry is intrinsically linked to health and safety issues. A subsequent ongoing headache is the challenge of sticking to an ever-evolving set of regulations, outlined in the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). With the changing requirements for record keeping, many chief executives are being forced to revaluate their current technological capabilities for traceability and quality.2. Shrinking Operating Margins
The current global economy has forced companies to become more competitive than ever, adding pressure to operating margins throughout the supply chain. To counteract this, many organisations are identifying areas for improvement, including the quality of products and processes. Other potential threats include the rising competition in developing countries, fuel price volatility and heavy use of the supply chain.3. Visibility into Supplier Quality
Leveraging of the global supply chain has many benefits, but it also carries a number of operational risks. In many cases, organisations lack the essential communication streams to close the loop on quality management and help assist suppliers improve end-to-end performance. The most forward-thinking companies in food and beverage are now using IT capabilities to offset geographical limitations and operational inefficiencies.4. Traceability and Data Granularity
Any food processor should be well prepared for a product recall. From careful inventory control for small food manufacturers and distributors, to accurate infrastructure management in large organisations, this requires high levels of traceability at all times. If a contaminated product ever makes its way into the market, quick response time and efficient recall processes are vital to preserving brand reputation and subsequent long-term profitably.5. Disconnected IT Architecture
Another perennial headache for almost every food and beverage company is the often alien world of software and applications. To make life easier for companies unfamiliar with this unknown landscape, a unified information management system is crucial. However, due to the shortage of long-term strategic quality vision, some companies remain rooted to archaic and complicated processes that are unable to effectively communicate with one another.
Find out how an alternative approach to quality management can lead to overall success in improving product quality and brand reputation by attending this free webinar.
In front of a busy Wellcome Collection auditorium for London Business Forum, philosopher, writer and policy-maker, Richard Reeves delivered a presentation which set out to explore the complex parallels between leadership and the concept of character.
Reeves subscribes to the belief that a great leader is shaped by their strength of character, and draws inspiration from 19th century liberal philosopher, John Stuart Mill. Using his famous quote, “It really is of importance, not only what men do, but also what manner of men they are that do it,” to examine some of the core values surrounding wellbeing.
Throughout his presentation, Reeves, a former Director of Strategy to Nick Clegg, used old-world ideals to highlight the core values associated with strength of character. Old values which are still very relevant today when discussing the qualities expected of modern leaders.
With that in mind, Reeves broke down the concept of a good leadership character into its four fundamental elements: Patience, Optimism, Resilience, Courage and Humility.
Starting with patience, Reeves referenced the Marshmallow Test to highlight delayed gratification. Walter Mischel’s famous experiment examined the relationship between delayed gratification (the ability to resist the temptation to eat a marshmallow right away with the promise of more if you succeed) and overall life success.
Reeves then went on to explore the other character traits he believes are critical to good leadership. This fascinating examination into the role of character on leadership was a bold reminder that being a good leader in business can be a complex task. More than simply being charismatic individual or a dazzling public speaker, it involves careful consideration and most of all, strength of character.
Consumer goods organizations are facing an increasingly challenging business environment. Today’s reality includes managing ever-changing consumer needs, increasing competition and high material costs, resulting in constant pressure as business leaders try to deliver on growth goals.
Sopheon recently presented a webinar, ”Innovating on Innovation: New Leading Practices in Food, Beverage and CPG Innovation for 2013”, in partnership with World Trade Group. The eight leading practices presented during the webinar play a central role in leveraging innovation performance to respond to the business challenges consumer goods business leaders face.
During the webinar, we asked attendees to tell us a little bit about how they approach innovation in their organization. The following infographic provides a glimpse into how your peers are approaching innovation, and some of the steps consumer firms can take to overcome the challenges to improve innovation performance and respond to business pressure.
Firstly, I would like to point out that despite being called notgoingtouni we are not actually anti-university. We just believe that there are many other ways to achieve career success which are of equal value. Our message to those who want a good qualification without substantial debt is simply to explore your options before you write off your goals. There are ways to get a degree for free, such as sponsored degrees, whilst distance learning offers the chance of attending a full time course for a fraction of the cost. But by far the most popular option with people who contact us is Apprenticeships. Rightly so in our opinion!
Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors; from social media to project management, IT to horse racing. This often comes as a surprise to people who incorrectly assume that vocational routes are limited to hairdressing or plumbing. They offer a great alternative to university, you get paid while you are learning and with around 90% of people being in work or further training upon completion of their apprenticeship, we feel they are a great option for anyone who wants to know that their qualification will genuinely improve their employment prospects.
At the opening keynote of the HR Directors Business Summit, Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller highlighted the importance of engaging people with the organisation, particularly at a time of major change. The former Director General of the MI5 explained how its involvement was central to her goal to transform and restructure the security service in the aftermath of 9/11 to cope with the growing threat of terrorism.
Part of her philosophy of “visible leadership” included recognising the contribution of individuals, “It’s a question of praise and thanks for a job well done. Those simple things are really important.” She also commented that although many people talk about people as their greatest asset, few do anything about it.
A great example of the positive effects of leaders sticking to their word can be seen at General Electric. Along with playing his part in cascading corporate values throughout the organisation, GE’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, pioneered a major programme which redefined leadership development for today’s business challenges.
With National Apprenticeship Week starting on Monday 11th March, our comprehensive ‘Apprenticeship and Vocational Training Guide’ is now available. The guide, which is completely free to download and reproduce, aims to be a valuable resource for career influencers and students, with the hope of helping people make an informed decision about life after school or college.
Now in its third year of production, the guide provides a comprehensive overview of the different vocational options available and features a foreword from successful entrepreneur Levi Roots, as well as support from David Way, the CEO of the National Apprenticeship Service. The guide offers insight into the huge variety of different sectors in which apprenticeships are available, shows cases studies of young people who have achieved success via the vocational route, as well as information from businesses which offer such schemes and the geographic locations that they can be found. I just wish that the guide had been available when I was at making decisions about what to do after school!
Like many others, I was told that I should go to university purely because I was academically bright. But I joined the British Gas Apprenticeship scheme instead and went on to become a Service Engineer. There was no mention of apprenticeships during my career guidance at school. I was left to find out about them myself which was no mean feat in the pre-internet days, but what really saddens me is that over 20 years later young people are still not getting information about vocational routes into employment.