Robots are entering every aspect of our professional and personal lives, be it in cleaning our rooms, delivering our shopping to fighting our wars. As the robotics sector develops, more and more autonomy is being built into these machines, where the simplest aspect of autonomy is decision making. One can define levels of autonomy by the degree of decision making- for example, the thermostats in your office, is autonomic at the lowest level- it is constrained to one specific predefined  action, but can decide when to apply heating/ cooling. Here

Do you want to lead effectively? Some would say you must take on more, be more accessible and deliver more results. Results certainly matter. But how you get results matters as well.   In this fast-paced, result-oriented world we have created, there is a premium on speed, volume and access. Living in the digital age allows us to access more information, and we are more accessible than ever before. That has its advantages and we should appreciate them – even celebrate them.   We certainly have created an environment. The

Alison Beard in the July/August issue of HBR referred to the happiness backlash. The search for ‘flow’ was cited as an example of the focus on achieving happiness. The alternative essay provides a pragmatic reality of the world as it is. Later in the magazine the need for a revolution in the way we provide people support through ‘HR’ was also questioned. Our consulting experience would also point to a need for change in the way HR works.   Walter McFarland recently explored the need for managers to stay human

Business schools throughout the world hammer into future business leaders the importance of data, analysis, and techniques to use data to shape behavior. The slogan “what gets measured, gets done” has become more than just an idea but a primary guiding principle for many MBAs who have become managers and executives. Consequently, data driven methodologies using modern digital technology like management by objectives (MBO), balanced scorecards, and six-sigma have gained popularity and wide acceptance. Clearly, behaviors can be influenced through rewards or punitive action taken based on performance data to

Geoff Colvin’s new book insists that humans are underrated. It’s a fun follow-up declaration to his earlier book, which taught us that talent is overrated.   The two are not as incompatible as it might seem. Colvin’s point in the earlier book was that talented people always succeed in the context of a system, and it’s hard to rate talent independent of its context. As a result, stars usually get more credit for their successes than they’re due. (Boris Groysberg’s research backs this up by showing how the high performance

Why is digital transformation hard? Because it goes against the grain of established ways of working and is a threat to management practices that have existed for decades. It is therefore not surprising that the top challenges that slow down digital transformation are much deeper than just resistance to technology. Whether you’re starting up a transformation initiative or trying to re-energize an on-going one, the first place to look is in the work culture of your organization.   I have explored obstacles to digital transformation in my online surveys with

In my research on innovators, I like to draw the distinction between “path finders” and “path creators” but rarely does the metaphor seem so apt as in the case of Federico Bastiani. He is the originator of the “social streets” movement now spreading across Italy, so the innovation he created literally involves a path: the street in which he and his family live in Bologna.   Bastiani grew up in a small town in Tuscany, where people knew and helped their neighbors, and when he moved to the city he

Last week I visited Finisterre, an ancient Spanish port and fishing village, where my grandfather was born.  He, like many others, was forced to emigrate to Argentina at the end of the 19th century, leaving land, family, and friends in search of employment, since jobs were increasingly scarce at home.  This photograph from the period, O home e o neno, shows a man and his son crying as some of their dearest relatives board the boat to Buenos Aires.   The heart-wrenching scene reminded me of the terrible challenges that today’s job-seekers