How to make waves – and influence people

first_imgHow to make waves – and influence peopleOn 1 Sep 2001 in Auto-enrolment, Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Allowing managers to import outside ideas into their organisations canthreaten the established culture, yet also bring massive benefits. Training anddevelopment professionals can help broker such changes – but, say CatherineBailey and David Butcher, it takes courageConsider the following advice: most of what managers now need to learn comesfrom outside their organisation or, for that matter, from outside theirindustry. This may sound like management guru-speak, but ignore it at your peril. Most executives take it seriously, although what they mean when they talk of”getting an external viewpoint” is subject to a number ofinterpretations. They range from “broadening the thinking”,”benchmarking practice”, “seeking out the leading edge”,”injecting innovative thinking”, to “breaking out of themindset”. Whatever the slant, the underlying aim in getting this external view is tobe better equipped to challenge and change the way the business operates bybringing in or developing people whose ideas are counter-culture. Organisations want people who can think outside the box, are prepared to askthe unaskable, to challenge the intuitive core. In other words, they wantpeople who can think and act with a degree of irreverence – or at least theysay they do. External perspective Businesses exploit several routes in pursuit of the external perspective.Importing fresh blood, seconding key individuals, using seasoned mentors andwidely experienced external coaches, making comparisons through benchmarkingactivities and, of course, enabling their managers to participate on openenrolment development programmes. But despite the apparent value and investment in these activities, there ismuch evidence to suggest that organisations have considerable difficulty inmaking good use of them – of being able to work with ideas and people with thepower to challenge culture and transform the business. Managers imported at senior level frequently do not survive. Secondedindividuals can be left struggling with re-entry. Coaching relationships can bemore conducive to cultural collusion than challenge. And executives who are provided with off-line development opportunitiesoften feel that their insights are poorly used, their efforts to inject newideas undermined. Management development programmes are still the most common route tobuilding the external perspective, not just because they are structuredlearning processes, but also because they are economical with executive time.They vary greatly in the way this is achieved. Sometimes the external dimensionremains a background feature of the learning environment, coming into its ownin the bar once the formal learning has finished for the day. At the other extreme, programmes designed specifically to nurture theexternal view offer more than simple exposure to wider experience. If they are to succeed, they must challenge current thinking sufficiently tocreate a mindset shift for participants and, of equal importance, develop thecapability to use that well. The more ambitious and challenging the programme, the more it should enablemanagers to work with the paradox of an external viewpoint. What those managersthen offer their organisations is both the promise and the threat ofinnovation. If they are to be capable of introducing ideas with the power to transformthey need the skills to act with the political stealth to nurture the ideauntil it is unstoppable. In our view, management development processes designed to create and reapthe benefit of external mindsets have to accommodate this paradox and extol thevirtues of political skills. It is very much the development territory. If they stop short ofanticipating and preparing managers to use the external perspective, the job ofenabling irreverence is only half done and valuable development wasted. Open general management programmes, when they are designed to achieve thisaim, can do so with dramatic effect. Counter culture These outcomes are made possible by having both the mandate and the time tochallenge each participant personally and deeply to think irreverently. In each of these cases the programme served to suspend company culturesufficiently to generate, evaluate and legitimise counter-culture ideas. Itenabled managers to see how to extend their influence and then create changeusing the necessary stealth until the organisational benefit was clear,unassailable and welcomed. Programmes like this are at their most potent when attended by ambitiousmanagers, sufficiently robust to respond well to the illuminating personaldevelopment opportunities. This allows the development process to be stretched to its full potential,and the true power of the external perspective to be applied when eachexecutive returns to his or her unsuspecting business. Then, whether it iswelcome or not, the influence of that perspective can become unstoppable. For the perpetrator, however, pain and pleasure is experienced in more orless equal measure and it is, therefore, no light undertaking. Clearly, development processes must somehow overcome the tendency to rejectexternal viewpoints. Different routes need to be evaluated and practitionersneed to consider their own role in the process. Management development and training practitioners naturally play a pivotalrole in brokering effective development and use of the external perspective.They can influence culture, senior management thinking and behaviour, provideaccess to challenging development opportunities, select the right people, andprovide learning support. Managing the paradox How much of a challenge this presents to management development and trainingmanagers may in itself be an indicator of the organisation’s ability to use theexternal view well. This being the case, these professionals may find they haveto manage the paradox for themselves. So what should we make of the advice about the importance of an externalperspective? Radical ideas, good intent, capable managers and investment aresimply not enough for organisations to really benefit. Irreverence is essential, but it spells danger. Development processes thataccommodate the paradox of the external view are probably the best bet forbusinesses wishing to counteract their own contradictory tendencies in thisrespect. Management development and training practitioners can make a majordifference to their organisation’s capability to use well an externalperspective and the irreverent views it generates. The question is, are youbrave enough? What can management development and training managers do?Top tips on fresh thinking– Get senior managers to think about what it would take for truly powerfuland radical management ideas to be on their personal agendas– Challenge unthinking culture-guarding responses – not least in themselves– Critically evaluate the use and limitations of routes that offer anexternal perspective.– Create development opportunities that explicitly nurture counter-culturethinking – Use providers who demonstrate their own ability to challengeconstructively– Target development at both the organisationally well-placed and theambitious “misfits” who are able to make most use of it– Prepare and support managers to work with the paradox that using theexternal view entailsNew thinking put into practiceBronwyn MckennaExperiencing wide-ranging ideas gained insight into changes neededBronwyn McKenna is director of services to members at Unison. As a solicitorheading up legal services and looking to move into general management, McKennasaw an open development programme as the opportunity to counter the apparentrigidity and narrowness that is often associated with the rigours of a legaltraining and approach. She found that exposure to wide-ranging management ideas and private sectorthinking helped her identify necessary changes in her approach to her role. After the programme, she led performance improvement reviews of a majornational function in the union. She drove an initiative to identify how theunion could use new technology to build a stronger sense of connection withmembers. And, most significantly, in terms of challenging culture, she importedcustomer relations management techniques to improve service to members andincrease efficiency. The result is impressive. Reviews have resulted in improved focus andperformance. In one area, an annual deficit of £950,000 has been converted intoa surplus of £25,000. Measures of members’ satisfaction with new and changed services are verypositive. The website has been rated in the top 10 sites world-wide coveringworkplace issues. McKenna’s growing reputation as one of the organisation’s”thinkers” has led to being invited to contribute to a prestigiousstrategic project entirely outside her own areas of responsibility – no smallpraise for someone coming from a function which typically does not encourageradical thought. And within a short space of time, she has been promoted to director withresponsibility for 95 staff and a total budget of £9m.Michael VoigtExposure to different approaches provided sharp insightsMichael Voigt is front-of-house manager responsible for 25 staff andreception services at Mayfair’s Connaught Hotel. Seen as  someone who could do more in the business,he attended a major business school general management development programme.He was keen to be more influential in instigating changes to increaseprofitability.Voigt soon found the limitations of his traditional management stylechallenged by others, and exposure to very different approaches provided sharpinsights for him. Inspired to reduce staff turnover and improve profitability, on return towork he set out to involve his staff in driving through their own serviceimprovement and cost reduction ideas. But he was working againstwell-established practices. After great initial caution, people were suddenly very involved. Task  groups met outside work time. Staff turnover more than halved from 58 per cent to 23 per cent and serviceimprovements accounted for several percentage points increase in revenue perroom.As for Voigt, his managerial credibility took a major step.  Sponsored by his general manager to speak atLegends in the Industry – an industry event for 500 general managers – hisprofile has been raised in a way he could not have imagined and the innovationhe inspired in his business has drawn considerable attention in the industry. Cliff mallardBenchmarking and testing brought the confidence to make a real contributionCliff Mallard is a business unit manager at Timken-Desford, a £25m-turnoverbusiness which employs 150 people in the manufacture of steel components forthe motor industry. A sustained period of sale and resale and the introduction of a lot ofchange added to the uncertainty and insecurity felt throughout the business. A major challenge was in the offing: the business needed him to reducevariable and compressible costs by 40 per cent in 18 months and it was clearthat reductions on this scale required radical changes. Mixing with others on a public management development programme,benchmarking and testing himself on the programme helped Mallard change the wayhe thought about his role and the real contribution he could to make. It gave him the confidence to take action and be prepared to make himselfmore prominent and visible. Freeing himself temporarily from the culture enabled him to find new ways ofthinking and behaving that supported fundamental organisational change. He cameto see, for example, that “disagreement doesn’t have to be conflict”,and that forcing decisions was not the way to achieve the radical changesnecessary.  The outcome? Two months ahead of target, the project has achieved a 39 percent cost reduction. As a result, the US parent has transfered manufacturing tothe plant, securing the future of the business. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Oxfam to revamp reward system to improve retention

first_img Previous Article Next Article Oxfam is revamping its pay and benefits structure, as well as enhancingstaff development to improve its retention worldwide. Andrew Thompson, director of international HR, said the charity had decidedto make changes to its rewards structure to combat high staff turnover,particularly outside the UK. Turnover among international management and other specialists is as high as60 per cent, creating significant recruitment and other associated costs. Thompson said that in some areas, such as Africa, no member of staff hasworked for the organisation for longer than two years. One of the measuresbeing taken is a reduction in the use of fixed-term contracts that, in someregions, are used to employ about three-quarters of staff. Thompson said: “On a fixed-term contract, people don’t feel emotionallyattached to the organisation. We needed measures that would create a morestable workforce and a greater sense of belonging.” The organisation, which typically paid 25 per cent less than the marketrate, has increased its basic pay to make it more competitive. Thompson is sure the extra investment will pay dividends. “We are spending far more money on the costs associated with turnoverthan we will eventually spend on [increasing wages],” he said. Oxfam is also beginning to use e-learning to improve the consistentdevelopment of its staff, regardless of where they are based. The charity hasstarted to embed a performance management system as a tool to measure andmotivate employees. “[Oxfam is] an organisation that is focused on getting the best out ofits staff in order to have as big an impact on poverty as possible,”Thompson said. By Quentin Reade Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Oxfam to revamp reward system to improve retentionOn 15 Oct 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Building on e-HR success

first_img Comments are closed. e-HR in action B&Q’s HR project manager, David Foote,explains how the DIY retailer is reaping the benefits of a solid e-HRinfrastructure with its SAP HR systemOn average, B&Q has 1,100 new joiners, 800 leavers and 10,000 contractchanges each month across its 320 UK stores. With a significant increase in thelabour force expected in the coming years, HR project manager David Foote knewhe had to find a way of easing the strain on the HR department by streamliningprocesses. That was in 2000, and while many companies are still debating the whys andwherefores of an e-HR strategy, B&Q leapt straight in. Foote’s willingnessto bite the bullet has meant that the number one DIY retailer in Europe isreaping the benefits of a solid e-HR infrastructure on which to build from bothan HR and business standpoint. “We needed to upgrade our HR technology to make sure we benefited fromextra functionality, increased accuracy of information, extended reportingmechanisms and streamlined processes,” says Foote. “Our SAP HR systemhas given us this.” To help achieve its aims, B&Q employed the services of HR specialistArinso UK, which has a track record in implementing SAP systems. Arinso madesure the design of the system was tailored to a store-based environment,encouraging exhaustive testing by the organisation. “We had two user testing groups – one that took 2,000 existing payrollrecords that were entered into SAP HR to see if the same pay figures werearrived at, while the other team was tasked with dreaming up wacky HR andpayroll scenarios to see how the technology reacted,” says Foote. “Wespent five months on this phase, but it was worth it as the first payroll wentsmoothly.” A working party was established to assess the best way to roll out SAP HR.The personnel administration and organisational management modules were rolledout first, with time management (which includes a clocking facility) followinglater. An interim solution was developed to allow the administration of the HRprocesses to be managed by the existing central HR team, but many tasks wouldeventually be devolved to store managers, and it was planned that each storewould be online to the SAP HR system via a PC. Roll-out to stores initially focused on the larger B&Q warehouses thatalready had mini HR infrastructures and strong administration capabilities andthen continued with the B&Q supercentres. Training on the systems and the reviewing and modernising of businessprocesses emerged as the major issues. The latter saw most of the HR work ableto be managed at local level, dispensing with manual reporting systems, whichhad involved duplication of effort. As well as increased capability, efficiency and access to information, Footeidentifies a major benefit of the system as putting the control of informationin the right hands as well as ultimately fulfilling the dream of making the HRfunction more strategic. “We have seen a substantial reduction in the number of pay queries andcalls to our support desk. Also, we anticipate being able to reduce our storestaff costs simply by giving managers accurate reporting of weekly costs,”he says. “The HR function across B&Q will increasingly be one ofexpert consultancy, providing advice, support and guidance to line managers onHR issues.” Despite positive reports one-HR, it still remains to be judged on itsability to provide a prompt return on investment. With pressure on the function to adopt the business partner’s approach, thisis hardly surprising, but as Wayne Carstensen, managing director of Arinso UK,points out, the less immediately apparent benefits should also be recognised. “Employee/management reviews, for instance, can be done online and thenprovide the basis for needs analysis and allow an organisation to workone-learning programmes and career-pathing,” he says. “E-HR is a strategic enabler and, as such, a part of the sharedservices and business process outsourcing options available to business to workin a more efficient manner, says Carstensen. “However, if an employer doesnot have a structured technology backbone it can become costly to implement andintegrate a holistic solution to realise benefits. The bottom line is thatlong-term benefits are achievable, but the actual timescales depend very muchon the organisation and industry.” Building on e-HR successOn 7 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

h&s briefs

first_imgh&s briefsOn 1 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Health and safety news in briefConstruction firms fined £37k for collision Four construction companies have been fined a total of £37,000 for breachesof health and safety legislation. It followed an incident in which two vehiclescollided on the A229 near Chatham, Kent, in November 2001. Costain, Skanska JVProjects, Mowlem and Ovendens Earthmoving all pleaded guilty to a breach ofduties. Building designers failing to cut out risks Building designers are still not doing enough to design out risk, the Healthand Safety Executive (HSE) has warned. Designers who went on site and consultedwith builders had a better appreciation of the problems created by some oftheir ideas. Manufacturing company breached regulations A manufacturing firm has been fined £1,000 for breaching manual handlingoperations regulations. Willowcrete, of Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, was finedafter the Health and Safety Executive found employees lifting concrete postsand lintels without having had manual handling assessments. last_img read more

MDLNY’s Kirsten Jordan heads back to Elliman from Compass

first_imgKirsten JordanA new year means a new firm and a new team for real estate agent Kirsten Jordan.The broker is leaving Compass and returning to Douglas Elliman, where she started out more than a decade ago. Jordan and Elliman’s top executives confirmed her move in a statement.Douglas Elliman executive chairman Howard Lorber“Kirsten is one of the leading agents working in our industry and we are thrilled to have her back,” said Howard Lorber, Elliman’s executive chairman.ADVERTISEMENTSteven James, Elliman’s chief executive in New York City, said the firm was “thrilled” to see Jordan rejoin the company.In a statement, Jordan said she was excited to be back. “Elliman is a powerhouse firm and with their global network, technology, marketing and public relations prowess,” she said, without addressing specifically why she left Compass. She declined to be interviewed.Douglas Elliman CEO Steven JamesJordan started her career at Elliman in 2008 on Sabrina Saltiel’s team and moved to Compass in 2017 to join Stephen Ferrara and Clayton Orrigo’s Hudson Advisory Team. She’s reportedly closed $100 million in new development deals.At Elliman, she’ll lead her own team, which includes Compass colleagues Theodore Dolan, Benjamin Anderson and Stefano Farsura. Farsura — who is Jordan’s husband — is also the managing partner of real estate investment and development firm Colonnade Group.Orrigo said the Hudson Advisory Team “wish Kristen nothing but success in both her future real estate endeavors and new television career.”A year ago, sources confirmed to The Real Deal that Jordan was the newest cast member and first woman to join the main cast of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.” Jordan and Elliman declined to comment on the show. Bravo did not immediately respond to request for comment.Read more“Million Dollar Listing New York” gets female starInterior designer Taylor Spellman launches show on Discovery+How real estate’s reality TV stars turn air time into dollars compassDouglas EllimanMillion Dollar ListingResidential Real Estate Message* Tags Share via Shortlink Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* It’s unclear when the next season, which would feature Jordan, will air. But cast member Tyler Whitman of Triplemint dropped a hint on his Instagram account in November that the next season would be “coming in the spring.”Jordan isn’t the only agent in the MDLNY universe to be making changes in recent months. Ryan Serhant, who’s been on the show since its first season, left Nest Seekers International in September to start his own firm. Ronita Kalra, who appeared on MDLNY in her capacity as Luis D. Ortiz’s business partner, left Elliman for Compass in December. Ortiz and Kalra ended their business together in 2019.Contact Erin Hudsonlast_img read more

Cerberus Capital, Stonemont Financial form $1B domestic industrial venture

first_img Tags Cerberus co-CEO Stephen Feinberg and Stonemont CEO Zack Markwell (iStock)Stonemont Financial Group and an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP have formed a joint venture to invest in the white-hot logistics sector.The partners want to buy as much as $1 billion worth of industrial real estate, according to Commercial Property Executive. So far, the two firms have purchased properties in Illinois, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee. They did not disclose their total investment in those properties.Stonemont manages around 15 million square feet of industrial real estate, while Cerberus has recently partnered with other firms on logistics investments, including LPC West and Provender Partners.The joint venture will target logistics properties with a particular eye toward last-mile distribution facilities, truck terminals, truck and trailer parking, and maintenance facilities.ADVERTISEMENTThe growth of e-commerce, spurred by the pandemic, has helped make those facilities one of strongest property types amid the broader economic downturn. Logistics accounted for 20 percent of global commercial real estate spending last year, compared to 15 percent in 2015. CBRE projects that logistics pricing will rise 68 percent by 2030.Cerberus has also been raising funds to take advantage of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The firm wants to quadruple the size of its new stressed and distressed credit fund to $750 million.[Commercial Property Executive] — Dennis Lynch  Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Commercial Real EstateIndustrial Real Estatelast_img read more

Late Cretaceous palaeoenvironments and biotas: an Antarctic perspective

first_imgThe Cretaceous period is often regarded as one of “greenhouse” warmth, with perhaps its acme occurring in the late Albian stage (100 Ma ago). However, it is now apparent that, even at this time, there were significant meridional temperature gradients and distinct temperate biotas in the highest latitude regions. This is particularly so in the Southern Hemisphere, where an extensive Albian fossil record from Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand has revealed the presence of austral floras and faunas. With the recent improvements in stratigraphical correlations, it has become possible to trace the later Cretaceous palaeoenvironmental record in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Unfortunately, resolution of the early Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian–Coniacian stages) is still imprecise; there are some indications of strongly differentiated palynological assemblages, but studies of both macrofaunas and palaeotemperature estimates are incomplete. By the Santonian–Campanian, high-latitude biotas are well developed in the James Ross Island region and their enhancement through the final stages of the Cretaceous can be linked to a phase of global cooling. The persistence of low diversity temperate communities in high latitude regions may be of considerable ecological and evolutionary significance. For example, there is evidence to suggest that these communities may have been more resistant to mass extinction events; they may also have been important source regions for replacement taxa that arose after such events.last_img read more

Population trends, breeding success and diet composition of gentoo Pygoscelis papua, magellanic Spheniscus magellanicus and rockhopper Eudyptes chrysocome penguins in the Falkland Islands

first_imgData on population size, breeding success and diet composition of gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) and rockhopper (Eudyptes chrysocome) penguins, collected as part of the Falkland Island Seabird Monitoring Programme from 1986/1987 to 1998/1999, were analysed with regard to spatial and temporal variation, as well as potential interaction with local commercial fisheries. No significant population trends were detectable, mainly because of the short time-series and large spatial and inter-annual variation in the number of breeding pairs in the colonies monitored. However, the breeding success of all three penguin species has improved slightly over the last few years, indicating a potential for increasing populations in the near future. During the breeding season, all three penguin species preyed opportunistically on a mixture of fish, squid and crustaceans. Diet composition too showed a high degree of spatial and temporal variation. However, in all three penguin species studied, squid gradually disappeared from the diet over successive years, to be replaced by fish. Coincidentally, the commercial catches of the squid species Loligo gahi in Falkland Islands waters decreased and the by-catch of nototheniid fish increased. All three penguin species compete directly with the commercial fishing fleet for L. gahi; however, there may also be competition for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), hake (Merluccius sp.) and southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis), because juveniles of these species were found regularly in penguin diets.last_img read more

Testing the SOC hypothesis for the magnetosphere

first_imgAs noted by Chang, the hypothesis of self-organised criticality provides a theoretical framework in which the low dimensionality seen in magnetospheric indices can be combined with the scaling seen in their power spectra and with observed plasma bursty bulk flows. As such, it has considerable appeal, describing the aspects of the magnetospheric fuelling:storage:release cycle which are generic to slowly-driven, interaction-dominated, thresholded systems rather than unique to the magnetosphere. In consequence, several recent numerical “sandpile” algorithms have been used with a view to comparison with magnetospheric observables. However, demonstration of SOC in the magnetosphere will require further work in the definition of a set of observable properties which are the unique “fingerprint” of SOC. This is because, for example, a scale-free power spectrum admits several possible explanations other than SOC. A more subtle problem is important for both simulations and data analysis when dealing with multiscale and hence broad-band phenomena such as SOC. This is that finite length systems such as the magnetosphere or magnetotail will by definition give information over a small range of orders of magnitude, and so scaling will tend to be narrow band. Here we develop a simple framework in which previous descriptions of magnetospheric dynamics can be described and contrasted. We then review existing observations which are indicative of SOC, and ask if they are sufficient to demonstrate it unambiguously, and if not, what new observations need to be made?last_img read more