Fistful of beans 05/11/2011

Four of things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results:

1. Think About Diversity of Thought — Diversity Executive Magazine

Organizations have cultural norms that employees are expected to work within.  Ideas presented by employees need become judged on value, not judged on the different perspectives they represent.  Thought diversity introduces not only different viewpoints, but also differences in approach and how individuals look at the world through that lens of experience.

This diversity of thought then becomes both commercially valuable and helpful to the overall organization’s culture.

In 2009 I had some thoughts around qualitative diversity and cognitive diversity when I wrote Diversity facade and Diversity facade, diversity hijacked.  Both originally inspired by a white paper I authored while at Deloitte Consulting.

2. New Efficiencies in Health Care? Not Likely — Wall Street Journal

In this author’s experience of the British health care system all attempts to reduce bureaucracy increase it, and the same goes for cost.  This doctor takes a look at America’s current attempts and options discussed and compares these to what he has lived and worked within under the British system.

On paper, prevention always seems much cheaper than cure. Health-care economists prove it very elegantly and convincingly over and over again.

Unfortunately, the world always proves to be more complex and refractory than the theories of even the best economists.

Though this is an editorial, it is not simply a rant, but well-presented ideas along innovation, policy, and circumstances any change battles with.

A cautionary tale for any change agent.

3. Gone but Not Forgotten — CFO Magazine

in the late 1990s online job boards had an appeal to employers for low-cost executive recruiting compared with using headhunters. But now these job boards are at the point of being very “noisy” — both in the number of resumes and the increased cost of using the boards.

Professionals say rehires and referrals are the 2 least-expensive ways to line up talent, human-resources.  Using an alumni network as a means of hiring former employees, or those referred by them, costs far less than other recruiting methods.  Outside recruiters, for example, charge up to 1/3rd of a new hire’s 1st-year cash compensation.

Hiring ex-employees or referrals is 50% to 60% cheaper than the average for new hires.  Alumni strategies also produces higher-quality candidates because they are also already vetted.

Gartner estimates that no more than 5% of  businesses with at least 1,000 employees use alumni-management software.

  • Rehired employees need far less time to acclimate to the company’s environment and culture and allows them to quickly begin contributing;
  • Rehired employees tend to stay with the company longer, since they made a conscious decision to join an organization whose culture they were already familiar with; and
  • The retention rate for rehired employees is about 2 times as high as for others.

4. Collaboration:  The mother of invention — The Boston Globe, Ideas section

It’s long been thought that proximity fosters fruitful encounters among researchers.  A recent paper showed just how powerful it can be.  An analysis of a decade of Harvard biomedical research collaborations found that the closer the offices of key research partners, the more influential their joint papers were likely to be.

The proximity study was part of an effort to decipher the recipe for innovation, and what makes a city like Boston excel at it while other cities lag:

  • Is it a certain density of universities,
  • the volume of federal grants or venture capital, or
  • a lifestyle that attracts creative people?

Boston researchers, for example, do not author the most papers in scientific journals. But Boston outranks other cities for research published in the most respected journals.

Boston produces an outsized share of scientific breakthroughs. Researchers working side by side is a big reason why.  Good thoughts for not only regional proximity, but inter-office proximity.

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Comments 2

  1. Amazing things can happen when you do not focus on who gets the credit – The give and take of collaboration can be magical and can surgew a new dimensions in solutions and implementation.

    1. The biggest challenge is to manage sans ego. Facilitating collaboration is the most fun for me, because I enjoy providing a space for people to share with confidence and to hear that their thought was allowed to form.

      Many times managing without an ego is as simple as letting a voice be heard, in earnest.  So often in organizations, people have stopped listening or have spent too much time saying things they believe others want to hear, not what they believe themselves.

      An organization’s greatest asset is collaboration.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to post Jane.

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