Issue #18
#18 - On organizational resilience, learning -- and (forced) adaptation
May 20, 2022

What's up, everybody?

As divergent as Usman and my career paths have been, one way to look at them is as two pursuits of resiliency. And given the off-the-charts uncertainty and volatility in the world right now, suffice to say -- we talk a lot about resiliency these days:

What does it mean to be a resilient organization? How do we build resiliency, as individuals? What roles do curiosity, adaptation and learning play? What does it mean to have a resilient career over the long-term?

This week, we start off with a look at the trait one company - of 700 thousand employees - considers most critical to assess for. [Spoiler: it's got to do with resilience.]

Then we're on to a management crisis, and the radical split of the traditional manager role -- into two, separate roles -- that a a major telco firm is piloting in response. With so-far-bullish results!

And we end with a Kawasaki factory in the U.S. that's been producing since the '70's, but has been forced by the tight labor supply to -- wait for it -- adapt what it offers in order to attract talent. Check out the CNN clip below to see the "innovation" they came up with. ↓

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Aki & Usman


#resilience #learning #curiosity

First, can we take a moment to try and fathom what it's like to work at — much less helm — a company of 700,000 employees? A firm that added 200,000 new hires in just the past 18 months? 🤯

Julie Sweet does just that, as the CEO of Accenture. What's the #1 trait they look for, in new grads and leadership hires alike? According to Sweet, it's learning agility. 👆🏻 Turns out, that's a helpful attribute to have when 40% of the skills that were relevant way, way back in 2017 -- are now obsolete.

Double 🤯.


#resilience #adaptation #ManagementCrisis #management2.0

The authors, Dianne Gherson and Linda Gratton, are the former Chief HR Officer of IBM, and an academic, respectively. And the article is well the read for the sobering description of the mismatch between the demands now placed on managers, the stress that those demands put on them -- and how woefully inadequate more iterative evolutions of the manager role then become.

What Gherson and Gratton advocate, instead, is pretty radical stuff: the bifurcation of the manager role into two distinct roles, held by two different managers: a leader of people and a leader of work. The roles are complete peers to one another, and are compensated identically. The kicker? Employees are giving the change "rave reviews".

Who knows if it's the "right" solve. What there's less doubt about is that the management crisis is real, and this is one, bold idea.


#reslience #adaptation #desperation #wellness

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of all invention. Apparently it also delivers innovation in the workplace. The link above is to a CNN clip on a Kawasaki factory in Nebraska that just began offering a 9am-2pm shift to attract workers and accommodate their early-morning school runs, and the need to be home when school lets out in the afternoon.

This feels like a "What took so long to offer something like this?" type of experiment. Of course, what it took was the most acute shortage of talent in decades. And, by the way, a pandemic-jilted labor force that seems to be saying: "You know what, it's just not worth it to us anymore if you're offering what you always have. We're staying home".

Whether the Kawasaki experiment sustains -- or a downturn swings the leverage the other way, and knock workers off that stance -- is a fair question. And one we might soon be able to answer.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week! 🙏🏻

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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