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Big Data: Catch the 40-Foot Wave

Half a century before Facebook and a quarter century before the Internet, a social anthropologist named John Barnes was the first to identify the concept of social networks. He spent time with the residents of a remote Norwegian fishing village, tracing their family trees and interrelationships. (“Net” was an apt usage—after all, they were fishermen.)

Today we don’t need to go knocking on rugged, windswept doors and inquiring who someone’s cousin,

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Happiness is a Bigger Ping-Pong Paddle

Do you feel sometimes that life is coming at you too fast, like a bunch of speeding Ping-Pong balls? The solution: build a bigger paddle. So says Shawn Achor, former Harvard instructor and New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage. 

Achor describes a fascinating study in which players of Pong—one of the earliest video games—were unknowingly given bigger or smaller paddles. Those with the larger paddles actually perceived the ball to be moving more slowly even though it wasn’t—so they felt more confident of success.

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Corporate Culture: Measuring the Un-measurable

About 80% of all mergers and acquisitions crash and burn—for two main reasons. The first is that technical processes such as IT don’t match. The second is that the corporate cultures don’t match. Companies almost always assess the first factor, but they normally don’t assess culture. Why not? Because they don’t know how.

Work culture is largely invisible to people inside an organization. But Kim Cameron, associate dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business,

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Change is a Constant, But You Can Stack the Deck for Success

“I did what I had to do: I downsized a 25,000-person company by 10,000 people. But I was slow and uncertain, and had trouble coping with this new reality of my job. I was emotionally paralyzed…I had stopped leading change, and instead I became a change that someone else needed to make.”

In Pottruck’s new book Stacking the Deck: How to Lead Breakthrough Change Against Any Odds, he presents leaders with a 9-step course of action that he says will inspire meaningful,

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CLOs and Measuring ROI: They Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Do you remember the cry, “We’re not worthy!” of the Wayne and Garth characters from SNL’s Wayne’s World skit, when the wild-haired teens kowtowed at the feet of a famous rock star?

Unfortunately, “we’re not worthy” is also the silent cry of many corporate chief learning officers these days.

It’s because they’re internalizing the fact that—to paraphrase the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield—“they don’t get no respect” from the C-suite.

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Parachuting Into the Gap in the Air Sandwich: Leaders as Teachers

I didn’t know what an “air sandwich” was when I first heard the term. A new weight-loss plan? Or perhaps like an “air guitar,” except you pantomime eating lunch?

It’s actually what Nilofer Merchant—who coined the term in her book The New How—calls that disconnect between what management (at the top) thinks employees should be doing, and what employees (at the bottom) are actually doing. That’s where the air gets in.

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IPhone Siri and Angela Duckworth = Rethinking Leadership And Talent Development?

Yesterday, a guy in his early 30s was relating a story to my hair stylist as his 5-year-old sat in the chair for his summer buzz cut. 

“It saved my life,” he said passionately.  “I really do think it saved my life.”

He was waving his IPhone 4S around and talking about Siri.  Since I hadn’t gotten a full demonstration of Siri capabilities, I wondered how this nameless, faceless,

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Learn PwC’s Secret (May 16) To Find New, High Potential Business Ideas And Top Talent To Carry Them Out

Finding great ideas and emerging talent deep within the layers of a huge, global organization can seem like searching for a needle in an ever-expanding haystack.

Look at the difficult problems associated with finding great talent.  Talent processes often rely on observations and reportage from increasingly busy managers who must first recognize, and second, shine the light on up-and-coming professionals and future leaders.  It takes years to develop a capable senior leader. 

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Are You A Seeker Or A Solver? (You Can Find Out May 15 At The University of Pennsylvania)

Sounds like two characters in a Harry Potter novel, right?  But Seekers and Solvers are actually two critical roles in open innovation tournaments.   Challenges are presented by organizations, or well, anyone who has a tough problem.  On one open innovation site problems include things like:

  • Products that Enable The Elderly to Fulfill Their Potential (awards vary)
  • Non-permanent Room Heating Solutions – ($20,000)
  • Measuring Weight of Live Animals – ($50,000)

The third problem on the list above –

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10 Design Ideas For the Future Of Leadership Development And CapGemini Metaphor

CorpU featured a fantastic presentation by Ling Sian Tan who leads the Capgemini Design Centre of Excellence, on how Capgemini is using social learning as a new platform for leadership development. A metaphor Ling used to describe organizations’ current adoption rate for developing social learning programs was a swimming pool, where companies are either:

  • still sitting at the bar discussing the possibilities of social learning, (25%)
  • about to dive in,
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