HCL Technologies had a successful history when Vineet Nayar took over as CEO in 2005. But changes in the IT services market had made it harder for the company to match the success of its biggest competitors. Nayar believed a radical management transformation was necessary to change the company's future, but he didn't have a grand plan for how to achieve this.
We've all learned valuable management lessons from the mistakes of BP's chief executive Tony Hayward. Hayward has made a science out of putting his foot in his mouth and claiming ignorance of most matters that took place under his watch. It's certainly not easy being a leader when disaster strikes, but his ineptness and insensitivity makes me think he was probably not a very good leader even before the oil spill occurred.
One of my favorite management experts, Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, is currently working on a book called "Good Boss, Bad Boss" (coming out in September). In a recent blog at Harvard Business Review, Sutton listed 12 key beliefs held by the best bosses. It's a great list and I recommend reading them all , but I'll focus on just a few of my favorites here:
What's the toughest problem that your organization has tried to solve without success? Well it's just possible that a solution has been found already but no one in your organization knows about it. If this is true, then how do you go about finding these hidden solutions? A new book "The Power of Positive Deviance" by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin and Monique Sternin offers a plan.
The authors admit that the term positive deviance is "an awkward, oxymoronic term," but they say the concept is simple: "look for outliers who succeed against all odds." Positive deviance (PD) focuses on the successful exceptions to solving a problem and not the failing norms. For example, if you hear managers saying, "We've tried everything and nothing works," then this could be a problem solvable by taking a PD approach. Generally, the authors say, there's at least one person that has solved the problem that confounds others. This person is deviating from the norm-a "no-no" in many organizations-but has managed to get better results than others in the organization without even realizing they've done something unique.
Have you noticed how quickly you adapt to new technology and then become dependent on it? I know this is true for me when it comes to writing. I can no longer write longhand. To think I must type. I feel as if my brain and fingers are now connected and if I want to think something through I have to type out my thoughts on my computer.
Reading about the oil spill in the Gulf is disheartening on so many levels. The damage done to sea life, the environment, and to the livelihoods of fisherman in the affected area is catastrophic. The damage dealt to our faith in technology and the ability of our technicians to fix anything is less long lasting, but still leaves one with a sense of vulnerability.
For years corporate IT drove technological innovation - and had the huge budgets to prove it. Those days are largely over and now innovation is coming from the consumer market in the form of new devices, applications and means of access. Are IT departments ready for this change or are they in danger of staying behind their firewalls and becoming dinosaurs, unable to serve the needs of their employees?
According to four Booz & Co. authors, in an article ("Friendly Takeover: The Consumerization of Corporate IT") in the Booz publication Information Technology Foresight, "The dikes built by corporate IT departments to protect their companies from the outside world...and to restrict employees from the distractions of the Internet are springing ever-larger leaks."Employees, especially younger, Web savvy ones, are demanding the right to use new devices to do their jobs. Refusing to do so, the authors say, "is not a winning strategy," since it can lead to a loss of employee morale, loyalty and innovation.