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.
The upset race for the Senate seat of Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown demonstrates how tenuous political support is. Just a short time ago Coakley was way ahead in the polls, but in politics change is rapid. Even President Obama's trip to Massachusetts on Sunday couldn't stem the tide of sentiment against the Democrat's candidate. While studies show that Americans like President Obama personally, support for his policies has declined significantly in his first year in office. People are concerned about jobs, the economy, and the deficit and overhauling health care is not their highest priority.
Companies throw around buzz words like collaboration, open innovation and transparency with ease. But the task of implementing a new form of management based on the principles of the open source movement is daunting. Any company that thinks they can do it without a significant change in the way that knowledge is shared and controlled is fooling itself. Getting it right, however, could provide a company with a winning edge over their competition.
Leadership is no popularity contest, to be sure. However, the workplace is after all a social environment. It makes sense, therefore, that leaders with positive informal social connections with their direct reports turn up with better results.
An article in the autumn issue of “strategy + business” magazine ("The Talent Innovation Imperative" by DeAnne Aguirre, Laird Post and Sylvia Ann Hewlett) says that many companies are held back by an “old model of talent management” that is “grounded in 20th century assumptions about people and the workplace.” These companies have not adjusted to the new global priorities and to a workforce that is largely made up of women and non-white employees. The authors note that white males now make up less than 20 percent of the educated global talent pool and potential managers in North America and Western Europe are outnumbered “more than three-to-one by their counterparts from the rest of the world.”