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August 2014
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Book news

Mick contributed to "New Eyes: The Human Side of Change Leadership".

Mick addresses the leadership implications of Big Data, and suggests its value can best be realised by enterprises fully embracing customer centricity and creating strong networks of innovation.

He then shows how the 4Es leadership framework can enable organisational change to capitalise on this revolution.

Get the bookNew Eyes

mick on ..


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CMI & All-Party Parliamentary Commission on the future of Management and Leadership

APPGMEarlier this year, I was pleased to be asked to give oral evidence to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Commission (APPGM) on the future of Management and Leadership.

The report (download via this link) was released yesterday, and was announced at an event in Parliament. It is very thorough, research based and offers practical ways forward for business, individuals and Government.

From the press release:

Major report outlines plan to defuse ‘ticking time bomb of myopic management’

Commission on Management and Leadership issues rallying call for a Better Managed Britain

Employers across the country need to focus on their “Purpose, People and Potential” to improve the UK’s long-term economic prospects, according to a major new report from a group of leading managers and parliamentarians. The Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership – founded by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – warns that “myopic management” is a millstone around the neck of the economy and is threatening the UK’s global competitiveness.

Management 2020

The Commission’s report – Management 2020: leadership to unlock long-term growth brings together interviews and expert testimony from more than 60 individuals and organisations, plus data from a new CMI survey of over 2,000 business leaders and managers. It pinpoints a crisis in management. More than half of leaders (57%) surveyed admit their organisation performs poorly or could do better on key measures and the Commission concludes that short-sighted, short-termist behaviour is squeezing out the long-term, visionary approach needed to achieve real growth.

The Commission is calling for employers to learn from the way that leading companies focus on three key areas:

  • Purpose – companies need to define their long-term aims beyond just making money or hitting targets. Yet only 37% say their CEO is rewarded for delivering value to all stakeholders, rather than solely on meeting narrow financial targets. Witnesses to the Commission like Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman – whose global business recently recorded a 9% rise in annual pre-tax profits – argue that businesses with broader non-financial objectives will actually enjoy stronger financial returns than those who only set out to maximise profits.
  • Peoplewhen it comes to developing people it’s a case of ‘too little, too late’. Government data shows that the UK labour market will need 1 million new managers by 2020* – yet 71% of the leaders surveyed by CMI confess they could do better at training first-time managers, or don’t train them at all. This could leave 150,000 employees a year taking on management roles without adequate preparation. Employers are also neglecting mentoring and coaching: less than a quarter (24%) of respondents said their organisations do this well or very well, despite persuasive testimony from witnesses like Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, about its effectiveness in helping managers improve their skills and impact at work.
  • PotentialUK plc is not investing enough to develop the potential of the next generation of managers and leaders. More than half (57%) of managers admit their organisation does not offer young people work experience and a further 64% confirm that their employer does not report on how their organisation is working with schools, colleges or universities, or does so poorly. With youth unemployment still high, a radical new approach is needed. The Commission heard from witnesses like Kim Winser OBE, founder of fashion company Winser London, who encourages every division of her company to hire a young person who has just left education.

Commenting on the findings Peter Ayliffe, CMI President and co-chair of the Commission, said: “We’re faced with a ticking time bomb of myopic management in this country, with widespread under-investment in the next generation of leaders. We’ve got some brilliantly managed organisations in the UK, but there are simply not enough of them. Unless all of us responsible for leading businesses, public services and charities acknowledge that we are at a tipping point and commit to being part of a Better Managed Britain, the nation’s sustainable long-term growth opportunities will not be fulfilled. Without a genuine focus on the three critical areas of purpose, people and potential, we cannot hope to build a sustainable economy – nor a cohesive and prosperous society from which everyone benefits.”

The report also includes key recommendations for government. It focuses in particular on how the education system and employers can work together to help young people develop the skills needed to become the leaders of the future.

Barry Sheerman MP, Commission Co-Chair and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management, says: “We’ve got to do better at developing young people’s potential. First, employability needs to be embedded in education, with managers providing more chances to gain real-life experience about the workplace. Second, government should work with partners to help build exchange networks, helping employers to set up work placements and share ideas with each other and with schools, colleges and universities. We heard from many employers who can see the damage that’s being done by youth employment and it’s clear that we can do more to train, nurture and mentor the management stars of the future.”

Government should also encourage employers to address their purpose, people and potential in annual reporting. Sheerman adds: “Encouraging employers to report on how they’re fulfilling their social purpose and developing their people will help them focus on management and the work that’s required to achieve sustainable growth in the long-term.”

The CMI has developed a new Management 2020 Benchmarking Tool to shine a spotlight on the areas identified by the Commission. Completely free to use, managers can assess their organisation and see how they compare to the national average. It provides a tailored read-out for any organisation, allowing them to identify specific areas for improvement – and participants will be invited to review and track their progress after a year.

The tool is here .

CMI Chief Executive, Ann Francke, adds: “With the UK economy at last coming out of its five-year slump, it’s the perfect time to put the spotlight on management. We’ve got some fantastic organisations in this country, but no sector will fulfil its potential without a root-and-branch reappraisal of what good management looks like. The Commission has showed how we can raise our game. By using the Management 2020 Benchmarking Tool, every leader can set their own goals based on purpose, people and potential. Improve performance in these critical areas and we’ll be well on the way to creating a Better Managed Britain.”

Miss Daisy and Mr. Jerk - Wally Bock

Mr Jerk

Another great post by Wally Bock

I was pushing my shopping cart down the aisle on my early morning errand run. One of the store workers was just ahead of my pulling a large stocking cart. Suddenly, she left the cart in the middle of the aisle and sprinted around the corner. I waited.

A couple of minutes later she was back. She immediately noticed that she’d left her cart blocking my way. She apologized and moved the cart.

“You took off running,” I said, “was there an emergency?”

She laughed. “Oh noooo,” she said. “That was Mr. Jerk. He yelled for me to come. Everything’s an emergency with him.”

Actually, she used the person’s real name. I’ve dubbed him “Mr. Jerk” because it seems appropriate. I made a note on my recorder to use the incident as a bad example some day. But, as fate would have it, things got more interesting and I didn’t have to wait.

I finished shopping, rolled up to checkout, and got in line. I was waiting my turn when I heard Mr. Jerk’s voice calling one of the cashiers. Suddenly, Miss Daisy appeared.

Miss Daisy supervises the cashiers and she’s one of the best supervisors I’ve ever seen in action. She motioned to the cashier to stay put, then went up to Mr. Jerk. They had an animated conversation that I couldn’t hear.

It was an interesting contrast. Mr. Jerk was clearly higher on the org chart than Miss Daisy. I know that because he was wearing a tie and carrying one of those walkie-talkies that retail muckety-mucks favor. Miss Daisy wears a nametag that says, “Supervisor.” She was also much shorter than Mr. Jerk. It dawned on me that, in addition to a contrast in size and gender and position, they were also a contrast in leadership styles.

  • Miss Daisy asks team members questions. Mr. Jerk demands attention.
  • Miss Daisy goes to her team members. Mr. Jerk calls for them to come to him.
  • Miss Daisy is all about what her team members need. Mr. Jerk cares way more about his needs.
  • Miss Daisy decreases stress. Mr. Jerk causes stress.
  • Miss Daisy helps. Mr. Jerk orders.
  • Miss Daisy protects her team from Mr. Jerk. I suspect that she does it at some personal risk.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Be like Miss Daisy. Don’t be like Mr. Jerk

Original post

Facebook and Academic Research Ethics

Sheryl Sandberg

From The Guardian

“Facebook’s second most powerful executive, Sheryl Sandberg, has apologised for the conduct of secret psychological tests on nearly 700,000 users in 2012, which prompted outrage from users and experts alike.

The experiment, revealed by a scientific paper published in the March issue of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, hid “a small percentage” of emotional words from peoples’ news feeds, without their knowledge, to test what effect that had on the statuses or “likes” that they then posted or reacted to.

“This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated,” said Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer while in New Delhi. “And for that communication we apologise. We never meant to upset you.”

What surprises me on this is not so much that Facebook did something “creepy” and without user consent, as it’s not the first time.

I am however very surprised that the academic research community accepted this research and subsequent paper from an ethical viewpoint. “Informed consent” is not something just assumed in the small print.

See The

On the face of it, what happened violates academic research principles. Let’s see how this unfolds.

“Do emotions spread contagiously?” We needed to research that? Ever got upset when a friend or family member is already upset? Some things are just too obvious to need research.

Seems to me this research REALLY was about how to manipulate people’s emotions in social media – which is a) a different research question b) profoundly unethical without informed consent and c) not what Facebook has a right to do.

See Adam Kramer’s bio .. the Facebook scientist concerned. Adam Kramer

Social Media data and real time analytics - UK Parliament Select Committee

Image from Science and Technology Committee

Mick gave oral evidence at the UK Parliament Science and Technology Select Committee for their inquiry into Social media data and real time analytics. He was doing this as Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, representing the new Consumer Data Research Centre.

The University of Leeds had previously submitted written evidence. Key points were:

  • Big Data and Social Media analysis will allow UK businesses and the Government to gain and maintain an edge in understanding and responding to consumer and citizen demands. Social Media data provides individual and attitudinal understanding, complementing but not replacing formal, census-type data sets.
  • Social Media represents a positive opportunity for Government to communicate and inform, including in cases of public emergency and safety.
  • More can be done to encourage broad, public understanding of the positive benefits of data analytics.
  • Government investment is needed to overcome a dearth of training, providing direction in educational programmes which emphasizes the combination of data analytics with business skills. The new discipline of Data Science needs to be embraced and taught – “part analyst, part artist” with social and business contextual understanding, rather than just a pure technology focus.
  • Ethical concerns are real, and include the gaining of informed consent, security, and use of the data in the public interest.

As background, the Science and Technology Committee exists to ensure that Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence. It is unusual amongst departmental select committees in that it scrutinises the Government Office for Science, which is a “semi-autonomous organisation” based within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The panel, on June 18th, was focused on how social media data and the use of real-time analytics could improve governance and social provision. The previous panel focused on how economic benefits might be realised through the use of social media data and real-time analytics.

Panel 1

Timo Hannay, Managing Director, Digital Science
Carl Miller, Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media, Demos
Sureyya Cansoy, Director, Tech for Business and Consumer Programmes, techUK

Panel 2

Professor John Preston, Professor of Education, University of East London
Professor Mick Yates, Visiting Professor, Consumer Data Research Centre, University of Leeds
Dr Ella McPherson, Research Fellow, University of Cambridge

All proceedings are recorded and quickly made available to the public.

Here is the video of the June 18th session. The second panel, with Prof. Preston, Dr. McPherson and Mick starts at 10:35 in the video.