Job Titles Can Open Doors

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Job Titles Can Open Doors

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Ian Borges
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Job titles don’t occupy much space - whether they’re on a business card, an email signature, a name plaque or someone’s LinkedIn profile. However, they have a tremendous impact on the identity of a person, what they can do and what the world around them expects from them. Though businesses are increasingly embracing alternative management practices, people will still covet hard-won top-level management positions and C-suite titles.   Those few words, describing what a person does, have an enormous effect on their egos, their job satisfaction, and purpose in life. Simply put, titles are short, albeit powerful, identities that people chisel for themselves over years spent climbing the corporate ladder. But titles aren’t made equally and neither are they equally efficient. Generally speaking, the efficiency of something - both tangible and intangible, is contingent upon not just its capacity to get things done, but also upon how quickly it can get results. In that sense, traditional C-suite titles are obviously more efficient than titles several rungs below on the corporate ladder.

The Problem With Top- Down Goal Setting

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The Problem With Top- Down Goal Setting

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Ian Borges
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When goals are set in a top-down manner, they can have unforeseen negative consequences. For example, employees feeling disengaged or no commitment towards achieving those goals. Perhaps, because they feel the goals are unattainable or find it difficult to relate to them. People particularly struggle to relate to the broad, organization-wide goals. More often than not, employees in a conventional, top-down company don’t feel connected to the goals and don’t engage with them in a meaningful way. The truth is employees in such organizations don’t necessarily relate the work they do to the success of the company. There’s an undercurrent of disassociation making people go about their work in an egocentric way, hoping and striving for a bonus, a raise or a promotion. However, when a company changes its goal-setting process and moves to a bottom-up approach, they will begin to see employees as real people and connect personally with them.    

Long-Term Budgets Do Nothing But Stifle Results

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Long-Term Budgets Do Nothing But Stifle Results

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Ian Borges
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Corporate budgeting is like astrology, predicting outcomes with certainty and prescribing ways to deal with events that are yet to materialize. And, managers are often so committed to their own forecasts that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make them real - often at the cost of the company’s overall profits. In other words, corporate budgeting is a tedious mix of numbers, never-ending meetings and strained deliberations which drain valuable time and incentivizes corporate deceit. Basing the budgets on long-term projections introduces into the equation multiple variables nobody can control. More often than not, managers resort to lying and cheating so that they can set low targets and achieve results that therefore, seem tremendous. When every executive approaches the budget with a hidden agenda, the situation quickly devolves into people playing against each other. Rampant distrust festers and incentives meant to motivate performance get distorted, often risking the best interests of the company.  

The Secret Sauce To Semco’s Success

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The Secret Sauce To Semco’s Success

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Ian Borges
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Most people, working in conventionally managed organizations, tend to ignore the imbalances in their personal and professional lives until the moment something goes wrong. It’s a highly reactionary attitude that leads to high-strung situations, deep regrets and a drained return to the workforce. Research invariably shows that people who are unable to dedicate enough time for their personal lives tend to be employees who are physically present, yet mentally absent. And it works both ways: People who work in high stress environments often find all that negativity reflecting on their personal lives, disrupting their familial and social relationships.  

A Fine Balance: Semco's Foray Into Self-Management With Minimal Hierarchy

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A Fine Balance: Semco's Foray Into Self-Management With Minimal Hierarchy

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Ian Borges
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The latest fad to hit the business world seems to be self-management. Every company wants to join the bandwagon and call themselves a “fully self-managed organization”, a “team of teams” or a “flat organization with no bosses”. While it’s not hogwash, neither is it the entire truth. Today, a fully self-managed organization is still more myth than reality. Of course, there are certain companies within specific contexts that have been able to function as truly self-managed organizations. But implicit hierarchies continue to exist even within such organizations. On the other hand, an organization with a minimum level of hierarchy, that is mature about how flat it can stretch itself, is closer to reality. Such organizations are neither completely flat nor conventionally hierarchical; their minimal hierarchies work like subsets in a Venn diagram, intersecting when necessary while existing and functioning independently. They have the best of both worlds, where dramatically reduced power distances and responsibility for results co-exist. And although they have a minimal hierarchical skeleton, the organization is nimble enough to respond rapidly to fluid market environments; it innovates strategically; and holds itself together with a central purpose.    

Hiring Adults? How About Treating Them As Adults Too?

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Hiring Adults? How About Treating Them As Adults Too?

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Ian Borges
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If you’re a manager or a C-level executive, take a minute to consider this: Who do you think works for you? An adult who is capable of sound decisions and strong actions? Or, a (wo)man-child who needs hand-holding every step of a process? If you chose the second option, you’re probably wrong. Most corporate cultures have infantilized the workplace so much that there’s hardly any room for innovative risk-taking; boarding-school like conformity to rules; and no freedom to take autonomous decisions that may sometimes end in failure.

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