THE HQ COMPANIES BLOG

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STRUCTURAL HOLES:
SHIFTING SANDS OF LOYALTY

How can you trust a country, an organization, a company, or an individual who today is your ally—loyal and aligned to your interests—yet who tomorrow might be your adversary?

The answer lies in Ana Dutra’s July 8, 2019 Forbes article “The 3 Flavors of Trust in the Workplace” and also in The University of Chicago Professor Ronald S. Burt’s “structural holes” research into the ways that social networks create competitive advantage in careers, organizations, and markets.

WHY LOYALTIES SHIFT: Opportunities occur in markets and organizations where there is an opening for an idea, a different approach...and a country, an organization/company, or an individual(s) seizes that opportunity, filling the “hole” in the structural organization...
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BEST PERFORMANCE TIPS
HOW THE 1908 YERKES-DODSON LAW CAN HELP YOU TODAY

The 111-year old Yerkes-Dodson Law is NOT a law, it’s not even statistically significant, and yet it’s really quite useful for making what you want to happen actually occur.

The Yerkes-Dodson Law is a variation on Goldilocks and The Three Bears:
  • If you have “too little” arousal/stress/engagement, you will under-perform.
  • If you have “too much” arousal/stress/engagement, you will under-perform.
  • If you have the “just right” level of arousal/stress/engagement, you will reach your best/optimal performance in whatever you are trying to achieve.

The problem with the Yerkes-Dodson Law is that “just right” varies from situation to situation, stimuli to stimuli, and individual to individual...so how do you figure out what the “just right” is for yourself in whatever you’re trying to achieve?...
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NEW TECHNOLOGIES: SUCCESS OR FAILURE?
KATHY AT THE AICPA ENGAGE CONFERENCE 2019

Would you like your finance functions to be among the over 80% who fail when implementing a digital transformation?1

A digital transformation is a term that means “creating a new business and/or shareholder value by shifting a current business to the most up-to-date technologies.” It’s the latest rage and a big valid concern for many companies facing disruptors, potential or current.

The businesses and finance functions that have succeeded in implementing digital transformations share a number of key factors in common...
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ORG DESIGN'S MISSING LINK

“Organizational design is a step-by-step methodology which identifies dysfunctional aspects of work flow, procedures, structures and systems, realigns them to fit current business realities/goals and then develops plans to implement the new changes. The process focuses on improving both the technical and people side of the business...”

Early on, researchers operationalized the theory (despite the likelihood that Burns and Stalker intended their theory to be an abstract model) AND focused on the structural elements, giving far less attention to the employee experience...

Since the employee experience was minimized in practice and an intended abstract was used as a reality, start your organizational design with confidential qualitative interviews with employees...
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HUMAN CAPITAL FOR BOARD / CAREER / CORPORATE GROWTH

The term “human capital” has evolved away from being a “coldly euphemistic way to mean ’labor force,’” away from being an “even colder [meaning of]” “calculating causalities of war” to mean “something broader than ‘workforce,’” according to Merriam-Webster. It is in this broader context that The HQ Companies have embraced the term in their new tag line:
“All About Human Capital for Board Growth, Career Growth, & Corporate Growth.”
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AVOIDING CORPORATE CRISES

“This is not a pipe” says Rene Magritte’s famous painting in French under his realistic depiction of a pipe...

When companies and/or people forget that models—no matter how well they are crafted with numbers, words, and/or images—are not reality, crises occur. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the subject of my blog Your Office—The Next Cuban Missile Crisis?, describes a real incident between two governments where different government departments were using different models to take actions that could have easily led to nuclear war—and these actions were undertaken without the knowledge of the leaders of those nations...

Emanuel Derman in his recent book Models. Behaving. Badly. provides many more examples of disaster in economics, politics, social policies, movements, and finance resulting from when leaders confuse models with reality...
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YOUR OFFICE—THE NEXT CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS?

“Information does not pass from the tentacle to the top of the organization instantaneously. Facts can be in the system without being available to the head of the organization. Information must be winnowed at every step up the organizational hierarchy…but those who decide which information the boss shall see rarely see their bosses’ problems.”

This statement in Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis by Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow captures one of the core messages of this book that’s applicable to today’s business executives...

In the meantime, if you’re a senior executive—thinking about where and how in your organization information is not getting to you or reaching you winnowed of vital facts—reviewing your organization’s communication flows to determine how you want to manage such crises before they happen is a good first step...
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