Gustavo Pospischel, Senior Director of Core Mobile Engineering at Sears Holdings Corporation, spoke recently with MIT Sloan Executive Education about his experience on campus, why he chose MIT Sloan, and the benefits he received from the programs.
One famous scene from the movie Five Easy Pieces shows Jack Nicholson ordering a side of whole-wheat toast with his omelet at a diner. He’s then informed that the system doesn’t allow sides of toast. So he orders a chicken salad sandwich on whole-wheat toast—without butter, lettuce, mayonnaise, and chicken.
Nearly everyone recognizes what’s wrong with the “system” in this scenario—the customer doesn’t easily get what he wants. But the traditional approach to “fixing” this might be to simply add more options for what the customer might want. That change would impact the diner’s ordering system, the inventory needed in the kitchen, and even how the kitchen staff cooks. So sometimes it’s easier to simply say, “the system doesn’t work that way,” or, in other words, “no substitutions allowed.”
Google “HR” and “seat at the table” and you’ll find articles from nearly ten years ago lamenting why the human resources function does not have such a seat—in other words, it has little voice in the executive suite. Part of the reason may be how HR practitioners view themselves. The 2013 State of Talent Managers Report from New Talent Management Network found that “the modest and siloed career ambitions among those in HR suggests that we must either meaningfully shift how we grow HR talent or become comfortable having marginal impact…[as a result] talent leaders will likely develop more myopic and less strategic solutions.”
There is great potential if companies can change how they view HR—and how HR views itself. Commenting on President Obama’s plans to improve the economy by strengthening the manufacturing sector, Tom Kochan, Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan, told HR Executive Online, “One of the most important factors in [the manufacturing industry’s] success is HR.”
The workforce is generally made up of two types of workers: blue-collar workers, mostly working for an hourly wage, and white-collar workers who tend to be salaried. But some trends in the overall labor market indicate we might be creating another class of worker. These new workers are part of the “Gig Economy,” which seems to be crossing—or in some cases, blurring—the lines between the blue-collar worker and the white-collar worker.
When it comes to manufacturing in today’s economy, increased automation in manufacturing plants may seem like a given. Factories first opened their doors to modern industrial robots in 1961 when Unimate—a 4,000-pound (1,814-kilogram) arm attached to a giant steel drum—joined the General Motors workforce, and they have since become a mainstay of mass production. When a job is just right for a robot, productivity tends to increase dramatically.
However, not all companies are going the way of automation on the assembly line, especially when trading humans for machines goes against their brand.
Younger than their tenured colleagues, only a few years older than their students, and still having to prove themselves both as professors and leaders in their field, young professors face added stress. However, a select few thrive in this pressure cooker, outperforming senior teaching staff, winning the admiration of their students, and producing standout scholarship.
Poets&Quants’ “Top 40 Under 40″ recognizes these rising stars—young professors who represent elite schools from around the world. These uncommon professors have excelled in research while overcoming the green-professor label in the classroom. MIT Sloan Executive Education is proud to announce that our own Catherine Tucker is among their list of the world’s best b-school professors under the age of 40. The 36-year old MIT Sloan Associate Professor of Marketing and Mark Hyman Jr. Career Development Professor is recognized for her ability to excel in research, win the admiration of her students, and produce outstanding scholarly work. Read her profile onPoets&Quants here.
Nancy Wine, Director of Marketing at O’Connor & Drew, P.C., in Braintree, Massachusetts, spoke recently with MIT Sloan Executive Education about her experience at the School; the benefits of networking with peers from all over the world; and why MIT is still “ahead of its time.”
What executive education courses have you taken at MIT Sloan?Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems; Intelligent Organizations, Collaboration, and the Future of Work; Transforming Your Leadership Strategy; and Managing Complex Technical Projects. As a result, I received an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership in 2011.
How have you applied what you learned in the courses back at your workplace?
As a leader, myself, I’ve learned that everyone in the professional services firm I work with is also a leader in some capacity. Every day, I try to demonstrate those leadership skills to set an example. What I learned in the courses gave me affirmation and confidence that, as a leader and manager, I am on the right track, and the importance of paying close attention to the insights and differences in perspectives of those around me.
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