What's your plan for the talent shortage?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 days ago

There are plenty of predictions that the U.S. labor market is on the cusp of a wide-scale talent shortage. A 2014 survey from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., found that 77 percent of companies are currently having trouble hiring the right talent. Even worse, the same survey found that 90 percent of those companies expect it will get harder to recruit good talent as the economy continues to grow.

The Conference Board expects that the next 15 years will see companies facing lower profits and hiring wages as a result of retiring Baby Boomers and a strong economy. So now is the time to think about your company’s current approach to talent—and to make changes, if needed.

Start with a simple question: what role does recruiting talent play in your organization? There are many answers to this question. For example, Douglas Ready, Senior Lecturer in Organization Effectiveness at MIT Sloan School of Management, cited a division president of a Fortune 100 manufacturing company as saying, “We don’t need to waste time building a talent management process for our company … that’s what headhunters are for!” Clearly, this is an executive who views talent as bodies to fill open positions. That may work for some companies, but certainly not for those companies who understand the strategic value talent can play in an organization.

Continue reading

The Internet of Things: Phenomenal or inevitable?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 days ago

By MIT Sloan Executive Education's Executive Director, Dr. Peter Hirst


Later this week I am heading to Chicago to participate in the Internet of Things World Forum 2014, an exciting annual event that brings together innovators from business, government, and academia to accelerate the market adoption of the Internet of Things.

The concept of a connected world where smart devices talk to each other without human command is not new. It appears the idea itself was first introduced in the early 2000s by the co-founders of MIT’s Auto-ID Lab, Kevin Ashton, who went on to become a serial tech entrepreneur, and my colleague Prof. Sanjay Sarma, who is still teaching at MIT and currently directs MIT’s Office of Digital Learning (the force behind “MITx”). Back then it may have sounded more like a sci-fi plot as technology capabilities weren’t developed enough to make such a thing possible.

Will robots (finally) take over?

A lot has changed since then, with technology cycles becoming faster and faster and new smart devices popping up seemingly every day, but full interconnectedness is yet to become a reality. Yes, there are pockets of adoption in certain industries that have been highly successful—for example, factories where robots build cars; smart supply chains that track items worldwide for just-in-time manufacturing; wearable devices that monitor our vitals; and, of course, cell phones that increasingly become natural extensions of our brains, albeit with some involvement from us. However, these examples could still be seen as cases of early adoption and not quite an illustration of the revolutionary effect this idea is poised to have.

Continue reading

Leadership lessons from Henry V and other reflections from the FRED Forum 2014

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 10 days ago

By MIT Sloan Executive Education's Executive Director, Dr. Peter Hirst

Leadership conferences are a booming trade, but few provide such a memorable experience year after year for me as the FRED Forum - an annual event that brings together leading innovators and senior executives responsible for developing leaders from the business, education, social and government sectors. Typically, this year’s Forum, which ran September 10-12th in Vancouver, Canada offered plenty to inspire and delight, but certain sessions and speakers made the most profound impression and gave me much to think about.

William Shakespeare: Master playwright and motivational author

From city parks to the world's most venerable theaters, Shakespeare's plays continue to resonate with audiences for more than four centuries. What makes them so enduring is the author's keen insight into the human condition - what makes us tick. And while the Bard's plays are filled with strong leaders, none are as prominent as Henry V.

Richard Olivier, Founder and Artistic Director of Olivier Mythodrama (and the son of the legendary Lawrence) used Henry V as the foundation for his deeply engaging Inspirational Leadership session, which led me to re-discover how powerful arts-driven ways can be in creating reflection and providing sources of insights into human behavior. Olivier's Mythodrama technique is a synthesis of tools and techniques drawn from the arts and sciences of psychology, philosophy, drama and organizational development; delivered with unique impact by employing theatre skills and myth. 

Continue reading

U.S. Taxes: Try a carrot instead of a stick

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 17 days ago

In late September, the U.S. Treasury Department proposed new regulations to help curb corporate inversions—the merging of a U.S.-based company with a foreign company so that the foreign company becomes the parent of the combined operations, resulting in significant tax benefits.

Inversions have captured headlines and mindshare since late August, when Burger King Worldwide merged with the Canadian chain Tim Hortons. Once joined, the company will be the world’s largest quick service restaurant company. The firm will also be headquartered in Canada, which has a lower tax rate than the U.S. While Burger King’s expected inversion brought the issue into the general consciousness, many other companies have similar stories. According to Reuters, 76 U.S. corporations have completed inversions since 1983; 47 of those deals have occurred since 2004. Some of these companies are obscure, others well known. The name brands that have essentially relocated as a result of inversions include Fruit of the Loom, Seagate Technology, Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, Herbalife International, Tyco Electronics, Covidien, and Medtronic 

MIT Sloan Professor of Accounting Michelle Hanlon recently surveyed 600 tax executives to better understand the impact of U.S. tax policy on corporate decisions about investment location and profit repatriation. Hanlon’s research showed that both the tax and financial accounting effects lead to greater foreign direct investment by U.S. companies and lower repatriation [of taxable funds.]

Continue reading

The NEW and improved MIT Sloan Executive Education website

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 18 days ago

We want to deviate from our typical blog post format to let our readers know about some improvements to the MIT Sloan Executive Education website. Thanks to your input, we've simplified the website experience so that it's easier, more intuitive, and more mobile friendly than ever before. We invite you to explore this streamlined navigation and program search features, create or update your online account, and view the site on your phone or tablet.


Continue reading

Redefining the digital divide

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 25 days ago

For most people, the “digital divide” represents the gap between those who have access to information and communications technologies and those who don’t. It deals with socioeconomics, infrastructure, fairness, and opportunity. Although that digital divide is certainly not to be taken lightly, another one is emerging in the world of business. This new digital divide is the widening gap between businesses that understand how to drive true value from new digital technologies, and those that don’t. 

While companies in the technology and software industries certainly understand how to “be digital,” the story is different for the other 90%+ of businesses in the economy. For them, only a relative minority “get” digital.  “Digital mastery matters,” said George Westerman, Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE).  “It matters in every industry. And any company can build the DNA of digital masters if its leaders have the will to do so.”

Westerman, along with Didier Bonnet, Senior Vice President at Capgemini Consulting, and MIT IDE Principal Research Scientist Andrew McAfee, studied more than four hundred global firms to understand how they transformed their organizations through digital technology. These businesses include some surprising—and some less surprising—names, including Asian Paints, Burberry, Caesars Entertainment, Codelco, Lloyds Banking Group, Nike and Pernod Ricard. Westerman, Bonnet, and McAfee call these companies “digital masters.” They present these visionary organizations, along with an extensive step-by-step transformation playbook, in their forthcoming book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation.

Continue reading

Social media professionals need leadership skills

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 1 day ago

The “Twitterverse” is awash in corporate brands publishing inappropriate, insensitive and/or irrelevant tweets. As of this writing, the latest corporate Twitter embarrassment happened to DiGiorno Pizza, a U.S.-based frozen pizza brand owned by Nestlé. Someone on the DiGiorno social media team jumped on the hashtag #WhyIStayed—used in discussions about domestic abuse—responding most unfortunately: “You had pizza.” While the team quickly deleted the tweet and apologized, the error was very public—and, as with most Twitter gaffes, highlighted a recurring problem with Twitter: a corporate brand’s social media team ignoring context.

One common response to any social media gaffe is to assume the brand’s social media team is comprised of interns or millennials—those “digital native” workers who grew up with texting, tweeting, and posting to Facebook walls. In many cases, that assumption is correct. Those newer workers often lack the business experience and leadership skills necessary to maintain and promote an on-brand, relevant, and appropriate social presence. 

The answer? Education. Millennials should learn, adopt, and cultivate key leadership practices in an effort to become savvier business professionals. In the article, “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader,” MIT Sloan Professor Deborah Ancona presents the four leadership capabilities all organizations require: sensemaking, relating, visioning, and inventing. While all these skills are extremely valuable, the skill of sensemaking is the most relevant to those professionals working in social media.

Continue reading

How should hotels respond to the sharing economy?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 8 days ago

The sharing economy—also known as the collaborative consumption or the peer economy—is disrupting many industries. The sharing economy is one where participants share products or services—such as cars or spare rooms—instead of individual ownership. 

Airbnb is the one of the pioneers of the sharing economy and seems to be a major disruptor in the traditional hotel/hospitality market. (Incidentally, one of the founders of Airbnb was a student of Nelson Repenning, Professor of System Dynamics and Organization Studies at MIT Sloan; Repenning mentions this in his innovation@workTM webinar, “Useful Does Not Always Mean Used”.) Airbnb rents lodgings in more than 34,000 cities in 190 countries and has served more than 17,000,000 guests. What was once thought of as a place to find vacation housing is now frequently used by business travelers as well; as of late July 2014, the company saw 10% of its revenue from business travelers.

One would think the hotel industry would be up in arms, worried, and reacting the way the taxi cab industry is to Uber and Lyft. According to Fast Company, however, the hotel industry is not overly concerned—or so they claim. The magazine quotes Hilton Worldwide EVP Jeff Diskin as saying he “loves what Airbnb is doing … [offering a more] home-like experience.”

It appears the actual revenue impact is minimal; one recent research report found that “every 1% increase in listings [on Airbnb] in a given market would result in a 0.05% decrease in quarterly hotel revenues.” While the revenue Airbnb is siphoning from hotels is having minimal impact, its rapid growth is still worth watching. As noted in Fast Company, “At the current rate of expansion, Airbnb … will soon surpass the InterContinental Group and Hilton Worldwide as the world’s largest hotel chain.”

Continue reading

Search innovation@work Blog

Subscribe to Blog by Email

Visit the Media Gallery to view videos and read articles and blog posts written by MIT Sloan Executive Education faculty and staff.

Interested in writing a guest post?