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Want Innovation? Hire for Skills, Not Attitudes (Forbes)

Pick-up nearly any business book and the recommendation is likely to be the same: when building a team, hire for attitudes and train for skills. In fact, my Forbes.com colleague Dan Schawbel has just written a posting with that very title: Hire for Attitude in which he interviewed Mark Murphy, author of Hiring for Attitude. It’s everywhere, and it  sort of makes sense, doesn’t it, because every day we have to get up and go into work, and if the team is a difficult one to be around — if their attitudes are bad — then it’s going to be another day of “no fun,” and our motivation will begin low before anything else even has a chance to frustrate us.

But, attitudes will only get you so far, and when real change is needed — innovation, for example — then attitudes are not likely to be enough to get you to where you want to go. In such situations, you need skills, and lots of them.

Hiring for skills, instead of attitude, changes everything.  Read More

Don't Relax Constraints, Embrace Them (Forbes.com)

Ever notice how many times an unsuccessful project team will explain their failed performance in terms of the constraints that made success "impossible"?

Cover of "Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read ...

Dr. Seuss, "Green Eggs & Ham," Cover via Amazon

The next time you hear this, beware! There’s good reason to believe that constraints are far from debilitating to creativity, and could, in fact, be liberating, instead.

Here are three [plus one] familiar constraint categories that you might wish to experiment with in terms of “toughening them up” rather than relaxing them: Time, Resources, Space & Talent. Read More

Samsung's OEM Genes

Samsung's recent problems with the Galaxy Note 7 have left many of us observing Samsung's difficulties and wondering "how could this have happened"? Why wasn't the response better, faster? What is the future of the brand in the mobile phone industry?  What is possibly next for Samsung in the mobile phone space? Some years ago, I wrote the piece below that argued that Samsung was a victim of a genetic predisposition away from coolness, responsiveness and customer-centricity, and towards reliability and efficiency. In other words, Samsung's corporate culture was at odds with its strategic dreams, a disconnect that can never result in a good outcome unless one of those two factors -- dreams or details -- are changed. I think that the argument still holds:

Genes matter, and Samsung’s genes are OEM genes.

There is nothing wrong with OEM genes, as long as you are satisfied with being an OEM supplier, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, either. But, it’s quite a different story if your aspirations are to be something that you’re not, like, let’s say  a big-branded, cool-defining, consumer electronics company. Maybe even an e-FMCG? Maybe Apple?

Read more: Samsung's OEM Genes

New Leadership Mindsets For A Digital Age (foreward to Abhijit Bhaduri's "The Digital Tsunami")

There are few journeys that are as forbidding as those that take us into the unknown. We neither know what to really expect, nor how to respond. This is truly frightening, especially for the modern managerial class that has been honed to sharpness via a collection of analytical approaches and the wisdom of case studies, all of which lead us to the development of a mastery of the uncertain. Alas, the uncertain is of little use in confronting the unknown.

In confronting the uncertain, we are blessed with access to knowledge, numbers and likelihoods that allow us to make judicious, not to say “optimal”, choices based on what we know about the past. While the uncertain is different from what we know, that difference is in degree, and by applying lessons learned from past uncertain experiences we appreciably raise the likelihood of making a good choice for the future.

With the unknown, however, there is no knowledge, numbers or likelihoods to rely upon. The unknown is unknown. We know not where the future is going, nor even if we have the capabilities to get there. There will be new customer expectations, with new players addressing them. There will be new sources of talent, and new rules of the game. All of these are unknown. We cannot predict them or forecast them, they are unknown! Nonetheless, it is in the unknown that the future of most industries are to be found, and as managers we have to somehow overcome our hesitancy and try to move forward with some degree of grace.

Read more: New Leadership Mindsets For A Digital Age (foreward to Abhijit Bhaduri's "The Digital Tsunami")

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