Diversity inclusion Infographic

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Creating a diverse workplace definitely pays off. These recruitment statistics show that the top reasons companies focus on creating a diverse workplace are statistically connected to the benefits that come with it. Firstly, diversity improves company culture as reported by 78% of respondents. Secondly, it improves company performance at least according to 62% of the surveyed lot. And thirdly, a percentage of 49 of respondents said they incorporate diversity in their business so they can be more relatable to their clients.

Business leaders might want to better relate to customers because of the benefits it brings. McKinsey’s research on the link between company financial performance and ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. In this case, some might want to look into ways of integrating into their organization people with different cultural backgrounds that would match the cultural dimensions of the business clientele. With regards to improving company performance, the same study pointed out that diversity is a competitive differentiator that is shifting market share toward more diverse companies. The analysis of the data revealed a positive relationship between financial performance and greater diversity in leadership. The reason for this might be because the more diverse a company is the better it is to improve employee satisfaction and thus decision making.

In conclusion, although improving organizational culture through variety might be difficult, it is well worth it. It might be hard to achieve a cohesive one direction oriented group with people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds because of unconscious bias, but companies that manage to do it are also able to achieve a global mindset and cultural fluency which in turn translates into higher profit.


End year review for 2016

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Yes, you read that right. End year review for 2016.It would make sense to look at 2015 and do an end year review, but I’d like to throw down the gauntlet to you: imagine this is Dec 2016.

What would you like for 2016 to have looked like?

Have you consistently pursued your goals? We live in a fast pace world economy and that means that unforeseen opportunities arise which can build towards our goals or lead us away from them. This is why, focusing on our goals is a daily/weekly/monthly discipline amid all the noise. For that, a one page year-long / high-level strategy document is quintessential, which helps benchmark where any new opportunity might fit in or not. On the other hand, use your imagination and creativity, and think of those unforeseen or highly improbable opportunities: what did it take for them to become realities? Would it have made sense to consider them as part of your yearly plan?

What was a success, or where did you fall short, and why? Now, of course that you might say that “there’s no way for me to know what will be certainly bring success,” and you are right to think that way. The one thing you can do, however, is increase the probability of that success, by planning for various scenarios, starting with a best case to a worst case (be slightly paranoid if you have to  ). Not to be ironic about it, but the best way not to do make mistakes or experience failures is to avoid them. So, plan ahead on what needs to happen or not happen! Do you know what brought you success at the end of 2016 or was it all just “luck”?

Projects and organizations that helped you be a better professional (or not) during 2016? Looking back, it’s great when we can enjoy a fruitful year, but isn’t being busy equally mesmerizing? It’s important to align our own professional development with business goals and ensure that we play to the tune of our strengths, experience and background. This makes you picky, and that’s OK. Some of the organizations and stakeholders whom you interact with might understand that right off the bat and will respect you for it. Others will need to be educated about it, and you’ll need to make pitches as to why your involvement isn’t a necessary or added value step. Saying “no” can be tricky and can be even more difficult than to convince someone you’re critical to a project. At the same time, you don’t want to remain in a status quo. Challenging yourself is what will make you a better professional by learning how to deal with uncomfortable situations, projects, and people.

Are there persons that held you back? Perhaps one of the most challenging areas (or hats) of our professional lives is working with people. If you are in a position to choose whom you are working with, you could be well underway towards efficient collaboration. A common trap is to have in your organization or team only people that you like or who always agree with you. To avoid it, consider that it boils down to their character and ethics, since personality traits, temperament, and background will always be different (as for skills and performance, for me at least, they’re key to success, but always come second to character and ethics). So choose (hire and fire) wisely. If you are not in such a position, you still have a choice. You might want to take on the challenge to deal with people that hold you back by spending the extra effort to compensate for some of their lacks. Otherwise, if any compromise on your side would cross the line of your own principles/values, it could very well be the time for you to make a significant change in your career. Weighing in on the right time for such decisions can save you a lot of effort, frustration, and stress.

Here are a few more questions for you to consider:

  • How was 2016 in comparison to 2015 (that means you would have done the same exercise for 2015?
  • Did you persevere in your growth/development in 2016 versus 2015?
  • How do 2015 & 2016 fall into your professional development long-term plan?
  • Oh, do you have a long-term professional development plan?

I would love to hear how did 2016 go for you!

outsourcing can be a good thing

Outsourcing and its alter ego (hint: Frugal Innovation)

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Perhaps one of the leading misconceptions about outsourcing is that a company that outsources needs to cut the jobs of current employees. For sure, there are instances where we see that happening. But that is a result of a flawed mindset deriving from an early stage of outsourcing history where increasing the margins (for the sake of profit) was the only purpose. It works, but it’s short-sighted.

Outsourcing done right has a lot to do with frugal innovation. Navi Radjou coined the term and defined it as a mindset exhibited by individuals and organizations that strive to do more and better, with less. Most managers will translate this: “Ah, I need to cut costs while keeping the same revenues level.” Contrary to this understanding, frugal innovation rather translates to “How can I maintain my current level of expenditure while increasing the efficiency of output and revenues?” In other words, how can I increase value to my customers, while at the same time not spending more towards that purpose?

Outsourcing is undergoing a shift in mindset

This switches the angle from which managers look at outsourcing: it becomes a strategic decision (i.e. from cost-cutting to cost saving). The outsourcing partner comes in to complement an existing organization, and act as an extension of its teams in order to tackle larger projects or peaks in demand. Besides bringing in raw capacity, the outsourcing partner will contribute (if selected well) with a strong focus on end results, since their business with that organization depends on it.


But let’s take a step back and think through the model of frugal innovation. Without any doubt, it’s quite easy to find a solution by spending a lot of capital (especially if it’s available and this seems like a good cause, right?!). However easy that may be, it actually drives down innovation and creativity (since most likely an existing solution will be chosen, one that can be bought off the shelf). While taking the decision to outsource is a step forward, it’s hardly the only one you need to take. The other critical step in reaching higher levels of value is the innovation process through which old practices and processes are entirely re-thought or upgraded. That puts the outsourcing partner (and whether they like it or not, the organization as well) in a tight spot that doesn’t allow for any status quo such as using piles of cash as a safety net. As Renault-Nissan Group CEO Carlos Ghosn once said “In the West, when we face huge problems and we lack resources, we tend to give up (too) easily. Frugal Innovation is about never giving up!”

The lesson from emerging markets

Although frugal innovation has been associated more than often with emerging markets (and for good reasons), more and more organizations in developed economies are considering this mindset because of the rising consciousness that resources are limited (i.e. see the Skills Gap for human resources or fossil fuels). The last economic crisis that swept many western markets off their feet has contributed towards that same consciousness.


Outsourcing based on that mindset is probably one of the soundest decisions that an organization can make (where applicable, see the organization’s core or niche specialty capabilities that represent its trade secret), especially because of its sometimes harsh but healthy side effect: it enables that same organization to innovate faster, better, and cheaper (without giving up on any of the three). All of which are quintessential to success in the New Economy where capital takes the back seat, while talent drives.

Here’s a challenge that takes you out of the comfort zone, out of a profit-only or damage control mindset. What will you do?

Why should any service provider care about your business?

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1. You don’t like outsourcing providers, here’s why

In today’s marketplace outsourcing has lost its attractiveness and benefits as a strategic decision. That is mainly due to a lack of business fit between the client and the provider of services. Not only those expectations are rarely met, but apathy becomes the status quo throughout the delivery of each process. Providers are merely fulfilling a job description which significantly shakes the client’s interest in a long terms relationship.

2. They’re missing the point

The key to this uncomfortable and unfortunately costly situation is neither a tighter legal framework, tighter control, more experts on the provider’s side, or revamped performance metrics. It all comes down to the provider’s understanding of the client’s vision, mission, objectives, values and organizational culture. This can only occur when both the client and provider invest effort into more than a buy-sell relationship: a partnership.

3. Walking the extra mile is not old-fashioned

In such a context, the provider steps into a role of responsibility focused on acting as an extension of the client’s team. This role requires to care for more than what’s agreed within the service level agreement: walking the extra mile. That means taking initiative in building the success of the client’s activities, collaborating with genuine interest, and consistently delivering quality and performance despite business complexities.

4. Seeing the big picture without leaving the premises

At the same time, the provider ought to carefully and objectively analyze the client’s processes, as a result of their constant focus on added value. Within the lifetime of such a partnership, changes will occur in the client’s processes and tools with results such as increased standardization, automation of certain service stages, higher autonomy on non-recurrent projects, and deeper knowledge of products/services.

5. Start with the right tactical steps

Either you are already scaling up or just beginning to think about growth, outsourcing is a strategic decision that can give you the required boost, and doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Clear cut expectations, strategies, and degree of communication will help you lay out the essential platform to a successful outsourcing partnership.

What are your thoughts about outsourcing? What has been your experience? What was it that made your outsourcing relationship work?

Do you consider Intellectual Capital an asset for your company?

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What does intellectual capital actually represent?

Intellectual capital can be defined as all the knowledge in the company owned by employees. In other words, intellectual capital is the collective knowledge that can give your business a competitive advantage.

So why should you invest in your people?

You always have to remember that people represent the most important asset in your company emphasizing the fact that if your company is a services company people represent the most powerful tool that your company has. You have to be aware that trainings and continuous investment in your people grows your overall company knowledge. People are the ones who create the intellectual capital of your company. Intellectual capital is knowledge, and knowledge will produce innovation, improvements and eventually profit.

It`s the people who can drive your business towards profit or loss, they have the power to gain new customers, create new products and improve your business. Intellectual capital is the combined value of one company’s people.

Why should you protect your work?

Intellectual capital is becoming a critical part in many companies today in order to obtain an economic growth and innovation, as the different types of intangible assets of a business are often more important and valuable than its tangible assets.

One of the main things regarding intellectual capital is to decide whether you want to protect it or make it “open source” so anyone can have access to it. There are several ways to protect your company’s work depending on the type of protection your company needs.

Which are some reasons you should do this?

** You can protect the way in which a particular idea is expressed
** You can prevent illegal transmission of your work
** You are able to decide how your protected work can be used
** When you protect your work you are making a public claim or record that you have the sole authority over a particular work
** If you protect a work you can sell it
** You will have the power to sell or transfer your creative work and make it available to people who wish to reproduce it for some purpose

Another aspect to be taken into consideration is Intellectual Property (IP) as intellectual capital is a superset of IP, meaning that a company may be able to obtain competitive advantage without IP, but it cannot obtain competitive advantage without intellectual capital.

What are the reasons in your business to use Intellectual Property rights?

** Offers protection over your IP against a competitor that could copy your products or use your innovations;
** Helps to differentiate your brands through highlighting the peculiarity of each of them – creating a strong brand identity;
** The commercial value of your company is increased;
** Through IP transactions, like licensing and franchising, a company can gain revenues and ensures that entrepreneurs get all the financial benefit from their ideas;
** New markets become available as IP rights provide a basis for business partnerships, like outsourcing, open innovation, marketing, research etc.;
** IP assets that have legal protection can be valued and leveraged to obtain financing or venture capital, enabling more money to be raised for development;
** Geographical markets are divided as in some countries IP owners can restrict goods from being transferred into another country in which they were also given IP right protection;
** Provides consumers the confidence that products are authentic and have the high-quality that they would expect;
** Encourage innovation and reward entrepreneurs for taking risks in developing new innovations.

Statistically speaking, in countries with a high-income level, intangible investments exceed tangible investments meaning that IP is important to enable a company drive economic growth and competitiveness. Innovation is one of the key driving forces, followed by economic competencies and computerized information.


Source: WIPO – World Intellectual Property Report, 2013

Economical growth of a society is determined by the sum of values that compose it, including the human resources, through their most important asset, original creation – original output.

Intellectual capital can be compared with the roots of a tree, it is a hidden value that cannot be easily visible, although it is of vital importance. According to recent financial statistics, approximately 80% of the value of a company is made up of intangible assets and only 20% being made up of tangible assets.

How important is intellectual capital for your organization? How do you deal with it? Share your thoughts and comments!