The voice is one of a leader’s essential tools. Far more than we think, it shapes perceptions and contributes to the quality of interactions. An American study conducted on presidential candidates showed that the simple fact of altering their voice through a computer program had an impact on voting intentions. In the corporate world, executives testify that it is far more difficult to rise through the ranks and assert yourself to your teams with a thin voice.
Fortunately, it is possible to learn to play with the timbre and tone of your voice, to modulate its rhythm and volume according to situations, for instance to restore calm during a turbulent meeting or to refocus a tense press conference. You must also be sure to periodically rest your voice, in order to avoid vocal breakdown. A classic problem according to executives, who state they spend their time talking—sometimes to the point of voicelessness!
Consequently, more and more companies are calling on the services of speech therapists to help their managers learn to tame their voices. Singing or acting lessons are also offered. This enables in-depth work to be conducted on people’s vocal capacities and helps to collect ideas for exercises or micro-routines to sustain them over time.
Source: Un bon dirigeant doit assurer vocalement [Good leaders must be vocally assertive], Christophe Haag, Harvard Business Review France, October 2014.Share
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The arrival of every new generation leaves previous generations puzzled. Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2010 and currently entering the job market, is no exception to this rule. Classically, these young recruits present new expectations and new ways of approaching the employer-employee relationship. According to research conducted by Andrei Adam, a specialist in talent management, three salient elements stand out among members of Generation Z:
- A stronger need for flexibility in organizing one’s own work.
- The search for a workplace that is also a place to socialize: an expectation that can be found among all employees since the Covid crisis, but one that appears to be particularly marked among the young generation.
- The need to develop in one’s professional day-to-day. With Generation Z, there is no longer any question of long-term commitment to one’s employer. Young people see their current position first and foremost as a springboard to the next ones. Faced with this expectation, an employer can only benefit from taking its employees’ plans into account and making itself a fruitful and stimulating step within them. Do you want to attract the talents of Generation Z? Make sure you offer them personalized support to develop their employability: development coach, mentoring program, ongoing training, etc.
Source: 3 ways to retain your Gen Z employee, Andrei Adam, TEDxMcGill, YouTube, August 2023.
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It’s an accepted fact: to make a quality decision, it is best to collect as much information as possible and analyze it with care. But is that always true?
Many research studies invite us to nuance this conviction. They show that, in certain contexts, it is beneficial to avoid an in-depth analysis of the situation. In such cases, it is best to content ourselves with deciding on the basis of simple criteria, such as empirical rules founded on past experiences. This can be observed in three situations:
- An uncertain context, saturated in information: when multiple data and analyses are available and the state of the art doesn’t allow a solid decisional basis, adding still more information and analyses only increases the cognitive load, without further clarifying the decision to be made.
- A fluctuating environment: in fast-evolving markets, data is sometimes obsolete before it has even had the time to be collected and processed.
- Difficulties accessing information: sometimes, the necessary cost of collecting information in the needed quantity and quality isn’t justified by the potential benefits associated with a better-informed decision.
In such circumstances, the quality of the decisions taken depends less on the finesse and exhaustiveness of the analyses than on the ability to mobilize our experience or that of our experts. A counter-intuitive discovery in the age of Big Data!
Source: The Potency of Shortcuts in Decision-Making, Sebastian Kruse, David Bendig, Malte Brettel, MIT Sloan Management Review, September 2023.
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Experiments with the four-day week are multiplying. Although it is still too early to draw any definitive conclusions, some feedback seems promising—as at Perpetual Guardian, a property management company in New Zealand, where this set-up allowed employee engagement rates to increase by 40%. However, feedback underlines two essential conditions for the viability of this new rhythm:
– More than imposing one fixed working day less, the main thing is that employees obtain the free time that has the most value to them. At Perpetual Guardian, some people thus opted for an entire day off; others preferred to work five days, but with shortened working hours—particularly some parents, in order to facilitate childcare.
– This new organization must be accompanied by an in-depth reflection on how to improve productivity. An efficient approach consists in helping everyone to think about the least productive moments of their day and in reviewing certain processes accordingly. This could involve, for instance, introducing interruption-free time slots, holding shorter meetings, or making rest areas available.
Source: The Four-Day Workweek: How to Make It Work in Your Organization, Andrew Barnes, MIT Sloan Management Review, June 2023.
New AI tools like ChatGPT can make for good allies in accelerating decisions and improving their quality. While there is no question of delegating the decision-making to them, it can be beneficial to involve them at three stages:
– Ascertaining the context: ChatGPT helps highlight the obstacles and the key success factors taken into account by other companies in similar contexts. Sample request: we are a company in the technology sector, based in the PACA region of France. We’re having difficulties attracting new talents; what might be the reasons for this?
– Defining the possible options: ChatGPT contributes to expanding the range of options and to generating counter-intuitive avenues. Sample request: how have some companies succeeded in limiting their dependency on a given raw material?
– Evaluating the various solutions: for the time being, ChatGPT doesn’t allow you to compare the advantages of each option. But it can help you gain awareness of the biases that are harming the quality of decisions, in certain contexts. Sample request: what are the main risks to keep in mind when trying to recruit within a short time?
To obtain the best possible contribution from AI tools, interaction and questioning are key: we benefit from refining our questions and digging beyond the AI’s first answers.
Source: Using ChatGPT to Make Better Decisions, Thomas Ramge, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Harvard Business Review, August 2023.
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