Articles and Podcasts for C-Suite [JUL. 21st]

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Articles and Podcasts for C-Suite [JUL. 21st]

Key Takeaways

  • Corporate culture expert, Will Scott, says that culture should be about more than making the workplace enriching, it should make "each and every individual feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves."
  • Fairness in the workplace will become increasingly important in the future. Researchers anticipate that fairness will not only be expected between basic demographics (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc) but also between more nuanced demographics (e.g. workers who are parents vs. non-parents, salaried vs. hourly workers, remote vs. on-campus workers, etc).
  • Research has shown that many business unit leaders view CFOs and finance teams as obstacles where innovation is concerned. This negative reputation is caused by the nature of the CFO's role, which is to serve as the arbiter and guardian where annual planning and budgeting are concerned and to make determinations about proposals from business unit leaders. CFOs can work to improve this reputation by changing their colleague's perception of the CFO's role in innovation, shifting the focus away from being merely an authority figure with control of the purse strings and toward the perception of a CFO being a collaborator and ally for innovation.

Introduction

This report provides three insightful articles and podcasts that would logically be of interest to C-suite executives, as they cover topics related to modern leadership, employees, change management, business ideas, and innovation. The articles and podcasts covered in this report are as follows: 'Culture Isn't an Afterthought' published by the Change Management Review podcast, 'How Fair is Your Workplace?' published by Harvard Business Review, and 'How can CFOs rebrand themselves as innovation allies?' published by McKinsey and Company. An overview of each piece and why it was selected for this report has been provided below.

'Culture Isn't an Afterthought'

About this Piece

  • This is a podcast episode published on July 8th, 2022 by the Change Management Review podcast.
  • Change Management Review is a podcast that puts the spotlight on change management professionals who specialize in academic research surrounding change management, as well as professionals involved in real-world practices.
  • This episode features Will Scott, a consultant, and expert on corporate culture who works with businesses around the world, across industries, to help them define their corporate values and live up to them successfully.

Why It's Interesting

  • This podcast was selected for this report because it relates to modern leadership, change management, and business ideas.
  • In this episode, Will Scott is interviewed about his book, The Culture Fix.
  • In this book, Will Scott explains why culture belongs at the forefront of organizational leadership and why business leaders should maintain this culture as part of their ongoing responsibilities.

Key Points Discussed

  • Scott recommends that leaders think of themselves not just as a company, but as a culture.
  • Furthermore, Scott's approach to defining culture starts with pinpointing the company's values. In his book, Scott writes: "There needs to be some doing before defining of values to ensure there is a legacy from which to build and develop a culture. Although you could draft core values early in the inception of a business, it’s always good to keep them fluid in the early stages.
  • Corporate values should play a central part in every aspect of the company's culture, ranging from hiring/unhiring to things like process design, performance reviews, and professional development, among many others.
  • In his book, Scotts says that the development of an ongoing culture is the key to driving a business. Furthermore, he says that culture should be about more than making the workplace enriching, it should make "each and every individual feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves."

'How Fair is Your Workplace?'

About this Piece

  • This is a written article published by Harvard Business Review in July 2022.
  • The article is authored by Brian Kropp, Jessica Knight, and Jonah Shepp.
  • Brian Kropp is the Chief of Research at Gartner HR, which provides insights and solutions surrounding emerging executive challenges in the HR arena.
  • Jessica Knight is the VP of Research at Gartner HR.
  • Jonah Shepp is a principal researcher at Gartner HR.

Why It's Interesting

  • This article was selected for this report because it relates to modern leadership, employee expectations, best practices for supporting the workforce of the upcoming generation, and ideas for business operations.
  • First, this article touches on recent changes and shifts surrounding workplace fairness that have arisen from current socio-political trends and practices that impact the workplace.
  • Next, the article why 'fairness' in the workplace is becoming increasingly important and will be an important aspect of the workplace of the future.
  • Lastly, the article provides insights and best practices for ensuring fairness in the workplace.
  • Importantly, the article is supported using various research findings and hard data from Gartner HR. Gartner is a research organization that specializes in providing insights for executives.

Key Points Discussed

  • 90% of Fortune 100 companies list 'equity' among their corporate values.
  • A global survey of employees found that a vast majority feel their workplace lacks fairness.
  • A workplace that is perceived to be fair in terms of employee experience can improve employee performance by as much as 26%. This figure increases to 27% for employee retention.
  • Fairness in the workplace will become increasingly important in the future. Researchers anticipate that fairness will not only be expected between basic demographics (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc) but also between more nuanced demographics (e.g. workers who are parents vs. non-parents, salaried vs. hourly workers, remote vs. on-campus workers, etc).
  • Researchers have found that common areas where employees experience unfairness include hiring, promotions, compensation (combined, these account for 25% of unfair experiences), and in day-to-day work (this accounts for the majority of unfair experiences).
  • To address fairness problems in the workplace, experts have suggested that organizations "should look for opportunities to minimize disadvantages in ways that benefit most or all of the workforce, [...] instead of removing unfair advantages."
  • The four core elements of a fair workplace experience are as follows: 1) keep employees informed about the things they need to succeed in their current roles and earn promotions, 2) ensure employees are supported with regard to their well-being and lifestyle, 3) ensure all employees have a fair chance of being considered for internal opportunities, and 4) ensure that leaders and managers are recognizing the contributions of their employees.

'How can CFOs rebrand themselves as innovation allies?'

About this Piece

  • This piece was authored by Ankur Agrawal, Scott Schwaitzberg, Matt Banholzer, and Eric Kutcher.
  • Ankur Agrawal is a partner at McKinsey New York.
  • Scott Schwaitzberg is a solution associate partner at McKinsey.
  • Matt Banholzer is a partner at McKinsey Chicago.
  • Eric Kutcher is a senior partner at McKinsey Bay Area.

Why It's Interesting

  • This article was selected for this report because it relates to modern leadership and business innovation.
  • First, this article touches on reputational challenges among CFOs where innovation is concerned.
  • Next, the article explains why it's important for CFOs to address these reputational challenges.
  • Lastly, the article provides best practices CFOs can implement to become a better organizational ally where innovation is concerned. In doing so, the article explores five actions CFOs can take to enhance innovation projects.

Key Points Noted

  • Research has shown that many business unit leaders view CFOs and finance teams as obstacles where innovation is concerned.
  • This negative reputation is caused by the nature of the CFO role, which is to serve as the arbiter and guardian where annual planning and budgeting are concerned and to make determinations about proposals from business unit leaders.
  • CFOs can work to improve this reputation by changing their colleague's perception of the CFO's role in innovation, shifting the focus away from being merely an authority figure with control of the purse strings and towards the perception of a CFO being a collaborator and ally for innovation.
  • Doing so involves taking actions that will improve objective-setting, performance measurement, and cultural factors that impact innovation projects and foster success.
  • McKinsey recommends five actions CFOs can take to shift this reputational perspective. These actions include: 1) including innovation goals as part of the company's financial growth strategy, 2) "discover and validate the untested assumptions associated with innovative ideas, [for example, by asking how the finance team] can help business unit leaders get the data they need to prove their [propsoal] case," 3) speeding up the budget process to better align with the pace of innovation, 4) establishing a set of performance metrics that are specific to innovation, and 5) educating and empowering the finance team by giving them first-hand exposure to the day-to-day operations of business units, their leadership, and their innovation teams.

Research Strategy

To conduct this research, we began by looking at the most recently published content targeted at C-suite executives and isolating those that focus on any of the following categories: 1) modern leadership, 2) employees - RTO, engagement, expectations, generational insights, etc., 3) change management, and 4) ideas/innovation in business. We only considered pieces that have been published in the past two weeks (July 8, 2022, to July 22, 2022). We prioritized pieces that were published by credible platforms, specifically those that specialize in publishing research and expert-supported insights in the realm of business management.

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