Wednesday 4th August 2021
  • 3 Strategies to Address Political Polarization in the Workplace

    Political polarization is on the rise all around the world, with negative consequences for employees and employers alike. Luckily, new research on a phenomenon known as the "false polarization bias" finds that we often make the problem worse than it has to be by assuming those with differing political views disagree with us far more than they actually do, and that they dislike us on a personal level. In this piece, the authors draw on a large body of research to offer three strategies that can help managers combat this bias in the workplace, and thus reduce the negative impact of polarization on business outcomes such as employee turnover, productivity, and job satisfaction. These strategies encourage employees and managers alike to become more aware of their own biases, practice empathy for those with whom they disagree, and collaborate more effectively with colleagues from across the political spectrum.

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  • 3 Strategies to Address Political Polarization in the Workplace

    Political polarization is on the rise all around the world, with negative consequences for employees and employers alike. Luckily, new research on a phenomenon known as the "false polarization bias" finds that we often make the problem worse than it has to be by assuming those with differing political views disagree with us far more than they actually do, and that they dislike us on a personal level. In this piece, the authors draw on a large body of research to offer three strategies that can help managers combat this bias in the workplace, and thus reduce the negative impact of polarization on business outcomes such as employee turnover, productivity, and job satisfaction. These strategies encourage employees and managers alike to become more aware of their own biases, practice empathy for those with whom they disagree, and collaborate more effectively with colleagues from across the political spectrum.

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  • When You Start a New Job, Pay Attention to These 5 Aspects of Company Culture

    Starting a new job is one of the most important - and challenging - parts of any professional's career. All too often, employees struggle to understand the cultural norms of their new organizations, leading to a variety of workplace conflicts. To set yourself up for success, the authors suggest paying close attention to five key dimensions of your new company's culture: how your organization values and cultivates relationships, how people tend to communicate, how people make decisions, whether individuals or groups are valued, and how accepting people are of change. Developing a clear understanding of these five aspects of company culture will give you the tools you need to be effective in your new role.

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  • Why is China smashing its tech industry?

    Maybe because what countries think of as a "tech industry" isn't always the same.

    Those who pay attention to business news have probably noted an interesting and curious phenomenon over the past few months: China is smashing its internet companies. It started - or at least, most people in the U.S. started noticing it - when the government effectively canceled the IPO of Ant Financial, then dismantled the company. Jack Ma, the founder of Ant and of e-commerce giant Alibaba, was summoned to a meeting with the government and then disappeared for weeks. The government then levied a multi-billion dollar antitrust fine against Alibaba (which is sometimes compared to Amazon), deleted its popular web browser from app stores, and took a bunch of other actions against it. The value of Ma's business empire has collapsed.

    But Ma was only the most prominent target. The government is also going after other fintech companies, including those owned by Didi (China's Uber) and Tencent (China's biggest social media company). As Didi prepared to IPO in the U.S., Chinese regulators announced they were reviewing the company on "national security grounds", and are now levying various penalties against it. The government has also embarked on an "antitrust" push, fining Tencent and Baidu - two other top Chinese internet companies - for various past deals. Leaders of top tech companies (also including ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok) were summoned before regulators and presumably berated. Various Chinese tech companies are now undergoing "rectification".

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  • The Art of Kakeibo, the Japanese Budgeting System That Could Change Your Financial Life

    Get your spending in line with this innovative way to save money.

    Kaikebo is an old Japanese form of budgeting that has become en vogue thanks to an increased focus on incorporating mindfulness into all aspects of our lives. It offers a simple, no-nonsense way to get your spending under control.

    Budgets are like diets for your wallet. They're never fun, they mean a lot of restriction and denial, results are somewhere off in the future, and they can make people super cranky. If you've ever tried to put yourself on a budget (or a diet), you know just how difficult it can be.

    "Everything that is generally good for our financial health goes against what culture has taught us," says Joy Liu, a trainer at The Financial Gym, a financial services company that works with people of all income levels to help them get their finances on track. "Setting and sticking to a budget could be a lifelong practice of unwinding all the learned behaviors we have from society, our friends, and even our families. It's not easy."

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  • Will 'the Great Wealth Transfer' Trigger a Millennial Civil War?

    Last fall, Deutsche Bank warned its clients that millennials were coming for their wealth. In a research note, the bank's strategist Jim Reid predicted that the generation's impending attainment of political supremacy will "be a potential turning point for society and start to change election results and thus change policy." As this younger generation ages into its prime voting years - and boomers steadily age out of the electorate - the intergenerational "balance of power" will shift.

    "Assuming life does not become more economically favourable for Millennials as they age (many find house prices increasingly out of reach)," Reid continued, "such a shift in the balance of power could include a harsher inheritance tax regime, less income protection for pensioners, more property taxes, along with greater income and corporates taxes ... and all-round more redistributive policies."

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  • Why Compassion Is a Better Managerial Tactic than Toughness

    Stanford University neurosurgeon Dr. James Doty tells the story of performing surgery on a little boy's brain tumor. In the middle of the procedure, the resident who is assisting him gets distracted and accidentally pierces a vein. With blood shedding everywhere, Doty is no longer able to see the delicate brain area he is working on. The boy's life is at stake. Doty is left with no other choice than to blindly reaching into the affected area in the hopes of locating and clamping the vein. Fortunately, he is successful.

    Most of us are not brain surgeons, but we certainly are all confronted with situations in which an employee makes a grave mistake, potentially ruining a critical project.

    The question is: How should we react when an employee is not performing well or makes a mistake?

    Frustration is of course the natural response - and one we all can identify with. Especially if the mistake hurts an important project or reflects badly upon us.

    The traditional approach is to reprimand the employee in some way.

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  • Why The Next Person You Hire Should Be Overqualified

    "Overqualified workers tend to try different things, and through the process they bring creative insights and find better ways of doing their work."

    Hiring someone who is overqualified sounds like a recipe for disaster. What if they get bored and quit? Or what if they develop a bad attitude as a result of feeling above the duties of their job? Turns out you shouldn't worry, according to new research published by the Academy of Management Journal. It found that hiring someone who is overqualified can be a win for both the employee and the employer.

    "A major trend in our current economic condition is the rise in underemployment," says Jing Zhou, a professor of management and psychology at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. "[Employers] almost universally believe it’s a bad thing to hire someone who is overqualified, but we found that there is another side to this with positive implications for management."

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  • FBI Agent Turned CNN Analyst Asha Rangappa Wants to Restore Your Faith in America

    "Having seen how the sausage is made," she says, "I feel less worried about it."

    On a quiet Tuesday evening in the suburbs of New Haven, Asha Rangappa is discussing propaganda with her children. "Have you ever come across white nationalists on YouTube?" she asks her adolescent son. He pauses, prodding at his pasta and twisting his mouth. "You took too long to answer," she says, "so you have!"

    This, it seems, is typical; when your mom was once an FBI agent, you expect some dinnertime behavioral analysis. As the meal winds down, her son tells me that polygraphs are largely inaccurate and therefore inadmissible in court, and that "butt clenching" is a sign of lying. Expressionless, his little sister lies: "My name is Laura." "Yeah, but did your butt clench?" She tells him, firmly, no.

    I'm at Asha Rangappa's dinner table because, for the past few years, her commentary on CNN and Twitter has helped hundreds of thousands of people understand the news.

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  • The Delta Variant: How Companies Should Respond

    The rapidly spreading Delta variant is forcing employers to rethink their strategies for handling the pandemic. Policies they should reconsider include encouraging or requiring employees to be vaccinated, whether to hold off on having remote workers return to company facilities, rules for social distancing and wearing masks at job sites, ventilation, testing, travel restrictions, communicating exposures, and support for mental health care. This article offers advice on how to think through these issues.

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