Archive for August, 2010

Well you think you’ll be just fine… without me (Legend of the Rent)

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

In his August 21, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal (The End of Management  adapted from The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management by Alan Murray. Copyright 2010 by Dow Jones & Co. Published by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), Alan Murray writes: “‘Modern’ management is nearing its existential moment… the trends here are big and undeniable. Change is rapidly accelerating. Transaction costs are rapidly diminishing. And as a result, everything we learned in the last century about managing large corporations is in need of a serious rethink… The new model will have to be more like the marketplace… flexible, agile, able to quickly adjust to market developments, and ruthless in reallocating resources to new opportunities.”

Our Grahall Editorial Board read this article with great interest and unanimously concluded that Murray’s description of what the future will bring to companies is happening somewhere, in fact it is happening at Grahall!  
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It’s Not Just Executive Search, it’s Executive FIND

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

In her August 3rd article for SHRM (Executive Search Heats Up in Emerging Markets), Stephanie Overman writes: “Executive search experts see their business heating up in emerging markets, particularly in the Asia-Pacific area and Brazil.”

Here in the US things are a bit different.  With the economy still struggling to recover in many sectors and geographies, recruiting professionals can be faced with sifting through hundreds or even thousands of resumes for every job posting.   “Using electronic media and social networking” as Overman writes, might work where demand is greater than supply. But for US companies the need for experienced executive search firms remains critical, regardless of how appealing these “no or low” cost options might sound.  
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What Goes Around Comes Around

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Well, Ed Whitaker didn’t last too long as GM’s CEO, but now we are told that was all part of the plan.  Whitaker will be replaced on September 1 by GM Board member Daniel Ackerson.
Perhaps we were expecting more, or more time, when it was reported in January 2010 that Whitaker, then interim CEO, was to be the “permanent” CEO of GM.

That term “permanent”  made us think that he might have had more staying power than his predecessor, Fritz Henderson, who was “on the job” from March 31 to December 1, 2009.  But then Fritz was “permanent” too until the GM Board, led by new Chairman Edward Whitaker, became concerned “… about whether G.M. can overhaul its corporate culture and make a fresh start under a holdover executive like Mr. Henderson, who has worked for the company for 25 years.”  (New York Times December 2009). 

Of course all of this changing of the guard at GM started with the departure of Rick Wagoner at the behest of President Barack Obama when it became clear that GM would need to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection as a result of the 2008/2009 economic downturn. This required taxpayer largess of $50 billion in aid to help the company remain solvent and changed GM from General Motors more to Government Motors.

So what’s in store for Ackerman, and will he be the permanent “permanent CEO” or continue the trend of his two predecessors and be looking for a job come the spring of 2011? 
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The Year 2015: Where the New Deal and the Great Society Intersect with Reality

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

The results of a CNN poll on Social Security (CNN poll: Majority Say They Don’t Count on Social Security) suggest, not surprisingly, that almost two thirds “of Americans say the program won’t last another 70 years.”  The article says that:  “For the first time in nearly 30 years, Social Security will pay out more benefits than it receives in payroll taxes both this year and in 2011. By 2015, the program is expected regularly operate with an annual deficit.”

Exacerbating this problem is a “run on the bank” mentality where many of those who are eligible for early age Social Security, seeing that the future for this program is dim, want to start collecting ASAP!  
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The Winners & Losers of Healthcare Reform—a Preliminary View by Steve Karp

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Expert Perspective: Health Care Reform

Since late March of this year when the Health Care reform bill because law Americans have been wondering just who will be the winners and who will be the losers from this “sweeping piece of social legislation.” (Time Magazine, March 23, 2010).  In his recent article for Heath Care Reform Magazine The Winners & Losers of Healthcare Reform Steve Karp begins to help us understand the answer to this question.   Read Steve’s article  to find out where you and me along with American businesses, politicians, and the health care industry fall in the “win and lose” columns.
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Too little of a good thing

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

In Scott Wilson’s August 4, 2010 article in the Washington Post (Obama orders freeze on bonuses, monetary rewards for federal political appointees) he says: “President Obama ordered a freeze Tuesday on all bonuses and other monetary awards to federal political appointees…White House officials estimate that 2,900 employees will be affected by the order, which is projected to save the
government $1.9 million a year. “

Clearly this is a symbolic gesture on the part of President Obama and we wonder how much it “cost” the country to have him and his staff deliberate, decide and communicate this change which is insignificant  not only to the country as a whole but likely to the appointees. 
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It’s Too Easy to Blame Compensation for Every Business Problem

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Jeffrey Phillips raises some interesting issues in his August 5, 2010 blog “How Compensation Models Work Against Innovation” asking  “… why innovation seems to be so beneficial on its face and yet so difficult to accomplish.”  He goes on to claim that “We exchange our labor, our thoughts and insights and our management skills for a paycheck.”  And he blames “… very small but very powerful disincentive[s] to innovate, buried in how we compensate our teams…”

Wow, that is pretty harsh and flawed thinking.  We believe there are many more reasons that individuals work and work hard than just for a paycheck, although obviously it is a compelling incentive.  Barriers to innovation won’t be leveled by simply changing compensation programs.  The issues obstructing innovation run much deeper than that.
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The Hurd Locker Revisited

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board
           
AP technology writers Jordan Robertson and Rachel Metz, penned an article on August 7, 2010 (Disgraced HP CEO to get about $28m in cash, stock) about Mark Hurd, the once acclaimed CEO of HP who while negotiating a $100 million three year contract with HP proved to be much less ‘smarter than the average bear’ by falsifying “… expense reports and other documents to conceal a relationship with a contractor.” It is hard to imagine that a company with a squeaky clean image like HP would tolerate such a blatant dishonesty, even if the guy may be worth upwards of $10 billion in market value to the company. (HP’s franchise value of about $100 billion, as measured by market capitalization, dropped 10% on the news of Hurd’s abrupt departure.  According to the article “HP’s shares, which closed Friday on the New York Stock Exchange at $46.30, tumbled 9.7 percent after hours to $41.85 as investors reacted to the news released after the close of markets.” The stock price has not recovered as of August 10, 2010.)
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If we have said it once…

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

If we have said it once we have said it a thousand times: when allocating one of your most scarce resources (that would be cash for rewards) don’t target pay solely on how an individual performs, but on how important that job is to the success of the enterprise. The more important the position, the higher the possible (and actual) rewards should be.  Attracting and retaining top talent and high performing individuals to the most important jobs in your organization is critical to lasting success. Using this approach in your Total Rewards strategy may actually lower costs of attracting and retaining average individuals. Any incremental increase in compensation cost allocated to truly high performers in critical positions will be more than offset by the business results achieved through their greater output.
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It was Twenty Years Ago Today…

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Ok, maybe not 20 years ago today literally, but over the past 20 or more years there has been a vast evolution in human resources departments. Many HR departments have changed from “personnel departments” (charged with little more than providing employees with a key to the wash room) to become “strategic business partners” helping companies achieve business strategies through development of effective HR programs. 
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Organization Development