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The East African : Feb 2nd 2015
42 The EastAfrican BUSINESS JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 6, 2015 MANAG E R How to p≥event you≥ sta≥ pe≥fo≥me≥s f≥om losing passion fo≥ thei≥ wo≥k COMMENTARY MICHAEL E. KIBLER “More money won’t cut it. Bigger payouts will either make it easier for executives to leave or create incentives to ‘hang on’ in passive disaffection.” highly lucrative position as Pimco’s co-chief investment officer a year ago, most observers were shocked. I wasn’t. As a researcher and consult- W ant to executives across diverse industries, I know how common it is for successful, highperforming people to lose their passion for work — and their commitment to their organizations — over time. I call this phenomenon “executive brownout” and the details of El-Erian’s departure (not to mention more recent reporting on the conduct of his co-CIO Bill Gross, who has also since resigned) only confirmed my opinion that he was very likely suffering from it. ElErian said he decided to leave after receiving a note from his 10-year-old daughter outlining 22 milestones in her life that he had missed. Brownout, a term also used to describe part of the life cycle of a star, is different from burnout because knowledge workers afflicted by it are not in obvious crisis. They seem to be performing fine: Putting in massive hours in meetings and calls across time zones, grinding out work while leading or contributing to global teams and saying all the right things in meetings (though not in sidebar hen Mohamed El-Erian abruptly resigned from his high-profile and conversations). However, these executives are often operating in a silent state of continual overwhelm, and the predictable consequence is disengagement. Virtually every executive cli- ent with whom we engage is, by all outward measures, a superstar of his firm, but that status comes with consequences. They tell us they worry about: • Feeling drained from continuous, 24/7 obligations. • Physical deterioration due to years of suboptimal sleep and self-care. • Tenuous relationships with immediate family members. • Distant relationships with old friends. • The atrophy of personal interests. • A diminishing ability to concentrate in nonbusiness conversations. While these are clearly “per- sonal” issues, the effects to a company are quietly, but perniciously, toxic because they inevitably bleed into professional behaviour. We have seen leaders in brownout spread the malaise by, for example, subconsciously protecting their own turf, shutting down brave new ideas for growth, losing track of talented staff (especially “B” players), and by being a role model that the next generation grudgingly respects, but finds deeply unappealing. How can organisations begin work responsibilities. A natural time for this is during the annual review process. Personal objectives may range from the sublime (adopting a child, writing a book, reconnecting with a disenfranchised family member, starting a non-profit) to the prosaic (running a 10K, coaching a child’s soccer team, volunteering as a mentor). Professional objectives may include initiating a new product or service, building more powerful relationships or tackling a business-critical need in the organisation. The point is to foster a dialogue that allows bosses (and therefore businesses) to build true partnerships with their most important people. Trip to Africa When firms do so, it dramati- cally increases the commitment and impact of its stars. Think about it: If I’m your boss and, in addition to helping you develop professionally, I also actively support you in adopting a child, or becoming fit or taking a service trip with your daughter to Africa, I have profoundly changed the nature of our relationship and your advocacy for and loyalty to our team and organisation. Naysayers will dismiss this idea as too unwieldy to implement, but elite managers are already doing it on an ad hoc basis, and we have seen it work to powerful effect on a systemic scale. Could Pimco have worked to address this problem? More money won’t cut it. Big- ger payouts will either make it easier for these executives to leave — as in El-Erian’s case — or, for those in less senior roles, create incentives to “hang on” in a state of passive disaffection. Companies must instead provide a new kind of currency to engage their professionals — one we call “active partnering.” The first step is to create a system that allows executives to talk candidly with their managers about what is most important to them professionally and personally, and how their organisations might support these goals given their key with El-Erian to develop a more sustainable strategy for success — one that would have enabled him to be successful in both his personal and professional life? Yes, of course. A better question is: Why doesn’t every organisation do that for its key executives? Michael E Kibler is the found- er and CEO of Corporate Balance Concepts, Inc and the creator of the Pinnacle Programme — a holistic coaching and development programme designed for sustainable high performance. The≥e a≥e only 3 count≥ies whe≥e you≥ boss is likely to be a woman 30pc By ROBERTO A. FERDMAN The Washington Post NEARLY A third of businesses around the world are now owned or managed by women, according to a new study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). That number is hardly something to celebrate, but there are three parts of the globe that appear to be somewhat exemplary in this regard: Jamaica, Colombia and Saint Lucia. No other country in the world holds a candle to Jamaica, where just under 60 per cent of managers are women. Colombia, the country with the second highest percentage of female bosses, manages 53 per cent. In Saint Lucia, which is third among the 106 countries for which the ILO found data, the number is 52.3 per cent. Beyond those three, there is the Philippines, where just under 48 per cent of managers are female; Panama, with just over 47 per cent; and Belarus, where the number is 46 per cent. In the United States, which is number 15 on the list, about 43 per cent of managers are female; in Canada, the 43rd ranked, it is 36 per cent; and in the United Kingdom, the 49th ranked, it is 34 per cent. At the very bottom of the list are Yemen, Pakistan and Algeria, where only 4.9 per cent, 3 per cent, and 2.1 per cent of bosses are women, re- spectively. The rest of the bottom 10 is occupied by countries in or around the Middle East and North Africa. Some of this should be seen as encouraging news. Women, after all, The maximum number of board seats held by women except in Norway, according to a study by Catalyst hold a much larger percentage of jobs globally (roughly 40 per cent) than they have in the past. They represent roughly a quarter of all employers around the world, when you discount the Middle East and North Africa, where they account for only about 6 per cent. And the number of female managers is soaring: In nearly 80 per cent of countries, the proportion of female managers has grown since 2000, and in 23 countries the increase was by 7 percent of more. But, as Deborah France-Massin, the ILO’s director, says in the report, “there is a long way to go before we achieve true gender equality in the workplace, especially when it comes to top management positions.” Though women are more likely to own or manage a business today than ever before, they are still unlikely to hold a position of power in any of the world’s largest companies. Fewer than 5 per cent of those who own or manage the world’s “biggest enterprises” are female. Gender equity The report does little to sugar- coat this societal shortcoming: “The larger the company, the less likely the head will be a woman,” it says. A similarly troubling trend seems to emerge when looking at gender equity among board members around the globe. A recent study by women’s rights non-profit Catalyst found that in all but one country — Norway — fewer than 30 per cent of all board seats are held by women. In the US, fewer than 20 per cent of board seats are held by women.
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