Zintro experts discuss business management and leadership trends

By Maureen Aylward

We were curious to find out what our Zintro experts are reading, thinking about, and researching in the field of business management and leadership. What is the new idea in business management? What is catching the fancy of business leaders? What’s new out there?

Dan Wallace, an expert in real estate and financial consulting, says one of the most thought-provoking management leadership books that he has read in a long time is Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson, the founders of the software company 37signals. “They have little gems like ‘planning is guessing,’ ‘good enough is fine,’ and ‘send people home at 5,’” says Wallace. “The book offers unconventional yet commonsensical solutions to problems that many businesses face every day. Best of all, it avoids the verbosity that plagues so many other business books.”

Wallace says that he is impressed with Shailesh Grover, Global Head of Quality and Continuous Improvement at Barclays Bank in London. “Grover says besides looking at the hard financial benefits, managers need to consider the soft benefits, which the folks at Barclays call LIMME (pronounced lime). That is, Lives Made Much Easier,” explains Wallace. “For years, managers have been taught to manage to the bottom line, to make decisions solely based on profitability. Sometimes, you can look at the numbers and can’t rationalize a decision. Including LIMME in management decision processes can easily connect the dots between asking employees to do something and how that request is going to benefit them personally.”

Lars Hansen, a hospitality expert, offered this example “Starwood’s CEO recently relocated his entire executive team to China for five weeks. This is a clear example of business having to focus on emerging markets and ensure that key staff understands the challenges and opportunities in these markets.”

Anton Camarota, a business coach with an expertise in sustainability management, identifies sustainability as an emerging trend in management and leadership. “Sustainability management transcends merely going green by including financial and human resource management as part of an organization’s overall strategy,” he says. “Sustainability is at its heart a form of strategic management whereby an organization commits to self-renewal over the long term and implements processes and systems to manage stakeholder value.”

Camarota says a key to sustainability management is understanding that it is a form of economic, social, and ecological capital accumulation. “Rather than the traditional business focus on economic measures, sustainability management requires a broader approach that includes stakeholders as well as the natural environment. For example, a firm focuses on capital investments to increase its productive capacity, positive social impact, financial resources, and positive ecological impacts,” he explains. “Several reporting schemes, including the Global Reporting Initiative, have been developed to increase the transparency of sustainability management efforts.”

Declan Kavanagh thinks there are two emerging trends. “The most fundamental is how businesses will grow collaboration enabled by social media platforms. Secondly, a new generation of workers expects to communicate, network, and innovate using social media,” he says. Kavanagh does not just mean Facebook or LinkedIn, but corporate platforms that are enabled by tools like Lotus Connections and SharePoint. TeamPark by Sogeti is an example. These social media platforms will accelerate innovation, productivity, knowledge sharing, reuse, and crowd sourcing.

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