The Lead: New Year’s Resolutions, HSBC preps for AI, Games Teach Empathy in the Workforce

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

New Year’s Resolutions Businesses are Making to Spur Growth

Solid security, superb customer experience (and trust), and good business results can be developed with the resolution to make sure your company is up to date with data compliance and all regulatory requirements. Another key business resolution to spur growth is to improve the ease in which employees can work outside the office by providing the tools that promote flexibility and productivity. Quantify the improvements you want to make and set numerical targets to make the improvements more concrete.

Our View: Just like personal goals are more achievable when they are broken down into smaller goals, business goals are perceived as more attainable when they have multiple clear steps lined up to reach them. Set your business resolutions for the year and break them apart with a different focus for each month of the year. Further Reading

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HSBC Prepares for the AI Revolution

HSBC Holdings, one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world, is building one of the industry’s largest data lakes as it prepares for the transformations predicted to come from artificial intelligence. HSBC’s Head of Transformation is Chuck Teixeira, and he credits his team’s innovation to their ability to be simultaneously detail-oriented while keeping the big picture in sight. He asks questions like “what are we trying to achieve?”, “what is the roadblock to achieving this?”, and “how do we overcome it?” and works to foster a culture that is hands-on.

Our View: Leaders should use their positional and personal power to strengthen and prepare their team for change. They can bring clarity to uncertainty by explaining different scenarios and what each possible plot means for the team. They can also encourage critical thinking from diverse perspectives, which will promote innovation that transforms the decision making ecosystem into an adaptable one that proactively responds to change. Further Reading

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Games that Teach Empathy in the Workplace

Second City Works (the professional services branch of the Chicago-based improv comedy giant Second City) has developed games to include in anti-harassment corporate training workshops. The games are derived from improvisation techniques, but they don’t set out to make employees engage in performance scenes but rather give them the skills to be more improvisational in the moment.

Our View: An empathetic workplace is a major factor that helps recruit and retain employees. Research from Businessolver showed that 77% of employees would be willing to work more hours for a more empathetic workplace. Be more empathic at work by avoiding assumptions and prioritizing problems. Doing these two things makes your interactions with your employees more personalized, compassionate, and effective. Further Reading

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Humanitarian Crisis in Trinidad

In regards to the influx of Venezuelan refuges entering Trinidad, Trinidadian academic and expert on migration Michele Reis says “we are on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.” According to the United Nations, 3.6 million Venezuelans have fled from their country since 2015, and many arrive in Cedros in southwestern Trinidad (just seven miles from the Venezuelan coast).

Our View: The complexity of the humanitarian environment is especially relevant to leaders regardless of their industry. Professional associations and conferences are great avenues to network and innovate for humanitarian efforts. Find groups and events that are industry-specific but also look for those opportunities that transcend industry, like those covering topics such as security, risk management, or leadership. Further Reading

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Emergence of Feathers 70 Million Years Older than Originally Thought

Paleontologists recently discovered that the flying reptiles, pterosaurs, had four kinds of feathers that were shared with dinosaurs, making the origin of feathers older by some 70 million years. University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences professor Mike Benton explains “the hunt for feathers in fossils is heating up and finding their functions in such early forms is imperative. It can rewrite our understanding of a major revolution in life on Earth during the Triassic and also our understanding of the genomic regulation of feathers, scales, and hairs in the skin.”

Our View: New scientific discoveries can shift our paradigms, and business leaders can create paradigm shifts in management. Consider building a customer-centric view in place of a firm-centric view as a high-yielding paradigm shift. A great way to know if your company needs a paradigm shift is by evaluating competing paradigms with the criteria physicist Thomas Kuhn suggested: accuracy, consistency, simplicity, scope, and newness (new phenomena or new relationship among phenomena). Further Reading

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