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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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How to Bridge the Power Gaps in Your Organization

July 22, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Hierarchy is essential to an organization. Clearly, it helps things run smoothly by ordaining decision-makers to sit in the proverbial corner offices. But this also creates power gaps, alienating workers who hold fresh new insights and ideas. If you want your organization to be  innovative, break down the walls between employees and higher-ups.

How do leaders recognize the power gaps within their organizations and speak the cultural languages needed to bridge these gaps? Jane Hyun, the president and founder of the leadership development firm Hyun & Associates, and the author of Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, is an expert in cultural fluency. She defines it as an essential leadership skill for navigating today’s fast-paced, increasingly global business world.

Hyun sat down with Big Think to share her insights into what executives need to be aware of to close these gaps.

Hyun stresses the importance of flex leadership, and calls it the art of switching between leadership styles to effectively communicate with people who are different from you. Generational, cultural, and gender differences shouldn't create communication divides. Allowing power gaps to go unchecked can lead to loss of talent and stagnant growth.

“[A] Gallup study last year said something about $450 to $550 billion of loss due to disengaged employees,” she explains. “So you might have employees that you've hired into the organization that maybe had one foot out the door, that really don't feel motivated and engaged and don't feel like the organization is really speaking to them.”

For more on Hyun's expert insights and tips to bridge the power gaps in your organization, watch this clip from Big Think's interview:

More from the Big Idea for Tuesday, July 22 2014

Bridging the Power Gap

The corner office may afford a nice view, but it can certainly be isolating at times. With hierarchy comes intimidation, and employees can feel reluctant to share their insights with their high... Read More…

 

How to Bridge the Power Gap...

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