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:
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.
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