Menedżerowie Archive


Understanding the leader’s ‘identity mindtrap’: Personal growth for the C-suite

Millions of years of evolution have shaped our brains, with nature selecting for many adaptive and energy-saving, if imperfect, shortcuts. Some are easy to spot—for example, how we systematically fall for optical illusions and how our loss-aversion reflex biases our choices. Other ancient shortcuts trip us up in subtler, more personal ways.

A CEO named Hans experienced this firsthand as he debriefed his executive team on what he’d learned at his leadership retreat. Hans gestured to a printout—a feedback report drawn from a combination of psychometric tests and 360-degree feedback. He told the team that the report found him intelligent, passionate, and purpose led. However, he added, he was also seen as too controlling, prone to quick judgments, and mostly certain of the rightness of his own opinions.

Hans jammed the papers back into his folder. “So you can see,” he noted with a somewhat rueful smile, “these assessments have shown me the ways I am difficult to work with. I have become aware of the reasons behind some of these challenges, and I want you to know that I am grateful to you for putting up with them.” He paused momentarily before adding, “I am delighted to say that with this new information, it will be easier for all of us as you are able to stretch your styles to work within my complications for the good of the work we all care so deeply about.” Hans smiled graciously at the team and moved to the next agenda item.

If Hans’s reaction strikes you as defensive, or perhaps just unthinking, then you’d be partly right. As we will see, it was a deeply human reaction. From our work with Hans, we know him to be a respected, intelligent, and generally well-liked CEO. In that moment, however, he was unconsciously protecting his ego and identity, as all of us do when we feel them come under threat. Hans held a view of himself as a tough, confident, and decisive—if rough-around-the-edges—leader. He knew what it took to get things done. He also didn’t believe that changing himself was possible. Instead of wasting time trying, he wanted to get back to business.

As Hans would come to learn, however, this fixed projection of his identity and his visceral defense of it were unconscious shortcuts that can point leaders in exactly the wrong direction when we face ambiguity. We call it the “identity mindtrap” and have seen it trip up executives all by itself or in combination with other shortcuts. In this article, we describe how the identity mindtrap can blind us to valuable personal-growth opportunities and how a more expansive view, grounded in the principles of adult development, can help us recognize our potential and improve the odds of seizing it. The results not only are personally beneficial—helping us lead with more ease and empathy and improving our ability to deal with complexity—but can also help our teams and organizations thrive in an uncertain, rapidly changing world.

Three questions to help you grow

Interviews, written assessments, and other instruments can help orient us on the map of our development. Self-awareness is the torchlight for walking through this terrain. Over years or decades, we can see and understand the patterns and large shifts described in this article, but we live them in a series of tiny moves. In these moments, things we were once blind to become assumptions we can see and make decisions about. We can help prompt this form of developmental self-awareness by asking ourselves three vital questions:

1. Why do I believe what I believe? We often confuse our beliefs with the truth and rarely question how we came to hold them. To break this pattern, stop looking for evidence to support your beliefs and instead try looking for their sources. Did a belief come from an external authority in a socialized way? Did you write it yourself, basing it on your principles or values? As you examine your system of beliefs, you can begin to shift your attachment to your current form of mind. For example, you might find that your belief that “loyalty is paramount” was inherited from your father in a socialized way because loyalty mattered most to him.

2. How could I be wrong? This question isn’t meant to help you make your beliefs bulletproof but rather to open them up so that you recognize other ways of seeing the world that might be helpful to you—and might be as true as your own vision. For example, if you question your socialized view of loyalty, you might see how loyalty to an outside cause can blind you or others and generate mistakes that eventually hurt the cause. The discomfort you feel at this process (“I can’t be wrong!”) means you’re on the right track. Keep going; this practice creates psychological flexibility and opens us up to new possibilities. When used in the right way, this question is a high-energy packet of developmental goodness.

3. Who do I want to be next? This question is a beacon in the distance for all of us. We often consider what we want to do next or what we want our next career move to be, but we rarely consider who we will be next. Will we be less reactive? Will we have a bigger view? Will we be less oriented to our achievements? If we have a sense of this new person we are growing into, it will be easier to spot—and avoid—the identity mindtrap and continue to walk through our development path with grace.

Our world is changing faster than our biology can adapt. Mindtraps that once helped minimize distractions from ancient challenges are unhelpful in addressing modern ones. Fortunately, our minds can evolve faster than our genomes and can be intentionally developed through practice. Our reflex to protect our egos never leaves us, but as we ask ourselves different questions, we can discover—and follow—a development path that enriches us as human beings and ultimately benefits our teams, organizations, and even the world.

And not a moment too soon. Some of the organizational, environmental, and geopolitical issues before us represent the biggest and most complex challenges human beings have ever faced. By avoiding the mindtraps, and participating more fully in our own evolution, we can generate the collaboration and new ideas needed to solve these challenges.

About the author(s)

Jennifer Garvey Berger is the CEO of Cultivating Leadership; her latest book is Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity (Stanford University Press, 2019). Zafer Gedeon Achi is a partner at Cultivating Leadership and a director emeritus at McKinsey.



BCC – skoncentrować się nad finalizacją inwestycji infrastrukturalnych

W najbliższym roku należy skoncentrować się nad finalizacją inwestycji infrastrukturalnych tak, aby drogi stworzyły spójną sieć, jaką zakładano startując z tymi inwestycjami.

·         Problemem może być schodzenie wykonawców z placów budowy ze względu na brak waloryzacji kontraktów.

·         Koszty wykonania inwestycji tak bardzo wzrosły, że często bardziej opłaca się zrezygnować z inwestycji i zapłacić karę umowną niż zakończyć kontrakt ze stratą.

·         Waloryzacja przewidziana jest dla nowych kontraktów, które będą zawierane w tym roku i w przyszłych latach.

·         Istotnym wyzwaniem jest rozwiązanie problemu już istniejących kontraktów, które są zrywane. Wyłonienie nowego wykonawcy wiąże się z dodatkowymi kosztami, a te stale rosną.

·         Brak dziesiątków tysięcy pracowników grozi paraliżem infrastrukturalnych inwestycji.

Zdaniem BCC, koniecznie jest pilne usprawnienie przetargów i waloryzacja kontraktów realizowanych w ramach Prawa zamówień publicznych.

Według badań Ministerstwa Przedsiębiorczości i Technologii, autora projektu ustawy Pzp,  usprawnienie przetargów może przynieść zamawiającym – instytucjom rządowym, samorządowym i szerzej: sektorowi publicznemu – 30 proc. oszczędności obecnych wydatków.

Nowa ustawa ma wejść w życie dopiero w 2021 r. Tymczasem podjęcie działań jest niezbędne już dzisiaj. Według ostatnich danych, rząd zamierza pożyczyć prawie 2 mld zł, aby opłacić dodatkowe wydatki na dokończenie zerwanych w tym roku kontraktów na nowe autostrady i drogi ekspresowe.

Ministerstwo Infrastruktury podało, że planowany wzrost wydatków na realizację rządowego programu drogowego wynika z konieczności aktualizacji wydatków „ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem wzrostu wartości inwestycji, dla których inwestor (Generalna Dyrekcja Dróg Krajowych i Autostrad) odstąpił od umowy z wykonawcą”. Łącznie około 1,8 mld zł. Pieniądze te, rządowy Krajowy Fundusz Drogowy ma pożyczyć, emitując obligacje i zaciągając nowe kredyty w Europejskim Banku Inwestycyjnym.

Należy podkreślić, że dla części inwestycji wsparcie z obecnego budżetu UE będzie już niemożliwe. GDDKiA podpisuje bowiem dopiero umowy na przygotowanie tzw. koncepcji programowej, czyli wstępnych dokumentów do przygotowania inwestycji.

Z punktu widzenia przedsiębiorcy:

Wciąż brakuje możliwości waloryzacji kontraktów realizowanych  w ramach Pzp. Wśród głównych problemów przedsiębiorcy wymieniają wzrost kosztów wyrobów budowlanych i innych materiałów niezbędnych do realizacji inwestycji oraz wzrost kosztów świadczenia usług, kosztów pracy oraz niedobór pracowników.

Jednak najpoważniejszym problemem, którego skala jest już na tyle duża, że zagraża zarówno funkcjonowaniu przedsiębiorców, jak też pomyślnej realizacji inwestycji drogowych i kolejowych, jest brak efektywnych klauzul waloryzacyjnych w umowach zawartych między zamawiającymi a wykonawcami. Grozi to falą bankructw przedsiębiorców, zwolnieniami grupowymi pracowników i odstąpieniem od realizacji kontraktów. Jeśli do tego dojdzie, błyskawicznie odczuje to cała gospodarka, ponieważ budownictwo uznawane jest za barometr wzrostu gospodarczego. Od jednego miejsca pracy w sektorze budowlanym zależy kilka miejsc pracy w transporcie, produkcji przemysłowej czy w handlu.

BCC proponuje, aby rząd podjął następujące działania w zakresie:

·         inicjatywy na rzecz poprawy sytuacji na rynku zamówień publicznych w związku z sygnalizowanymi przez rynek trudnościami w realizacji inwestycji o długim okresie wykonania w oparciu o już zawarte umowy o zamówienie publiczne,

·         podania szacunkowych kosztów waloryzacji umów w związku z oszacowanym przez rząd ryzykiem  niewykonania tych umów wskutek ich wypowiedzenia przez wykonawców i konieczności dokończenia realizacji zamówień przez nowych wykonawców lub ryzykiem ich wypowiedzenia,

·         wdrożenia rozwiązań opartych o obowiązujące przepisy prawa, które umożliwią zamawiającym w sposób bezsporny przeprowadzenie zmiany istniejących umów na realizację inwestycji o długoterminowym okresie wykonania w związku ze zmianą kosztów wyrobów budowlanych i dostaw tych wyrobów, wypracowania systemowych rozwiązań, w tym mechanizmu waloryzacyjnego w oparciu o dane statystyki publicznej, zapewniających ich stosowanie przez zamawiających, w związku ze zmianą cen, kosztów wyrobów budowlanych i dostaw tych wyrobów w zakresie, w którym ich zmiana nie mogła być do przewidzenia przez strony zawierające umowy. Taka formuła powinna zostać włączona docelowo do nowego Prawa zamówień publicznych.

Branża infrastrukturalna cierpi również na nieustanny brak rąk do pracy. W związku z tym, konieczne jest poszerzenie listy państw, z których pracodawcy mogą pozyskiwać pracowników na uproszczonych zasadach, możliwość wydłużenia okresu legalnej pracy cudzoziemca w Polsce i urzędowe przyspieszenie legalizacji ich pracy. Z raportu Najwyższej Izby Kontroli wynika, że w ciągu ostatnich czterech lat średni czas legalizacji pobytu cudzoziemca w Polsce wydłużył się ponadtrzykrotnie: z 64 do 206 dni.

Niezbędne są zmiany w prawie i wydłużenie legalnego okresu zatrudnienia cudzoziemca na uproszczonych zasadach z obecnych 6 do 12, a nawet 18 miesięcy. Należy zrezygnować z obowiązku dołączania do wniosku o zezwolenie na pracę typu A tzw. testu rynku pracy, gdy cudzoziemiec przepracował co najmniej trzy miesiące u jednego pracodawcy. Z przepisów powinien zniknąć też obowiązek uzyskania nowego zezwolenia na pracę cudzoziemca wtedy, gdy tylko zmienia on stanowisko u tego samego pracodawcy. Powinna powstać również lista zawodów oraz rozszerzona lista państw (chodzi tu o  państwa azjatyckie, np. Indie i Bangladesz), których obywatele mogą pracować w Polsce na podstawie oświadczenia. Należy wdrożyć  nowoczesny system informatyczny, który w jednolity dla całej Polski sposób pozwoli na składanie i procesowanie wniosków o pobyt czasowy, stały, rezydenta długoterminowego UE i obywatela UE w formie elektronicznej.

Komentarz wideo:

Kontakt do eksperta: dr Łukasz Bernatowicz, wiceprezes BCC, minister infrastruktury w Gospodarczym Gabinecie Cieni BCC, wiceprzewodniczący RDS, członek Rady Zamówień Publicznych, tel. 502 066 619

Emil Muciński, rzecznik, Instytut Interwencji Gospodarczych BCC


The Power of Algorithmic Forecasting

This is the first in a series of articles by Boston Consulting Group and Daimler Mobility discussing the concept of forward-looking financial steering. Here, we introduce the concept and explain how companies can use it. Subsequent articles will address implementation challenges related to people and technology. The insights are derived from Daimler Mobility’s successful deployment, with BCG’s support, of forward-looking steering in its global operations.

People don’t steer their cars solely on the basis of what they see in the rearview mirror, yet that is essentially how most business leaders steer their companies: they look backward to decide how to move forward. This method makes it hard for companies to cope with the ever-increasing levels of uncertainty in today’s business environment. To keep up to speed, companies need an approach to financial steering that permits rapid and effective course corrections in anticipation of future developments. Companies should spend far less time developing detailed plans and far more time taking action to counter threats and capture opportunities.

To make that happen, the paradigm for steering must fully shift its focus from backward looking to forward looking. Backward-­looking steering entails analyzing deviations between plan targets and actual performance. Forward-­looking steering entails comparing targets with forecasts of how KPIs will evolve over specific time horizons. To truly adopt forward-looking steering (as described in this article), a company must use algorithmically derived forecasts.

Although it is common for companies to produce forecasts manually, few companies use algorithms. Algorithmically derived forecasts allow the focus to shift from periodically reporting results to accurately forecasting the development of KPIs—faster and with less effort. Armed with foresight into how conditions will change, companies can take action to preempt unfavorable outcomes and promote competitive advantage.

Adopting algorithm-based, forward-looking steering is not easy, however. A company must enrich its traditional manual processes with a data-driven, automated approach to generating forecasts and performance reports. Among the many challenges are assembling a team that has statistical capabilities, setting up a new technical infrastructure, and building people’s trust in technology.

“To master the digital transformation, a company must take a comprehensive approach to algorithm-based forward-looking steering,” says Stephan Unger, Daimler Mobility’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). “This includes not only advanced analytical methods, new technologies, and the right expertise, but also an engaging approach to change management.”

By Gerhard Unger and Marc Rodt



When women lead, workplaces should listen

For years, female executives have come away from women-only leadership programs empowered to do—and ask for—more, valuing the opportunity to examine their strengths and shortcomings in the psychological safety of their peers and to use the experience as a springboard for personal development.

But organizations are leaving unexamined the most powerful lessons these programs offer.

The oft-overlooked benefit of women-only leadership programs is that they hold up a mirror to the organization. When women scrutinize their own leadership traits and experiences, they reveal important information about the day-to-day environment in which they operate. If a company is receptive, the content of the sessions can help gauge how well the organization promotes effective leadership behavior and can offer a portal into where the company succeeds, as well as where it fails to foster an environment in which everyone can bring their best self to work. In short, companies can use such programs not only to improve the skills of the participants but also to assess—and ultimately improve—the workplace itself.

We’ve come to these conclusions through a decade’s worth of experience in a particular women’s leadership program—McKinsey’s Remarkable Women Program, which has helped develop female leaders from Warsaw to Washington, DC, to Singapore to Stockholm. Remarkable Women sessions generally include participants from multiple organizations, but many companies send more than one woman, and we believe that the lessons we’ve learned are equally relevant for organizations running their own in-house programs.

In this article, we describe what hundreds of program sessions and 150 interviews with participants have taught us. Not only do women and men experience work differently; not only is it the system—rather than women—that needs fixing; but there are three critical actions organizations need to take: they must broaden their leadership models, stimulate dissent, and encourage more effective introspection across the board.

About the authors: Natacha Catalino is an associate partner in McKinsey’s Boston office, and Kirstan Marnane is a senior advisor in the London office.



Five routes to more innovative problem solving

Rob McEwen had a problem. The chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian mining group Goldcorp knew that its Red Lake site could be a money-spinner—a mine nearby was thriving—but no one could figure out where to find high-grade ore. The terrain was inaccessible, operating costs were high, and the unionized staff had already gone on strike. In short, McEwen was lumbered with a gold mine that wasn’t a gold mine.

Then inspiration struck. Attending a conference about recent developments in IT, McEwen was smitten with the open-source revolution. Bucking fierce internal resistance, he created the Goldcorp Challenge: the company put Red Lake’s closely guarded topographic data online and offered $575,000 in prize money to anyone who could identify rich drill sites. To the astonishment of players in the mining sector, upward of 1,400 technical experts based in 50-plus countries took up the problem. The result? Two Australian teams, working together, found locations that have made Red Lake one of the world’s richest gold mines. “From a remote site, the winners were able to analyze a database and generate targets without ever visiting the property,” McEwen said. “It’s clear that this is part of the future.”

McEwen intuitively understood the value of taking a number of different approaches simultaneously to solving difficult problems. A decade later, we find that this mind-set is ever more critical: business leaders are operating in an era when forces such as technological change and the historic rebalancing of global economic activity from developed to emerging markets have made the problems increasingly complex, the tempo faster, the markets more volatile, and the stakes higher. The number of variables at play can be enormous, and free-flowing information encourages competition, placing an ever-greater premium on developing innovative, unique solutions.

This article presents an approach for doing just that. How? By using what we call flexible objects for generating novel solutions, or flexons, which provide a way of shaping difficult problems to reveal innovative solutions that would otherwise remain hidden. This approach can be useful in a wide range of situations and at any level of analysis, from individuals to groups to organizations to industries. To be sure, this is not a silver bullet for solving any problem whatever. But it is a fresh mechanism for representing ambiguous, complex problems in a structured way to generate better and more innovative solutions.

The flexons approach

Networks flexon

Evolutionary flexon

Decision-agent flexon

System-dynamics flexon

Information-processing flexon

Putting flexons to work

Flexons help turn chaos into order by representing ambiguous situations and predicaments as well-defined, analyzable problems of prediction and optimization. They allow us to move up and down between different levels of detail to consider situations in all their complexity. And, perhaps most important, flexons allow us to bring diversity inside the head of the problem solver, offering more opportunities to discover counterintuitive insights, innovative options, and unexpected sources of competitive advantage.

About the author(s)

Olivier Leclerc is a principal in McKinsey’s Southern California office. Mihnea Moldoveanu is associate dean of the full-time MBA program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, where he directs the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking.