Each month, through our partnership with Harvard Business Review, we refresh our business library for CIOs with five new HBR articles we believe CIOs and IT leaders will value highly. The curated pieces below are available now through the end of August.
How the coronavirus crisis is redefining jobs
Shifting to remote work is not the only way jobs have changed since the pandemic hit. In response to customer needs that changed almost overnight, workers had to take up new completely new tasks and quickly gain new skills – for instance, apparel and automotive companies quickly pivoting to produce masks and ventilators. “With jobs at the heart of how work gets done, leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine them by rearranging work and having employees take on different responsibilities to better respond to the evolving needs of their organizations, customers, and employees,” write the authors of this HBR article. In it, Ravin Jesuthasan, Tracey Malcolm, and Susan Cantrell offer up three ways to boost organizational resilience and agility by rethinking work, talent, and skills.
Download “How the coronavirus crisis is redefining jobs”
To build an agile team, commit to organizational stability
The authors of this HBR article present a paradox: to be more agile to change, companies must first commit themselves to stability. The researchers, Elaine Pulakos and Robert B. (Rob) Kaiser, found that the sense of confidence, security, and optimism a stable organization provides to its employees is what enables them to adapt more nimbly during times of disruptive change. In this article, they cover seven evidence-based strategies leaders can use to create stability even during these turbulent times. For example, they write, “Astute leaders know that every problem presents an opportunity. If they call attention to these opportunities and empower teams to capitalize on them, they can create a stabilizing sense of optimism.”
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Best practices for instant messaging at work
Ding, ding … ding! The notifications from various instant messaging tools have become the background sounds of our daily work life. Although many teams have used them long before the pandemic, they have become an important way people are staying connected to their colleagues and managers throughout the day. “There’s just one problem,” writes Dustin York. “We’re still figuring out how to properly, and professionally, communicate via IM. These systems can create communication silos, where teams who are highly integrated in one platform are unable to collaborate with departments rooted in another. Ease of communication also breeds distraction and informality, where instant messaging becomes a natural conduit to share non- work related information, including details, sometimes inappropriate, of workers’ personal lives.” In this article, he presents four guidelines for IM that all companies should follow.
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Don’t let perfection be the enemy of productivity
Perfection doesn’t just slow you down – it can interfere with your ability to prioritize the most important tasks, says clinical psychologist Alice Boyes. In this HBR article, she dives into three common aspects of perfectionism, and what you can do to recognize and curb this behavior before it disrupts your productivity. For instance, perfectionists have a hard time designating any tasks as unimportant, she says. For this problem, Boyes suggests, “Try using heuristics to quickly decide or delegate with the expectation that you will get much faster and pretty good decisions overall but not perfect ones.” Download her article for more tips.
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The psychology behind effective crisis leadership
Vision is often touted as the thing that sets great leaders apart from the rest. But vision has a dark side, points out Gianpiero Petriglieri. He writes, leaders with a strong, unwavering vision can, “promise a future and demand our life. In some cases, that sacrifice is worth it. In others, it is not. Just as it can ignite us, a vision can burn us out.” In this HBR article, he argues that leadership cannot be whole if it rests on vision alone. He goes on to describe the psychology term “holding,” an authority figure’s ability to think clearly, offer reassurance, orient people and help them stick together in tough times. In this article, Petriglieri outlines several key ways leaders can provide institutional holding, and why the effects of doing so can endure even as vision is thrown off track.
Download “The psychology behind effective crisis leadership”
IT talent strategy: New tactics for a new era
The year 2020 brings completely new IT talent challenges to organizations. In the decade ahead, technology talent will play a pivotal role in whether companies succeed or fail. This new research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services identifies five talent practices CIOs should adopt now to ensure their organizations thrive in the future, offering insights from more than a dozen CIOs and talent experts. Download this report for real-world examples of how you can attract and cultivate the IT talent that will help you succeed.
Download: "IT talent strategy: New tactics for a new era"
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Check out these five thought-provoking HBR articles, curated especially for CIOs and IT leaders
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