The Biggest And Boldest Ideas For How To Stop Rising Inequality

By Jessica Leber – As inequality has grown over the last several decades, the United States has become a nation where a few are making it, and the many are being left behind.

Poverty and elite wealth are in. The working middle class is out.

  • Should everyone get a minimum inheritance at birth? How about a government-guaranteed income or job? In the face of a growing income gap, we may need to get revolutionary.
  • The U.S. ranks among the lowest among developed countries for upward mobility, despite clinging to the mythology of Horatio Alger.
  • Technology, globalization, and political choices all play a role. The current debate is over how much of each. What’s at stake is our future.
  • Experts don’t know what a poor person needs. But guess who does? Poor people.
  • Where you grow up shapes your adult wellbeing, especially if you’re poor—which is why we should worry that communities are more segregated than ever.

For all the talk from both sides of the aisle, we have the makings of another mostly meaningless election buzzword. more>

The cult of productivity is preventing you from being productive

By Jess Whittlestone – “Productivity” has become such a buzzword that it can seem like it’s the goal in itself.

But productivity is useless if what you’re producing isn’t meaningful or helpful to you or others in some way.

The reason we really care about productivity—or the reason we should care—is that it allows us to do the things we care about as well and effectively as possible.

Productivity isn’t a goal, but rather a tool for better achieving our goals. more>

How Lockheed Martin, Cisco and PWC manage cybersecurity

By Bruce Harpham – Talented information security professionals remain the linchpin of a successful cybersecurity program.

Several employment surveys have found that security skills continue to be in high demand, and some high profile security jobs can command salaries over $200,000 per year.

A major part of Lockheed’s security success comes down to the organization’s talent strategy.

“When I bring a new security analyst into Lockheed, they have the opportunity to rotate through several groups: Lockheed’s internal security unit, the group serving government clients and work with our commercial clients,” Angela Heise shared.

“We empower our security staff by giving them a say in the tools they use and help them develop their careers,” she continued.

Diversity and cross-generational cooperation is another opportunity. more>

Updates from GE

Jody Holtzman: The Upside of Longevity — Beyond the Status Quo
By Jody Holtzman – There is an often unspoken assumption when policy makers and others speak about the implications of the aging demographics of the country.

When you tear away all of the niceties, it comes down to this — “We can’t afford all of these old people.”

While only 34 percent of the U.S. population in 2013, people over 50 generated $5.1 trillion in consumer spending and accounted for $7.1 trillion — or 42 percent — of U.S. GDP. This supported just under 90 million jobs, or 49 percent of the total, and generated over $1.5 trillion in federal, state and local taxes.

For the first time in human history, we have an abundance of experienced human capital — capable and wanting — and continuing to add value to their communities, companies and the economy.

The only thing stopping them from greater contributions is the narrow thinking of a corporate America that views experienced workers as a cost, rather than an asset with skills, wisdom and experience. While some bemoan the long-term challenges facing Social Security, current policies penalize those who can and want to continue working. more>

The World Isn’t Ready for Gross National Happiness

By Noah Smith – Humanity has puzzled over the meaning of happiness for millennia, but now it’s being asked by economists.

The focus on happiness represents a philosophical shift for the economics field, but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Economists’ traditional measures of well-being are based on utility, or the degree to which people get what they want.

Economists who study happiness have begun to entertain the notion that perhaps what matters isn’t the degree to which people get what they want, but how much they like what they get. Good emotions may be more important than satiation of desires.

That’s not a crazy idea. There’s one huge problem with happiness research, however.

There is really no good way to measure what people are actually feeling. more>

How To Build A Culture Of Listening

By Karin Hurt – There are a few signs that your company has a culture founded on listening.

It takes time to develop, but here’s how to tell when it does.

  • People at all levels are thinking about the business and sharing ideas, and solutions to challenges show up in surprising places—not just every blue moon, but regularly.
  • A great idea is a great idea, regardless of who thought of it, and your company rewards whoever does—fairly.
  • Employees at all levels are really listening to what customers are saying, and that includes negative feedback.
  • When the call for questions goes out, the room doesn’t fall silent.
  • No one freaks out when an exec shows up unexpectedly.
  • No one is shocked by the employee engagement survey results.
  • Employees don’t feel like value-generating machines, but actual humans who have mutually respected relationships with their employer.

Listening is one of the most important behaviors to build in a company’s culture. more>

Updates from GE

Aubrey de Grey: Can We and Should We Give Ourselves Indefinite Youth? Oh Yes
By Aubrey de Grey – Aging is a hot topic among the chattering classes these days.

What with biotech companies like Calico and Human Longevity Inc. being founded with the mission to defeat aging, and venerable institutions such as Prudential proclaiming the imminence of superlongevity on billboards, there’s no denying that this is a time of great interest in our oldest and deepest-held dream — to escape from the tyranny of inexorable and ultimately fatal physiological decline.

But hang on — is the buzz around aging really reflective of what’s being done to realize this goal? The briefest dispassionate analysis reveals a different story altogether.

The proportion of government spending allocated in the industrialized world to diseases and disabilities of old age is appropriately high, but it is overwhelmingly dedicated to the transparently quixotic approach of attacking those ailments directly — as if they were infections — rather than attacking their lifelong accumulating causes. more>

How Activist Hedge Funds Turn Others Into Vultures

By Steve Denning – What has changed is that in the 1980s, the corporate raiders were acting by themselves in extracting value from corporations.

Now the raiders are leading the whole business world in an unabashed dash for short-term cash in the form of winnings from the raids.

“Today,” writes Joseph Fuller, “university endowments and state pension funds invest with activists, corporate directors discuss how activists will view their strategy, and the business media even treat them as celebrities.” Even schoolteachers’ pension funds have joined the raids.

The fact that university endowments and state pension funds have been getting into bed with the corporate raiders has helped. These public institutions could hardly tell their stakeholders they were engaged in “corporate raids.” They became co-conspirators with the raiders to change their label to “activist investors.”

The corporate raiders also learned how to present their vulture-like activities in a more positive light.

Now they are not engaged in corporate raids or sucking the blood from once valuable corporations. Instead they are merely performing the public service of “unlocking value.” more>

How Corporate America Is Cannibalizing Itself

By Steve Denning – The cost of excessive financialization: 2% of GDP per year. Now here’s the really bad news.

Share buybacks are not just a moral problem for executives or a financial problem for mismanaged corporations. Excessive financialization is a macro-economic problem of the first order.

It creates a massive drag on activities in the real economy, by misallocating financial and human resources. People and money that could have been deployed in activities benefiting real people, are instead deployed in socially unproductive activities that are no more useful than gambling in Las Vegas.

Throughout history, periods of excessive financialization have coincided with periods of national economic decline, such as Spain in the 14th century, The Netherlands in the late 18th century and Britain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The focus by elites on “making money out of money” rather than making real goods and services has led to wealth for the few, and overall national economic decline. more>

4 Types of CIO-CEO Relationships

By Sneha Jha – Uncertainty is the new certainty in the CIO world.

“Partnering CIOs” don’t actually enjoy peer status. This matters because the mission- critical decisions get made among peers. And this is where CIO can have real impact.

The “trusted ally” CIO is a disruptor, strategist and pioneer. Such CIOs have a business alliance with their CEOs hence they enjoy a high level of trust from his business peers.

“To be a trusted ally a CIO need to develop an “outside-in” of his business,” Mary Mesaglio [2] says. more>