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The world has changed. Corporations now face new stakeholders and issues, including employees, safety, value chains, sustainability, and diversity. It’s the Board’s responsibility to direct the management of the corporation’s business, acting in the best interests of the company’s stakeholders—a much more diverse group of interests than when a company’s only stakeholders were its shareholders!

On February 24th from 4pm CT to 6pm CT, during GrahamJohnson’s BOARDS: The Bridge to a Diverse World free event, SAMUEL C. SCOTT III retired Chair and CEO, Ingredion [fka Corn Products] and past/present Abbott, BONY, Motorola Board Director; ADELA CEPEDA, Angeles Investors, UBS Funds, Mercer Mutual Funds, and BMO Financial Corp. Board Director; DAVID CHUN, Equilar CEO and NASDAQ Board Partner; and PAULA GOLD-WILLIAMS, CEO, CPS Energy will address questions on this topic as proposed by Moderator and C-Suite/Board Expert Mary Ann Hynes, questions such as:

  • What role should the Board and CEO perform in defining/growing diversity at your firms and boards?
  • What does success in corporate diversity in your companies and boards look like at end of 2021? 2022?
  • When your companies and boards are diverse/more diverse—what will be different?

Following this highly interactive (yes, attendees do ask the panelists questions live, not just through a chat feature) unrecorded discussion, attendees will break out into their choice of two different chat room sessions, each hosted by a board/corporate expert in:
Board Governance, Climate/Environmental Financial & Risk Management, Intellectual Property, Cybersecurity, Growth (Turnarounds, M&A, Organic), ERM—Financial and Operational, Value/Supply Chains, Real Estate; Public Policy, Executive Compensation, Culture/Human Capital Management.

Start the New Year off right by focusing on diversity and the other board 2021 priority topics—what’s defined and then measured does gets achieved—while learning and sharing with your fellow C-Suite and Board Directors.

For an invitation to this free event (attendance limited to C-Suite and Corporate Board Directors) go to: REGISTER AND for more information, see FLYER.

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The HQ Companies, Inc. has joined forces with Chief Legal Executive, LLC in a special joint endeavor that incorporates:

  • Chief Legal Executive’s CEO Lloyd Johnson’s outstanding diversity coaching, major corporate growth consulting and long-term relationship building with over 10,000 people of color and women.
  • The HQ Companies’ CEO Kathy Graham’s outstanding career coaching, corporate growth consulting, and long-term relationship building of a global network of C-Suite and board directors…plus top ranking as a talent consultant with a 98% success rate in finding those scarce, very valuable human capital who stay 10+ years average tenure because they’re such great culture fits who achieve so much!

Graham & Johnson’s goal: Starts with collaboratively engaging with CEOs/Boards to define their corporate and board growth goals in this new stakeholder capitalism business world, and concludes with Graham and Johnson tapping into their extensive relationships to surface/develop executive through board leaders that fit each company’s unique culture.

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  • Creating the right corporate and board culture
  • Removing barriers to innovation
  • Providing appropriate risk oversight
  • Provoking thought that leads to creativity and challenge

ANNA CHENG CATALANO has been a public and private company board director for the past 17 years. Serving on the boards of Frontdoor (NASDAQ), HollyFrontier (NYSE), Kraton (NYSE), Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ) and Appvion (Private), and as Co-Founder of The World Innovation Network (TWIN), she brings a unique perspective of inspiring innovation from a board director perspective. Anna serves as President of National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Texas TriCities Chapter and is a NACD certified Board Leadership Fellow. In her other nonprofit involvement, she serves as a director on the Alzheimer’s Association and the Houston Grand Opera.

In October 2019, Anna wrote about the topic of “Leadership in Innovation and Humanity” on her thought leadership website (

“At both events, a terrific lineup of topics, presented by engaged speakers and attendees, perturbed and challenged my paradigms. It was a healthy dose of innovative thinking as I consider my role in board leadership and business in the coming years.

The topic that was common throughout both conferences was the pace of change and disruption that we will undoubtedly experience in the next decade. As we consider innovations in technology, data collection and management through AI, speeds of communication through 5G, automation through robotics and drones, and increasing technological advancements in bioengineering and medical breakthroughs, the potential of progress is tremendously exciting…In many instances, the elements of innovation that excite me seem to be the very topics that cause concern.”

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from 4pm CT to 6pm CT (includes optional private chats) join Anna as she draws upon her experience and discusses her thoughts on how to encourage innovation from a board perspective. ANDREA ZOPP, CEO of World Business Chicago—an organization driving inclusive economic growth in North America’s global business center—who is also an experienced Board Director, Keynote Speaker, and Subject Matter Expert (SME), will moderate this FREE ZOOM EVENT. To gain your free invite, visit

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  • CREST SPINBRUSH: sold to P&G in 2001, generating $200M in annual sales in +35 countries & is still one of the most popular battery powered toothbrush brands—now owned by Church & Dwight.
  • THERMOSCAN EAR THERMOMETER: sold to Braun Gillette & still considered one of the best thermometers in 2020.
  • CARDIOINSIGHT CARDIO MAPPING SYSTEM: acquired by Medtronic in 2015 with revenue continuing to grow through 2025.

The companies and investor partners with JOHN NOTTINGHAM'S innovation company, Nottingham Spirk (NS), have earned significant returns—over $50B to date—and the companies who have acquired NS technologies—as demonstrated by above 3 of his 1,300 patents (of which 95% have been commercialized)—have also earned outsized, significant returns. BOTTOM LINE: John Nottingham is a great source to learn about:

  • TOPIC 1: The best ways to continually grow FRESH innovation in your company.
  • TOPIC 2: How to manage the risks associated with innovation.
  • TOPIC 3: John’s favorite inventions and why they’re his favorites.
  • TOPIC 4: What John sees as the next up-and-coming innovations.

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from 4pm CT to 6pm CT (includes optional private chats) hear John discuss these 4 topics and answer your questions. ANA DUTRA, CEO of Mandala Global Advisors—a C-level business consultancy building business growth in 30+ countries—and a NYSE, NASDAQ, and private company Board Director, in addition to being a best-selling author and global Keynote Speaker, will be John’s Moderator at this FREE ZOOM EVENT. To gain your free invite, visit

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“Many have written the obituary for media many times, but I see Wednesday’s [Quiet Game Changers Zoom] program as a great way to highlight that there are exciting and innovative things happening [in and to media],” says Megan Kamerick. Megan is Co-Moderator for an August 12th Zoom program that focuses on the women (yes, women) who are at the heart of transforming print, TV, radio, and digital news in order to stop media’s continuing public confidence decline.

BUT FIRST, YOU MUST WATCH MEGAN’S OUTSTANDING VIDEO—the graphs are shocking, including the stats on NPR, op-eds, and the digital news industry!

The August 12, 2020 event was recorded as an interactive Zoom conversation with the speakers on the following topics:

  1. JENN BRANDEL: how “listening first” to target customers generates revenue better than the advertising model.
  2. TERESA PUENTE: how media and you can help stop systemic workplace racism and unconscious bias.
  3. NIKKI KALLEK, CHRO, Crain Communications: how to create better work conditions; thrive as an independent.
  4. KAT ROWLANDS: how media can cover more nonprofit/other community stories & build revenue at same time.
  5. SHANITA AKINTONDE: how prime age women in media & elsewhere can disarm “gender + age discrimination.”

The recordings are being processed into 5 social media videos in a series on transforming media today.


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There are three new market factors that were NOT present in 2019 that can have an impact, positive or negative, on your career.

The first MARKET FACTOR is the pandemic. ...
The second MARKET FACTOR is that many companies have most of their workforce WORKING FROM HOME. ...
The third MARKET FACTOR is that THE BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE announced in December that the sole purpose of a company was no longer just serving its shareholders (see my 12/8/19 article). ...

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There are three types of CFOs in the world today and none of them are likely to go extinct in the near future. Their roles and compensation are quite different, however, so IF you’re a CFO, the question becomes:

  • As a CFO, who are you today and who do you want to be tomorrow?

The three CFO types are:

  • CLASSIC CFO: the steward of the company’s financial history, internally and historically focused.
  • STRATEGIC CFO: works with multiple ERP systems recent data and KPIs, coordinating finance across departments.
  • THE CEO'S PARTNER: with real-time end-to-end information from digitalized system, able to suggest pivots and changes NOW to react NOW to factors changing NOW...

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There are three types of CFOs in the world today and none of them are likely to go extinct in the near future. Their roles and compensation are quite different, however, so IF you’re a CFO, the question becomes:

  • As a CFO, who are you today and who do you want to be tomorrow?

The three CFO types are:

  • CLASSIC CFO: the steward of the company’s financial history, internally and historically focused.
  • STRATEGIC CFO: works with multiple ERP systems recent data and KPIs, coordinating finance across departments.
  • THE CEO'S PARTNER: with real-time end-to-end information from digitalized system, able to suggest pivots and changes NOW to react NOW to factors changing NOW...

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With acceptance increasing of EESG (employees, environment, sustainability, governance) as stakeholders that a corporation needs to serve in addition to its shareholders, corporate board directors are being called on to provide risk oversight of ever more activities.

With acceptance increasing of the need for representation of diversity and inclusion at all levels of a corporation, from the entry level ranks through C-Suite and the corporate board of directors, corporations face increasing scrutiny regarding ethnic and gender composition.

Now let’s add in a pandemic forcing:

  • most of the U.S. to work remotely, which is enhancing individuals’ abilities to use social media and digital/online tools more effectively, making each company now open to immediate Yelp-like public praise/dings (think what happened to Facebook recently, as well as to many others).
  • already existing wage and health inequalities among different ethnicities to worsen, which is compounded by the continuance of long existing other social and economic ills that have not yet reached adequate resolution.

Perhaps it’s time to look at an approach to address these situations simultaneously? ...

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A global pandemic, world-wide recession, high U.S. wage inequality and social unrest, large-scale corporate and country debt…and yet my 17th economic employment forecast for the next 12-24 months is:
1. U.S. and global employment nature will permanently change with AI and DIGITAL assuming a larger and growing share of all previous labor activities of a LOW TOUCH, LOW THOUGHT nature (yes, my 2017-2019 Forecast that AI and computers would be replacing labor/people in certain work was correct).
2. Corporations, private/public, will integrate EESG (Employees, Environment, Sustainability, Governance) stakeholders.
3. AI’s and DIGITAL transformation’s impact and corporations’ acceptance of employees as stakeholders will shift employees’ focus towards personally MEANINGFUL work with “meaningful work” defined as activities/tasks/physical or mental exertion for a corporate purpose that the person is naturally best at performing and enjoys doing those activities/tasks/exertions.
4. The U.S. GDP pie grows larger as labor shifts to meaningful work as artificial barriers lessen for positions—from entry to corporate C-suite to corporate boards—due to corporate acceptance of EESG.

Given that the U.S. and China account for nearly 40% of global GDP, nearly 25% of global trade, and even larger shares of capital goods AND the U.S., European Union, and China are the world’s largest economies, A GROWING U.S. GDP should encourage a GROWING GLOBAL GDP.

These 4 incredibly unbelievable outcomes will occur because of…a global pandemic, world-wide recession, high U.S. wage inequality and social unrest, large-scale corporate and country debt—the “here’s why” White Paper (all of 2 pages long!) is available as a PDF With Sources OR as the PDF White Paper Only.

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SEC Financial Expert and Associated Banc-Corp, AIG Funds, Legg Mason Closed End Funds, and Hochschild Mining plc Board Director Eileen Kamerick, Deloitte Vice Chairman and National Managing Partner, Center for Board Effectiveness Deb DeHaas, and Legal Corporate Governance Expert and The University of Chicago’s Michael J. Marks Professor of Law Todd Henderson offer their most important recommendations to boards for this year’s earnings seasons.

1. Kamerick regarding FINANCIAL REPORTING:

“This year is anything but a routine time in terms of financial reporting. Management teams and audit committees are in the uncomfortable position of being exhorted by the SEC to provide as much detail as possible regarding future operating conditions and resource requirements, yet it’s at a time when there are almost infinite numbers of variables and virtually nothing is certain.....

2. Henderson regarding LEGAL:

“Remember that the intent of securities laws is to have large public companies release the information that they would naturally disclose if they were a small private company.

Consider if there were only 10 owners in your company and a catastrophe strikes. You would tell them.....


Agility & Flexibility: Board and management are engaging more to meet fast-paced changing issues. Being thoughtful about processes and how best to work together can result in: 1) more informal interactions; 2) a review of what information is most important and when appropriate; and 3) a fuller utilization of Board/committee members’ unique skills/experiences, including their capabilities to be sounding boards for key management.....

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In a world filled with uncertainty and fear, keeping positive, keeping fact-based, and keeping your belief in yourself to cause positive outcomes for yourself and others is crucial. Actions speak louder than words, which is why The HQ Companies is launching a new monthly Zoom event called “Quiet Game Changers For You.”

Starting AUGUST 12, 2020, at 4PM CT, please join a lively interactive multi-media conversation focused on MEDIA. Media—print, TV, radio, digital—is a mess with public confidence in the media continuing its decline. With a model that was built around advertising revenues that have been challenged by digital media, fake/mistaken news, sensationalism for profitability, poor coverage of other issues, the demise of the independents, individual’s heuristic biases feeding media biases/profitability, gender/body/diversity image establishment concerns, and hostile to unpleasant work conditions—media is ripe for GAME CHANGERS.

TWO top media journalists will moderate FOUR quiet MEDIA INDUSTRY GAME CHANGERS discussing media...

Coming AUGUST 26, 2020 at 4PM CT: TWO quiet INNOVATION GAME CHANGERS discussing: how to keep growing innovation at the corporate board & CEO level...


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In response to the Zoombombing virus news, I reached out to my Zoom account rep AND to a TV producer who just did a major Zoom event and is planning more. Here’s their advice below to keep you Zoombombing virus free.

For securing Zoom meetings & webinars:

  • For those hosting large, public group meetings, Zoom strongly encourages hosts to review their settings, confirm that only the host can share their screen, and utilize features like host mute controls and "Waiting Room."
  • For those hosting private meetings, password protections are on by default and Zoom recommends that users keep those protections on to prevent uninvited users from joining...
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A projection of 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths in total U.S. population of 331 million is a 0.03%-0.06% death rate.

  • That’s a maximum death rate of 2/3 of 1% of the entire U.S. population.

The Flu of 1918 resulted in 675,000 U.S. deaths in a total U.S. population of 103 million, a 0.7% death rate.

  • More U.S. WWI soldiers died of The Flu of 1918 (63,114 from disease, mostly The Flu) than from combat (53,402).

Yes, my utmost condolences to those who have family/friends impacted by this pandemic. We absolutely acknowledge the tragic loss of life. This loss of life deserves a pragmatic examination because of its seriousness.


Confirmed cases info is sketchy. Comparing “the number of deaths” to the “total population” provides an accurate current death rate. Note that THE WORLD IS NOWHERE NEAR THE LOSSES IT INCURRED IN THE 1918 FLU ...
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This current coronavirus outbreak:

  • In the short term in the U.S. will likely not be as frightening as many think now.
  • In the long term will likely improve globalization and make economies more resilient.

Both results are due to fractions, as well as medical science, human reactions, and economics.


On March 7, 2020, Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map showed the following global stats: ...
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If corporations are to continue to provide the jobs and profits to sustain all the admirable UN Sustainable Development (SD) goals and incorporate The Business Roundtable’s newest Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, consensus on four critical elements that are currently missing needs to be developed, namely:

  1. Suitable Standards, defined as “something used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations.”
  2. Appropriate Institution(s) to Develop and Disseminate the Suitable Standards.
  3. The Questions and their Answers regarding Acceptable Implementation of those Standards.
  4. Conventional Agreement as to Whom and How the Sustainability Information Is Distributed.

Currently, consensus doesn’t exist on these four elements, which is causing much corporate CEO frustration.

“Companies want harmonized metrics for the [17] UN [Sustainable Development] goals so we don’t have to argue with everybody,” says Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan. “Right now, you can hit something [a UN SD goal] and then somebody else has something else they want to measure.” ...
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In addition to the UN-backed PRI, the SSEI, and other groups, proxy advisor firms are assessing/assigning ESG and HCM levels to U.S. public corporations in response to The Business Roundtable recently issuing a “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, which supersedes previous Business Roundtable statements and more accurately reflects our commitment to a free market economy that serves all Americans."

The Business Roundtable, a nonprofit association founded in 1972 for CEOs of major U.S. companies, has periodically issued Principles of Corporate Governance that since 1997 have stated corporations exist principally to serve their shareholders.

“The new statement is a significant departure from the past in that it includes serving all ‘stakeholders,’ including customers, employees, suppliers, communities, the environment, and shareholders. The prior statement [for the last 22 years] only included shareholders,” states Don Delves and Ryan Resch in a Willis Towers Watson article...
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A Private Company Non-Exec Woman Chair With a Board Having 40% Diversity & a Woman CEO/Co-Founder

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By Kathy Graham, The HQ Companies, Inc. Founder & 2020 Women on Boards Chicago Chair

Christie Hefner & HatchBeauty are being recognized by 2020 WOB Chicago for being a private company of the future TODAY with a woman Chair, 40% women on its board, & a woman CEO.

“It’s not an accident that some of the most creative companies are often run by and represented by boards of directors that have gender balance and diversity,” says Christie about board diversity. Christie is the Non-Executive Chair of HatchBeauty, the first U.S.-based vertically integrated incubator that co-creates quasi-exclusive beauty and wellness brands with and for retailers using high-tech data sources. “Hatch is a great example of that gender diversity advantage because 40% of our board directors are women, which clearly fuels the agile creative thinking that distinguishes Hatch.” ...

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By Kathy Graham, The HQ Companies, Inc. Founder & 2020 Women on Boards Chicago Chair

Fewer than 5% of public company CEOs being women is NOT something to celebrate, but this “decades-old problem of stagnant growth [in the number of women CEOs] may soon be turning around.”

In fact, all the work that many organizations, including 2020 Women on Boards, have been doing to break the long-standing 12-14% women on corporate boards is finally paying off because research is showing that women who are being chosen now as public company CEOs have two factors in common, namely, these women:
• Follow the traditional CEO pathway that men do in that they are COO or President of a company previously.
• Served or are serving on a public or private company board.

Women represented a record-breaking 40% of the incoming class of board directors in 2018....
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By Kathy Graham, The HQ Companies, Inc. Founder & 2020 Women on Boards Chicago Chair

Andrea S. Hunt is a 20+ year biotechnology leader formerly with Baxter International who served in their regenerative medicine and innovation and strategic initiatives. She’s now a Board Director for NASDAQ-listed Catalyst Biosciences, a California headquartered company.

“California is at the head of the gender diversity movement, but we at Catalyst [Biosciences] are proud that we are ahead of the curve,” says Catalyst’s CEO Nassim Usman in a VIDEO that Catalyst filmed to explain the importance of why they added Andrea to their board two years ago and why they’re continuing to add diversity to their board and company at all levels. ...

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The “N” in The DNA of the Future CFO stands for “Numbers” and how they change from Classic CFO to Strategic CFO to Future CFO, the Partner to the CEO. Sam Recenello will be addressing Numbers on Tuesday, October 15th at the AICPA’s Finance Transformation Conference in NYC when he facilitates a working group discussing Harnessing the VP for finance in analytics and at an INNOVATION ROUNDTABLE on Digitalization for SMEs.

“Do you remember when numbers were one dimensional, back in the era of the Classic CFO when if there was enough cash in the bank, those numbers were good numbers to have,” posits Sam. “Those days were not so long ago, now fast forward to today.”

“Technology has inundated CFOs with huge volumes of financial and nonfinancial data/numbers offering such a broad scope of insights that are moving at light speed, that it’s hard to know what to cleanse, sort, and analyze and do so quickly enough that the insights aren’t outdated.”

“Less than 25% of companies believe they can harness data insights effectively....
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Classic corporate financial steward CFO, Strategic CFO, or CFO, Partner to the CEO. Who are you? How do you change? What's best for your company and your career?

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The future CFO exists today in many companies, especially those firms that have experienced a successful digital finance transformation. This future CFO replaces the prior Strategic CFO, who emerged with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) era. The Strategic CFO replaced the Classic CFO of all yesterdays, the record-keeper, the corporate financial steward.

Today, all three types of CFOs exist. However, those companies who have a future CFO—a Partner to the CEO—enjoy a competitive advantage because these companies are prepared to outwit disruptions and disruptors due to their ability to pivot more quickly and accurately to changing situations than companies with Strategic CFOs or Classic CFOs.

How does a CFO evolve his/her corporation to undergo a digital finance transformation? Does a CFO need to evolve personally and professionally to become the future CFO, the Partner to the CEO?...
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The CFO role is being highly impacted and transmuted by digital disruptors that are using a different organizational communication structure to support their digital finance transformation successes...and this structure is far from what is common in more traditional firms.

One of the main facets leading to digital finance transformation success is changing the flow of organizational communication—and this statement is straight from Facebook’s CHRO at AICPA’s June 2019 National Conference. He said that the typical communication pattern in organizations is TOP-DOWN: the boss at the top issues directions to those below. However, in successful digital finance transformations that communication pattern needs to be TOP-DOWN AND BOTTOM-UP, all the way to the employee working directly with the consumer/client/purchaser of a company’s products or services.

If you want to “Amazon” your digital finance transformation, which means that as a consumer purchasing your product/service clicks online—or as the consumer lifts your company’s product off a shelf in a brick-and-mortar location—that purchase is automatically billed to their credit card, the sale immediately flows through and is recorded by all of the company’s departments involved in the transaction, inventory is instantaneously updated and orders to suppliers—with costs simultaneously recorded—are placed as necessary at that very moment, then there is one more change needed to an organization’s overall communication structure:

• Communication flows from TOP-DOWN and BOTTOM-UP, but the flow itself needs to “twist” from a VERTICAL TOP-DOWN/BOTTOM-UP FLOW to a HORIZONTAL TOP-DOWN/BOTTOM-UP continuing conversation...
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How can you trust a country, an organization, a company, or an individual who today is your ally—loyal and aligned to your interests—yet who tomorrow might be your adversary?

The answer lies in Ana Dutra’s July 8, 2019 Forbes article “The 3 Flavors of Trust in the Workplace” and also in The University of Chicago Professor Ronald S. Burt’s “structural holes” research into the ways that social networks create competitive advantage in careers, organizations, and markets.

WHY LOYALTIES SHIFT: Opportunities occur in markets and organizations where there is an opening for an idea, a different approach...and a country, an organization/company, or an individual(s) seizes that opportunity, filling the “hole” in the structural organization...
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The 111-year old Yerkes-Dodson Law is NOT a law, it’s not even statistically significant, and yet it’s really quite useful for making what you want to happen actually occur.

The Yerkes-Dodson Law is a variation on Goldilocks and The Three Bears:
  • If you have “too little” arousal/stress/engagement, you will under-perform.
  • If you have “too much” arousal/stress/engagement, you will under-perform.
  • If you have the “just right” level of arousal/stress/engagement, you will reach your best/optimal performance in whatever you are trying to achieve.

The problem with the Yerkes-Dodson Law is that “just right” varies from situation to situation, stimuli to stimuli, and individual to how do you figure out what the “just right” is for yourself in whatever you’re trying to achieve?...
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PODCAST: CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to the entire panel discussion from the June 2019 AICPA Conference. (MP3 file. 1 hr 15 mins.)

Would you like your finance functions to be among the over 80% who fail when implementing a digital transformation?1

A digital transformation is a term that means “creating a new business and/or shareholder value by shifting a current business to the most up-to-date technologies.” It’s the latest rage and a big valid concern for many companies facing disruptors, potential or current.

The businesses and finance functions that have succeeded in implementing digital transformations share a number of key factors in common...
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“Organizational design is a step-by-step methodology which identifies dysfunctional aspects of work flow, procedures, structures and systems, realigns them to fit current business realities/goals and then develops plans to implement the new changes. The process focuses on improving both the technical and people side of the business...”

Early on, researchers operationalized the theory (despite the likelihood that Burns and Stalker intended their theory to be an abstract model) AND focused on the structural elements, giving far less attention to the employee experience...

Since the employee experience was minimized in practice and an intended abstract was used as a reality, start your organizational design with confidential qualitative interviews with employees...
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The term “human capital” has evolved away from being a “coldly euphemistic way to mean ’labor force,’” away from being an “even colder [meaning of]” “calculating causalities of war” to mean “something broader than ‘workforce,’” according to Merriam-Webster. It is in this broader context that The HQ Companies have embraced the term in their new tag line:
“All About Human Capital for Board Growth, Career Growth, & Corporate Growth.”
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“This is not a pipe” says Rene Magritte’s famous painting in French under his realistic depiction of a pipe...

When companies and/or people forget that models—no matter how well they are crafted with numbers, words, and/or images—are not reality, crises occur. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the subject of my blog Your Office—The Next Cuban Missile Crisis?, describes a real incident between two governments where different government departments were using different models to take actions that could have easily led to nuclear war—and these actions were undertaken without the knowledge of the leaders of those nations...

Emanuel Derman in his recent book Models. Behaving. Badly. provides many more examples of disaster in economics, politics, social policies, movements, and finance resulting from when leaders confuse models with reality...
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“Information does not pass from the tentacle to the top of the organization instantaneously. Facts can be in the system without being available to the head of the organization. Information must be winnowed at every step up the organizational hierarchy…but those who decide which information the boss shall see rarely see their bosses’ problems.”

This statement in Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis by Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow captures one of the core messages of this book that’s applicable to today’s business executives...

In the meantime, if you’re a senior executive—thinking about where and how in your organization information is not getting to you or reaching you winnowed of vital facts—reviewing your organization’s communication flows to determine how you want to manage such crises before they happen is a good first step...
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