To Make a Change at Work, Tell Yourself a Different Story

Co-authored by Monique Valcour and John McNulty. Published in Harvard Business Review online August 2018.

Human beings crave coherence. We long to be true to ourselves and to act in a way that’s consistent with what we believe and value. We want to live and work authentically. This quest for coherence is hardwired; psychologists often refer to human beings as “meaning-making machines.” Our brains create coherence by knitting together our internal experience and what we observe in our environment, through an automatic process of narration that explains why we and others do what we do. As we repeat the resulting stories to ourselves (often unconsciously), they become scripts and routines that guide our actions. And instead of recognizing our stories for the constructions they are, we may mistakenly interpret them as immutable truths, as “the way things are.” Continue reading “To Make a Change at Work, Tell Yourself a Different Story”

Use of Psychometric Assessments in Global Organizational Development (Part 1)

In this part 1, I am going to discuss how psychometric assessments can be used to add value to any company’s people development initiatives.

When thinking about assessments there are several broad types that come to mind. The first two are straightforward.

Aptitude assessments

These are the assessments that are designed to measure general IQ; that is, the speed, clarity and accuracy of a person’s thinking, often in a variety of ways, such as mathematical, logical reasoning, spatial thinking, etc. Many companies also have their own technical assessments of certain key skills required for a specific role.
Continue reading “Use of Psychometric Assessments in Global Organizational Development (Part 1)”

How can Japanese firms help their global employees make a meaningful connection with their values?

The Scenario

With a shrinking domestic population and consumer market, it is critical for Japanese firms to engage their global workforce to drive growth through their overseas subsidiaries. Yet hiring the right people, or acquiring a local firm with talented employees, is only the first step to becoming globally competitive. Japanese companies need to retain and empower their overseas employees by helping them to connect with the organization’s values, so they can contribute in a way that is aligned with the business and personally meaningful. Continue reading “How can Japanese firms help their global employees make a meaningful connection with their values?”

How to fail spectacularly at leading in Japan

I recently talked with a European senior manager who came to Tokyo nine months earlier to take on an expat assignment leading a large, predominantly locally staffed subsidiary of a global company. At one point, I asked him, “So far, what’s the impact of cross-cultural communications on your work?”

“Nothing,” he answered. “It’s really not much different than back home.”

Hearing that was a big surprise for me. If it was for you too, you might find it even more surprising that I hear comments like this with slow but steady regularity from fellow expats in Japan. Continue reading “How to fail spectacularly at leading in Japan”