Monthly Archives: April 2016

Ambidextrous Leader Tips

A few pages into Lead and Disrupt: How to Solve the Innovator’s Dilemma (Stanford University Press, 2016), business professors Charles A. O’Reilly III and Michael L. Tushman present two lists of companies. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be too much difference between them. Each features 27 companies, most with familiar names and long histories, such as GM, Siemens, and Lego.

The second list includes some dead companies — such as Circuit City and Bethlehem Steel — and some companies that are shadows of their former selves, such as RadioShack. But the histories of the companies on the first list reveal that many of them have experienced their fair share of hard times, too. For example, the French media conglomerate Vivendi endured a period of turmoil after a series of aggressive acquisitions in the late 1990s.

Nevertheless, O’Reilly, the Frank E. Buck Professor of Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and Tushman, the Paul R. Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, see a clear difference in the success of the companies on the two lists. And they peg leadership as its source.

The companies on the first list, they contend, “had ambidextrous leaders who were able and willing to exploit existing assets and capabilities in mature businesses and, when needed, reconfigure these to develop new strengths.” The companies on the second list were not so lucky. Their leaders, say the authors, “were rigid in one way or another — unable or unwilling to sense new opportunities and to reconfigure the firm’s assets in ways that permitted the company to continue to survive and prosper.”

Putting the support for that contention aside, ambidextrous leadership is a beguiling concept. Maybe RadioShack and Circuit City would still be leading electronics today if, decades ago, their leaders had asked the question that O’Reilly and Tushman say all ambidextrous leaders ask: “How can we both exploit existing assets and capabilities by getting more efficient andprovide for sufficient exploration so that we are not rendered irrelevant by changes in markets and technologies?”

As the book’s subtitle suggests, ambidexterity also might offer a solution toClayton M. Christensen’s innovator’s dilemma, as well as to the challenge of simultaneously addressing the conflicting dictates of exploitation and exploration (pdf) posed by Stanford organizational expert James G. March. Perhaps an incumbent company won’t get caught flat-footed by a new player using a technology that’s barely created a blip in the marketplace if it’s already trying to figure out how to put that technology to work. Further, the ambidextrous incumbent might have an advantaged position with regard to resources. After all, it has a core business that can fund and staff its efforts, while a new player has to scare up external financing/bootstrap its way to scale.

Online Payroll Service

unduhanAfter conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend SurePayroll as the best online payroll service for paying household employees. We chose SurePayroll from a pool of payroll services for household employers, as well as general payroll providers that offer household employer services. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of online payroll services on our best picks page here.

Why SurePayroll?

SurePayroll offers services for all types of household employees, allows unlimited payroll run and provides full tax services. It’s our best pick for a variety of reasons. One is cost. SurePayroll charges a flat monthly fee of $39.99 for up to two household employees. Here’s a detailed breakdown of why we picked it as our winner.

Services and Features

SurePayroll provides everything a household employer needs from a payroll service. The company handles all of the payroll and payroll tax responsibilities.

What makes SurePayroll so appealing is that its services can be used for all household employees, including nannies, elder care givers, home care providers, private nurses, drivers, yard workers and cooks. Some of the other providers we examined had services only for nannies.

With SurePayroll, you can run payroll as often as you want each month and pay household employees with a written check or by direct deposit. Not all of the services we analyzed offered direct deposit for household workers.

The service also handles all payroll tax obligations. This includes calculating and deducting Social Security, Medicare and federal and state unemployment taxes, along with filling out and filing federal, state and local tax forms. In addition, it makes all tax payments for you. The service guarantees that your taxes will be filed and paid correctly and on time. Should an error be made, SurePayroll pays any of the fines or interest fees you incur. Not all of the services we investigated offered this type of guarantee.

SurePayroll also files a quarterly 1040-ES on your behalf, and provides you with a signature-ready Schedule H (Form 1040) that attaches to your annual 1040 filing. These services are all completed automatically, without any extra input from you.

Continuing Education for Digital Leaders

Whether you’re a newly minted MBA or an experienced leader, you’re always honing your skills and navigating change. And technology is one discipline in which you really can’t afford to stagnate. With digital transformation so central to strategy for most companies, all executives — especially CEOs — must embrace a learning mind-set. Gone are the days you can delegate the job of keeping up with technology to the IT staff.

Chief information officers (CIOs), of course, should regularly brief the management team and the board on new developments, demoing exciting new technology, bringing in external speakers and vendors, and using other tactics that promote tech learning and engagement. But keeping up on technology trends is also the responsibility of every executive. And while that can be daunting given the vast tech landscape and seemingly limitless avenues for learning, it’s also incredibly exciting.

So, if your job title doesn’t include the words information, technology, ordigital, how do you stay current? And how do you ensure your organization isn’t falling behind? Consulting digitally literate kids, grandkids, or Millennial staff for help, as many chief executives tell us they do, won’t cut it. Here are three easy ways to begin boosting your digital acumen:

1. Get hands-on with new technology. Firsthand experience is a great way to better understand how your organization can apply technology to improve processes, better engage with customers, or create new lines of business.Personal exploration with emerging technologies not only adds to your knowledge base, it also puts you in the shoes of customers and employees. This forces you to think about the human experience, which is often ignored as companies think primarily about the strategic or technological implications of their digital projects.

So go ahead: Play Pokémon Go with your kids. Download an AI assistant app. Take a VR walk-through of your kitchen remodeling project at the home improvement store. Or tinker with Internet of Things devices for your home like smart locks or automation hubs. What you learn in the process may surprise you.

2. Become a maker or a mentor. Take the hands-on approach one step further by mimicking makers, those intrepid do-it-yourselfers who play, experiment, and build tech-based projects. Attend a local Maker Faire, design a stapler, jar handle, or other household gadget on a 3D printer at your local library, join a makerspace in your community, and get inspired.

Even if you’re not inclined to roll up your sleeves in the workshop, you can still get involved — and get smarter in the process. I recently had the opportunity to serve as a mentor for my son’s high school robotics team. Now, in my role as PwC’s chief technologist, I am immersed in technology innovation on a daily basis and need only pop into our Emerging Technology Lab or visit one of ourExperience Center digital hubs to see the art of the possible. Yet even I learned a lot from the experience of guiding a group of smart and enthusiastic teens as they envisioned, prototyped, tested, and competed with their robots. In particular, I came away with insight into effective innovation practices that all enterprises would do well to emulate.

3. Get schooled online. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have grown in popularity. Learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udacity allow people to sample courses from leading universities. Indeed, the art of continuous learning itself may be the most sought-after skill for tomorrow’s workforce as well as the key to solving tomorrow’s problems. Explore the catalog of courses on any of these platforms to find the fields of study you’d like an introduction to, including design thinking, machine learning, and cybersecurity. In fact, at PwC we’re so bullish about the concept, we’ve recently rolled out a data analytics specialization on Coursera that’s available to everyone, not just our own people.

Can’t commit to a MOOC? Become a regular downloader of tech-focused podcasts, such as those produced by 99% Invisible, A16Z, and Freakonomics Radio. And don’t discount the many TED talks, blogs, and newsletters that highlight tech developments, deals, and industry happenings. The trick is to take a disciplined approach, devoting as little as 15 minutes a day to as much as several hours a week.

What about your company’s Digital IQ?

Now that you’ve charted your own personal digital learning path, take a look at what your organization is doing. Has it been successful in raising its collective Digital IQ?