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THE BEAM // Summer 2018


Fresh air and fresh thinking

Early in my career, I worked as a management consultant. My then-boss and forever mentor, Jon Younger, had opened an office in an old art gallery in New York’s Soho neighborhood. We worked together on some pretty transformative client engagements – designing a first-ever innovation function, crafting international expansion strategy, plotting the implications of technology convergence for telcom.

Many days, when I got stuck on a particularly tough problem, Jon would say, “Walk with me.” We would grab our coats, stop at the street vendor for a cup of coffee and start walking and digging in to the topic at hand. We usually walked for 15-20 minutes. And when we got back to the office, I had increased energy, focus and a line of sight to a solution.

The fresh air always brought fresh thinking and other great byproducts, which have been proven by research: an increase in creativity, the physical benefits of movement, and a closer relationship because of the shared experience walking the streets of Soho.

This TED Talk expounds – in just 3 minutes – on the benefits of walking meetings. It’s a great reminder to me that I need to build them back into my schedule, for lots of reasons. I hope it’s a helpful reminder to you, too.

Why working together isn’t always better

Collaboration is a value that is closely held by many organizations, and rightfully so considering the many benefits it has when executed well. But what if your commitment to collaboration is actually slowing you down?

In a recent two-part article, Mark Nyman of The RBL Group illustrates the “collaboration conundrum” and explains how initiatives put in place to increase productivity can often have the opposite effect. Although the issue of the collaboration conundrum is overlooked by many leaders, the symptoms are easy to see. Some of the most common indicators that collaboration might be getting in the way include schedules that are filled with too many meetings leaving no time to get work done and slow decision-making resulting from a lack of clarity around who owns the decisions and who needs to be involved in the process. At LymanDoran, we see this happening most often with our client partners who have experienced substantial growth. Initiatives around collaboration that worked when the company was smaller clog things up once the organization reaches another scale.

In part two of his article, Nyman lays out principles companies can use to guide their approach to collaboration and ensure it is used effectively, such as treating collaboration as a means to an end, not as a goal. For both our clients and our own firm, we have found these principles to be extremely valuable. We would encourage you to reflect on the ways your collaboration practices may need to evolve to fit your business needs.


Ensure your company is ready

We’ve been reading about the looming talent crisis for years, but recent indicators suggest the shortage of skilled workers may already be upon us. And when talent is scarce, compensation packages climb.

Over the past year, LymanDoran has observed a tightening of the labor market across industries and sectors. Most qualified candidates are actively employed and many are being pursued for multiple opportunities. With fewer candidates to choose from and the potential for competing offers, companies are being challenged to present compelling compensation packages in order to secure the necessary talent.

A recent article from Business Insider confirms the trend, noting the “cost of labor is going to accelerate far more than before” and reports the “dearth of [skilled] talent” in major geographic markets nationwide. Given the environment, it’s important to ready your organization to meet the rising tide of compensation.

First, it’s important to ensure your total rewards philosophy is in alignment with talent objectives and the overarching strategic goals of the company. Investing in compensation surveys for your industry or specific skillsets is a good way to test whether you’re tracking appropriately and can also highlight areas where you may need to stretch.

Second, it’s more important than ever to look inward and invest in the development of your existing team. Focusing on employee satisfaction and engagement will help retain and grow valuable talent and will also help offset any internal inequities that may result from recruiting high-priced talent to your team.