White Men: We Can Do Better

White Men: We Can Do Better

According to Fortune, 7 in 10 senior executives are white men. Yet, we often don’t know how to think or what to do about diversity & inclusion (D&I). For many of us, it is an amorphous concept, to which little more than lip service is paid. We retreat to the comfort of the sidelines, letting those who identify as diverse deal with it.

We can and should do more.

The issue of D&I has gained prominence over the past few decades. An increasing number of firms have hired Chief Diversity Officers, instituted diversity recruiting initiatives/targets, and taken steps to create more inclusive work environments (i.e. employee resource groups).

Recently however, movements such as #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, and the technology inclusion pledge have refocused the spotlight on just how little progress has actually been made when it comes to D&I and social justice more broadly.

How Rapid Disruption is Changing the Future of Leadership

How Rapid Disruption is Changing the Future of Leadership

The rate of disruption in business today is faster than ever before. Various theories exist about what is driving this rapid disruption, however, I believe it can summarized by the consonance of three key trends: technological innovation, rapid urbanization, and the growth of an educated, global workforce.

Technology is the most significant of the three driving forces. At the recent Kellogg on Growth Conference, Marcus Shingles, CEO of XPRIZE, explained technological disruption extends far beyond Moore’s Law. The number of different technologies that are now approaching the inflection point of their respective development curves is unprecedented. 3D printing, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain are just a few examples of the technologies set to disrupt just about every corner of the economy.

What is often not discussed­, and what I find most interesting about rapid disruption, is the profound impact this is having on leadership. Resilience and/or adaptability, has emerged as one of the most, if not the most, critical components of leadership. Leadership is no longer only about delivering on a known value stream because the very essence of what a known value stream is, is constantly shifting.

Mathematical Proof of the Value of Diversity

Mathematical Proof of the Value of Diversity

I recently came across a novel mathematical equation explaining the value of diversity in problem solving. It was presented by Professor Ned Smith during one of my MBA classes at Kellogg. He attributed this proof mostly to Scott Page, a social scientist at the University of Michigan.

It’s important to highlight two critical points. First, diversity is objectively a good thing for several moral and ethical reasons. In other words, we should not have to prove its value. Our world is incredibly diverse and, thus, we should expect organizations to comprise individuals that are representative of this diversity. If not, the natural conclusion is there is some sort of bias or discrimination at play. Second, diversity is valueless without inclusion. As diversity advocate Vernā Myers put it, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Would You Fly Economy on a Business Trip If You Got to Keep 50% of the Difference in Airfare?

Would You Fly Economy on a Business Trip If You Got to Keep 50% of the Difference in Airfare?

Most companies have a travel policy that outlines which employees and under what circumstances said employees are allowed to fly business class. Typically, there is some duration threshold (e.g. over 8 hours) that employees are allowed to fly business class on domestic and/or international trips.

Business class fares can range from 2 to 15x more than economy and account for a significant discretionary expenditure for firms. I recently did a search, 3-weeks out, for nonstop flights between Chicago (ORD) and Beijing (PEK), which returned $500 for the cheapest one-week round trip ticket. The same flight in business class was $6,000. That is 12x more expensive!

Travel Tips: Lessons Learned from Unexpected Adventures Abroad

Travel Tips: Lessons Learned from Unexpected Adventures Abroad

Truth be told, I have secretly always wanted to write a travel blog. In an alternate universe, I am a writer for ThePointsGuy who gets paid to travel and write about it. And what travel blog doesn’t have the quintessential travel tips post?

Coming off the high of a recent trip to Central America, I am taking the opportunity to fulfil my dream (at least partially) to write my own travel tips post. Please keep in mind my tips are indexed slighting toward travel in the emerging markers, as that is mostly where I have traveled.

Tip 1: Always Carry Some Cash in USD

Incentives Drive Behavior

Incentives Drive Behavior

One of the most basic facts of human nature is that incentives drive behavior. As children, we quickly learn that we only get dessert if we eat our vegetables. Punishments, or disincentives, influence behavior in the opposite way.

This concept extends to the workplace and to all levels of organizations. But what continually fascinates me is how many business problems can be explained, at least partially, by incentive misalignment.

Entrepreneurship in Frontier Markets: Key Takeaways from Vietnam and Myanmar 

Entrepreneurship in Frontier Markets: Key Takeaways from Vietnam and Myanmar 

I recently took a trip to Myanmar and Vietnam to learn more about doing business in frontier markets. One will find varying definitions of 'frontier markets' but most can agree that this term applies to generally high-growth countries that are either too small or too under-developed to be considered emerging markets. MSCI provides the most widely accepted market classification.

In particular, my team spent a little over a week learning about the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in each country. We focused on three of the biggest driving factors that influence the entrepreneurial landscape.

Pitfalls Multinational Firms Make When Entering Africa

Pitfalls Multinational Firms Make When Entering Africa

With sluggish growth just about everywhere, Africa continues to represent a significant opportunity for many multinationals - one that is largely under-served and has significant long-term potential. However, firms often make to critical mistakes. 

Biggest Opportunity Best Opportunity

Typically, firms approach Africa from a country prioritization perspective (McKinsey however argues for a city-level focus).