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Lynda Gratton
Lynda Gratton is Professor of Management Practice at London Business School. She was ranked in 2009 by the Times as one of the top 20 business thinkers in the world, described by the FT as the management gurus most likely to impact on the future and ranked second in the HR world by Human Resources magazine. Her courses at London Business School attract participants from all over the world whilst her programme on the transformation of organisations is considered the best in the world. Lynda has written six books and many articles including articles for the FT, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Business Review. Lynda has won numerous prices for her writing and research and her books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Lynda advises companies in Europe, the USA and the Asia and currently sits on the Human Capital advisory board of Singapore Government. Lynda is the founder of the Hot Spots Movement and is dedicated to bringing energy and innovation to companies. The group has more than 4,000 members and currently works with over 20 companies and governments around the world.
Recent Activity
The global challenges facing the world – such as rising poverty, youth unemployment and climate change – are not themes that are new to Davos. What is new for Davos 2015, is a growing realisation that to address these challenges we have to go beyond human nature. Let me explain. Underlying all these global challenges are many stakeholders each of whom have their own approach and way of looking at the world. Take youth unemployment as an example. When young people are able to get jobs it is because many stakeholders work together: companies create jobs for youngsters; governments shape... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
It’s my fourth visit to Davos and it’s fascinating how many more of the academics here are scientists rather than economists or management theorists. What is it that scientists can tell us about business? I had an opportunity to understand this when I led a debate with four professors from the University of California, Berkeley, who are experts in artificial intelligence (AI), neuroscience, and psychology. The question we debated was “Will machines make better decisions than humans?” Of course this is a crucial question for anyone like me who is interested in the future of work. What impact will machines... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
What happens to work when people live for a hundred years? This question may seem incredibly future-focused, however it’s happening faster than you think. Indeed, 50% of babies born today in the UK will live to 103 and this increases to 107 for Japan. And it’s not just newborns that are likely to be centurions. If you are 60 and have not suffered any serious health concerns, you are well positioned to reach the big 100. For the world of business, the interesting question is what these demographic trends mean for the world of work. To answer this question I’ve... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
I have recently returned from Japan where we held the Future of Work Research Consortium’s first live event in Japan. During the course of my visit, I found myself thinking more and more about how Japan will cope with the dual conundrum of an ageing population and a rapidly shrinking workforce. During a previous visit to Japan, I was struck by the challenges facing Japanese Youth and the behaviours they will need to adopt to remain competitive in our increasingly global talent pool. This time round, as I spoke to some of the country’s leading organisations including FoW members, Fast... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
The topic of emotional vitality has become increasingly popular in HR circles – and the general consensus is that work often damages an individual’s emotional vitality. The downside of the hyper connectivity we all enjoy in our personal and working lives is that the combination of globalisation and technological developments can leave always-on workers exhausted and drained. Employee engagement surveys show that people are exhausted, their well-being is deteriorating, and their emotional vitality is being eroded. As a result, the very energy and enthusiasm that are the keys to individual vitality and corporate resilience are ebbing away. It may seem... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
The quest for talent is one that has long preoccupied the world’s corporations. Many have honed their talent-acquisition skills to a very high degree, continuously boosting their intellectual resources by bringing in the most talented people from around the world. And it is undeniable that one of the biggest assets possessed by large corporations is their potential to find and connect some of the most talented and creative people in the world. While the talent search is undeniably important, companies still often neglect the next crucial step: taking the intelligence inherent in their carefully picked talent pool and amplifying it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
We live in a fragile world. Every one of us faces profound and escalating challenges– youth unemployment touches many families; income inequality and poverty are a source of shame for many of us in developed countries; whilst it is only the least observant who could fail to recognise the early signs of a profound change in the climate. These challenges are no longer particular to one country or area: they affect most people around the world. The challenges faced by organisations are no less complex. They too are faced with the implications of climate change, of inequality, and of the... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
At a recent masterclass for the Future of Work Research Consortium, I raised the following question: what would HR policies and processes be like if companies based them on the assumption that their employees are programmed to be helpful to others? My starting point was the realisation that in most organisations, HR seems to be set up to act as a buffer between the company and its employees’ worst natures. The “worst nature” they imagine is that of someone whose priority is to take what they can while giving back as little as possible in return. This in contrast to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
If you could name a single factor as the biggest enemy of employee retention in your organisation, what would it be? My guess would be job design – specifically, the availability of career customisation. You might think your organisation already offers career customisation and improved job design, but let me make my point clear: improving job design is not that same as bringing flexibility into work. Many – if not most – large corporations have flexible working arrangements. But when it comes to improved job design – by which I mean initiatives such as phased retirement, job share schemes and,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Recently in an interview with the BBC's Peter Day, I was asked about the future and replied that I expected gender parity within the next decade. Peter simply looked at me and said "But that's what you said when I interviewed you 20 years ago and it still has not happened." Of course he is right and at Davos this week I expect that, as in past years, there will be only a small proportion of women. I'm publically optimistic, but privately pessimistic about achieving a gender balance in the next couple of decades. There are four key reasons why... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
One of the interesting aspects of attending and blogging about Davos each year is that I can look back and reflect on my impressions of previous years. For example, looking back at my Davos 2012 blog, I wrote: “The pervading theme this year is of extraordinary change and challenge: ‘we don’t have a moment to lose’; ‘we have to do things differently’; ‘this is a unique moment in history’; ‘there is a crisis of consent’ are phrases I’ve heard from academics, CEOs and politicians.” By Davos 2013, I wrote of some change: “Looking back to the 2012 Davos, the talk... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
The start of a new year is a natural point for thinking ahead and planning for the future. Just before 2013 ended, I sat down for an interview with the BBC's Peter Day, continuing a conversation he and I have been having for over 20 years. During the interview I talked not only about the changes I’ve observed since he and I last spoke, but also about the five trends I see emerging in 2014 and beyond. The shade of your future depends on where you are Something that has become abundantly clear in recent years is that whether your... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2014 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Hi - we havent deleted any comments so that must be what happened!
If you’re a business leader today you are working to understand and balance the perspectives of an unprecedented variety of stakeholders – from NGOs becoming more voracious in their demands to workers who are increasingly hard to engage – and doing so in a world that is more transparent and connected than ever before. It’s a tough challenge. I found myself reflecting on this the other night as I sat down with two very smart people for one of those marvelous European dinners. Both are business leaders in one of the world’s great pharmaceutical companies. The conversation turned to the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Last month, I took the train up to the beautiful city of Cambridge to speak at their Gender Summit. Over the course of the day, and with the help of a varied panel of business and academic speakers, we explored what it takes to promote gender equality and diversity within organisations. We debated a wide range of themes, from the impact of corporate governance structures on gender policies to the practical steps for increasing the number of female applications for the best jobs. The strength of the debate revealed how much opinion is still divided on this issue, and the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a considerable amount of attention focused on Generation Y from both the media and business world. The May 20 issue of Time Magazine led with a cover story labelling them the ‘Me, Me, Me’ generation: narcissistic, fame-obsessed, and self interested; Meanwhile PwC reported findings from a comprehensive Next Gen study of its Gen Y employees – a cohort that will make up around 80% of its workforce within the next three years. This recent focus on Gen Y reflects a building sense of nervousness around how this generation, the biggest since the Baby... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit was an opportunity to see senior executives and CEOs come together to talk about their views. It was fascinating stuff. We heard how Tim Breedon, a recent joiner to the Barclays Board, has put values at the centre of the bank’s transformation; how Unilever CEO Paul Polman is creating deep alliances with NGOs and multi-lateral organisations like the UN to work on some of the world’s most intractable problems; and how Aberdeen Asset Management’s CEO Martin Gilbert is particularly interested in investing in the ‘frontier markets’ of the world. What was striking was that,... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
What is it that you most want to change about corporations? That’s the question I put to my LBS elective program, and here are three deep frustrations that the 50 MBA and Sloan students shared: Corporations don’t do as they say. We’ve all had a friend start a new job and report back “it’s nothing like I thought it would be.” This resonated strongly with my students, who felt that corporations go to great lengths to attract them with strong value propositions; but once they join, these values are nowhere to be seen. Employees aren’t empowered to change the way... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
This week, I asked the MBA and Sloan students at my London Business School elective how many of them wanted to become leaders of large corporations. Looking around the room I saw that less than 15% raised their hand. Why, I asked them, were they not eager to take the reigns from the Jack Welchs and Richard Bransons of the world and lead our biggest businesses into the future? The responses were varied, but underlying this was a recurring theme: many of them simply lacked trust in today’s leadership models. Here are some of the concerns they voiced: Are leaders... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
One of the highlights of the Davos meeting this year was a panel comprising the heads of Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, together with Bill Gates and an unexpected guest… a young Pakistani girl. Her seat on the panel was the result of her extraordinary performance in an online educational program she had registered for from Stanford. Faced with thousands of others from across the world competing for the top place, she had cruised in as one of the highest performing students. Aged 11 and living in Pakistan, this was something of a phenomenon. It was no surprise that the panel... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
In The Shift, I wrote of the ‘default future’ and the ‘crafted future’. The ‘crafted future’ emerges when we actively make choices about the future with some understanding of the consequences of these choices. The idea of the ‘crafted future’ was very much on my mind this week as I spoke to journalists, students and workers in Tokyo. I was in Japan to support The Shift, which since its launch in autumn 2012 has become one of the best selling business books in the country. It seems that the idea of a ‘crafted future’, of choices and of consequences, has... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
You could almost feel the zeitgeist emerging over the four days that the World Economic Forum meets at Davos. Thousands of CEOs, government ministers and a sprinkling of academics packed into a small town surrounded by snow – the perfect place for the fermentation of ideas and thoughts. Looking back to the 2012 Davos, the talk was all about the final playing out of the financial crisis and the deep concerns about the break up of the Eurozone. Just a year later, and the mood seemed more optimistic, though with a strong undercurrent of realism. For me, one of the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2013 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
I found myself recently spending almost three days with an extraordinarily diverse group. Of the eight people with me, there was someone from Canada, America, Argentina, Japan, Indian, China, Germany and the UK; we ranged in age from 27 to 58; and in terms of specialism there was a psychiatrist, an international ice hockey coach, the head of HR for a global IT company, a couple of entrepreneurs and the provost of a major design college. I cannot image a more diverse collection of people spending time together. What had brought us from all corners of the world was the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2012 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
We may be happy to eat the food that multinationals make, and fly in their aircraft, and even take the pills they have invented. But many of us say we don’t trust corporations, and we don’t trust the people who lead them. Some are even willing to go out onto the streets to make this clear. It seems to me that now is the time for corporations and their leaders to be more explicit and transparent about their purpose and goals. To do this, corporations have to address three questions: how is leadership ensuring there is sufficient inner resilience to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2012 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
This has been very much a leadership couple of months for me – with the World Economic Forum Council on the ‘Future of Leadership’ and indeed our own research on leadership at the Future of Work Consortium. So over the next couple of weeks I plan to talk about what we have found. Corporations have and continue to play a key role in the journeys of many leaders. For example, a glimpse at the emerging leadership cohort in India will show how many started their careers in talent rich companies such as Tata or Hindustan Unilever. The same is true... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2012 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work