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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
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
Davos may be full of leaders, but that doesn’t stop them questioning how their roles could change. 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. Yet while there is broad rhetorical agreement, conversations about the means of action are less clear. In this Davos blog, I’m going to concentrate on what this means for leadership. In the panels I have attended... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2012 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
It seems to me that there are 5 questions we should all be asking ourselves about our preparation for the future. All of them in some way resonate with this shift from a Parent to Child relationship at work, to a more balanced Adult to Adult. Yet whilst there are great aspects to being an Adult at work – it also shows that this brings with it responsibilities and commitments. Here are five questions to ask yourself: Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Photo: Shanghai by SmokingPermitted I’ve just spent the week in Shanghai and Hong Kong with a team from London Business School, meeting alumni, talking to business people and generally understanding the scene. What is clear is that there is no such thing as ‘Asia’, and that broad-brush descriptions such as ‘developing countries’ are antiquated and reductionist. Differences between regions across Asia are becoming ever greater as regions write their own signature. So here are five aspects of the signature that I see shaping China’s human capital future: 1. The One Child Family Imagine almost a billion people with one social... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
In my book The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here, I made the point that the formula for the traditional deal at work is as follows: I work... to earn money... which I use... to consume stuff... which makes me happy. I suggested that this deal is not a sufficient description of what work can and should be. Instead I put forward the following future-focused deal at work: I work... to gain productive experiences... that are the basis... of my happiness. But this begs the question – what exactly is a meaningful productive experience, and how do you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
One of the paradoxes of contemporary business life is that, just as unemployment soars, the number of unfilled vacancies increases. In the USA right now there are over 3 million unfilled jobs, while in countries like Spain, youth unemployment stands at a jaw dropping 47%. The extent of the gap between what employers need and what the labour market provides in terms of skills and talents seems to be continuously widening. Why the skill gap is here to stay. This is not a surprise. There are three trends that we believe will only gather momentum and, as they converge, will... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
It’s that time of year when I spend much of my time reading the books that have been nominated for the FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. It’s a judging duty that is both a pleasure and a pain. The pain is the sheer amount of time it takes to wade through thousands of pages. The pleasure is reading books that would not necessarily cross my path. This year, as with the last, many of these books are written by economists and, understandably, focus on the state of the world economy. It is interesting to read how many agree... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
It was tough watching parts of London burn a few weeks ago. My son Dominic, who was roaming around Camden on one of the nights, told me that the looters he saw on the streets were intent on breaking into shops to steal Nike trainers and mobile phones. It was also tough watching bankers award themselves significant bonuses again this year and pay themselves extraordinary salaries compared with almost all other jobs in our society. These are not unrelated events. It seems to me that at the heart of both is the simple refrain ‘because I can’. At that moment... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
With the publication of my new book The Shift: the future of work is already here - there has been much debate about what it really takes to craft a career that is likely to stand the test of time. In the book I talk a great deal about the five forces that will shape work and careers: ever greater globalization of innovation and talent; the development of ever more sophisticated connective technologies; profound changes in demography and longevity which will see many live until they are 100 and others live in regions where 40% of the population are over... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2011 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work