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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 mood at Davos 2018 was more upbeat than last year. Recall that in January 2017 those gathered on the snowy peaks were confronted by two unforeseen events – Brexit and President Trump. This year both events are in play – in fact PM Theresa May in her address hardly mentioned Brexit and President Trump gave a conciliatory pro-business speech (accompanied by a marching band). With the central banks and the IMF predicting growth rates of 2% and beyond, Davos man (and woman) are feeling the worst is behind them. Instead much of the focus was on the impact of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Scientists estimate that for every year of life, life expectancy increases by three months. Most of us will live significantly longer than our parents, and right now many babies born today are expected to live for at least 100 years. Find out why I'm helping people prepare for a 100-year life. Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2016 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
There are acres of books, innumerable conferences and endless press speculation about the rise of the robot. We first witnessed IBM’s Big Blue defeat Jeopardy contestants and then go on to beat chess masters. But, we thought, robots can’t do easy stuff like walking up stairs – until we sat bewitched by the Boston Dynamics Big Dog robot which can positively scamper over obstacles. And to cap it all economists are reminding us that within the next decade up to 60% of jobs could be lost to advances in machine learning and robotics. So it’s no surprise that when we... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2016 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
As an educator I am fascinated by the way that learning will be re-shaped over the coming decades. Here are some of the far-reaching questions debated at Davos this year and the experiments discussed. Shouldn’t craft-based apprenticeship be encouraged? Historically the returns to higher education have been significant: Graduates have earned more than non-graduates. But as more executives are bemoaning the lack of job-related skills in graduates, will this trend persist? Or, should apprentice learning be encouraged, particularly at a time when artisanal endeavours could well be a growing sector of the workforce? During the industrial revolution the craft-based apprenticeship... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2016 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
So here is what has got me thinking after a week at the 2016 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos: The rise of the scientists. The dominant Davos talk last year was of the Greek crisis and the possible break up of the Euro - this was a time when politicians and bankers were centre stage as they were called into action to solve the crisis of the moment. This year, whilst bankers and politicians were still around in abundance, now at centre stage were AI scientists, robotic experts, neuroscientists, medical researchers and authorities on the science of climate change.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
My partner and I went to Rwanda a couple of weeks ago. Our mission was to trek up the country's highest mountains to see the mountain gorillas that inhabit these bamboo forests. People had told us that this would be a "life-changing experience" and indeed both of us came back changed. But it was not seeing the gorillas that changed us. It was being in Rwanda. Most people will have a vague recollection of the terrible genocide that ravaged the country 20 years ago when people, often neighbours, turned on each other during 100 days of bloodletting. More than a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Ten years ago I took my son to East Africa to stay in a Masai village. I reasoned that time with these mighty warriors would be a good anecdote to his rather cosy suburban life. On the second day at the village, our Masai guide walked with us into the surrounding countryside. Then something surprising happened. The silence of this picturesque place was pierced by a strangely familiar sound. From his belt pocket the warrior took his ringing mobile phone. This was not something I'd expected. Four years ago I had been asked by the female students at London Business... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
Last week, Republican candidate Paul Ryan was confirmed as the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives. However, his acceptance of the post was on the condition that he would travel less than previous speakers in order to preserve valuable time with his family. Of course this type of demand from such a high-profile man garnered a lot of press attention, as notions of family time and flexible working remain rooted in the ‘working mum’ domain in many countries, industries and companies. It’s still (sadly) rare to hear as may working dads negotiating school drop offs with busy work... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
What is the most valuable asset a company can give an employee? Historically the answer was simple – money. Yet we have known for sometime that although pay might indeed be a valuable asset for an employee, it’s unlikely to be the driver for their motivation. Indeed years of research have shown that this valuable asset turns out more often to be a source of dissatisfaction rather than a motivator. Most people don’t work harder, or more creatively or cooperatively because they are paid more. Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at Lynda Gratton - The Future of Work
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