News You Can Use: 3/29/2017

  • Is This the End of Sears?

    It’s hard to tell whether Sears has fallen victim to the challenges of every other department store in an era when customers prefer low prices and online shopping, or if some of its troubles have been caused by bad management choices. An in-depth report by Crain’s Chicago Business a few years ago found a toxic and dysfunctional corporate environment at the failing company. Questions also surround CEO Eddie Lampert’s obsession with shareholder value (he’s the largest shareholder), and the questionable way the company has been spinning off companies and borrowing from Lampert’s hedge fund. The company recently settled a lawsuit, for $40 million, by some of its shareholders that alleged Lampert stood to benefit in a deal which spun off Sears’ best stores.

  • Why GE is winning the war for tech talent

    Ruh and his colleagues are wooing elite engineers with the promise of getting the chance to crack game-changing challenges. But GE made a crucial move in 2013 when it insourced talent acquisition and hired several recruiters who had software domain expertise, says Jennifer Waldo, GE Digital’s chief human resources officer. “They speak the software language and know the business and technology deeply,” Waldo says.

    These recruiters, many of who came from technology companies, began hunting for candidates at tech companies. They spiced up the compensation packages with bonuses and equity, a rarity in the industrial sector. And they played up the fact that successful GE leaders often leapfrog across the company’s business lines on their way up the company ladder.

  • Andreas Weigend: “Data for the People”
  • How to terminate an employee with an “irreplaceable” skill

    Once you have solved the short-term problem, don’t repeat the mistake. Make sure that you cross-train someone in your organization on every job. This will require you to document the tasks your organization does and keep records on who’s qualified to do each job.

    Document your processes. In addition to implementing cross-training, write down the specific steps required to do every job in your organization. Documenting processes isn’t sexy, and no one is going to pay you a nickel more because you have done it, but there are several major advantages to doing this work.

  • Why you should create a music playlist for your next meeting

    Propel music. If you want to get people ready for action, play “propel music,” says Frank, who likes to use “It’s Your Thing” by the Isley Brothers. “This is usually done at the end of the presentation to get to the climax,” he says. “It feels very triumphant.” It also plays into science, Frank adds. “When you listen to propel music, oxytocin is being released as you’re building up to the arch,” he says. “It’s the inspiration hormone that makes us feel open to new ideas, wanting to be better and do better.”

Photo: Jordan Whitfield

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