Archives For Translational Science Series

 

Innovation.   Integration.   Motivation.

Three simple words… however, implementation is extremely complex and rarely executed.

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In today’s challenging environment, leadership has never been more complex.  As leaders, we are the Commanders of our troops and have a responsibility to ensure we are consistently pushing forward to ensure victory. While the obvious route is to cut costs, limit availability of resources, manage cash efficiently and hold down the fort until reinforcements arrive – this is merely defensive maneuvering.  It is absolutely essential that we, as leaders, recognize that we cannot win the war of sustainable competitive advantage without going on the offensive to courageously engage people as a competitive weapon to ensure we are victorious. Continue Reading…

First and foremost, I must apologize to all of you who read my blog.  I have been working in Africa these past few weeks, and was under the impression I could easily write and publish blogposts from my various hotels, conference facilities, and office buildings. However, internet access being less than accessible, and because I had not prepared in advance, I have not posted for the past three weeks. I can promise you it will not happen again- I will be far more diligent in preparing in advance when working in diverse locations.

I wrote last of how it had occurred to me that it was absolutely critical for academia and business to come together for the greater good of global business and interculturism. Oddly enough, as I spoke to the Global Business and Technology Association in South Africa, my views were reinforced ten-fold.  As, on this particular occasion, I addressed a global audience of primarily academic and administrative attendees, it rapidly became apparent that they were not too accustomed to hearing from the business sector.  As I made my points and finished by commenting on the need for global business and academia to partner for the betterment of us all, I was greeted with thunderous applause and standing ovations. I thought to my self, “How remarkable – we all know we need to work together, yet the majority of the time we fail to do so.”

The idea that business and academia would partner to create stronger graduates and leaders seems to be quite novel. Until recently, I had not given it a lot of thought, but I was challenged by  George Simons of Diversophy France and  SIETAR Europa to provide some ideas as to how this could effectively work. Experience has shown me that business struggles to transform leadership and management theory into reality, and academia seems to struggle in the areas of really understanding how to develop, at an experiential level, anything new or innovative that can actually be leveraged to impact business. Here are some of the things I have done personally, and with clients, in the past that could be effective for others moving forward:

  • I have, from a corporate and coaching perspective,  partnered with universities to come on site and teach courses that incorporate solid global management principles and theories, but that are backed up with real-time global client business cases. These cases are pertinent to current business issues the company is facing and current employees are responsible for managing. Employees actually talk to the clients about the cases and potential solutions – this has repeatedly been wonderful for relating theory to experiential practices.
  • Sandwich learning is highly effective  –  I encourage clients to support employees alternating relevant periods of education with professional application.
  • Coaching (vs. training) always has a stronger outcome due to the repeated reinforcement and targeted approach. Extended, reinforced methods of educating both leaders and employees facilitate true growth and development in both the individual and teams.
  • At conferences that attempt to bridge the gap between academia and business, I tend to see two types of presentations: 1) purely academic that seem out of touch with business and 2) purely business with no real interest in what acdemians have to say. Wouldn’t it be interesting to pair up an academic professional and a business professional and ask them to partner for a joint session presenting a multifaceted problem with potential for a joint solution? Could we derive some unique, joint perspectives?
  • Create and deploy joint think-tanks with membership split between academia and global business – with the express purpose of deriving joint solutions to move both camps forward. I have in the past run both Technical and Strategic Advisory Councils that had similar, but not expressly the same, missions – they were both based on corporate/client think-tanks instead of academic/business think-tanks…

If we are to evolve, we will need to look to Translational Science – we have it in medicine and we need to bring it to global business. Translational science is scientific research that is motivated by the need for practical applications. The term is used mainly in the health sciences and refers to things like the discovery of new drugs that directly help improve human health. Thus, translating bench or “lab” science to clinical practice and real people. In essence, the same principles apply to business. We need to translate the research that is done on management and leadership into practical applications that can be effectively deployed. It seems an easy concept, but experience tells me that today, most of the executives out there can not translate theory into application. As such, they do not apply the research findings to their business environment – thus making the valuable research that is done essentially useless in real-world business application.

So you may ask, “how we can apply Translational Science to global business?” While certainly not the all-inclusive answer, I do believe that the five points made above could be a valid start to the process. We have got to find ways to bring academia and business together to leverage the best in both for the betterment of the whole. If we don’t, we will never actually move forward.

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders. 59DCENEFB9N7

The hallowed halls of The University of Cambridge, one of my Alma Maters and one of the oldest universities in the world, is believed to have been formed in 1209 by scholars who had left Oxford after a dispute with local townspeople, developed into one of the most respected universities in the world. Through the decades it has produced more than 80 Nobel prize winners and nurtured some of history’s greatest thinkers:  John Milton, Isaac Newton, Hans Blix, Ludvig Wittgenstein, CS Lewis, Francis Crick and James Watson (the structure of DNA), Sylvia Plath, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking – to mention just a few. As I attended Cambridge’s 800th anniversary last year, I was again honored by the intellect that surrounds me.  But, at the same time, I recognize very clearly that there is a remarkable gap between what we learn in business school and what we need to be successful in the ever-evolving world of global business. I am the beneficiary of some of the finest Professsors in the world, yet there are topics not necessarily taught in business school, that are indeed critical to survival in global business – some of my favorite challenges to discuss.

The Unspoken subject-matter emerges as you dive headlong into the unpredictable environment of global business and suddenly realize that there are challenges and roadblocks that you were not advised of and that you had not previously contemplated.  Topics such as politics, networking, challenging the status quo, the importance of rapid results, mentoring/coaching, execution, big picture/small picture balance , etc… These challenges and roadblocks often derail careers and cause people to question their commitment to global business. If we are to successfully evolve leadership on a global basis, it is vitally important that we understand these challenges and ensure they are addressed.

Because these topics are so deeply rooted in the day to day operations of global business, they are not well suited, in most instances, to academic institutions. In addition, we know that corporate training is often ineffective and retention rates are low. If we are to tool our executives with the skills to accelerate their organizations, we will need to better leverage non-traditional learning. We will need to look to effective, ongoing methods, often based in experience rather than theory, in order to facilitate organizational success on every level.

Gary Hamel‘s commentary on Leadership and how it has not fundamentally changed in over 100 years is accurate. We may move things around, make them look a little different, or phrase them in a different way – but there has been little actual innovation in leadership theory and practice in a very long time. It occurs to me how absolutely critical it is for academia and business to come together for the greater good – the future of global business and interculturism depend on it. If we are to evolve, we will need to look to Translational Science – essentially taking what is developed in the “lab” and deploying it effectively in real-world scenarios, and vice versa – taking what we know and understand to be real in global business and partnering with academia to make it more effective.

Please join me next week for a continuation of this discussion, detailing some potential ways to effectively deploy translational science into  both academic and business environments. You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.