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Why do some companies consistently outperform their peers?

The debate on CEO pay may seem to be only simmering for the moment, while other events dominate the news cycle, but it has not gone away. Working where I do, one of the things we study is the value of, and how to recognize, effective leadership – now, the Best Companies for Leadership; later, the Most Admired Companies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anyone who travelled in the Northeast US in the first two weeks of February has a story to tell – I heard a few in crowded trains and lounges. For example, in the midst of the blizzard, many of the eateries in Philadelphia shut down (imagine that!), and hotels did their best to serve their clients even with limited staff, many of whom had to overnight on the properties. By and large, no one complained, and there was a sense that we were all in this together.  

My intercity travel was by train and I found the Amtrak on-board and station personnel both helpful and cheerfully positive as they dealt with passengers trying to get somewhere in the face of cancelled and delayed trains. Read the rest of this entry »

Hay Group‘s research on the Fortune Most Admired Companies shows that those who make the matrix work get results: better and faster decisions. The seemingly simple trick is getting managers to act in the best interests of the company as a whole, not just maximizing their own results.

But this has implications for jobs, rewards, behaviors, culture and structure. Most critical: command-and-control management styles must give way to collaboration and cooperation. To crack the matrix code, organizations must: Read the rest of this entry »

Since 2005, Hay Group has researched the Best Companies for Leadership. In previous years our research focused on understanding how organizations were planning on meeting the impending leadership shortage, driven by growth in emerging markets coinciding with the retirement of the baby boomer generation. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks to my Hay Group colleague Scott Spreier, who has done a lot of work with CEOs, for this guest post. NOTE – since the original posting, I’ve received a number of partisan comments, which was far from our intent; we were really looking at how leaders communicate and so, to be fair, we are going to code one of Reagan’s early term speeches for comparison. Stay tuned…
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Memo to senior executives in the finance and auto industry:

Regardless of your political persuasion, before you leave the office today have your assistant print out a copy of President Obama’s Cairo speech. When you get home, pour yourself a Scotch, pull it out of your briefcase, and read it – slowly and carefully. It may be the most productive time you’ve spent all day. There’s a lot you can learn from the President on how to talk to the public and regain your credibility. Read the rest of this entry »

While CEO succession is much in the news, it is often discussed from the point of view of board members, consultants and search firms. To understand the perspectives of today’s CEOs on succession planning, we spoke with 18 sitting CEOs, one recently retired CEO and one sitting chairman…They shared practical suggestions on how to make CEO succession work more effectively for the company, the board, potential candidates and the CEO in this Chief Executive magazine article entitle Succession in practice.

The median salaries and bonuses for the chief executives of 200 big U.S. companies fell 8.5% to $2.24 million, according to an analysis for The Wall Street Journal by Hay Group, a management consulting firm. The analysis examined proxy statements for companies with more than $5 billion in annual revenue. Survey details here.

[from the Hay Group Leader:] While companies are battening down the hatches trying to weather today’s tough economic climate, the best companies for leaders also have their eyes on the long-term. Read the rest of this entry »

“By most measures, 2008 was a terrible year for home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. Its stock plunged 62%, revenue fell 31% and the company posted a $1.1 billion loss in the fiscal year ended Oct. 31. Yet Hovnanian’s board awarded Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian a bonus of $1.5 million in cash and stock. The reason: Mr. Hovnanian had helped the company stockpile cash, according to Hovnanian’s Feb. 4 proxy statement…” Read more here of Phred Dvorak’s WSJ article here: Poor year doesn’t stop CEO bonuses.

The reference post was really fun to write, and it generated a HUGE response.  It was a treat to read all the comments from various forums – a very sincere thanks to everyone who contributed! Here are some extracts that I found really compelling – I want to share these verbatim while I structure my thinking on what I think they mean – apologies for the length, but this is worth reading to the end:

More than one challenged my sanity, e.g.: Read the rest of this entry »

Listening to more doom and gloom from the financial pundits this morning risks becoming depressing; I’m going to try to focus on what’s next. Not only more cheerful, but if we’re lucky and can pool some good thinking, we might collectively prosper. This entry centers on organization structure; while technologies and offerings clearly will drive an economic renaissance, their creation requires organizing individuals and teams. Read the rest of this entry »

Being in a good mood, research finds, helps people take in information effectively and respond nimbly and creatively. In other words, laughter is serious business.

Excerpts from Social intelligence and the biology of leadership, by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatsis:

“In the past five years, research in the emerging field of social neuroscience – the study of what happens in the brain while people interact – is beginning to reveal subtle new truths about what makes a good leader. [click here for video:] Read the rest of this entry »

In today’s performance-focused environment, the drive to achieve is more critical than ever. Yet even among the most talented executives and top-performing organizations, this drive, when unchecked, often backfires, derailing careers, diminishing performance, even destroying organizations, as discussed in Leadership run amok: the destructive potential of overachievers, the most downloaded Harvard Businss Review article in 2006. Read the rest of this entry »

My Hay Group colleague Jeffrey Bacher writes:


While most of the attention on executive compensation has focused on CEOs, it really is the compensation committee of the board of directors that is responsible for the ultimate executive pay decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

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