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2018 Southern California CHRO Leadership Summit
December 12, 2018
Los Angeles, CA

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March 11-14, 2019
Scottsdale, AZ

Reinventing Jobs

Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work

Ravin Jesuthasan, & John Boudreau

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Black Holes and White Spaces

Black Holes and White Spaces: Reimagining the Future of Work and HR with the CHREATE Project

John Boudreau, Carolyn Lavelle Rearick & Ian Ziskin

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Lead the Work book

Lead the Work: Navigating a World Beyond Employment

John Boudreau, Ravin Jesuthasan, & David Creelman

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See all of John's latest books

Recent Awards

Herbert Heneman Jr. Career Achievement Award

August, 2018
Academy of Management

Organizational Leaders Can't Avoid Conversations About Automation Forever

We live in a world of perpetually upgraded work. Each day, work becomes a little more automated, employee and worker rewards become a little more immediate and job-related learning becomes a little more virtual.

But in order for businesses to stay at the forefront of innovation and for workers to have enough time to gain the skills necessary to use new technology, organizational leaders and managers must be willing to share what they know about emerging automation tools and their potential impact on the business. That involves open discussions about new tools that come on their radar, an exchange of case studies and other means of information gathering and dispersion.

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What We Often Get Wrong About Automation

When leaders describe how advances in automation will affect job prospects for humans, predictions typically fall into one of two camps. Optimists say that machines will free human workers to do higher-value, more creative work. Pessimists predict massive unemployment, or, if they have a flair for the dramatic, a doomsday scenario in which humans’ only job is to serve our robot overlords.

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Are Unions Tomorrow’s Work Platforms?

What is the future of labor unions? That question is becoming more relevant for HR leaders, illustrated by the Supreme Court decision in AFSCME vs. Janus, and engineer unionization efforts in Silicon Valley.

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Develop Your Workforce’s Political Skill to Help Them Thrive

Rob Cross and I have suggested how organization social networks can be sources of strategic success, including encouraging newcomers to create “pull” toward themselves, rather than excessively “pushing” themselves on others.

However, Rob, and his colleagues, Reb Rebele and Adam Grant, also warn of “collaborative overload” a particular risk for well-connected or “central” networkers.

Their approachability can lead to an overwhelming burden of emails, meeting requests, etc. Research suggests that up to 20% of collaborative time can be regained by sculpting and clarifying the role, shaping the narrative of patterns and rules, and altering behaviors.

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Are Freelancers Your Best Performers? Applying Organizational Network Analysis to the Gig Economy

Whether you call it “gig,” “fluid” “liquid,” “agile,” or something else, an increasing proportion of work is done through engagements other than regular full-time employment. While estimates of the number of workers who fully support themselves with work outside of employment vary, the amount of work being done outside of employment (including contracting, freelancing, and moonlighting by regular employees) is increasing.

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Consider the Meander: How Attention to Timing Can Enhance Employee Engagement

Patterns in nature are remarkable, from the smallest to the largest scale: The symmetrical pointed star shows up in starfish and segments of fruit. The same fractal patterns are seen in leaf veins, wood grains and branches of trees. Fibonacci spirals are present in the nautilus shell, cabbage tissues and in the way droplets of water fly off a wet spinning ball. Another common pattern in nature is called a “meander.” It’s the pattern of up and down bends in a crawling snake, the folks of a coral plant and the path of a river.

All of these patterns are visible in the world around us, but what if they also existed in the invisible? Can, for instance, the meander pattern explain things we can’t see with the naked eye? Could a meander be present in human emotions and energy, and, as such, in work attitudes and productivity?

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It’s All Connected: Unearthing The Potential in Hidden Collaborative Networks

Over two decades of research, Cross and colleagues have found that 3-5% of people in a typical organization network account for 20-35% of the value-adding collaborations. Yet even sophisticated talent management systems tend to overlook about half of these central players.

Among other problems, this means that the people making your most significant collaborative contributions are not getting recognized, and research shows they often burnout and leave. To address this problem, Juniper Networks used ONA to identify “hidden stars” – those that are having a significant impact but being missed by a more traditional performance management system, and relied on those hidden stars to spearhead organizational change.

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Why Having HR Measurements Is No Longer Enough To Grow HR’s Strategic Role

When Google Analytics debuted in 2005, the ability to look under the hood, and see who was viewing your website (and for how long), was all at once foreign and exciting. In fact, it was so exciting there was a waitlist to access it—for nearly a year. Over a decade later, our collective obsession with metrics and analytics remains: data reigns supreme across industries with promises to improve strategic decisions.

A common trap with metrics is believing that their mere existence is strategic. Sure, the ability to track things like revenue per employee or time until promotion is enticing, but it’s not strategic if these numbers aren’t applied in ways that improve strategic value. Often, executives are satisfied with simply having HR analytics platforms—wrongly believing the numbers themselves were the “strategy.”

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