Tamara Erickson
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Tamara Erickson

Renowned Expert on Talent and Author, Workforce Crisis

To thrive in today's multi-generational workforce, Tamara Erickson shows that leaders must understand how to create an environment of collaboration to innovate effectively.

  
Ten Assumptions that Are No Longer True . . . But Still Shape Our Organizations Today

Today’s organizations are ripe for change. Over the next several decades, we’ll see very different business entities evolve. Why? Because today’s organizations were designed in response to conditions that no longer exist. Do you still think loyal behavior at work will lead to a lifetime of protection and care from the corporation? Of course not. But many of our cherished talent management practices that are based on tenure, from pension plans to perquisites, like vacation, are holdovers from the days when this old assumption rang true.

There are many new business realities that we haven’t yet translated into our management practices and organizational designs. It’s time to question which practices still make sense and whether there are new options, better suited to today. In this provocative and interactive session based on a forthcoming book, Tammy will list ten assumptions that underpin organizations today. All have major implications for the way we manage talent and run organizations and yet none are true today. She’ll leave participants looking at their organizations–and themselves–through a whole new lens.

Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce

Four generations are working together in today’s workplace—and a fifth is on the way. Each brings unique assumptions to the job. As a result, events in the workplace are often interpreted differently by individuals in different generations. What may seem like good news to a Boomer might well be an unsettling and unwelcome development to a member of Generation X. Things that members of Gen Y love often seem unappealing or frivolous to those in older generations.

Today it’s increasingly important to create a culture that is welcoming and engaging for talented individuals of all ages. Based on years of in-depth research and three books on generations in the workforce, Tammy Erickson helps audiences understand the underlying evolution of the assumptions each generation brings to work, with humor, empathy and enormous insight. Contributing rich data and unparalleled research with her optimistic point of view, Tammy offers practical strategies and actionable insights so that audiences of all ages will better understand each other.

Innovation in the Intelligent Economy: Bringing People and Ideas Together
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Innovation

The heart of innovation is the combination of two previously unrelated ideas. Creating the capacity for innovation in your organization means encouraging collaboration: namely, sharing knowledge and working together to create new ideas. The paradox: many of the best ways to encourage collaboration work against innovation! How can you balance both?

Based on ground-breaking research—one of the largest and most rigorous studies of collaborative behavior within organizations—as well as years of experience with innovative organizations, three keys emerge: building the capacity to collaborate, asking great questions, and introducing sufficient diversity of thought and capability. Tammy identifies the highest-priority investments and practices needed to build an organization skilled at successful innovation.

This is a fresh look at one of the most challenging aspects of leadership today—creating an organization filled with the on-going spark of new ideas. Others address innovation from a process perspective—how to manage the development of innovations once an idea has surfaced, or provide a strategic overview. Tammy brings her unique organizational understanding to outline the embedded practices that create a culture of sustained innovation.

Building Collaborative Organizations

We are on the brink of an important transformation. New technologies are making their way into the workplace, offering significant improvements in generating, capturing, and sharing knowledge, finding helpful colleagues and information, tapping into new sources of innovation and expertise, and harnessing the “wisdom of crowds.” Over time, these collaborative technologies will change the way work is done and the way organizations function. They will shift the way we interact with people on our teams, find external expertise when it’s needed, and share ideas and observations more broadly.

Identifying relevant business connections isn’t as clear cut as finding old high school friends. The range of activities that collaborative technologies can take on to enhance performance and drive increased productivity in the workplace is far broader than the activities most of us have explored during our personal use. Perhaps most importantly, many of our existing work practices actually hinder the successful use of extended collaboration.

How do you transform an organization that doesn’t have a collaborative culture? Which practices are essential to move in that direction? Which companies are taking new and interesting approaches to the ways they work, leveraging today’s capabilities? What do they tell us about the characteristics of organizations that excel at extended collaboration? Based on several years of deep research into the barriers and motivations for organization-wide collaboration, Tammy provides sound guidance on re-shaping your organization for future success.

What Does It Mean to Work Here? A Signature Experience for Extraordinary Engagement

A highly engaged workforce has never been more important. Much of the work today requires an individual’s discretionary effort—people have to choose to innovate, share knowledge, and provide extraordinary service. Many employees, particularly those in younger generations, are less motivated by money than the connection they feel to the work.

Tammy’s unique, ground-breaking work on employee engagement provides some powerful perspectives for today’s leaders. As she’ll explain, meaning is the new money. Companies with extraordinary employee-employer relationships understand what it means to work in their organizations and excel at embedding that meaning in the day-to-day employee experience.

Engaging employees is never about copying another corporation’s best practices. It’s about digging deep to identify what’s uniquely important to your organization. As Tammy’s research shows, individuals find meaning in different aspects of work; work plays different roles in our lives. She helps audiences understand six psycho-demographic segments that describe our relationship to work and provides ways to understand the values that are most important to your employee population.

To bring them alive, leading companies need to first understand who they are and then design their organizational practices around their values. One of the most powerful approaches to strengthen meaning in the workplace is the creation of Signature Experiences—distinctive, value-driven elements of the employees’ experience that encourage self-selection and reinforce values, leading to retention.

Learn how to re-energize and re-engage your organization. Reconnect with and reinvigorate what it means to work here.

Global Generations

Geography significantly influences the formation of generational beliefs and behavior. Each country’s unique social, political, and economic events shape specific views and attitudes among today’s adults. Understanding these country-to-country differences is critical to creating employment opportunities that attract and retain the best employees in each geographic area.

Tammy’s research has extended to the generations in a number of specific countries around the world, including the four BRIC nations, as well as countries in Europe and the Middle East. She will work with you to develop a customized session, focusing on the areas of the world that are most important to your business–or provide an overview of the similarities and differences within one generation around the globe.

Understanding individuals’ backgrounds and resultant perspectives or mental models both within generations and across geographies helps leaders grapple with the diversity, challenges, and potential of a global workforce.

Get Ready for the Next Wave: The Re-Generation

The next demographic wave is almost ready to hit the shore. Children who are 15-and-under today are almost certainly not members of Generation Y. They’ve been influenced by a very different set of global events than those that shaped the ideas and preferences of people in their late teens and 20s today.

Today’s children have been forming their mental maps of the future at a time when our national and global optimism has been doused with the cold water realization that we are facing significant, seemingly intractable problems on multiple fronts. The inconvenient truths of the past half century–precarious global finances, resource constraints, shifting economic power, and environmental degradation–are settling around our shoulders, and these early teens are not unaware of these issues or their complexity. This generation’s perspective is based on a world with finite limits and no easy answers.

What is this new generation, soon to be the fifth generation in many workplaces, all about? What do they value and how might they shape both the future of work and of the marketplace? Tammy’s newest research, the subject of a forthcoming book, brings the “Re-Generation” into sharp focus, with insights for employers, marketers, educators . . . and parents.

Meet Tamara Erickson

To thrive in today's multi-generational workforce, Tamara Erickson shows that leaders must understand how to create an environment of collaboration to innovate effectively.

Tamara J. Erickson is a McKinsey Award-winning author and widely respected expert on collaboration and innovation–on building talent and enhancing productivity–and on the nature of work in the intelligent economy. Her work is based on extensive research on the changing workforce and employee values and, most recently, on how successful organizations innovate through collaboration. Tammy has authored or co-authored numerous Harvard Business Review articles and she recently completed a trilogy of books on how individuals in specific generations can excel in today’s workplace including her most recent What’s Next, Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead and Getting the Career You Want. Tammy offers a fundamentally optimistic point of view, along with fascinating trends and actionable counsel. Perhaps more importantly, she will build-to-suit, depending on your learning objectives. Her blog, Across the Ages, appears on the Harvard Business School Publishing site where it is the highest-rated blog. Her entries address how the talent shortage and shifting employee values will create opportunities for individuals—and challenges for corporations that aren't prepared! Tammy's article "Leading Across the Ages" was one of Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Ideas of 2008.

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