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Issue 05 March 2013
Leadership: the professional way to pick a pope
Picking a new pope who can inspire his followers, embrace tradition and adapt fast to new challenges is a tough decision. In a Harvard Business Review blog posting Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a Senior Adviser at Egon Zehnder, recommends following a rigorous evaluation process based on the same criteria used to choose a CEO. In addition to checking that contenders have selfless motives, cardinals should look for four key leadership criteria: curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. On top of the fluid intelligence to solve new problems, the next pope will need perseverance and the ability to bounce back from setbacks. In a complex global organization like the Catholic Church, the capacity to delegate power and make great people decisions is absolutely essential, Fernández-Aráoz concludes.
> Full story: Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, "How to Pick the Next Pope", a posting on the HBR Blog Network (13 February 2013).
Social entrepreneurship: an open approach to problem-solving
Social entrepreneurship embraces an open approach to solving social and environmental problems by inviting people from very different backgrounds to propose creative solutions. But entrepreneurial exploration can prove piecemeal and frustrating without supporting institutions (legal, financial, cultural, intellectual, and more) to improve their effectiveness, warns J. Gregory Dees, a professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Creating effective solutions to social problems involves understanding what works under which circumstances and for whom, notes Dees. “One-size-fits-all” solutions are rare and best practices must be qualified and constantly reviewed and challenged, he concludes.
> Full story: J. Gregory Dees, "Toward an Open-Solution Society" in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (Spring 2013).
Boards: the rise of the lawyer?
Board-level lawyers can boost corporate performance, according to the results of a recent study by law and finance professors of Cornell Law School, reports Gillian Tett in the Financial Times. The study shows that the number of US companies with a lawyer director rose from 24 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2009. Companies with lawyers on the board tend to pay their chief executives more, but their overall pay remains more constant due to lower levels of corporate risk-taking and default. Bringing lawyers onto the board also helps to reduce the risk of litigation and improve internal governance, notes Tett citing the study. However, the bigger problem, she warns, is that directorships have become a legal and reputational minefield, making it harder to get anybody who is competent, independent and expert to join a public board, let alone lawyers.
> Full story: Gillian Tett, "More US lawyers move into the boardroom" in the Financial Times (21 February 2013).
Pharma: closing tomorrow's talent gap
Global economic and demographic pressures, rising customer expectations and changing R&D organizational models are transforming talent requirements for pharma companies, writes Mia Burns in a blog posting for Med Ad News. Scientific expertise is increasingly being replaced by regulatory knowledge and relationship skills as the number one competence for leaders, she notes. To replenish the talent pool pharma players need effective HR strategies. According to a recent PwC global study, CEOs identify talent gaps as the second largest threat to growth perspectives. Yet only half of the HR professionals surveyed said that their function was considered strategic in their companies. Senior leaders in pharma firms need to collaborate more closely with HR to harness the potential of inside and outside networks if they are to close tomorrow's talent gap, the author concludes.
> Full story: Mia Burns, “Tailoring the pharma talent model”, blog entry posted on MedAdNews (6 February 2013)