CEBMa Newsletter December 2015

Dear reader

Welcome to our December 2015 newsletter, we've got lots to tell you after an extremely busy autumn. In this issue our regular column writers take you to the wonderful world of Emotional Intelligence and Apologies. In addition, we have two interviews, several workshop reports, a new book, and a draft of CEBMa's core values.

And, hey, Rob Briner, CEBMa' scientific director, has been voted 2nd Most Influential HR Thinker!

Happy reading!

Eric Barends, Managing Director

Denise Rousseau, Chair, Academic Board

What's the Evidence For... Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is widely believed to be a 'crucial' part of a manager's (or leader's) repertoire. In fact, well known consultancy firms such as Hay Group make lots of money from selling training that are supposed to develop your Emotional Intelligence. But...how evidence-based is it? Read Rob's column to find out…

Evidence-based HR isn't about stealing anyone's thunder, it's about making the profession more effective

It’s horrible when your parade gets rained on. There you are – head held high and dressed to impress. Proudly marching. And suddenly you’re soaking wet. Your head drops and you trudge along with heavy heart and even heavier legs. Depressing. Irritating. Demotivating.

The purpose of evidence-based HR is not to rain on anybody’s parade (though I know that’s what some think). The challenge we face is that the evidence for professional practices – not just those found in HR – is often underwhelming. If we discover this also applies to a practice we have been keenly championing we’re probably not going to like it. But why?

Sometimes it’s because it does feel exactly like somebody has spoiled things. It all seems to be going so well, but then we read an article that suggests that what we thought were best practices are actually little better than worst practices. Assessment centres are not all they’re cracked up to be? Oh dear. High-potential programmes may do more harm than good? Thanks for nothing.

We also get upset for another reason: there are ideas we love so much that we don’t want to hear they are anything but completely fab. Evidence can be an emotional business, which brings us to emotional intelligence.

Continue reading Rob's column here >>

Evidence-Based Banking?

Even if you have been asleep at your desk over the last few years you have noticed the huge number of fines and "settlements" imposed on the banking industry; over $100 Billion since the most recent financial crisis. Clearly there have been a few management issues here and there. Martin Walker, a member of CEBMa, had a closer look at the evidence and assumptions behind some of the decision making in banking and did not like what he saw. He therefore started the Evidence-Based Banking Forum.

So what is this new initiative trying to achieve? and who is Martin Walker? To find out we had a chat with him.

Martin, who are you and what is your experience with the banking industry?

Today I work as an independent banking consultant mostly looking at business process, organizational structure, system architecture and Management Information.

Many years ago I grew up in a part of East London where it seemed the main career choices were becoming a clerk in the City of London or working in the local car factory. Having a low boredom threshold and no manual dexterity ruled out those careers so I made a short and unsuccessful attempt at being an Economist. After that I ended up working in IT 

While doing a review of a large IT department at a major bank I started thinking more about the evidence based approach to management.

Read the full interview with Martin here >>

CEBMa Teaches Evidence-Based Decision Making in Oman.

When we say “Change The World, Teach Evidence-Based Management”, we really take this seriously. For this reason two members of CEBMa went all the way to Oman to provide a one-day training to more than 150 managers and business leaders. The training was organised by the Studies and Research Centre (SRC) in Muscat. So why would Oman be interested in evidence-based desicion-making? Nasser Ahmed al Rashdi, Head of Training at SRC explains: "By 2020, it is projected that more than 50 per cent of the workforce in Oman will be millennials, who would be expecting more from the organisations they are working in. To attract, manage and retain talent Omani managers of the future need to adopt an evidence-based approach to people management: combine organisational data and scientific research to improve the quality of their decisions". 

Read more in this article in the Oman Daily >> 

• Rob Briner, CEBMa' scientific director, has been voted 2nd Most Influential HR Thinker 2015!

• CEBMa is in the process of setting up a regional office in Poland and Singapore (more news in the next newsletter)

• CEBMa made a contribution to AWA's Workplace Convention for BBC Children in Need

• CEBMa is now a partner of the European Health Management Association EHMA

• CEBMa is rolling out a new membership model (more news in the next newsletter)

CEBMa's Critical Appraisal App Now Also Available for Android!

The CAT (Critically Appraised Topic) Manager App helps you to critically evaluate the trustworthiness of scientific research findings. The app is now also available for Android!

Read more about the app here >>

A New Evidence-Based Initiative: ScienceForWork

ScienceForWork is a nonprofit association that aims at promoting an evidence-based approach to HR management. It was set up in October 2014 by a group of passionate I/O Psychology students and alumni.

So why did this group start this initiative? What are they trying to achieve? To find out, we spoke with Giulia Varagona and Lorenzo Gallì, two of the driving forces between ScienceForWork.

Giulia and Lorenzo, what brought you to evidence-based practice and deciding to start ScienceForWork?

During our Master we learned about the Scientist-Practitioner Gap, the phenomenon for which the results of I/O psychology academic research are not used in everyday HR practices. We decided that we wanted to contribute in bridging this gap! We discovered Evidence-Based Management thanks to Robert Briner’s articles and we learned all about it from the incredible amount of resources that we found on your website. We tried to individuate the problems that created and were maintaining this divide, and then decided to address one of those.

 What problem is ScienceForWork trying to tackle?

We were not surprised that HR professionals were not using research findings as a source of evidence when making decision in their everyday practice: articles from peer reviewed journals are usually hidden behind paywalls, are hard to interpret because of their technical jargon and not all of them provides actionable tips for HR practices.

We decided that we would have collected the most useful research findings for everyday HR problems and summarize them in less than 1000 words, in order to provide to our audience all the quality of academic research in a straight to the point, five minutes reading.


Read the whole interview with Lorenzo and Giulia here >>


There Is A Discussion Forum On Evidence-Based Management?

 Find out more here >>

Leadership B(ull) S(hit)!

Here at CEBMa we usually don't promote books, but in this case we maken an exception. Not only because Jeffrey Pfeffer is a member of CEBMa's Academic Board, but also because Leadership BS is a great (evidence-based) book that received very good reviews. Here's what Laszlo Bock, Google's SVP of People Operations says:

As bracing as a splash of cold water, Leadership BS is at once a scathing indictment of the ‘leadership industry’ and a roadmap to success. Pfeffer dismantles the jargon-filled aphorisms of conventional leadership, replacing them with fact-based prescriptions for how to succeed.”  

Read more about Jeff's book in this interview he gave to 

the Financial Times >> 

CEBMa's Core Values

We think values are important, especially for a non-profit member organization such as CEBMa. So how do you define them? In this article Jim Collins argues that organizational values cannot be defined; you should ‘discover’ them by doing the “Mars Group Exercise”. We at CEBMa think that’s non-evidentiary non-sense. So we ask for your help instead.

Last month a small group of CEBMa members came together and formulated these three core values. What do you think? Anything missing? As an evidence-based aficionado, would you be willing to publicly promote these three values?

Evidence matters

We will base our practice on the best available critically appraised evidence from multiple sources. We believe that high-quality evidence drives better outcomes for organizations, their members and their clients. Where high-quality evidence is not available, we will work with the limited evidence at hand and supplement it through “learning by doing”, by systematically assessing the outcome of our practice.

Lifelong learning

Throughout our professional life, we will remain committed to lifelong learning. We encourage open discussion, feedback, constructive criticism and ongoing assessment of outcomes, and appreciate that this may lead us to change our judgment and conclusions.

Independent, always

We are open to views from everyone, but we will weigh them against the best available evidence. We will never be afraid to speak up when the evidence contradicts established practice and we will guard our independence at all costs. Independence and freedom from bias is the lifeblood of evidence-based practice.

Tell us what you think >>

Evidence-Based Corporate Apologies?

In his Fortune column Jeffrey Pfeffer, member of CEBMa’s academic board, takes an evidence-based look at leaders making apologies. Why would you apologize? Does it help? What is the evidence?

Conventional wisdom says to quickly apologize for errors and mistakes, but finding the best way to recover from setbacks is more complicated.

Apologies are in the air these days. This month, outgoing Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley took responsibility for the consumer product giant’s weak performance at the company’s annual meeting and promised improvements. United’s new (and currently sidelined) CEO Oscar Munoz apologized to the company’s employees and passengers for its poor treatment of them. Pope Francis apologized - again - for the scandals bedeviling the Catholic church. Volkswagen apologized for selling cars with software designed to defeat pollution control regulations. And more than a year ago, Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, “gave a full-throated apology for the defect-and-recall disaster” arising from flawed ignition switches.

Virtually every company and person is, at some point, going to screw up. So the question becomes, if, and how, you should apologize.

Continue reading Jeff's column here >>

Evidence-Based Workplace Design    

- Workshops In The US By AllSteel

In October we were in the US, sharing the outcomes of a Rapid Evidence Assessment we conducted on Knowledge Worker productivity. Allsteel was one of the sponsors of this important effort, acted as host for conversations in three major US cities – New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The participants were senior leaders in the Corporate Real Estate teams within major companies, including American Express and LinkedIn. The workshops were led by Eric Barends from CEBMa and Andrew Mawson from AWA. Here is a brief summary of the workshop by Jan Johnson, AllSteel’s vice president Design and Workplace Resources.

Most everyone associated with ‘workplace making’ – from workplace strategists, furniture manufacturers, planners/designers, real estate, and facilities managers to the organization for whom the workplace is developedhas been seeking the Holy Grail: a universal, broadly applicable metric for measuring knowledge worker productivity. If only it existed, it would be a way to prove that certain attributes of the workplacelower panels, white noise, blue walls, more natural light, etc.have a positive effect on productivity (or not). The industry would be able to prove causation, and have clearer answers about what to do and what not to do to contribute to worker performanceto have proven data instead of subjective opinions.

Read more about the workshops here >> 

Missed a past newsletter? Find it here >>

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