Martha Stewart and Leonardo da Vinci? They have more in common than you know.

Leonardo da Vinci.
Andy Warhol.
Walt Disney.
Martha Stewart.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Two weeks ago, our Managing Partner and co-founder Mark Weber returned for a command performance to LOOM Coworking, Gallery and Event Space in Fort Mill, SC to share insights on the common thread that ties these five, highly accomplished professionals together.

The common thread?

Each of these famous people built a “portfolio career”, a style of working where a professional combines multiple streams of income to earn a robust living. Think of a portfolio career like an investment portfolio whereby you derive income from multiple streams that you professionally manage with a high degree of care, strategy and intentionality.

Portfolio careers are booming. In a recent article published by Ben Legg, the former COO of Google Europe, it was noted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (based in Paris) in its Future of Work study that an estimated 50% of developed country workforces would be gig workers by 2030. Similarly, Ladders published a story that featured a forecast from Statista, the market research firm, that freelancers will make up more than 50% of the USA’s workforce by 2027.

So why are portfolio careers growing?

For starters, more and more professionals are realizing that they have the right and power to veer from the traditional career script. Many of the most skilled and intelligent workers crave both variety and challenge in their careers, and they find it fulfilling to meet their needs outside the traditional career path.

For these professionals, there is often a greater sense of purpose, clarity, and flexibility that accompanies the building of a portfolio career.

Respected thought leaders including Harvard Business Review and Forbes are publishing a growing body of articles and videos that are providing legitimacy to those attracted to the concept of a portfolio career. Additionally, a growing number of employers, including Croixstone Consulting, are intentionally building and diversifying their workforces by designing and implementing talent strategies focused on portfolio professionals.

Visit Croixstone Consulting’s Linktree to find a variety of links to learn more about the benefits and rewards of building a portfolio career.


The Power of the Stay Interview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.4 million people quit their jobs in February 2022 – another near-record high.  The Great Resignation continues to spotlight the people risks that today’s leaders face as valuable employees continue to submit their resignations in this exceptionally tight labor market.

Sure, there is value in conducting exit interviews to gather insights and data to understand the reasons why talented employees are leaving.  But why wait for the resignation to take place?

A powerful, yet vastly underutilized tool to get ahead of the resignation email, is the “stay” interview.  A recently published article by Harvard Business Review (HBR) argues that managers should spend just as much time understanding why employees choose to remain in their jobs as they expend learning why they are departing.

We like the practical and easy-to-implement advice that HBR shared to implement stay interviews.  HBR recommends that you fold stay interviews into existing one-on-one meetings with your employees or minimally consider conducting them monthly.  HBR further suggests that you ask the following four questions that address common retention issues:

  • What’s your frame of mind today?
  • Who do you feel connected to at work?
  • What barriers can I remove for you?
  • What new thing to you want to learn that will excite you and help you grow?

Read the HBR article here.

 


The Case for Hiring Older Workers

Croixstone’s advisory practices are built around connecting highly-experienced professionals with organizations that can benefit from their expertise.  Research proves that with age comes workplace wisdom.  Harvard Business Review published a great article at the end of September on the case for hiring older workers, and the steps that organizations can take to overcome age discrimination.

Read the HBR Article Here

Professional Development Opportunity!

Our friends at Wily—a design agency based at Camp North End in Charlotte—are running a Design Sprint Bootcamp on September 11-12Jake Knapp—creator of Design Sprints and author of NYT bestseller “Sprint“—will lead Day 1 of the two day training. Jake perfected Design Sprints while at GV/Google Ventures helping companies like AirBnB, Slack, Nest, Flatiron Health, and 23andMe solve big challenges. Jeff Grant will be leading Day 2 to cover prototyping and testing. Jeff innovates the retail security experience as head of product and innovation at InVue, has created satellite hardware for NASA, and was former co-founder and director of IDEO’s toy business line where he helped invent new products. Jake and Jeff will walk you step-by-step through the training and will be spilling all of their design and prototyping secrets.

Details are at wilysprints.com and a nice Harvard Business Review article about sprints can be found here.


HBR Ideacast

Pat Lynes, author of “The Interim Revolution,” isn’t the only one who sees big changes ahead for the management consulting industry.  Listen to this Harvard Business School Ideacast that features Clay Christensen (the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth) and Dominic Barton (the global managing partner of McKinsey).

Listen here.


Blockchain Simplified

Croixstone‘s CXO Patti Weber recently participated in Skookum‘s largest Tech Talks to date. Josh Miller, Senior Software Engineer at Skookum, provided insight into blockchain technology and the uses beyond Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The original blockchain was described in a 2008 bitcoin paper by Satashi Nakamoto, just 2 months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. What makes blockchain so attractive is that it provides a level of trust that is interwoven in business transactions. People can now make transactions without middlemen which translates to greater control of funds and lower fees.

So, what is a blockchain? A blockchain is a digital encrypted ledger in which transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly. Like the name indicates, a blockchain is a chain of blocks containing information. Each block contains data, the hash (i.e., digital fingerprint that uniquely identifies the block and all the contents), and the hash of the previous block. When a block is created, a copy of the block is distributed on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. Each member of the P2P network gets a copy of the block, and a consensus is obtained to ensure that the chain has not been tampered with.
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The way the blocks are chained together using hashes, along with a “proof of work” mechanism and distribution through a P2P network, makes blockchains secure and trustworthy. The term immutability – its resistance to tampering or other changes – is often used when describing blockchain.
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Blockchains eliminate the need for middlemen (e.g., banks) making it more efficient than legacy systems. They exist within communities, and participants that operate within an industry can all operate on the same chain, and therefore, have a copy of the distributed ledger.
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Applications of Blockchain
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As a result of the tamper-proof and hack-proof nature of blockchain, it is one of the most promising technologies with far-reaching applications. Here are just a few of the industries that are/will be impacted..
For a more detailed explanation of blockchain, see CNET’s recent article titled Blockchain explained: It builds trust when you need it most.
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For more information about industries impacted, check out: Banking Is Only The Beginning: 36 Big Industries Blockchain Could Transform

Gaining a Competitive Advantage Through Predictive Analytics

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to predict the future? According to a recent Harvard Business Review webinar, companies, governments, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and universities are using the power of big data, new technologies, and analytics to predict whether we’re going to “click, buy, lie, or die.”
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So, what is the difference between forecasting and predictive analytics? Forecasting provides an estimate to anticipate trends for a large group over time, while predictive analytics goes much further and is focused on predicting the behavior of a single individual. For example, forecasting might provide an estimate of the total sales for a particular product line next quarter, while predictive analytics tells which customer will likely buy the product. Major industries such as Banking and Finance, Retail, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas Utilities, Government, E-commerce and Travel and Hospitality embrace predictive analytics to boost sales, improve operations, reduce risks, and gain a competitive advantage.
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  • What is Predictive Analytics? Learn the about the process, applications, software and more here.
  • Read how to convert analytics into action here.

Disruption in the Consulting Industry

A couple of years ago, a team of thought leaders put their minds together to study professional services, especially consulting and law, to understand how these industries are changing and why.  Then they spoke extensively with more than 50 leaders of incumbent and emerging firms, their clients, and academics and researchers who study them.

So what did these thought leaders learn from this study and the interviews? 

The same forces that disrupted so many businesses, from steel to publishing, are starting to reshape the world of consulting.

Learn more here.