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.


The Power of Constructive Nonconformity

Did you know that Croixstone’s consultancy model is built around the concept of leveraging the talents of “business mavericks“? 

With that in mind, we have been enjoying Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino’s new Harvard Business Review series on the power of constructive nonconformity.

In the first article of the series, Professor Gino presents her case that “curiosity” is the most important trait for leaders to assess when identifying talent who can drive innovation in their organizations.  She believes that curiosity – the impulse to seek out new ideas and experiences – is crucial to innovation because it moves people to look at the world from a different perspective and to ask questions rather than accept the status quo.

Learn more about the importance of curiosity, it’s link to innovation and strategies to assess this important trait here.


When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting

So is the gig economy disrupting the traditional consulting industry?

Yes, according to many experts. Back in 2013, Harvard Business Review published a fascinating article entitled “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption” which predicted the disruption of established consultants as first smaller, then larger, clients start using alternatives to the big brands for all but “a core of critical work”.

In follow-up to this prediction, the Croixstone Consulting leadership team reviewed this week a newly-published article by Andrew Hill, Management Editor of the Financial Times, entitled “When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting” which spotlights the trend of business consultants setting out on their own as a higher-paid, and growing stratum of “gig consultants”.

We found the following factoids from the Financial Times article to be of particular interest:

  1. 31 percent of management consultants in the UK are self-employed.
  2. 20 percent of staff at the big consultancies leave every year.
  3. 59 percent of consultants made a deliberate choice to become independent (with top triggers including the desire for a career change, wanting more control over time and schedule, and wanting to work with clients in a different way).

Read the full article here (subscription may be required).