Election rage shows why America needs a new social contract to ensure the economy works for all — Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Kochan

From The Conversation

The recent U.S. election exposed two major intersecting fault lines in America that, if left unchecked, could soon produce an era of social and economic upheaval unlike any in our history.

First, it revealed deep divisions across racial, ethnic and gender lines that led to a surge in hate crimes last year, particularly against Muslims. Addressing this will require a sustained effort to heal these growing divisions and will be very difficult to resolve without strong leadership and a renewed willingness to listen to each other’s concerns.

Second, it gave voice to the deep-seated frustrations and anger of those who feel left behind by economic forces and fear their children will experience a lower standard of living than they did.

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On the making of Trump: the blind spot that created him – Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

From The Huffington Post

We have entered a watershed moment not only here in America, but also globally. It’s a moment that could help us wake up to a deeper level of collective awareness and renewal—or a moment when we could spiral down into chaos, violence, and fascism-like conditions. Whether it’s one or the other depends on our capacity to become aware of our collective blind spot.

Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States has sent shock waves across the planet. In a replay of Brexit, a coalition of white, working- (and middle-) class men (and women) from mostly rural areas swept an anti-establishment candidate into office. But the election of Trump is hardly an outlier: just look at the global rise of strongmen such as Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdogan, Viktor Orban, and Rodrigo Duterte and the surge of other right-wing populists.

Why has the richest and most prosperous country in the world now elected a climate denier who used racist, sexist, misogynistic, and xenophobic language throughout his campaign? What makes us put someone like him in the White House? Why did we create a presidential election between two of the most disliked candidates of all time, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Why did Trump, who lied and attacked minorities, journalists, women, and the disabled, only become stronger and stronger throughout his campaign? What is the blind spot that has kept us from seeing and shifting the deeper forces at play? Why, again and again, do we collectively create results that most people don’t want?

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Join Senior Lecturer Bob Pozen for Twitter Chat on Underfunded Retiree Healthcare

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Robert Pozen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Robert Pozen

Underfunded/unfunded retiree healthcare is a topic that gets little attention in the finance media. All the attention has been paid to pension funds, but retiree healthcare is in worse shape. For example, if a pension fund is only 70 percent funded, it is considered extremely underfunded. And yet retiree healthcare plans are on average only four percent funded.

The question is, why?

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The Power of the Post-It – A low-tech tool for mastering high-performance collaboration–Virginia Healy-Tangney

MIT Sloan Lecturer, Managerial Communication

MIT Sloan Lecturer, Virginia Healy-Tangney

The simplest tool can sometimes be the most effective. Consider a list of the world’s easiest to use and most beloved tools: a pencil, a ruler, a shovel and the ever-present workhorse in business, education, and daily life—the Post-it note.

Developed by accident by Spencer Silver, a senior researcher and chemist at 3M in the late 1950s, his low tack reusable adhesive was referred to within 3M as a “solution without a problem,” since no one could envision a use for the small sticky and movable squares. That was until a colleague, Art Fry, used the removable sticky paper to bookmark a page in his hymnal.  Fry, having discovered that the squares could easily be used to mark pages without marring the paper underneath and then repositioned easily, sought to develop the product for commercial usage and the Post-it was officially born.

How did we learn just how powerful this simple tool is in the collaboration process? Partnering with Continuum colleagues, over that past two years, we’ve conducted an intensive design-thinking seminar with MIT Sloan MBA students. An important process in the design thinking methodology is team-based iterating to brainstorm ideas focused on solving a client problem such as the one presented this year by the MIT Leadership Center.

For many MIT Sloan students the team-based ideation process is a new challenge.  Enter a pad of Post-its – where everyone is responsible for penning their unique ideas and posting them to a white board.  The result: Students culturally oriented to refrain from participation or those who by nature are introverted gained confidence sharing their ideas, hearing multiple viewpoints and giving constructive feedback.  Using post-its created the right conditions for squares to be easily posted, moved, parked or tossed and for team mates to collaboratively engage in revising and vetting to strengthen ideas based on feedback, not intuition.

As one student, a managing partner at a Canadian law firm, said, writing down an idea on your own block of Post-it® Notes ‘levels the playing field’ so that regardless of personality style or level of expertise, more people feel comfortable participating.

Team CollaborationBest of all, as another student offered, the small pad ‘forces you to distill your idea down to its essence.” Brainstorming concisely written thoughts engenders sharper dialogue and allows a team to move forward with viable ideas faster

We all know first-hand teams work better when sharing ideas to pursue a common goal. What we teased out of our retrospective session and what leading authors such as Gillian Tett in The Silo Effect clearly expose, getting collaboration right across diverse teams and letting different voices be heard is a constant and rigorous endeavor.

Although there is no single blueprint for collaborative success and using Post-it Notes is not a panacea to unlocking incredible ideas, in my experience at the MIT Sloan School of Management, sometimes the simplest, most versatile tool helps a team begin to create an environment of interpersonal trust and mutual respect to optimize innovative problem-solving and thoughtful decision-making.

Virginia Healy-Tangney is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Trump’s magical economic thinking – Simon Johnson

MIT Sloan Professor Simon Johnson

MIT Sloan Professor Simon Johnson

From Project Syndicate

Donald Trump has finally put out a detailed economic plan. Authored by Peter Navarro (an economist at the University of California-Irvine) and Wilbur Ross (an investor), the plan claims that a President Trump would boost growth and reduce the national debt. But its projections are based on assumptions so unrealistic that they seem to have come from a different planet. If the United States really did adopt Trump’s plan, the result would be an immediate and unmitigated disaster.

At the heart of the plan is a very large tax cut. The authors claim this would boost economic growth, despite the fact that similar cuts in the past (for example, under President George W. Bush) had no such effect. There is a lot of sensible evidence available on precisely this point, all of which is completely ignored.

The Trump plan concedes that the tax cut per se would reduce revenue by at least $2.6 trillion over ten years – and its authors are willing to cite the non-partisan Tax Foundation on this point. But the Trump team claims this would be offset by a growth miracle spurred by deregulation.

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