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Tagged ‘Management’


Philip Bouchard

Geoff McDonald on the Importance of Employee Wellbeing

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with a new TrustedPeer Expert, Geoff McDonald. Geoff has a unique and well-developed philosophy on how employee wellbeing affects corporate growth, and it was a pleasure to hear his perspective. Here is how our discussion went:

Can you give me a quick download about your career background?

I worked at Unilever for twenty-five years; my most recent role being the Global Vice President of Human Resources for Marketing, Communications, Sustainability and Talent.  At Unilever, my main goal has been to embed our purpose of making sustainable living commonplace into the core of the business, with healthy purposeful employees working to achieve this purpose, and in so doing, grow and deliver profits in a more responsible way. 

How did you become so committed to this goal of purposeful business and the employee wellbeing?

In the last five years with the fall of Enron and other once respectable organizations/institutions and the financial crisis, companies are realizing they need to go back to their roots and think about why they exist beyond profitability. Organizations are looking for a purpose that will drive growth and profits in the future in a more responsible way. Despite the good intentions of capitalism, the system as we know it today has not served us well. Yes, there has been growth, which has been good for many, but it has left too much inequity and has not taken into account the physical and environmental limits of the planet. As a result, our capitalist society is suffering from a crisis of confidence and is fueled by debt. 

Wealth isn’t evenly distributed. As of a few years ago, the top 1 percent of Americans owns 40 percent of wealth in the US. All this points to the lack of a social form of capitalism. A more modern take on capitalism—one that I would like to see—is one that takes into account the physical and environmental limits that we have on this planet, that taxes on consumption rather than income, and that isn’t addicted to short termism and growth. This more modern take on capitalism would also serve a moral purpose, and success would be just as much about the wellbeing of the employees as it is about the organization. 

What is the best way to address this issue?

We need to create more purposeful organizations with wellbeing of employees at the core of these institutions. In so doing we will have to break the stigma around mental health issues by normalizing it. About one in five Americans will experience some mental health condition—the situation is much more common than we think. Therefore, we must ensure that there are ample resources to educate and improve the problem within organizations.

Do you have thoughts on the source of mental health issues?

Oftentimes, the source of anxiety and depression can be factors in the workplace. Simple acts of not giving feedback to employees regarding their performance on a regular basis can be a real source of stress, distress and at its worst, can lead to depression and anxiety. When you combine already-existing stress and demands with technology and the need to cut costs, the pressures are even higher. The New York Times article Why You Hate Work, documents that 87% of people today find their work disappointing, which leads to less productive work. Therefore, the competitive edge in the future might be to ensure that your employees are well in a holistic sense. In order to achieve this complete sense of well-being, we must focus on what The Energy Project calls the four levels of needs: physical (i.e. recharging your body through sleep, etc.), mental (i.e. your ability to focus), emotional (i.e. your level of happiness), and spiritual (i.e. your sense of purpose). 

I hear that you will be meeting with Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the The Huffington Post, this week. What will this meeting be about?

In her book Thrive, Arianna talks about well being as the third metric of success—so there are some parallels there. For me, the meeting with Arianna is exploratory. I am about to leave Unilever to try and build an institute to make purposeful business more commonplace, so I am excited to hear Arianna’s perspective on where we may find synergies.


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Philip Bouchard

Have We Entered the Era of Internet Caveat Emptor?

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A failed method of decision support is Internet searches.  The Internet is completely algorithm-based now.  And the balance of transparency vs. being targeted has shifted heavily in the favor of advertisers. Where on the Internet can decision-makers find trust and authenticity?  There must be providers of trusted, skillfully curated and delivered information.  TrustedPeer is one of those sites.

My thoughts were ignited by David Segal’s May 4th New York Times Sunday Business article “The Great Unwatched."  As Mr. Segal points out in the article, "57 percent of two billion ads surveyed over two months were deemed to be unviewable," yet companies still paid for the ads.

Unfortunately, I think of dubious parallels:
  • Remember Collateralized Debt Obligations and other structured asset-backed securities? 
  • Remember in Casablanca when Claude Rains declares that he’s shocked that gambling is going on as he palms a payoff on the side?
  • Are we aware, while we “research,” the Internet can be gamed in so many areas? Think of Wikipedia content or LinkedIn endorsements or, per Mr. Segal, video ad placement.  
The fact is that we should all be skeptical of the Internet as a decision support tool.  However, any problem presents an opportunity.  There is a parallel trend where authenticity, quality and objectivity are being are being held in higher esteem.

At TrustedPeer, we're building our brand on trust, authenticity and quality.  One TrustedPeer Expert at a time.

If you need consulting on Business Management, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard.
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Philip Bouchard

What’s This All About?

(Part 1 of 3)

YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU NEED: Immediacy and laser-targeted relevance are now management consulting requirements. What we in business need and what we get don’t match. That’s why I founded TrustedPeer.

When I face a business problem and don’t have the expertise I need, I want precise subject matter expertise very quickly. I have three options for finding it.  Each option is risky and inefficient, and the time to resolution is unpredictable.

  1. Conduct an Internet search. Internet search is time-consuming and unreliable. How can I trust content that is dated, anonymously written or is link-bait?
  2. Turn to a personal network. Personal networks are great if I have the perfect network with no gaps. In addition, it is not always easy to reveal shortcomings to someone who may be conflicted about how truthful to be in response.  If I ask you for advice, you may decide there’s no upside to saying what you really think. What if you give me good advice and I don’t take it? Or bad advice and I do? Either way, you lose. Better to equivocate, right? Or put me off hoping I’ll find a solution elsewhere.
  3. Contract with a large firm for a full-on consulting engagement. A McKinsey partner would be delighted to sell me on a plan to bring in a bunch of new associates (really smart, but with no professional experience) to camp out in my conference room and eventually, after some undisclosed time, deliver a strategy that I can't afford to implement.

Since none of these are satisfactory, and what I really need is targeted and custom, I decide to seek an experienced professional. I ask logical questions. Who is responsive? Who is the best? How do I select the right expert? How much should it cost? How long should it take? What about project scope, discovery, contract negotiation, price negotiation and resources required?

It all boils down to one question: How can I get an opinion I can trust from an expert who knows my industry and has seen and solved my problem many times before?

Before I post with more details, tell me, how do you find that trusted expert?  We welcome your comments.

Next Up: What's This All About? (Part 2 of 3): Avoiding Bonehead Management Mistakes.

If you need consulting on Business Development, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard .

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