Month: January 2020

Is it time to retire the title of manager?

Every year, the professional wordsmiths and gatekeepers of various dictionaries announce their lists of new words deemed to be in sufficiently wide use as to warrant their blessing and inclusion. Among Merriam-Webster’s new words and phrases of 2019 were deep state and fatberg (a portmanteau of fat and iceberg, describing a large mass of fat and solid waste that collects in a sewer system). Gig economypain point, and haircut, in the business sense of an asset suffering a loss in value, also got in.

I’d like to propose an alternate list: words that we should consider retiring. Not that they should be deleted entirely from the English language, of course, but just moved out of popular usage. And at the top of my list is manager.

The word has had a long and useful run. In the days when industry dynamics were more predictable,

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Enterprise, Cash, And Financial News

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Scaling the future

The Inside the Mind of the CEO interview series explores a wide range of critical decisions faced by chief executives around the world. For more insight, see PwC’s CEO Survey.

Vodnjan, a speck of a place on the Croatian peninsula of Istria, is the unlikely home to a European unicorn, a startup valued at US$1 billion–plus. The town has about 6,100 people, cobbled streets, a medieval clock tower, and a reputation for great olive oil. Today, it also has a new high-tech campus on its outskirts, home to Infobip, the brainchild of Silvio Kutić, whose family is from Vodnjan.

In 2019, more than 4.8 billion people received messages on their smartphone from their taxi drivers, social media sites, banks, delivery companies, and other sources — messages powered by Infobip technology. Millions of consumers in rural areas without Internet access also used the company’s platform to access services and share

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Leaders in waiting

Jakarta, Indonesia, is a sprawling city of more than 30 million people. Like many other burgeoning capitals, it has a housing problem. Rents downtown are high, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of properties are unoccupied. This forces people to travel many miles to get to work from the suburbs. Christina Suriadjaja saw this as an opportunity. In 2017, she pivoted her new company, Travelio.com, into the real estate management business, creating a platform offering short-term and long-term fully furnished rentals. Today Travelio represents more than 4,000 properties on an exclusive basis and earns 20 to 35 percent of the rental income they generate. It’s a success story with a twist: Christina is the 28-year-old daughter of Johannes Suriadjaja, owner of PT Surya Semesta Internusa, a US$300 million commercial property, construction, and hospitality company — and she was expected to enter the family firm, not start one of her

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Boosting returns on leadership, customer, and employee experience

At one of the world’s most respected manufacturers — a company known for innovation and employee engagement — the CEO was asked recently about his greatest concerns about the enterprise. “We lack leadership capacity,” he said. The company was entering an intensive phase in its quest to become digitally adept, seeking to master new technology, and it had not made enough progress in improving its employees’ skills or connecting with customers through digital channels. “We need our top executives, in particular, to be better at thinking long-term and driving meaningful change.”

The problem, he added, was not so much a lack of technological acumen as a lack of connection between the company’s formal leaders (those with the highest-ranking positions) and their employees and customers. These senior executives needed to demonstrate that they could stay on top of today’s complex challenges. Only then would employees feel confident enough to really invest

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