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Consider the Hawthorne Effect for Big Data standard

The Hawthorne Effect is a term coined to explain inconclusive results from a set of studies performed at Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works on worker productivity from the 1920s and 30s. Essentially, researchers were confused with the productivity results from two specific parts of the study—changes in illumination levels and worker break time—which improved productivity only during the study. Workers knew they were being studied, thus improved productivity regardless of the changes implemented by the researchers. The Hawthorne Effect is used to describe positive results from research as influenced by the workers, not by the actual independent variables studied. Researchers today now work to reduce this effect through a number of ways, but it is still a tricky process. The ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: The Roundup standard

Well, it’s been quite a journey over the last month or so! I hope that some of the things presented here are helpful. I’m happy if just one tip makes a change in your career! During my research for this series I found TONS of other bloggers who have posted information about some of these skills (many around politics and politically charged environments). I would encourage you to find more information on your own to further your skills. As a suggested starting place, check out this blog post by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman titled, The Skills Leaders Need at Every Level. If you need a quick reference to ALL of the posts in this series, use this link. Possibly ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Presenting standard

For the final post (for now) in this series, I wanted to take a moment to discuss presenting. At some point in your career you will need to present something to a group of colleagues, industry peers, or superiors. For those of you who are already suffering from nausea and dry mouth, the worst part is that you might be caught in a Catch 22—skipping or bombing that presentation could be career limiting. I’ve been presenting in some form or another fairly regularly for a little over ten years. I still get nervous. In fact, I typically don’t really get into the groove until the audience does something to reinforce what I am talking about. It could be a laugh ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Writing standard

This isn’t going to be a long post. I frequently give training on writing to technical folks because I have found that to be one of the easiest things to fix among technical people. Just like the accounting analogy, nonlinguistic majors must be able to articulate ideas in ways that help them advance their careers. When I taught grad school, I took a full letter grade away for spelling and grammatical errors—that’s how important this is. Check out these two posts and then spend some time using your new found Google skills to find more resources on improving your writing: On Writing: The Funnel vs. the Brain Dump Business Writing Bad Possibly Related Posts: Brando’s Rules for Success So You ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Applied Finance standard

So you are all brushed up on your finance and you are ready to take on the CFO for your next project. WAIT! You are not quite ready yet! As I have been working on this series of posts, I’ve tried to avoid being a consultant. You know, that guy who tells you ALL OF THE THINGS, but never tell you how to practically do it! After writing the last post, I realized I did just that. There is one more piece that you need to know in order to apply your new finance knowledge. Every CFO works under a set of assumptions when he builds the financial models for the next period. She knows that she has $X amount ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Finance standard

So you are an IT guy probably because you didn’t want to be an accountant, right? Let those guys do the numbers! Wrong. One of the biggest lessons I learned at my previous employer is that if you want to advance, you have to demonstrate a working knowledge of finance. Essentially, you have to be able to talk to the folks who control the money and do it in THEIR language, and it may mean that you have to put more of your personal bonus pay at risk to get what you want. It’s the equivalent of diverting profits (personal bonus) from business operations back into the business to invest in a bigger long-term return (promotions, future bonuses, accelerators for ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Motivating Others standard

Being an employee of a company, big or small, means that you will have to convince someone to help you with your job who is not in your direct chain of command. These tend to be called cross-functional teams or task forces, or simply a favor. Who do you ask to help you out? In my last position, I learned the value of alignment. In fact, this became my word of the year for 2014 as I finished my dissertation and started working on a global strategy for my current employer. In a long paper, the front needs to align with the middle and the end. In the corporate world, the leadership team’s goals need to align with the CEO’s. ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Calendars standard

I can remember the old days when my dad kept a Daily Planner on his desk with his appointments penciled in for the day. He is incredibly efficient and one of the best at following up that I know (to this day). With teams spread across multiple floors, sites, states, or continents, the paper method does not work anymore without an army of assistants to keep it all straight. So instead, we use the calendar functions in our electronic devices to keep our day’s straight. Just like with any network-enabled system, there is some etiquette required to make it useful. If you accept a meeting, BE THERE ON TIME. If you can’t be there, let the organizer know as far ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Finding Information standard

This tip may be less for the newbies, but I’m shocked at how poor people are at using the tools around them to find information. Your first step should be taking a look at how to use Google. I mean, REALLY how to use Google. Google is great because it can cast both a wide net and be tweaked to surgically deliver a single finding. It incorporates multiple sources (for example, did you know about the treasure trove of information to be found on books.google.com or scholar.google.com?) and allows for all kinds of detailed views and alerts when it finds new things. There is an entire science in the security space on Google hacking, or leveraging Google to find information ...

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Corporate Survival Tips for Young Professionals: Using Email standard

Now that we’ve discussed how to organize your email and deal with the senders, we need to discuss the softer side of choosing your communication medium. Email is a crutch when it comes to communication. It’s easy to use, plus you can fit in all the snarky comments that you will kick yourself later for not saying. It’s so easy that it causes problems. Email is not the panacea for human communication, and I’m not just playing the part of the old guy that misses giving his paper check to Dottie, the friendly bank teller who gossips a little bit too much. Raymond A. Friedman and Steven C. Currall researched how email can actually escalate conflicts in ways that wouldn’t ...

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