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The Doctrine Applied: 5 Management Lessions from Innovative Thinkers

As President Obama looks to select a new set of cabinet members, we reflect on the importance of talent; selecting it, motivating it, nurturing it and rewarding it. We picked out some of the key findings and tips about hiring that came out of the Athena Doctrine survey.

• The world of work has changed.
75% of people and 80% of millennials say today’s fast-moving economy favors people who are open and flexible.
Anna Pearson’s business model is built on flexibility. As the founder of Spots of Time, she matches people with local charities where they can donate their time. Since each of the time commitments are extremely short – many people spend an afternoon – it affords people the flexibility to work these opportunities around their schedules.

• Stereotypes can prevent you from seeing talent
Rajendra Joshi is working towards bridging the gap between the lower class and the middle class by creating affordable housing opportunities combined with welfare services. He compares it to his favorite sports, cricket, “Until ten years ago the national cricket team was mostly players from the big cities. They were upper class elite,” he said. More recently, leagues have been more open-minded about seeking talent, “the best players are coming from smaller towns and cities. They are hungrier than the others and they perform better.”

• Creative people need a creative environment to thrive
When Bessie Lee started working for the Chinese division of GroupM, she noticed that there was hesitancy when it came to innovation and creativity. She decided that the best way to serve her company was by “building an environment that encourages people to be creative.” By creating corporate cultures that reward divergent and ambitious thinking, companies can foster success and creativity.

• Talent needs to collaborate with talent
Ijad Madisch was working on a research project when he got stumped. When he reached out to fellow colleagues for help, they chastised him for admitting his faults. He realized there was no network to foster scientific collaboration. To fill this gap, Ijad created ResearchGate, the first social network just for scientists. By fostering discussion between talented people, he is allowing for faster discoveries and results.

• Make it personal
Marc Spencer, head of San Francisco based Juma Ventures, recognizes the importance of creating a personal connection between employees and their work. He noted that success “takes the dedication of someone like that who will put in all the hours because he or she has to make it succeed.” They started a business selling food and drink at Bay Area ballparks, employing high school students who were eager to learn and have a sense of ownership in their success.

People, and even more so talented and successful people, are not motivated effectively by financial incentives. 67% of people we spoke to said they would work for less money at a company whose culture they believed in. What they are telling us is that they will not only take the job but they will likely work harder and with more passion. Not only do we need to rethink the way we select talent, we need to rethink the job itself.

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