The Source Wall: An Introduction

Question: What do superhero protagonists and have to do with performance reviews?

If you spend enough time working on organizational design and behavior, you will eventually be asked about your beliefs on human nature. Clients and colleagues will ask what you believe. Are human beings naturally selfish entities that need to be hemmed in by the powers of rules or the indifferent, unforgiving discipline of market forces in order to work together?

Other clients and colleagues venture (usually not those in management positions), are we not all fundamentally innocents? Perhaps our troubles working in concert are really caused by the sins of those who would manipulate us into working under harsh environments and force us into winner-take-all worldview for their own purposes? Our struggle is the fault of the hypocrites. It’s the fat cats, the charismatic charlatans, and those who indulge in the perversions of human nature that are to blame for the way we are.

But the truth is much more interesting than that ...

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Sorry, Your Org Chart is Dangerously Obsolete

Researchers have determined that workplace stress endured by those with job insecurity and high work demands causes roughly 30,000 deaths in the United States each year. In all, 62% of workers say that their jobs are their primary sources of stress, while 1 in 4 workers have taken a mental health day off of work to cope. Workplace stress costs companies additional expenditures of up to $190 billion dollars a year—representing 5 to 8% of national spending on health care.

What is making our workplaces so mentally demanding? How is possible that we’ve created institutions that are literally putting us in the hospital as a result of work-related stress?

Read our proposal for building a healthier and more productive workforce.

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Chris Conroy
How to Make "We Just Can't Find Highly Qualified ... " a Useless Phrase in 3 Steps

If you’ve ever attempted to address the under-representation of black, Latinx, and/or women in any organization through practical means (i.e. by trying to hire more people who identify as black, Latinx, and/or women), then you have likely faced a version of the following response from organizations that under-perform in hiring for such diversity:

“Believe me. We’ve tried but we just can’t seem to find enough highly qualified (insert underrepresented demographic here) that (1) meet our requirements, (2) are in our location, (3) are a good fit for our team, and (4) aren’t being offered other positions.”

I like to call this kind of response to underperforming on diversity the Uninspired Seeker Effect on Less Efficient Search Strategies -- or a U.S.E.L.E.S.S. for short.

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Finding and Keeping Great Teachers through Equity

(image courtesy of the New School San Francisco)

Conroy Talent & Associates and The New School of San Francisco have partnered on a unique project to understand what brings professionals into the teaching vocation, what inspires them to pursue non-traditional teaching pathways, and what keeps them in the profession beyond a 5-year window.

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Just Works

Pursuing social justice should be the top priority in any human endeavor: for profit, nonprofit, whatever.

If you are a leader in an organization or company where ensuring that 1) equally qualified people of color and women can occupy a representative set of leadership positions within your workforce over the next calendar year, 2) people of color and women receive equal pay for equal work, and 3) actionable steps are being taken to promote equity and inclusion across every dimension of diversity (especially race) are not in your top five priorities for 2017, you are abdicating your responsibility to your mission and/or stockholders.

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How White Hiring Managers Can Support Racial Equity at Work — Part 2/10: It's Who You Know That Matters
  • A commitment to promoting racial diversity in our companies and institutions is qualitatively different from making a commitment to racial equity.
  • By 2050, our greatest institutions will have won primarily because they engaged head-on in the work of promoting racial justice as a core component of their mission. Racial equity will be measured and compared between top companies like any other key performance indicator.
  • Racial injustice and frustration are perpetuated within our companies because we invest in diversity talks and employee affinity group initiatives without empowering our hiring managers to pursue innovative strategies and systems for promoting concrete racial equity goals, beginning with the very systems that bring people into their organization — their hiring processes.
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How White Hiring Managers Can Support Racial Equity at Work — Part 1/10: Don’t Be Afraid to Set Goals & Experiment

In 2004, Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan published a paper, the title of which was itself nearly as jarring as its conclusions, Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?

Don’t let the titillating title fool you, this was no click bait article engineered for a social media news feed. Bertrand is now a professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Business and is a Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic Policy Research, and the Institute for the Study of Labor. Mullainathan is a 2002 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award recipient, a long-time professor at Harvard, and his latest research focuses on using machine learning to better understand human behavior, just to name a few accomplishments. In other words, this was as serious as labor market research gets. 

And it would break the myth of equal opportunity in hiring in half...

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Resources: Never Write Another Cover Letter, Part 1

Cover letters. Ugh. We know. Even saying the words makes our fingertips ache with sorrowful anticipation.

But that's kind of the point, isn't it? No one really goes into a cover letter knowing quite what to say or how to sell their skills to an employer, unless you have preexisting knowledge of the employer or hiring manager, or you are referred to the interview process by an employee of that company -- in which case it can feel like ...

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Chris Conroy
Changing Work for Good: Nonprofit News #2

Back toward the latter half of June, the New York Times published an interesting article about the moves that baby-boomers are making in leaving their corporate careers for the nonprofit and social sector -- and some even forgoing retirement for a while to do so.

One of the takeaways from the article is that, despite their being programs like Social Venture, Encore Fellowships, and Experience Matters, there still needs to be a better matchmaking process for more experienced private sector transitioners and the nonprofits seeking to hire them.

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Chris Conroy
Changing Work for Good MicroPodcast #7

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report in February of this year, in conjunction with the Urban Institute and Johns Hopkins University, that showed the nonprofit sector was the only sector of the U.S. economy that actually increased overall in jobs and wages from 2007 to 2012.

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Chris Conroy
Changing Work for Good MicroPodcast #6

Framing your knowledge of self as something you're grateful for and that's been informed by your past work experiences is always a better look for employers and recruiters than having a restrictive list of needs. It shows that you know yourself as a professional, but that you're also a positive force in workplace. More specifically it shows you are willing to learn and open to new experiences.

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Chris Conroy
Changing Work for Good MicroPodcast #5

Today we're discussing how to start your job search. Our recommendation: start by understanding the companies you want to work for, get to know their culture and their people, and then work backwards to find open positions with those companies or organizations like them. The opposite -- plugging in your search terms into a job site or job aggregator -- could have unfortunate consequences. Listen on!

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Chris Conroy
Resources: Episode #4

Today's Anchor podcast described the importance of doing two pieces of homework prior to having a conversation with your manager. The podcast was intended for those of you who've lost trust in your manager or whose lack of support is causing you to consider starting up a new job search.

Before having such a conversation with your manager, I'd like to suggest that you utilize these the two resources below to prepare your feedback.

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