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Are Incentives A Good Employee Motivator? 15 Coaching Experts Weigh In

Are Incentives A Good Employee Motivator? 15 Coaching Experts Weigh In

How One Health System Overcame Resistance to a Surgical Checklist

What Was Missing from Zuckerbergҳ Call for Regulation

How Small Businesses Are Embracing 5G
How Small Businesses Are Embracing 5G

"Maybe if you password-protect the Wi-Fi, they'll leave," Greg Erb's colleague told him, referring to the car lurking in the parking lot at his workplace.

Greg is the IT manager for the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan. So, you can imagine why a car that won't leave a regional chapter's parking lot would be cause for concern. And his first thought wasn't the Wi-Fi he'd just installed.

"Sure enough, as soon as I put a password on it, they took off," Greg said.

Remember when Wi-Fi was new, and you'd see people hanging around businesses on their laptops to "borrow" the connection? You don't see that as much these days, now that so many of us have fast 4G LTE connectivity in our pockets.

But Greg doesn't have your typical Wi-Fi. We're conducting a 5G mmWave fixed wireless trial at the Kalamazoo, Michigan, regional Girl Scouts center. So, anyone connected to the center's Wi-Fi is connected through 5G. The reason it's so enticing is that there are very few places in the country right now where you can experience that kind of connectivity.

"For me, it was the newness. It was an opportunity that I didn't think we could pass up," Greg told me, when I asked why he decided to participate in the trial. "It's so far ahead. It's a big leap from where we stand." Coincidentally, the Girl Scout motto is "be prepared."

That's what I've heard from all the small business 5G trial customers I spoke with. The excitement around 5G is palpable, from Michigan to Austin, Texas.

"We've been giving Austinites the best car wash and service experiences for over 20 years, and this trial sounded like a way to make their experiences even better," said Dave Swenson, owner of Arbor Car Wash & Lube Center in Austin. "Think about it – everyone's on their phones in the waiting room. Now, our customers can pass the time with entertainment on the latest internet connection. No one else can claim they trialed the first 5G-enabled car wash."

I reached out to some of the trial participants because I wanted other small businesses to know what impact this new technology might have on them. 5G makes a connected and near real-time world and society possible. I truly believe our world will feel and act differently in five years.

For Greg, the biggest surprises were the speed, consistency and coverage. Anyone connected to the center's Wi-Fi can connect through 5G.

"Once you get it into the building, your whole structure is covered with a Wi-Fi system powered by 5G," Greg said. "You don't have to worry about dead zones. Coupled with the Wi-Fi, the 5G service covers the entire building. And our building is pretty large."

That includes rooms where Girl Scouts, office workers and even DJs are experiencing the benefits. Greg says the building also serves as an event space, and they often rent it out for weddings on weekends. He's heard from several DJs who have been surprised at how reliable the service is for streaming songs through their cloud services.

Early small business use cases

5G will be a cloud-native network, creating speeds that blur the difference between fixed and wireless connectivity. We observed 5G latency at our trials in Waco, Texas, at a staggering nine to 12 milliseconds.

Is your small business ready for …

Connectivity? The most common use case is connectivity. Many retailers are already mobile, going where their customers are. Our CEO said recently that our first device will be a "puck" that works like a mobile hotspot. We see increased interest in router solutions that can enhance connectivity and increase bandwidth for a small business or small office, even on the go. Video? We are all aware of the growth in video across all industries. Mobile data traffic on AT&T's national wireless network increased more than 360,000 percent from 2007 to 2017. Video enhances employee training and communication with customers. It is also one of the most popular ways customers are entertained. Through increased bandwidth, 5G will allow small businesses to stream higher-quality (4K) video and have better customer interactions via video calls. Performance? Have you ever visited a retailer and had to wait what felt like a full minute for your credit card transaction to go through? It may not have actually taken that long, but any delay that goes beyond a couple of seconds just doesn't feel normal, and that impacts the customer experience. When a small business is processing hundreds of transactions a day, that adds up. We measure 5G performance not only in speed, but also in latency (the time between when we hit send and when we get a response). 5G brings lower latency and will deliver faster responses than prior wireless networks.

That performance improvement is also on display with Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. Every day, roughly 5,000 people visit the Silos to shop, eat and unwind. The grounds were designed to provide a place for visitors to unplug and be present.

That may not be the type of atmosphere where you'd think to look for the latest, most innovative technology. But Magnolia's top priority is to consistently provide the best possible experience for its guests. Magnolia has really benefited from the technology behind the scenes in terms of increasing efficiencies; however, you'll get a glimpse of the guest benefits if you visit its food truck park.

"The summer months are some of the busiest at the Silos," said David Washburn, information technology manager at Magnolia. "Quite a high volume of guests visits our food trucks every day. With this quicker, more reliable connectivity, our vendors can process mobile payments faster than ever. This minimizes wait times for our guests and helps ensure they can focus their time on enjoying their day at the Silos."

As a self-proclaimed foodie, I can easily understand the benefits of less time waiting on – and more time eating – your favorite food truck fare.

These are just a few of the early benefits our 5G trial customers are seeing. It's an exciting frontier that will bring small business owners many opportunities to innovate, whether they're augmented realities, virtual presence, future driverless cars or things beyond our most creative imaginations.

Find out more about our 5G trials in this blog by Melissa Arnoldi.

Do you need a career makeover? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Dorie Clark, the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. They talk through how to change your coworkers’ perception of you, transition to a role outside your area of expertise, or be seen as a leader.

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Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Email your questions about your workplace dilemmas to Dan and Alison at

From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:

HBR: Reinventing Your Personal Brand by Dorie Clark — “Especially in the internet era, traces of your old brand will never completely disappear—and as long as you’re thoughtful about what you’ve learned along the way, that’s OK. The challenge is to be strategic about identifying how you wish to be perceived, developing a compelling story that explains your evolution, and then spreading that message.”

HBR: Be Seen as a Leader by Adam Galinsky and Gavin Kilduff — “Research tells us there are certain ‘competence cues,’ such as speaking up, taking the initiative, and expressing confidence, that suggest leadership potential. These proactive behaviors can be good indications that a person has useful expertise and experience, or they might simply reflect deep-seated personality traits such as extroversion and dominance. However, there’s increasing evidence that people can propel themselves into proactivity by temporarily shifting their psychological frame of mind.”

HBR: A Second Chance to Make the Right Impression by Heidi Grant — “If you started off on the wrong foot and need to overcome a bad impression, the evidence will have to be plentiful and attention-getting in order to activate phase two thinking. Keep piling it on until your perceiver can no longer tune it out, and make sure that the information you’re presenting is clearly inconsistent with the existing ideas about you.”

HBR: Rebounding from Career Setbacks by Mitchell Lee Marks, Philip Mirvis, and Ron Ashkenas — “Admittedly, this can be a little frightening, especially if you’re venturing into unknown career territory. Reimagining your professional identity is one thing; bringing it to life is another. Remember, though, that you haven’t left your skills and experience behind with your last job, and you’ll also bring with you the lessons learned from the setback. You may also have productively revised your definition of success.”

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Our research on enterprise use of key performance indicators (KPIs) uncovered a lack of consensus around whether organizations should look to data or intuition to drive decision-making. Of the 3,225 executives we surveyed, 38% reported their organizations make decisions more rooted in intuition, compared with 27% who rely more on data. The remaining 35% stated they are equally intuitive and data-driven.

In lieu of an emergent best practice, we considered both sides of this equation: While data can provide an objective picture of performance, some choices about the right messages, campaigns, and strategies for customer acquisition, retention, and overall growth come from our innate ability to know what will connect with others.

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When your team wants to learn a new skill, where do they turn first? Google? YouTube? Their corporate training programs? No. According to a study conducted by our company, Degreed, more workers first turn to their peers (55%)—second only to asking their bosses. Peer-to-peer learning can be a powerful development tool that breaks through some common barriers to skill-building — and it has other benefits as well.

Yet many organizations have yet to create a formal structure for peer-to-peer learning. In a McKinsey survey, Learning & Development officers report that while classroom training, experiential learning, and on-the-job application of skills are now in regular use as learning mechanisms, less than half of organizations have instituted any kind of formal peer-to-peer learning. One in three respondents said their organizations don’t even have any systems in place to share learning among employees.

In the research for our book The Expertise Economy, we found that managers are often reluctant to establish formal peer-to-peer learning primarily because of a perception that experts outside the company are more valuable as teachers than those inside it, and because peer-to-peer programs are spaced out over numerous sessions. In this context, sending employees to a single day of intense training from an outside expert is assumed to be more fruitful.

It isn’t. First, peer-to-peer learning taps into the expertise that already exists in your organization. Think of all the smart people that you hire and surround yourself with every day, and how much could be gained if peers shared their expertise with each other to learn and build new skills.

Peer-to-peer learning is also uniquely well suited to the way we learn. People gain new skills best in any situation that includes all four stages of what we call the “Learning Loop”: gain knowledge; practice by applying that knowledge; get feedback; and reflect on what has been learned. Peer-to-peer learning encompasses all of these.

For example, when Kelly was in charge of learning at LinkedIn, her team created a peer-to-peer learning program designed around the company’s key corporate values. One section of the program focused on difficult conversations; each participant was asked to identify a real-life difficult conversation they needed to have at work (especially one they might be avoiding). They were first taught about difficult conversations (stage 1); next they practiced with each other before holding the conversations in real life (stage 2). One of the participants, John, confronted his employee Mark about his missed deadlines, a pattern which had been negatively affecting the team. The conversation did not go well — John felt awkward, and Mark got defensive. When John shared this experience with his peers in the learning group, they openly shared their views and ideas, and their own experiences of similar situations (stage 3). As everyone in the group — not just John — reflected on what they had learned, they concluded that they had all become more confident and armed with ideas about how to better handle a similar situation in the future (stage 4). Later group members indicated that their real-world difficult conversations indeed had become more productive.

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A learner’s development is dependent on a willingness to make mistakes, challenge ideas, and speak up about concerns — as John and his colleagues did in their group. Unlike some learning methods — like tests or exams, or high-pressure demonstrations of skills — peer-to-peer learning creates a space where the learner can feel safe taking these risks without a sense that their boss is evaluating their performance while they are learning. You’re more likely to have candid conversations about areas you need to develop with a peer than with someone who has power over your career and income. In peer-to-peer learning, the dynamics of hierarchy disappear. And unlike other methods — like classroom lectures or online compliance training — peer-to-peer learning provides a structured opportunity to have these discussions to begin with.

A secondary benefit of peer-to-peer learning is that the format itself helps employees develop management and leadership skills. Group reflection conversations help employees master the difficult skills of giving and accepting honest, constructive feedback. Because feedback flows in both directions, participants in peer-to-peer learning tend to put more time and energy into making sure the feedback they provide is meaningful. They think from the perspective of their peer, consider where each is coming from, and try to get specific about what will be most helpful and constructive. This doesn’t happen as often when a boss delivers one-way feedback to employees. Similarly, peer learning gives employees experience in leadership, handling different points of view, and developing skills such as empathy.

Setting Up a Peer Learning Program

Formal peer-to-peer learning programs can take many forms. As a manager, you can hold your program online or in person. Your program could pair participants in one-to-one sessions, create cohorts working together on real work problems over a few months, or involve weekly sessions in which individuals share the latest knowledge they’ve gained with their peers with plenty of time for discussion and reflection.

To make any peer-to-peer learning program successful for your team, we recommend a few best practices:

Appoint a facilitator. Although the structure of peer learning is horizontal rather than hierarchical, it’s important to have a neutral party who is not the team’s manager facilitate the program to keep in on track. This person — ideally a skilled facilitator — should organize sessions, keep everyone on topic, keep conversations moving forward, and maintain a positive atmosphere for participants to learn, experiment, and ask questions.

Build a safe environment. Peer learning only works when participants feel safe enough to share their thoughts, experiences, and questions. They need to be open and vulnerable enough to accept constructive input, and also have the courage to give honest feedback rather than telling people what they want to hear.

To build a safe environment, set ground rules. Some suggestions: confidentiality must be honored; feedback should be perceived as a generous gesture that should always be met with gratitude; participants should practice empathy, putting themselves in others’ shoes; and participants should never be mocked or embarrassed for expressing themselves in front of their peers.

Focus on real-world situations. Whenever possible, these sessions should focus on genuine problems to solve. People are more likely to participate, learn, and remember new skills if they are learned in the course of addressing a real-life challenge.

Encourage networking. It helps to set up online social networks around learning, organize networking events for people to discuss their area of expertise, and establish learning groups that meet regularly to discuss ideas. Some organizations build company-wide campaigns in an effort to get everyone involved.

With a well-built peer-to-peer learning program in place as a complement to more traditional learning programs, your team will build lasting skills and relationships that will allow them to bring the skills they learn in those programs into their daily work.

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Physician discontent over deteriorating working conditions and growing risks to patient care has risen to alarming levels in European hospitals. To understand physicians’ evolving reality, Bain’s biennial Europe Front Line of Health Care Survey tracks European practitioners’ attitudes, priorities and decision-making power. The findings are based on input from 1,156 physicians across nine specialties and 154 hospital procurement administrators in Germany, France, the UK, and Italy.  Our research shows that a majority of doctors wouldn’t recommend their hospital to family or friends as a place to work or receive care. Citing staffing shortages, budget cuts, aging equipment and inadequate facilities, physicians warn they are unprepared to cope with looming healthcare challenges. Provider organizations have attempted structural changes over the past few years to fix specific problems, but, on the whole, their efforts have fallen short.

When an entire system needs renewal, it’s hard to know where to start. In our experience, providers can create powerful momentum for change and reengage doctors by focusing specifically on technologies that doctors feel improves their ability to deliver care. However, technology alone is insufficient. Getting physician buy-in by assuring that they experience the technology’s benefits is essential.

We see a few leading provider networks in Europe that are starting down this path. They are reengaging physicians by setting out a clear vision to provide exceptional care, innovating at scale in a few core areas and making technology investments that will help them deliver substantial improvements in care delivery. These organizations are targeting technologies that have a proven impact on patient outcomes, efficiency of care delivery, workforce engagement, or population demand management.

Insight Center
The Future of Health Care
Sponsored by Medtronic
Creating better outcomes at reduced cost.

The UK Salford Royal NHS foundation trust is one provider network leading in both frontline engagement and technology deployment. With a reputation as one of the best performing hospital trusts in the UK, it is one of 16 hospitals the NHS has cited as a “global digital exemplar”, a provider delivering superior care efficiently through the use of world-class digital technology.

The management team at the UK’s Salford Royal NHS foundation trust has launched 50 digital projects aimed at improving patient experience and safety, increasing operational efficiency and improving reliability. Many of those investments already have produced positive outcomes for patients, including an electronic assessment tool for detecting delirium which has reduced the average length of a hospital stay for patients by half, IT infrastructure that enables patients to send their wearable data directly to clinicians for real-time monitoring, and an electronic assessment tool that has reduced patients’ venous thromboembolism rate by 20%. Salford’s strategy also has significantly reduced documentation time for staff. Ninety-three percent of clinicians said they were satisfied with the hospital’s electronic patient record services according to a recent survey by KLAS research, compared with an average of 60% among clinicians generally.

Many provider organizations are still at the beginning of the journey. In Spain, Badalona Serveis Assistencials, a local provider outside Barcelona is deploying various technologies to develop a more integrated and effective care model for patients with complex chronic conditions. It has used advanced analytics to build a predictive model of patient populations by risk so that doctors can intervene proactively; it uses fully integrated electronic healthcare records to coordinate care across different care sites, including home, social care and health services; and it uses telemonitoring to keep a close watch on patients’ status at home. To date, the effort has reduced the average length of stay in hospitals, average bed days and emergency visits. Overall, it has improved patient outcomes and reduced the operating costs of clinical services.

In France, four Paris hospitals are part of a trial using machine learning and Big Data to tackle the problem of staffing shortages by forecasting patient visits and admission rates. The project, run by Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, the largest hospital system in Europe, combines historical (anonymized) data with external datasets including weather, public holidays and flu patterns, to forecast visits and admission rates for the coming 15 days. The hospital group plans to use the data to ensure adequate staffing levels during peak periods, reduce waiting times and improve quality of care. Although still in development, the forecasting model has proven accurate within a 5% variance for the actual admission rate and management hopes to roll it out eventually across all 44 hospitals.

Europe’s healthcare providers face broad systemic challenges, including rethinking care delivery for a rapidly aging population. Targeted investments in technology that improve patient care and provider efficiency can help enable that shift. The efforts by Salford, Badalona Serveis Assistencials and Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris highlight the way forward. Setting ambitious goals for improving care and using smart investments in technology can play a vital role in galvanizing broader change — and help address the discontent that so many doctors in Europe face.



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