TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

The Great Covid-Driven Teamwork Divide

For most teams, the pandemic either brought colleagues closer or drove them increasingly apart. There are three key reasons why.

What makes a team more than the sum of its parts? Its cohesion or connectedness, which allows for pooling of individual members' strengths and compensates for their weaknesses. Accordingly, Google's landmark Project Aristotle study found that the single most important driver of team performance was not the skills, intelligence or personality of a team's members, but rather the quality of the team's interactions and whether members felt psychologically safe.

The Covid-19 pandemic is perhaps the greatest threat to team connectedness we have ever seen. Colleagues who were mostly co-located - often literally within arm's reach of one another - have been forced to disperse across cities, even countries. As we saw this occurring, we fretted for the future of these teams. Would close working relationships built up over months if not years simply be scattered to the four winds? To capture the effects in real time, we launched a survey back in June about how teams were being impacted by Covid. More than 500 professionals around the world responded.

The findings surprised us.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Why Businesses No Longer Have to Choose Between Heart, Head and Wallet

“The business of business is improving the state of the world," states Salesforce's chairman and CEO Marc Benioff.

Benioff's worldview is shaped by the concept of "stakeholder capitalism" - the idea that companies have an obligation to give back to society and make a positive impact. That worldview has certainly paid off. In August, Salesforce posted a quarterly profit that well exceeded Wall Street's estimates. But Benioff said he's "most proud" of the role Salesforce is playing in helping public schools deal with Covid-19.

Indeed, as the world faces its worst health crisis in more than a century, the time has come for us to take a step back and seriously reflect on the role businesses play in society at large. In August 2019, the Business Roundtable, for the first time in 41 years, redefined the purpose of a corporation. Instead of insisting that public corporations exist primarily to serve shareholders, 181 CEOs joined the Roundtable's statement that corporations exist to benefit all stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders.

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TradeBriefs: What's important, not just what's popular!

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

The diabolical genius of the baby advice industry

Human beings are born too soon. Within hours of arriving in the world, a baby antelope can clamber up to a wobbly standing position; a day-old zebra foal can run from hyenas; a sea-turtle, newly hatched in the sand, knows how to find its way to the ocean. Newborn humans, on the other hand, can't hold up their own heads without someone to help them. They can't even burp without assistance. Place a baby human on its stomach at one day old - or even three months old, the age at which lion cubs may be starting to learn to hunt - and it's stranded in position until you decide to turn it over, or a sabre-toothed tiger strolls into the cave to claim it. The reason for this ineptitude is well-known: our huge brains, which make us the cleverest mammals on the planet, wouldn't fit through the birth canal if they developed more fully in the womb. (Recently, cognitive scientists have speculated that babies may actually be getting more useless as evolution proceeds; if natural selection favours ever bigger brains, you'd expect humans to be born with more and more developing left to do.)

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