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Writes about workforce strategy, leadership, and future of work. Founder & Managing Partner at sparkChief & Co. (
sparkChief & Co.

A seasoned HR practitioner recently proclaimed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics are just hyped-up trends and words invented to apply traditional statistics to more data. But this statement is untrue. It is a little like saying that Einstein’s relativity is just Newton’s rules applied to very large or fast-moving objects. However, the equations of these two scientists contradict one another, just as traditional statistics and machine learning serve different scientific purposes and are technically incompatible in many ways.

With regards to the HR function, since AI breakthroughs can only be understood technically, HR needs to express them in terms…

sparkChief & Co.

The answer lies not so much on implementing costly HR programmes, but in taking practical, common sense steps.

No matter how financially successful a company may be, smart leaders know how to spend funds wisely, efficiently, and effectively. Yet, so many organisations squander their budgets with little or no reward when it comes to hiring and retaining the best talent.

Companies worldwide continue to struggle with the problem of employee engagement and retention. An article in the Harvard Business Review[1] cites a survey, that analysed responses from 200,000 employees across 40 companies in 60 countries. …

sparkChief & Co.

“Transparency in business can be described as an honest, two-way openness between employees and management. When transparency is part of workplace culture, it comes along with trust, communication, and greater levels of employee engagement and advocacy,” according to Darren Perucci. “Without transparency, employees may feel underappreciated, apprehensive about the future of their employment, and doubtful of the management practices in place or the decisions made by those in positions of authority. Company leaders can act with transparency by making sure their employees are kept in the loop about matters regarding the company — big or small. …

sparkChief & Co.

Many organisations consider sales employees to be their top scorers, the employees who drive the business forward. After all, sales growth, whether of products or services, is a key concern for all leaders — and it should be. Without sales growth, business would be nonexistent, and no organisation of any size would be able to survive and thrive for any length of time. Consequently, it is commonly accepted that the impact of the sales team on an organisation’s success is critically important to its long-term viability.

HR professionals, on the other hand, are comparable to goal keepers in a football…

sparkChief & Co.

Two key perspectives on employee engagement are observable when we talk to our clients. Employers, on one side, complain about the lack of engagement from the individuals they hire. On the other hand, one of the top reasons that employees leave an organisation or feel disengaged is that they don’t see sufficient career opportunities.

Obviously, there is a multitude of reasons for each viewpoint. But at the end of the day, we arrive more or less at the same conclusion: There is a significant misalignment between employers and employees — and what they expect from each other. After all, how…

sparkChief & Co.

Numerous studies indicate that many merger and acquisition (M&A) deals fail to meet financial expectations — a figure that can vary from 50% to as high as 90%. According to McKinsey research [1], 70% of mergers do not achieve their expected “revenue synergies.”

Why do M&As fail? One author suggests a number of pitfalls [2] that can thwart success, one of which involves assigning the chief financial officer or general counsel to act as the “M&A champion.” Such individuals, already overwhelmed by the responsibilities of their demanding positions, may not have the time to do a proper job of due…

sparkChief & Co.

Business leaders need to become more serious about the future of work and how it will impact their workforce and the company’s long-term viability. The future of work is not just about upgrading technology infrastructure, streamlining operations, seeking efficiencies in processes, designing and creating new products and services, developing ESG programmes, and upskilling or reskilling the organisation. The foundation of this future requires much more; what it requires is transparency.

To build and maintain this foundation, leadership needs to become more familiar with the true definition of transparency — not only what it means for them, but also for their…

sparkChief & Co.

There are many perspectives on organisational change. One size truly does not fit all. However, many leadership teams overlook the importance of some basic principles. Through our consulting engagements, we have come across the following three key principles that seem to be the most commonly overlooked when it comes to organisational change.

sparkChief & Co.

No matter their experience level and knowledge, at some point in their work life, most leaders make one or more mistakes that have the potential to derail or stall their career path. Understanding the fallacy inherent in these mistakes, or beliefs, is crucial to positioning oneself to be offered and to accept growth opportunities that can satisfy the goals and desires of both the organisation and the individual.

1) Even though the definition of “success” is not clearly defined or communicated in your organisation, you still expect to be fairly promoted.

Success means different things to different people. Consequently, it is extremely important to view the definition under a reality microscope. For example, some businesses define success as 3% to 5% growth per…

sparkChief & Co.

As a society, we must each contribute to reducing the hidden costs of ignorance and struggle against complacency and mediocrity. By leading ourselves and guiding others in their search for becoming better individuals and developing more productive careers — as well as adults seeking meaningful employment — our efforts can significantly cut back the waste in time and money for both ourselves and the organisations of which we become part. But the endeavour is not for the weak in spirit, as it will require time, intelligence, persistence, commitment, and the right vehicles.

However, it would be naïve not to consider…

Ali Kursun

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