YQ ­ Issue 03

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Written by our international business consultants, YQ magazine contains interviews with leaders, current affairs articles as well as tips and advice for senior executives. The third edition of YQ – titled “Back to the Future” – has just been published.

Transcript of YQ ­ Issue 03

  • YQ2010 Issue 03

    ack to the future

  • 02

    This edition contains:

    Publisher: Matthew Sinclair Executive editor: Gurnek BainsEditor: Jock EncombeAssistant editor: Sam GilpinConsultant editor: Jane LewisResearch: Clare Morse-BrownProduction executive: Helen GreenGraphic design: Simon Fincham

    Feedback: please send feedback including ideas for future articles to [email protected]: for a complimentary subscription to YQ, please register your details at www.ysc.com/yq

    20:20 VisionA shrink-wrapped glimpse into 21st century business psychology.

    Follow you, follow me Retro vs modern: which decade forged the best leaders?

    Glimpses of YSC behind the scenes A potted history of YSC by one resident old timer, Charles Mead.

    On the Couch with CEO Chris MartinWe probe how Irish retailer Musgrave is weathering the storm.

    Generation XXThe female revolution about to hit boardrooms.





    Hit parade 20 years of our favourite ideas and super models.

    Banking on changeWhy having a social conscience is big business Down Under.

    What to watch, what to read A poke in the eye for Facebook... and how to converse with confidence.

    Agony uncle: royale with cheese Dr Ken puts in an early bid for a peerage.






  • Welcome to YQ

    Welcome to the third issue of YQ, celebrating twenty years of YSC. As the ripples of the credit crunch continue to fan out whether in debt crises in European states, booming growth rates in developing markets, or the first fusillades of currency wars between the US and China the need for thoughtful reflection and insight becomes ever more important. So we decided to use the excuse of our birthday as an opportunity to pause and reflect, taking a look back over the past twenty years and doing our best to make sense of the next twenty years and beyond.

    Looking back, Robert Sharrock reminds us how notions of leadership have changed since the 1970s, and gives his own view of the most important current trends. Also looking back, Claire Garner and Sam Gilpin identify their favourite ideas and models from psychology and leadership. Meanwhile, Rachel Short offers some great tips on how organisations can make the most of their female talent.

    Peering into the future, Jock Encombe ponders how developments in neurology and social networking will shape organisations a theme we reprise in one of our media reviews. Shelley Winter also has an eye to the future as she describes YSCs ground-breaking work in Australia with Westpac bank and its not-for-profit partners.

    The wide diversity of insights from our international offices is again a reminder that

    by Gurnek Bains

    At YSC our mission is to release the power of people. We do this by combining industry leading psychological insight with a thorough understanding of our clients business needs. We work with clients across their entire talent lifecycles, including: recruitment, induction, development, the identification of potential, internal selection, role change, measurement and departure. Our key client offerings include 1:1 and team assessment, executive coaching, organisational consulting and the measurement of change.

    About us...

    the challenges all organisations face are simultaneously global and local.

    We are also delighted to have Chris Martin, CEO of Musgrave, a leading Irish retailer, discussing his leadership journey with us. As I write, Ireland is rarely out of the news. Chris describes how he is drawing on past experience to steer Musgrave through the storm.

    In the twenty years since YSC was founded, we have grown from being a collection of five psychologists based out of a small office in London, to a global organisation, spread across ten time-zones, working across a wide range of fields with several of the worlds largest businesses. Charles Mead, who has been a friend, client and, most recently, a consultant with YSC for those twenty years, provides a light-hearted view of that journey.

    Birthdays are also times for celebration and thanksgiving. So while we pause and reflect, we also give thanks to all the great leaders we have worked with since we started and to the many we hope to meet over the coming twenty years and beyond.

    Gurnek Bains is the Chief Executive of YSC. T: +44 (0) 20 7520 5555 / [email protected]


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    by Jock Encombe

    20:20 Vision

    What will be the key trends in business psychology over the next 20 years? Here Jock Encombe outlines the major themes that will continue to shape organisations and focuses on the implications of two big technological changes coming our way.

  • IBM President Thomas J Watsons forecast that there would be a world market for no more than five computers is often cited, with good reason, as proof of how hard it is to predict the future. Even in 1979, IBM predicted total PC sales for the 1980s of no more than 295,000: in fact, over 25 million were sold. If one of the worlds most prescient and innovative companies can get it so wrong, then what hope is there for the rest of us?With the basic features of human behaviour remaining so constant over the ages, psychologists have an easier job of it. So, from an organisational perspective, themes such as leadership, motivation and team-working are always going to be around, and the businesses that can best develop these will always achieve some kind of advantage. We can also, with a reasonable degree of confidence, predict many of the trends that will shape organisational and leadership behaviour in the coming decades. Firstly, clients are going to be increasingly demanding of suppliers of psychological services ever more knowledgeable about what we do, and better able to provide our services in-house or through other channels. In short, if they are to continue paying good money for our skills, they are going to expect even deeper insight into the organisational and psychological challenges they face; and an even richer and more sophisticated picture of how they stack up against their peers and competitors. The mega-trends of globalisation, climate change and the relative decline of the West also seem certain to continue, though how these play out in any particular organisation or industry will differ widely. Nonetheless, clients will be expecting support with how they manage within and across cultures; with how they work virtually, and with how they manage rapid, structural change.

    Demographic trends will continue to follow their inexorable path with very few exceptions the global workforce is ageing. This will continue to bring into focus issues such as employee well-being, diversity and meaning. It is likely, however, that the most significant changes to our work will be technology driven. To a large extent it has ever been thus in any area of human endeavour, whether warfare, medicine or the arts. In recent years the rise of electronic 360s and increasingly sophisticated survey and research technologies have influenced our work decisively. One of the reasons for YSCs success over the past 20 years has been our ability to remain close to the cutting edge of developments in our field, while staying closer still to what our clients need and value. The next 20 years seem likely to reward a similar approach, though the pace of technological change will make it important to peer beyond our clients expressed needs. As Henry Ford said, If Id asked my customers what they wanted theyd have said a faster horse.

    The biological sciences are witnessing a remarkable growth of understanding into the genetic and bio-chemical drivers of human behaviour, and organisational psychology is still only scratching the surface of the implications. Genetics is starting to provide us with insights into the extent to which leaders may be born rather than made: recent research suggests that around 30% of what makes successful people get to the top appears to be accounted for by genetic factors. More specifically, people with a particular version of the serotonin-receptor gene, HTR2A, appear to have a greater predisposition towards optimism and, therefore, job satisfaction and emotional leadership. A clearer understanding of the effects of hormones such as oxytocin, cortisol, serotonin and testosterone on human behaviour is also emerging. These are significant, respectively, in affecting our capacities for trust, stress-management, resilience and drive. From a business perspective, these have clear implications for critical, inter-connected leadership issues, such as engagement, motivation, risk-tolerance and empathy.Applying genetics can pose well-known ethical challenges, which legislation in many countries has already anticipated: for instance, by outlawing the use of

    Brain science


    It is likely, however, that the most significant changes to our work will be technology driven

    Continued overleaf

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    genetic testing for job selection. But even within these necessary safeguards we can envisage biofeedback technologies that would help leaders monitor and improve their unconscious, hard-wired reptilian response to situations and so exert greater control over their ability to manage stress, empathise, build trust, and to make rational decisions under pressure. As one of the worlds leading authorities on brain imaging, Professor Edward Bullmore of Cambridge University, suggests, through the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology and its ability to reveal the deep workings of the brain we are coming closer every day to realising Freuds goal of making the unconscious conscious.Coming at the same issue from a different perspective, psychodynamic psychotherapy has achieved significant clinical breakthroughs ove