October 1, 2020

Corner Office: International Medical Corps’ C.E.O., on Self-Awareness

Q. Tell me about the first time you were somebody’s boss.

A. When I was in junior high school, I detasseled corn in Iowa. We got picked up by a bus early in the morning and then taken out to a cornfield. We would go through the rows of corn and take the tassels off. We used to have checkers go through our rows to check that we didn’t miss any tassels, and then I became a checker. I was in seventh grade, and it was the first time I had to check other people’s work.

Q. As you started your career, did you move quickly into management roles?

A. I started with ATT out of college. But I wanted to do something in the world of volunteering. I heard about International Medical Corps and got very interested. When I met the founder, it turned out that they were looking for a C.E.O. I loved their mission, and I never had any doubts that I could do the job. That was in my mid-20s.

Q. That’s a big leap.

A. At the time, I just thought, “Well, if they feel I can do this job, I feel I can do this job.” I was a hard worker, and I had had lots of experiences over the years of building my own skill set and having a sense of what I could do well and what I couldn’t do well. I later asked them why they hired me for the role, given that I had no experience, and they just said that they were looking for a deep commitment to the mission of the organization and that they were looking for qualities in a person, not the C.V.

Q. Did they articulate them?

A. They said that I was to some extent mature beyond my age, and that I was so committed. I was very truthful about what I thought I could and couldn’t do, what I thought I would bring to the position, and that I would be a hard worker. I told them I would not be afraid of taking risks and that I would do whatever it took to find ways to get things done. So those were some of the qualities they were looking for.

Q. You’ve been C.E.O. for 27 years.

A. As we’ve grown, my role has changed dramatically. In the beginning, I was very hands-on, but then I learned that hiring the right people was absolutely critical. If we’re going to reach the hardest-hit people in the world, we have to overcome obstacles. And so it took a certain personality, beyond commitment to the mission. I learned how to better identify those skills in a person, to see through the other things that they brought to the table and focus more on their personality and how they’re going to work with others in difficult situations, because that’s where you find out what people are really like.

Q. So how do you hire?

A. I try to look way beyond the C.V. In fact, I really try to put it aside and forget about it, and focus more on what motivates them, their aspirations, what environments they feel they thrive in. I want them to have a really good sense of our culture, and the kind of people who thrive in our culture. Is that what they’re interested in? Is that where they think they would thrive? What kind of an environment would they be happy and productive in?

And if I can’t have an authentic conversation with someone, then they’re probably not right. I spend a lot of time trying to set the ground rules for the conversation and then I say, “Listen, we need to be honest with each other and tell the truth about ourselves and the organization, the challenges.” I’m asking them to trust me, and I’m trusting them to do the same thing.

You’re really trying to get a sense of how the person handles certain situations. “If you had a conflict with a colleague and it had to be worked out, what did you do? How did you work it out?” I’ll ask them to reflect on how they navigated through it and what they learned from it. Were they able to think about it in a different way the next time? I’m always looking for the learning curve.

I’ll also ask, “If I were to speak to colleagues or supervisors who weren’t on your reference list, someone who you didn’t always get along with, what would they say about you?” It forces people to think about themselves in a different way, through the lens of others and not their own. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The question is, how do we navigate through situations, and what do we draw on within ourselves to be effective? How do we draw out the best in other people? If you don’t have self-awareness, you’re always going to be outward-looking, and blame others for any difficulties. There are a million reasons why we might not be able to get something done. The question is, what am I going to do about it? I do believe it all goes back to self-awareness.

Q. Are there things that you have a particularly low tolerance for?

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/business/international-medical-corps-ceo-on-self-awareness.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Off the Charts: Survey Shows Americans Are Losing Jobs at Lower Rates

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for February showed that during that month the total number of people who were either discharged or laid off totaled just 0.9 percent of all job holders in the United States. It was the first month since that survey began in 2000 that the figure dipped below 1 percent.

Over the most recent 12 months, the Labor Department figures show, only 15.1 percent of workers lost their jobs because of layoffs or discharges. Until this year, the lowest figure for any 12 months had been 15.3 percent, during the period ending in September 2006. That came as the economic boom was cresting before the recession that began at the end of 2007.

As can be seen in the accompanying charts, the rate peaked in the fall of 2009 with 21 percent of jobs being terminated by firing or layoff in the preceding 12 months.

The rate of labor turnover shown by the report is somewhat stunning in the degree of labor turnover that was common before the Great Recession. There is still substantial turnover, but the rate fell sharply during the downturn and has yet to recover to the preceding levels. The hiring rate has been rising steadily since 2009, but remains below any level seen before the recession.

To some extent, the decline in mobility may help to explain the current prevalence of long-term unemployment. Employers who have no need to replace employees who left are not going to hire anyone, making it all the more difficult for unemployed workers to find work.

The department survey asks employers each month how many workers they have and how many left and were added in the preceding month. It also asks how many unfilled jobs the employers have available.

For employees who left, the employers are asked how many were laid off or discharged, and how many quit. In the accompanying chart, the number quitting is combined with the other reasons for departure, which include retirement, transfer and death.

It is, of course, possible that some departures listed as voluntary are at least partly forced. Some workers taking buyouts or early retirement may have concluded they would lose their jobs anyway if they did not do so.

The estimate that 15.1 percent of jobs were terminated by discharge or layoff in the most recent 12 months does not mean that that proportion of the work force was affected over the period. Layoffs are far more prevalent in some industries, notably construction, where the nature of the work may mean that a worker has a series of jobs, losing each one as the job is completed, and is counted as having been laid off several times in any one year.

The charts also show the rates in some industries. In some, including construction, health care and finance, the current rate of firings and layoffs is above the low before the recession. That is also true in government. But in fields like manufacturing, retail trade and accommodation and food services, fewer workers are now being let go than at any time during the boom years early in this century.

Floyd Norris comments on finance and the economy at nytimes.com/economix.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/business/survey-shows-americans-are-losing-jobs-at-lower-rates.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Netherlands Acknowledges Hacking of Government Sites

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government said Saturday it could not guarantee the security of its own Web sites, days after the private company it uses to authenticate them acknowledged it had been hacked. An official also said the government was taking over the company’s operations.

The announcement affects millions of people who use the Netherlands government’s online services and rely on the authenticator, DigiNotar, to confirm they are visiting the correct sites. To date, there have been no reports of stolen identities or other specific security breaches.

Officials stopped short of telling people not to use government Web sites, but said they should heed warnings posted on the sites or from their browsers. Already, Google and other major Web browser providers have begun rejecting security certificates issued by DigiNotar.

It is unclear who is behind the hacking, though Google said last week that those affected “were primarily located in Iran.” The hacking’s extent also is unclear, and investigators are trying to find out how many bogus certificates were issued, and what other sites — or countries — were affected.

Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch interior minister, said that, for now, a user of government sites could not be certain “that he is on the site where he wanted to be.”

Earlier in the week, DigiNotar acknowledged it had been hacked in July, though it did not disclose it at the time. It said as late as Tuesday that its certificates for government sites had not been compromised.

But Mr. Donner said a review by an external security company had found DigiNotar’s government certificates were compromised, and that the government was now taking control of the company’s operations.

“As distressing as this situation is for DigiNotar, the company is cooperating in a professional manner,” he said.

DigiNotar could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/world/europe/04hack.html?partner=rss&emc=rss