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  • Tammy Erickson | Ten Trends to Anticipate About the Future of Work
    Tammy Erickson | Ten Trends to Anticipate About the Future of Work
  • Above & Beyond the Norm with Tammy Erickson
    Above & Beyond the Norm with Tammy Erickson
  • A Day of Executive Education - Tammy Erickson, Beyond the millennial generation
    A Day of Executive Education - Tammy Erickson, Beyond the millennial generation
  • The future of talent | London Business School
    The future of talent | London Business School
  • Organising to optimise intelligence | London Business School
    Organising to optimise intelligence | London Business School
  • Day I Plenary 4: Creativity, Intuition and the Algorithm | Tammy Erickson
    Day I Plenary 4: Creativity, Intuition and the Algorithm | Tammy Erickson
  • Professor Tammy Erickson - Developing and leading your future workforce | LBS
    Professor Tammy Erickson - Developing and leading your future workforce | LBS
  • Tammy Erickson | The Role of Leaders in a Collaborative Culture
    Tammy Erickson | The Role of Leaders in a Collaborative Culture
  • Tammy Erickson, CEO: How to Lead a Multigenerational Workforce
    Tammy Erickson, CEO: How to Lead a Multigenerational Workforce
  • Tammy Erickson: Portfolio of Ideas
    Tammy Erickson: Portfolio of Ideas
  • Today’s Challenges and the Changes They Will Evoke
    Today’s Challenges and the Changes They Will Evoke
  • Tammy Erickson | Building Collaborative Organizations: Becoming Iconic
    Tammy Erickson | Building Collaborative Organizations: Becoming Iconic
  • Day I Plenary III: Tamara J. Erickson @ 4th Global Peter Drucker Forum, Vienna
    Day I Plenary III: Tamara J. Erickson @ 4th Global Peter Drucker Forum, Vienna
  • Day II VISION TALKS: Tamara Erickson - "Re-Thinking Capitalism for the Intelligent Economy"
    Day II VISION TALKS: Tamara Erickson - "Re-Thinking Capitalism for the Intelligent Economy"

Learn More About Tammy Erickson

Here’s the truth: the leadership practices that have served us well for the past half-century aren’t right for today. The organisational principles that underlie today’s operations are limiting what we actually need to achieve ongoing success.

Today, the success of your business depends on people other than yourself taking actions that are impossible for you to pre-determine or specify. It is essential that everyone throughout your organisation care and think in order to sense changes in customer needs, innovate solutions, work with others to form agile networks and relationships for delivery, and to excel at myriad other “intelligent” tasks. Success can no longer be driven by standardizing processes, measuring efficiency, or cascading top management decisions. Achieving success today requires carefully creating environments people will choose to join and in which they will freely choose to do great work.

For more than 30 years, McKinsey award-winning author, executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson has worked with senior leaders around the world to build iconic companies infused with new ideas and passionate, engaged individuals – companies that can leverage collaboration and attract and retain the best talent.

Based on her unique background – which includes in-depth counseling of senior leaders and boards around the world, membership on multiple major boards, and a decade of extraordinary corporate-funded research to explore engagement, innovation, collaboration and the changing workforce – Erickson has isolated the principles required to build this century’s organisations and identified specific actions great leaders can take to shape compelling environments.

The transformative leadership program Erickson designed and has been directing at London Business School for almost a decade consistently receives high praise from corporate-level participants. One of the world’s most respected authorities on the dynamics of the changing workforce, Erickson emphasizes how the command and control mentality of managing machines will not work in a future where two main differentiators will distinguish iconic companies from old school competitors: the ability to mobilize information and the ability to successfully collaborate and innovate. She offers leaders pragmatic, research-driven strategies for managing employees in a rapidly changing environment, and her practical tools for keeping organizations resilient, innovative and agile are indispensable to leaders and teams as they march toward an unpredictable post-pandemic future. During talks, interactive workshops or in-depth executive education programs, Erickson teaches her proprietary D-I-C-E model for building and leading an intelligent organization: Disrupt, Intrigue, Connect and Engage. She shares real-world examples of how to apply the principles and offers up useful tools, including a diagnostic test she developed which helps leaders understand their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

The author of five books covering a range of topics from leadership, collaboration and innovation to organizational behavior, retirement and the multigenerational workforce, Erickson’s work is particularly relevant to leaders looking for ways to optimize productivity in the hybrid workspace. Whether advising, teaching, speaking or conducting workshops, her delivery style is light and humorous, even when challenging basic assumptions about how companies manage their people. While sharing her evidence-based strategies and insights, she peppers in fascinating stories to illustrate what is possible.

“It’s a myth to think leaders should be a stabilizing force,” explains Erickson. “Great leaders are a destabilizing force. They’re the people who ask the tough questions, who make sure you’re thinking about ideas on the edge, who open the windows and let the fresh air in. That’s a great leader.”

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Tamara “Tammy” J. Erickson is a widely respected authority on new approaches to leadership, the changing workforce, collaboration, innovation and the nature of work in intelligent organisations. Her leading-edge work is consistently showcased in the prestigious Global Drucker Forum, an international conference of prominent business leaders. She has also served on the board of directors of two Fortune 500 corporations where she oversaw governance, audit and compensation and acted as a lead independent director. Erickson was also named among the most influential living management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 five times.

Erickson is the author of five books including “Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent,” and a trilogy of books published by Harvard Business Review Press on how individuals in specific generations can excel in today’s workplace: “Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation,” “Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work” and “What’s Next, Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want.” She has also authored or co-authored numerous articles, including the McKinsey Award-winning Harvard Business Review article, “It’s Time to Retire Retirement.”

Erickson received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago and her MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration where she was the recipient of the James Thomas Chirurg Fellowship.

Tammy Erickson is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Tammy Erickson was last modified: September 2nd, 2022 by Justin Louis

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Building an Intelligent Organization

The principles that drove the design of organizations over the past century were brilliant at achieving scale, low cost, and consistent quality. But they are detrimental to the capabilities and skills required today: initiative, innovation, insight and collaborative actions. The essential principles for today’s organizations include options, choices and trust. Erickson provides insightful, thought-provoking and pragmatic examples of how to create options, allow more personal choice, and build trust.

Options are essential for giving organizations the agility required to address today’s uncertain future and are the cornerstone of meeting the preferences of a diverse workforce. Award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson takes leaders beyond the platitudes of “be agile” to show how an “Own Less/Coordinate More” mentality (get what you need when and where you need it) makes it possible.

Choices allow intelligent adults to select work options that make sense for them. Erickson will share provocative ideas, such as pay per task, not time and why it’s important to stop measuring predominantly hours billed. Judge the quality (and quantity, and timeliness) of the work performed, says Erickson, and let people bid on the projects they would like to take on. Companies must give people a reason to choose their organization – to opt in – an approach that will simultaneously scare away those who would probably not like the culture.

Two-way trust is a core principle of a contemporary organization: build your trust in your team; it will build their trust in you. Eliminate “school” rules – encourage a community of adults.  Help people feel secure by giving them commercially valuable credentials, such as badges. Articulate logical skill progressions; require observable, objective accomplishments. Eliminate assessments based on subjective, judgmental attributes.

These principles – options, choices and trust – are the cornerstone of organizations that can be optimized for today’s work, workforce and environment.

Leveraging the Power of Collaboration

How do you transform an organization that doesn’t have a collaborative culture? New technologies are offering emerging opportunities for people to generate, capture and share knowledge, connect with helpful colleagues and information, tap into new sources of innovation and expertise, and harness the “wisdom of crowds.” These collaborative technologies are quickly changing the way work is done and the way organization function, and the pandemic has hastened the speed of change.

Based on her years of deep research into the barriers that prevent and motivations that create organization-wide collaboration, award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson provides sound guidance on re-shaping your organization for future success. In this talk, she offers leaders tools for:

  • Building trust-based relationships
  • Developing networks
  • Making communications easy and efficient
  • Role-modeling cooperation
  • Allowing time for socialization
  • Organizing events specifically to create new relationships

Using the D-I-C-E Leadership Model to Strengthen and Differentiate Your Organization

How can leaders strengthen and differentiate their organization from the competition? Successful leaders disrupt by making sure their organizations are full of new information, intrigue by tapping people’s interests and minds, connect by building the social fabric in the organization, and engage around purpose and meaning. Or as veteran executive educator, leadership advisor and McKinsey award-winning author Tammy Erickson calls it, the D-I-C-E model. In this talk – which can be designed as an interactive workshop or in-depth executive education program – Erickson shows how all great leaders of intelligent organizations disrupt, intrigue, connect and engage. She outlines pragmatic examples of how to do each, and offers up useful tools, including a diagnostic test she developed which helps leaders measure and understand their strengths and opportunities for improvement. Participants walk away with actionable ideas and tools for getting everyone involved in shaping an intelligent organization, whether they are executives, project leads or team members.

The Role of Leaders Today

The activities most important for success today are largely ones that demand an individual’s discretionary effort. People need to “opt in.” The role of leaders is to create an environment people choose to join, one in which they choose to do great work. Drawing on work with senior leaders around the world for more than 30 years, award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson outlines her D-I-C-E model for leading intelligent organizations, showing how all great leaders of intelligent organizations Disrupt, Intrigue, Connect and Engage – along with pragmatic examples of how to do each. She reviews the framework in depth, shares practical approaches to leading intelligent organizations and offers useful tools leaders can use to build strength for the future. Leaders will leave filled with ideas of actions to add to their own leadership approach. Erickson shows how everyone can help shape the environment, whether you are the formal organizations leader, a project lead, or a team member.

Becoming Iconic in a Post-Pandemic Era

Let’s step back and make sense of what’s really happening. Today’s sense of disruption is:

  • More than the pandemic
  • More than rapidly advancing technologies
  • More than changing client and workforce preferences and priorities

What is driving the “future of work” and why does it feel so disruptive?

These are the urgent issues award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson addresses in this important presentation. She explores a range of business challenges: how to be innovative, adaptable, sense and anticipate customer needs, build agile, collaborative networks, and how to customize, experiment and learn. She discusses why most organizations and most leaders are not set up to optimize doing these things well, mainly because most organizations have grown out of a time when success depended on scale and efficiency; the structures and practices that were optimized for that challenge. For example:

  • Authority through command-and-control – “cascaded” directives from the top
  • Emphasis on efficiency and utilization metrics – measurement of productivity by time
  • Bureaucratic structures to align multiple inputs
  • Proliferation of “schoolhouse rules” designed to prevent individual action

For scale and efficiency, these practices were perfect. Today, success requires mobilizing intelligence – and doing that well requires different organizations structures, practices and leadership approaches than required for scale and efficiency.

The need to mobilize intelligence is now, Erickson emphasizes. The future of work is catching up with this reality, creating organizations optimized to do this well and leading in ways that encourage every employee to invest their best efforts.

She then explains how companies can stand out as exemplars, and rank among the best in 2030. She outlines what capabilities are required to differentiate their business today and how leaders can develop clarity and focus on the most important activities – an essential starting point for considering the role of leaders and the shape of the organization.

Going Above and Beyond: A Practical Response to the Challenges of Post-Pandemic Work

The conditions imposed by the pandemic are requiring leaders to go above and beyond the norm to build intelligent organizations in an era of unpredictable change. How does leadership change in a virtual work environment? How can companies address the growing wave of resignations?

Many of award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson’s sessions highlight the specific challenges posed by today’s work environment and offer practical ways companies and individual leaders can be more successful.

Ensuring a Continual Infusion of New Ideas

Two of the critical elements of award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson’s D-I-C-E model are to Disrupt and Intrigue. “Leaders must ensure new perspectives are always part of the organization’s view,” says Erickson. In this talk, she offers leaders practical approaches for:

  • Inviting provocative or unsettling ideas
  • Sending people out to see what others are doing
  • Legitimizing and celebrating diverse ideas and new perspectives
  • Creating time to “think;” a habit of thinking together
  • Asking “How Might We” questions to draw others in
  • Encouraging experimentation
  • Using design thinking tools and a focus on specific customers to develop deep insight into behavior and need

What Does It Mean to Work Here? A Signature Experience for Extraordinary Engagement

A highly engaged workforce has never been more important. Much of the work today requires an individual’s discretionary effort – people have to choose to innovate, share knowledge, and provide extraordinary service. Many employees, particularly those in younger generations, are less motivated by money than the connection they feel to work. And the lingering recessionary climate has left many employees demoralized and in need of a significant emotional boost. Meaning is the new money. Companies with extraordinary employee-employer relationships understand what it means to work in their organizations and excel at embedding that meaning in the day-to-day employee experience.

As award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson’s research shows, individuals find meaning in different aspects of work; work plays different roles in our lives. Engaging employees is never about copying another corporation’s best practices. It’s about digging deep to identify what’s uniquely important to your organization. In this talk, she provides ways to understand the values that are most important to your employee population and helps design rituals that are specific to your organization and illustrate your values.

Leading Businesses Into the 21st Century

Is your organization designed to take full advantage of digital innovation? Are you optimized to solve the most important challenges your organization faces? Throughout history, each time the business environment changed, the companies that excelled were those that developed new leadership and organizational practices – innovative responses to address the most differentiating challenges. In this talk, Tammy Erickson explores contemporary changes that require new organizational designs: changes in the way value is created, the way work is organized, how work is managed and integrated, what people want from work, how organizations relate to those who work, and the fundamental challenges that will make your organization iconic. She will share practical ideas to ensure your organization is built to excel today – and in the future.

Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce

Four generations are working together in today’s workplace – and a fifth is on the way. Each brings unique assumptions to the job. As a result, events in the workplace are often interpreted differently by individuals in different generations. What may seem like good news to a Boomer might well be an unsettling and unwelcome development to a member of Generation X; things that members of Gen Y love often seem unappealing or frivolous to those in older generations.

Today, it’s increasingly important to create a culture that is welcoming and engaging for talented individuals of all ages. Based on years of in-depth research and three books on generations in the workforce, Tammy Erickson helps audiences understand the underlying evolution of the assumptions each generation brings to work, with humor, empathy and enormous insight. Combining rich data and unparalleled research with her optimistic point of view, she offers practical strategies and actionable insights so audiences of all ages will better understand each other.

Innovation in the Intelligent Economy: Bringing People and Ideas Together

The heart of innovation is the combination of two previously unrelated ideas. Creating the capacity for innovation in your organization means encouraging collaboration: namely, sharing knowledge and working together to create new ideas. The paradox: many of the best ways to encourage collaboration work against innovation! How can you balance both?

Based on groundbreaking research – one of the largest and most rigorous studies of collaborative behavior within organizations – as well as years of experience with innovative organizations, three keys emerge: building the capacity to collaborate, asking great questions, and introducing sufficient diversity of thought and capability. Tammy Erickson identifies the highest-priority investments and practices needed to build an organization skilled at successful innovation.

This is a fresh look at one of the most challenging aspects of leadership today – creating an organization filled with the on-going spark of new ideas. Others address innovation from a process perspective – how to manage the development of innovations once an idea has surfaced, or provide a strategic overview. Erickson brings her unique organizational understanding to outline the embedded practices that create a culture of sustained innovation.

Building Collaborative Organizations

We are on the brink of an important transformation. New technologies are making their way into the workplace offering significant improvements in generating, capturing and sharing knowledge; finding helpful colleagues and information; tapping into new sources of innovation and expertise; and harnessing the “wisdom of crowds.” Over time, these collaborative technologies will change the way work is done and the way organizations function. They will shift the way we interact with people on our teams, find external expertise when it’s needed and share ideas and observations more broadly.

Identifying relevant business connections isn’t as clear cut as finding old high school friends. The range of activities that collaborative technologies can take on to enhance performance and drive increased productivity in the workplace is far broader than the activities most of us have explored during our personal use. Perhaps most importantly, many of our existing work practices actually hinder the successful use of extended collaboration.

How do you transform an organization that doesn’t have a collaborative culture? Which practices are essential to move in that direction? Which companies are taking new and interesting approaches to the ways they work, leveraging today’s capabilities? What do they tell us about the characteristics of organizations that excel at extended collaboration? Based on several years of deep research into the barriers and motivations for organization-wide collaboration, Tammy Erickson provides sound guidance on re-shaping your organization for future success.

Global Generations

Geography significantly influences the formation of generational beliefs and behavior. Each country’s unique social, political and economic events shape specific views and attitudes among today’s adults. Understanding these country-to-country differences is critical to creating employment opportunities that attract and retain the best employees in each geographic area.

Tammy Erickson’s research has extended to the generations in a number of specific countries around the world, including the four BRIC nations, as well as countries in Europe and the Middle East. She will work with you to develop a customized session, focusing on the areas of the world that are most important to your business – or provide an overview of the similarities and differences within one generation around the globe.

Understanding individuals’ backgrounds and resultant perspectives or mental models, both within generations and across geographies, helps leaders grapple with the diversity, challenges and potential of a global workforce.

Get Ready for the Next Wave: The Re-Generation

The next demographic wave is almost ready to hit the shore. Children who are 15-and-under today are almost certainly not members of Generation Y. They’ve been influenced by a very different set of global events than those that shaped the ideas and preferences of people in their late teens and 20s today.

Today’s children have been forming their mental maps of the future at a time when our national and global optimism has been doused with the cold water realization that we are facing significant, seemingly intractable problems on multiple fronts. The inconvenient truths of the past half century – precarious global finances, resource constraints, shifting economic power and environmental degradation – are settling around our shoulders, and these early teens are not unaware of these issues or their complexity. This generation’s perspective is based on a world with finite limits and no easy answers.

What is this new generation, soon to be the fifth generation in many workplaces, all about? What do they value and how might they shape both the future of work and of the marketplace? Tammy Erickson’s newest research, the subject of a forthcoming book, brings the “Re-Generation” into sharp focus, with insights for employers, marketers, educators…and parents.

Ten Assumptions That Are No Longer True… But Still Shape Our Organizations Today

Today’s organizations are ripe for change. Over the next several decades, we’ll see very different business entities evolve. Why? Because today’s organizations were designed in response to conditions that no longer exist. Do you still think loyal behavior at work will lead to a lifetime of protection and care from the corporation? Of course not. But many of our cherished talent management practices that are based on tenure, from pension plans to perquisites, like vacation, are holdovers from the days when this old assumption rang true.

There are many new business realities that we haven’t yet translated into our management practices and organizational designs. It’s time to question which practices still make sense and whether there are new options better suited to today. In this provocative and interactive session based on a forthcoming book, Tammy Erickson will highlight 10 assumptions that underpin organizations, all of which have major implications for the way we manage talent and run organizations, and yet none are true today. She’ll leave participants looking at their organizations – and themselves – through a whole new lens.

Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work

(Harvard Business School Press, November 2008)

Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation

(Harvard Business School Press, January 2008)

Third Generation R & D: Managing the Link to Corporate Strategy

(Harvard Business Review Press, April 1991)

Leadership Masterclass

A thought-provoking speech? An engaging discussion with a senior team? An in-depth class to share practical approaches and develop specific actions for your organisation?

Award-winning leadership advisor and organisational behavior expert Tammy Erickson offers customized workshops that incorporate experiential learning activities that drive understanding and offer participants practical tools for building stronger, more resilient, innovative and collaborative teams and organisations. During each customized session, which can be designed as half-day, full-day or multi-day programs, she can discuss any or all of the following topics at the level of depth appropriate to your needs.

  • Becoming Iconic in a Post-Pandemic Era
  • Building an Intelligent Organisation
  • The Role of Leaders Today
  • Going Above and Beyond: A Practical Response to the Challenges of Post-Pandemic Work
  • Ensuring a Continual Infusion of New Ideas
  • Leveraging the Power of Collaboration
  • What Does It Mean to Work Here? A Signature Experience for Extraordinary Engagement

 

Whom Will You Lead?

Bottom line: people don’t all want the same things from work. Each person has unique expectations, preferences and goals. Understanding how others view work and interpret events in the workplace is essential for leadership. In her interactive workshops, award-winning executive educator and leadership advisor Tammy Erickson shares insights from developmental psychology to help explain why people of different generations have disparate expectations and how individual attitudes toward work are changing. Some examples include:

  • A preference for more personal control over career paths and work options
  • A belief that security depends on one’s growing skills and networks
  • A desire to do work that is interesting and meaningful now
  • For many, there is less desire to accumulate physical assets, and greater interest in the purpose and social benefit of the work they do

Workshop participants gain a deeper understanding of how to work effectively with colleagues of all ages, including their newest hires.

Named One of the World’s Top 50 Business Thinkers in 2013, 2011 and 2009

Thinkers50

“Generation X will have to sharpen its skills if it can succeed in making the generations collaborate…. Erickson has written a book that is right for its time, full of illuminating insights and useful for anyone struggling with generational tension in management.”

Financial Times, December 2009

“Thanks again for a fabulous presentation and discussion. Very well done. Very informative and engaging. I really really appreciate the effort you made to engage the team on this topic. Many implications for our firm.”

Steve Milovich, SVP Human Resources, Walt Disney Company

“Tammy Erickson was a phenomenal success! Our President said it was the best presentation of that type he’s ever heard and we are thrilled! We had people clamoring for copies of her presentation and it was a great idea to place her first on the program as she set the tone for the day and raised the bar considerably. It’s always a good sign when no one even gets up to grab coffee!”

Mary Weekly, American Gas Association