Harvard Business Review has published a fascinating summary of some of their most popular articles and pieces of research in 2016. It's really worth checking out, and you can get to it via the link at the bottom of the page.
I was initially drawn to the article by a post on twitter from @KramGnik, highlighting the review within this article of how digitally advanced major industry sectors are.
Interestingly for Pick Everard and other consultancy businesses, whilst construction is 2nd from bottom in the ranking, professional services is 3rd from top... perhaps that is a reflection of some of the advanced digital techniques we use (BIM?) whilst at the same time relying on traditional construction techniques to build the things we design?
Reading through the rest of the article, a different piece of analysis caught my eye.
Third graph down is a piece of research that in simple terms shows that the more someone is in demand from their colleagues as a source of important information (eg. a Sector Champion or Technical Lead in our business) , the lower their career satisfaction.
The full piece of research supporting this also recognises these people can become exhausted and ineffective because of the demands placed on them. It also identified that women are generally more affected than men, due to both social factors (women are seen to be more caring and supportive and hence get asked to carry out more optional tasks) and further research that shows 66% of women are likely to share intelligence and knowledge, compared to 36% of men.
From experience I have seen this first hand, and it's something I'm now trying to tackle as we look to reintroduce sector-focused knowledge teams within Pick Everard.
On one hand, we need teams who are collaborative and are seen as champions of particular sectors and niches (such as police and fire or 0-16 education) but on the other hand, there is a risk that these teams become bottlenecks in our business development and project delivery process, slowing progress as they try and respond to demands from across our business.
I've certainly not solved this problem yet, but I hope the recommendations and outcomes of pieces of research like this will help us find a solution which delivers value for our clients and protects our teams from being overstretched.
People who are both in demand by their colleagues and are seen as important sources of information at work have the lowest engagement and career satisfaction scores, as represented by the smaller bubbles toward the top right of this chart. (The bigger the bubble, the more engaged the person was.) In other words, collaboration overload is real.