Science Slam on 3 October 2012 on video: Science Slam Video
An Intercultural Comparison – Luxembourg, France, Germany, applying Geert Hofstede
My research question is: Where does Luxembourg fit in on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions: Individualism/Collectivism, Power Distance, Masculinity/Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long-Term/Short-Term Orientation, Indulgence versus Restraint, Monumentalism.This research investigates the cultural pattern of Luxembourg. There being no previously published study on cultural dimensions in Luxembourg, this study addresses this issue in several ways: literature review, participant observation, questionnaires and interviews. 134 usable responses were collected from participants employed at Lindab Buildings Luxembourg, France and Germany and interviews were conducted. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its specific place in Europe are detailed. Hofstede’s dimensions of culture were calculated: Individualism/Collectivism, Power Distance, Masculinity/Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long-Term/Short-Term Orientation, Indulgence versus Restraint, Monumentalism. Data are analysed and discussed to determine, first, if Hofstede’s estimates given for Luxembourg are accurate, second if the Luxembourgish language is used as an identifier and third, if Luxembourgers are happy because they are uncertainty avoidant. The results are shown in Hofstede’s maps superimposing my results onto his original maps. Finally, the question whether Luxembourgers are happy is discussed and a logistic regression is made in SPSS on Happiness. Conclusion and references follow.
Article_CloudComputing (click on this link to download the pdf version)
This event is organised by the American Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg, with the aim to join it IT Committee and to promote Luxembourg as a hub for “Cloud Computing to the financial sector” across the world. They want to promote the regulatory framework, finance expertise, reputation and existing IT infrastructure position of Luxembourg as the state-of-the-art location for cloud computing.
Presentations were made by Mr. David Hagen, Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), Mr. Jean-Marie Stas, Telindus (Belgacom Group), Datacenter, Cloud and Application Services, and Mr. Phil Boland, Chief Executive Officer, B2Hub.
Mr. Hagen covered the regulatory aspects in terms of cloud computing services in the finance industry. What is Cloud Computing? First we have to do a risk assessment with the aim to understand the real risk in the cloud. We need to find a solution how to reduce the risk and see what is the residual risk. What kind of intrusion is possible? How to evaluate the risk of intrusion of hackers in the cloud?
IT data must be: traceable, confidential, available, securing integrity.
Traceable means, that by regulation, I have to be able to prove what has been done with my data.
Confidential means, the data, if they are professional or not, they need to be secured.
Available means, I have to know, how the cloud is built, in order to be able to access the data anytime. If the cloud is outside of Luxembourg, this is not possible following article 41, for the banking sector, the data need to stay in Luxembourg.
Integrity means, that also and especially the integrity of processes have to be ensured. It is not just making a clone of my data.
Business processes must have: continuity, clear view of responsibilities, integrities.
In summary: it is important to make process cloning, not only data cloning. There is no cloud computing without Telekom. I need Telekom and am relying completely on Telekom.
Problems arise because we are having a hug cloud, the worldwide cloud with processes and data. If there is a change of the system, of the version, I am having a problem. I need the traceability, the process number to check that all the date is there. I have to be able to trace all transactions of the Finance Sector. As each provider is using a different system, my question is: who is taking the final responsibility? And who are the providers? There are different packages on different providers. Different applications are sold by different operation systems by different providers. The problem arises as application 1 runs well on operating system 1 but not on operating system 2. With different companies in different locations, the outcome is a crisis in the cloud.
Jean-Marie Stas asked, what are the needs of a cloud?
The needs of a cloud are: Infrastructure, applications, management, automation and legal framework.
What is the infrastructure?
The infrastructure is: servers, security, back-up, disaster recovery.
What are the applications?
The applications are the software that is delivered.
What is the management?
The management is the question how to link different software, to do outsourcing, to have a good exit strategy, to ensure that I am getting back my data fast, and to ensure low additional fees.
What is automation?
The biggest issue for automation will be security. Viruses are dangerous.
Everything in our lives is based on IT. Our lives are depending on IT. Therefore viruses are dangerous.
What is the legal framework?
What happens if I loose all of my data?
How to protect my intellectual property?
This was followed by the discussion of the Pro and Contra of Luxembourg as a place of Cloud Computing.
Social Networks, a strategic stake for companies
Article_Social_Networks (click on this link to download the pdf version)
Thursday, 21 October 2010, 17h-19h, Hotel Hilton, Luxembourg
Introduction by David Brand, Head of Human Resources, Swiss Life, Luxembourg.
Conference by Pierre Portevin, C-Bridge, and Dimitri Dumont, Cross Fertilization.
Introduction by David Brand:
Before and still until today, most companies don’t allow the access to Facebook in the company. In the future, it will be impossible to continue excluding the digital social networks in the company. The question is: how can we use these digital social networks? In the beginning we wanted to have the conference about Recruiting, but we realised that we have to widen the topic digital social networks to other services in Human Resources and in general in the company.
We will be talking about collective intelligence, as we all know something that someone doesn’t know. The company’s wealth is exactly this wealth.
Pierre Portevin asked the assembly:
- Whose access to Facebook is blocked in the company?
- Who is not on LinkedIn?
- Who uses social digital networks for professional objectives?
If yes, what for?
ü Screening CVs, I have a recruiting company.
ü We created a page of promotion on LinkedIn, a group on LinkedIn
ü We created several small WIKIs for the exchange of information
ü We would like to organise WIKIs to allow internal mobility, to allow internal development
ü We created blogs to allow anonymous communication, in the meantime anonymity is no longer allowed, there was abuse and the use of my true identity was necessary
Negative point: There are too many different networks, an excess of networks.
- What are the big stakes of the Human Resources Profession?
ü Attracting talent
ü Keeping talent
ü Identifying talent internally
ü Managing the different expectations of the employees, who are ever more diverse
ü Managing the multi-cultures
ü Managing the rapidly changing expectations
ü Managing the culture of impatience (this culture of impatience provokes: frustration, de-motivation, departure)
ü Managing the culture of the email: misunderstandings are multiplying, the not-said increases
ü Emails are free
ü These free emails change a lot the companies,
ü Especially about decentralisation of competences
ü Back-offices are expatriated to countries with lower salaries, like Portugal, Eastern Countries, or China
ü Managing the development of the not-said: many things are thought, but are no longer said, we don’t take anymore the time to say or do them
ü Companies are getting more and more porous:
ü It depends on the sector, i.e. in IT, companies are extremely porous
ü In outsourcing
ü Growing complexity of professions
ü We have to adapt all the time, in ever shorter cycle
The constancy is not the change, but the pace of the change!!!
We no longer realise how fast the change is.
An unprecedented conjunction of change factors:
Human issues are influenced by:
- The world becoming flat
- The shortage of resources
- Demographic moves
Everything is becoming so fast. Communication is fast and the world is getting closer. We collaborate with China, Africa, Europe…
How can we live the Company Culture? As employees change so fast, how can we create a Company Culture, how to continue it, how to live it? How to cure it?
The elder employees are fired. They had 20-30 years of experience and this experience is lost. The young are hired. They are born with an iPhone in their hands.
There are different gaps:
- Generation gap
- Cultural gap
- Digital gap
- Maturity of our economic model
- Pressure on responsibility
- Fragility of competitive advantages
The solution is our change-ability:
- Shared vision and values
- Alterity – the way of thinking: go get from the other what is lacking to me
- Mental flexibility
- Asynchronous distant collaboration: tele-work, part-time
This change-ability will create:
- Collective intelligence
- Emotional intelligence
Knowledge is turned into value
Long term value is created
Motivation is long lasting
In an economy where the only certainty is uncertainty, the one sure source of lasting competitive advantage is knowledge.
IBM published a study last week: “Working beyond borders”
How to share knowledge?
How to create knowledge?
Sharing, creating and leveraging knowledge
- At the heart of value creation
- For relevant ideation and innovation
- To foster the right strategic orientation and engagement
- To be ready for the unknown
Harvesting alterity to create value
- What you know in your context?
- What I know in my context?
- What we both know?
- What is possible? – Go for action – Create value
This is what meetings are for: to share competence.
The company of the future will cultivate “change-ability”
- Hungry for change
- Innovate beyond customer imagination
- Globally integrated
- Genuine, not just excellent
The Age of conversation?
How to put the transversal communication, the transversal conversation to work?
- Human Resources
- Customer Care
Rumours have to be managed. This is the greatest capital of the company.
How to collect the entire conversation of the company?
How to centralise them and how to find solutions to these conversations?
Transversal conversations you may need:
- Who is expert in that field?
- How can I share this information or idea?
- How can I valorise my talents?
- Anyone needs this information?
- How did others handle these issues?
The knowledge habits
The traditional tools – out of order
The new tools – they are “in”
- Web 2.0 at work
- People go to the web!
With these tools the knowledge of the company goes outside of the company and is exchanged.
What is our profession in Human Resources in 2020?
A study from McKinsey shows, you can leverage it!
You can look for the whole knowledge on the net.
This is collaboration
www.blankspaces.com is a short film about passing of information.
Before: if I say, that I have a problem, I am seen as an idiot
Nowadays it is the contrary.
The birth of an idea: the idea is the flux of conversation, of information.
An idea generates real conversation, generates solutions and generates value.
Nowadays it is about
- fostering ideas, connections, conversations and solutions
- getting people linked together
- finding knowledge
- finding connectivity
i.e. bluewiki, a multi-community platform, adapted to companies’ needs.
In these platforms, one has to be personal, you cannot be anonymous, otherwise there will be abuse and you cannot identify the talent.
Example of intelligence at work: the company Lyonnaise des Eaux created Lio Plaza
Lio Plaza is the Sunday’s newspaper, allowing the collection of questions and answers and the sharing of information. The only negative point is that the young employees are afraid of the hierarchy reading their comments.
One of the biggest issues is: Companies are afraid of the leak of information
- How can they manage these potential leaks?
- How can they assure that no information is sent out of the company that should have stayed inside the company (via email)?
- How can they assure confidentiality?
- How to limit the time employees spend on digital social networks during working hours?
- How to assure that employees don’t spent their entire time on digital social networks?
IT department can control how much time each employee spends on digital social networks.
Emotional Management (Management of emotions)
What do I feel when I receive 50-100 emails per day?
1) I will not be able to handle that!
2) How important I am!
Platforms within Companies:
Platforms help reduce the number of emails sent.
Platforms have to be managed, piloted, animated, corrected and directed!!
Platforms have to have one responsible party in the company. For example, he/she can inform employees that the email doesn’t exist any longer, but everything is on the platform, that the information can still be found on the platform.
These platforms need 2 adaptations:
- The way of thinking
- The way of behaving
Always with the objective – company performance – in mind.
The company’s objective is always the increase of its performance in:
Following a study, a person’s success at works is 80% dependent on emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence has been associated with transformational leadership capabilities such as inspiration, motivation and vision. Suicide rates increase and unhappiness increases.
What is the average of age of the working population?
- Europe: 45
- Belgium: 49
- India: 24
- China: 32 (they are having a problem as well)
- Turkey: 19
Therefore the search for talent is delocalised.
What is the lever for growth in Europe?
There are fundamental issues in Europe!
What will Europe offer people to stay?
Nowadays, money is cheap in Europe.
Technologies are easily accessible
How can Europe distinguish itself from other continents?
The people in Europe!!!
People are competent in Europe, but there are issues:
- Communication is slow
- Information is not accessible
- There is a lack of confidence
- Lack of security
- Employee de-motivation
- People are emotionally concerned (When people are emotionally touched, they start blocking, they change behaviour, they arrive late and they don’t do their work well)
What are the real levers of an employee’s motivation?
- Dependent on genetic temperament
- Dependent on education
The human brain is divided in sections:
- Global intelligence
- Specific intelligence
- Motivation, personality, emotions
- Instinct, stress
- Social positioning, strength based relationship
If I try to control my emotions and they are shut away, they will explode one day.
I have to manage my emotions and accept them.
Emotions … what for?
- To bring out the energy that naturally exists within people
- It’s about
- To develop “emotional intelligent” people, who think rationally and build great relationships (with themselves and others) and motivate others.
- To transform corporate values into effective behaviours.
Women Leadership in the Greater Region – Success stories to tell
By Clara Moraru
Article_Women_Leadership (click on this link to download the pdf version)
Wednesday, 6 October 2010, 18h30, Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg
Introduction by Clara Moraru, author and editor of “Women Leadership in the Greater Region.”
This evening is dedicated to the launch of my new book. The main subject is Gender Balance. Gender Balance and Equal Chances are a strategic issue for our society.
My book is a unique project and also a private project. I interviewed more than 100 women over the past 2 years and wrote down their success stories with the aim to show their lives and to give us the opportunity to imitate them. The objective is to de-mystify management and leadership, which are mostly male domains. The book is about gender balance, equal chances and social responsibility.
Round Table with the participation of:
H.E. Marja Lehto, Finnish Ambassodor for Luxembourg
Monica Jonsson, CoachDynamix, she founded this first Coaching Company in Luxembourg in 2002
David Micallef, Bank of New York Mellon S.A., Managing Director & General Manager. He has 25 years of experience in Funds, at 35 years he got Managing Director, he is Board of ABBL. He is married to one of the women from the book
Christopher Bowman, International School of Luxembourg, Director, Trainer of DISC, Seven Habits and many more qualifications
C. Moraru: How does gender balance differ from feminism?
M. Letho: Feminism is a means to achieve gender balance. Feminism is not a negative notion. 60% of school graduates in Europe, USA and Asia are female.
60% of the decision makers in car purchases are female
More than 60% of food purchase decisions are made by females
M. Jonsson: The war for talent is so big in Luxembourg
If women represent 60% of school graduates and also represent +- 50% of the population, companies with more women are better positioned. Companies with more women on the Management Board are out-performing. If women decide more than 60% of purchase decisions, the decision makers in Marketing, Sales, … should be female.
There is a business case of a famous company that implemented a marketing strategy, which turned out to be a flop because there were only men on the marketing team, who were making decisions for women purchasers.
D. Micallef: I look young, indeed, for being General Manager. I have no degree, I left school at 18. I was a manager by 19.
Luxembourg has lessons to learn in gender balance.
At Bank New York Mellon we employ 300 people, and as I am General Manager, 50% of the management is female, also in the technical management positions. I am convinced that women are better critical thinkers, better controllers, have a better ability to emphasize and of course are multi-taskers, which I am not.
C. Bowman: As an example: there are many female teachers. In my opinion, men and women should both be in decision making positions.
C. Moraru: There is a study from the USA showing that women do succeed at the expense of men. Is this the death of men?
D. Micallaf: This is nonsense. I can give you an example of one of my female employees. She is in her early 40s, in management and she is the mother of 7 children.
I think we will see more changes in our society in the future.
I think that the question should be: how important is education? In my opinion, balance starts not with leadership, but with education.
C. Moraru: The reality-check in Luxembourg
M. Jonsson: What are the challenges women face and compare them to the challenges, men face.
From a company’s point of view:
It is still a boys’ club!
It is very difficult for a woman to enter these boys’ clubs.
Most women think: if they do their job well, they will be promoted. But this is not true. It is more important to be visible, to be at networking occasions, to have support.
And there are many unwritten rules.
The biggest issue is that a woman has to choose between children or a career, therefore birth rates have been declining.
There is some progress in Luxembourg, but it is slow.
If within a couple, both parties want to work, having an au-pair is a necessity, not a luxury, but there are no au-pairs in Luxembourg. There is no legislation for au-pairs and officially they are not allowed.
M. Lehto: two points: reconciling family and work is very difficult
The other big issue is the violence against women.
C. Moraru: What qualities do women have to improve to have more chances?
C. Bowman: There are no specific qualities for women or men.
The most important is the personality of the person, independent from the gender.
It is about:
- consistency in work,
- accepting who I am,
- standing up for what I think,
- speaking up,
- getting to know the people I work with.
Some skills are delegation.
You have to be able to hire people who are better than you.
The most important questions are: what motivates you? what are my ambitions?
Yes, there is a lot of imbalance, inequality, injustice!
D. Micallef: When I was young, I was overdoing things.
I absolutely wanted to be a General Manager by the age of 19 and I didn’t understand why I hadn’t succeeded.
M. Jonsson: The biggest issue for women is finding self-confidence and assertiveness.
Women must say what they think and what they want.
C. Moraru: This is a wake-up call: What can be done to make this subject important to women and men?
M. Jonsson: If we don’t invest into Gender Balance, it will take 60 years to achieve gender balance. It is about talent and leadership. It is not just a subject for the women in HR who will discuss it.
D. Micallef: In my opinion, we should legislate the subject: We have to tell the politicians to make it mandatory for a couple having a child, the parental leave has to be split: 3 months the women, 3 months the man: mandatory. So the men will understand, what it means to break their careers and take care of their newborn.
C. Bowman: We have a huge task in education. As parents we have enormous responsibility. We must give hands-on opportunities to our young people. We have to provide the right education, a caring education, a good education.
126.96.36.199.14 Seminar Femmes Leaders Luxembourg – Open Leadership Forum
Wednesday, 29 September 2010, 18h30, Hotel Hilton, 19th floor
How Women do business
Article_Femmes_Leaders (click on this link to download the pdf version)
Eliane Fuchs, President Femmes Leader Luxembourg opened the Forum in the 19th floor of the Hotel Hilton.
Minister Françoise Hetto-Gaasch made a wonderful speech for the opening of the event. The equal chances for women are not yet available in our society. There are fewer female creators of companies, fewer female managers and fewer female directors. Why? It could be a lack of courage and self-confidence in women to realise their dream, to overcome their fears and to get things accomplished. It would be important to encourage the women to find value in their professional life. There should not be a competitive atmosphere between men and women.
Yvonne O’Reilly organized today’s Leadership Academy that was held for the entire day. She worked in Human Resources for State Street Bank and for Delphi Automotive Systems, before she started her current role as a coach. The subject of today is “self-leadership”. We hear a lot about “savoir-faire” – knowledge of the leader, but we do not hear enough about “savoir-être” –being, having the personality of the leader. It is about the finding the leadership within yourself. We want to promote the female leadership in Luxembourg.
- Avivah Wittenberg Cox was the invitee of honour for the evening. She is author of “How Women Mean Business” and CEO of 20-First, based in Paris. Avivah is for a revolution! It has never been better a better time in history than now to be a woman. She said: The 20th Century is over! The 21st Century is here.
We have to work towards Gender Balance. Why? How?
Why: Because we are living in a world influenced more by the internet than by war.
Because we are living the mixity
Because we are more linked than hierarchal.
Women have changed, but we forgot the speed of the change. Only 50 years ago, we saw women arrive in men jobs.
Why do companies care?
It is about 3 components: Leadership, Talent and Market
The questions are:
Leadership: Is our leadership team prepared to lead in today’s globalising multicultural world?
Talent: Are we attracting the world’s best talent?
Market: Do our staff & services accurately reflect our clients and their expectations?One question remains unanswered. In education, more women than men are performing well. What happens later in the workplace with all these well educated women?
The Harvard Business Review of September 2009 writes about “The Female Economy”. They write, that the “female income is the world’s largest opportunity”. “Forget China, India, the future is female!”
The 21st Century has three challenges, the three W:
Web: the technology revolution
Women: the gender balance
Weather: the environment protection and climate change
How? How can we get to gender balance?
Stop what we have been doing until now. Stop fixing the female problems.
There are principles:
1) Women are not a minority
2) Don’t ask women to solve gender issues
3) Recognise women as equal and different
The Implementation of these principles has to be made at the Top Management Level, where action plans and objectives must be defined. And at General Management Level, where awareness has to be built and local action plans defined.
Key Success Factors are:
1) It’s a business issue, not a women issue
2) Requiring strategic and sustained initiatives, like any other change management program
3) Led by credible leaders
4) Evaluated with measurable success criteria and milestones
Fouad Rathle, President IFBL and Director Bank Garanti, ABBL, POG, was elected first Ambassador of Femmes Leaders Luxembourg.
After the Opening Ceremony, a very interesting round table followed moderated by Margaret Ferns, Responsible Communication Lombard International Insurance: with Avivah Wittenberg Cox, Fouad Rathle, Britta Jaegde, Director Hottinger & Cie, Nicolas Rasson, DHR ING Luxembourg.
The Round Table said:
around 2007 the 2 big issues in Luxembourg were:
1) the war for talent
2) the aging of the population
The gender issue was to be pushed to the debate, but then came the financial crisis around 2008…
The financial crisis had 2 impacts on gender issues
1) Hunkering down backwards: firing employees, the elderly, the expensive
2) Maybe it’s time to change how we do things: how can a company survive that is losing 50% of their management to retirement within the next 5 years?
Is Gender Balance a subject discussed in Luxembourg banks in 2010?
1) Women are blocked from opportunities by men, women are considered weak for a number of reasons, i.e. motherhood
2) At a management level, only the economic outcome is reviewed: who is the best person for the job? And only this point is taken in consideration
3) Not all women want to be in management positions.
Possibilities for changes:
1) Recruitment has to be changed
2) The balance between professional and private life has to be realised through flexible working hours and the purchase of vacation days
3) Equality in the decision taking for promotion to management level positions
4) Telework is a solution to assist in the combination of professional and private life.
5) If we don’t change, the new generation currently joining the work force will change us.
6) “Maternity leave” has to be cancelled and replaced with “parental leave”, like in Sweden and recently in Germany
7) Flexible working hours: some people take 1 hour to do what others can complete in 8 hours
8) The young recruits have to be taken care of especially. New hires, interns have to be promoted rather than discouraged.
9) We have to make men-fathers, to solve the issue women-mothers!
10) We have to completely review Standard HR procedures and practices, i.e. promotions are typically made at 25-35 years old, exactly when women have babies.
Report on the extraordinary experience of leading and working with horses
The “Horse Concept” Experience was explained and reported on based on the day at the Leadership Academy. Horses are excellent to study Leadership qualities and identify your areas for improvement. The question is: who will be the boss? you or the horse? without force and aggression? It is a question of “the Dominated” and “the Dominant”. You have to negotiate with the horse, to get him to do what you want. And the horse returns the communication showing your errors.