Mark Pollack's blog

5 Smart (and Easy) Ways to Add Humanity to Business Practices

As we move further into arguably one of the worst hurricane seasons in history, our minds and hearts become even more focused on those who were affected by some of the most recent hurricanes. Each news outlet has been sharing the accounts of ordinary people performing heroic acts to save the lives of their neighbors and even strangers. In times of natural disasters, we often find our humanity and the need to reach out a hand to those in desperate need.

I wonder what happens when tragedy is not raining down? Where is the humanity? I would suggest that it is ever present if we choose to look for it. Humanity is shown in the small acts of kindness such as when a stranger goes out of their way to help someone with their luggage, or when a wallet is found and returned in complete condition.

Gandhi stated, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

In business, leaders must be the humanity, providing servant leadership to our teams as they struggle through the daily work challenges. We must remember that our role as leaders is likened to that of a silent hero, focused on helping others in a time of need and without personal recognition. 

Here are five things you can do right now to add humanity into your work culture:

Mark Pollack, Vice President, SIG University and Chief Strategy Officer, SIG

5 Considerations of Adult Learning

There is a story where a retiring home builder was asked to build a final home. He was known for building wonderful homes with every detail precise, and his boss wanted one last house constructed before his retirement. The builder was very reluctant and agreed despairingly.

The builder did not take his time with the home, the materials were not his usual top quality and his work was sloppy. He was tired, and it showed. At the end of the construction, the boss handed the builder the keys and said, “After all your years of service, I wanted to give you this home.”

In life, we are the home and we must make choices on how we want it constructed. One of the choices many people make is to go back to school to learn a new trade or enhance their skills. Working professionals must weigh the options and determine the best learning opportunity for them. I have worked with adult learners for over 12 years and have compiled five things adults should consider:

1. Learning platform/accessibility
2. Curriculum/content
3. Customer service
4. Continued education
5. Recommendations

The learning platform is the methodology of how the information is transferred from the educator to the student. Adult learners must potentially juggle obligations with work, family, social responsibilities and personal leisure, which could get in the way of knowledge transfer. Educators today are focusing efforts on building comprehensive online learning platforms that support the working adult learner. I would look for online education opportunities, but make sure that they have a thorough onboarding process where they provide the tools for a successful learning experience.

Mark Pollack, Vice President, SIG University and Chief Strategy Officer, SIG

Education is Good

The build out of the “internet of things” will drive the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours, according to IBM. That means that every time you go to bed for the night, an entirely new amount of information has flooded the world. It wasn’t that long ago that robots were only part of huge factories. Now they have them available for purchase at local retailers for less than $50. Robots are more than mechanical machines…in today’s world, they are incredibly advanced tools that have the ability to automate everything, including driving.

As sourcing professionals, it is necessary that we all understand the new world we are living in, and how it impacts not only our organization, but our daily job. Do you have a knowledgeable understanding of:

  • How you are going to source these new products?
  • How you will negotiate contracts for technologies that didn’t exist last month?
  • How you will incorporate these products into your work?
  • How contracts will be crafted to protect IP?

Do you have the knowledge, skills and competencies to fully grasp the future that is here and expanding exponentially?

Education is the answer…and there are a few simple things you can do to support your own education:

Make sure you are reading a book a month. That’s an investment of only 15-20 minutes per day. If you don’t know what to read, (I have this problem) ask someone you trust, explore the internet (trusted sites) and determine what the most successful people are reading. Make sure these books are not just about your industry or current role, but about business, innovation, creativity and other areas of focus. By reading a variety of books, you will gather different insights and uncover different views on the changing world.

Teach. When you teach others, you learn. You have knowledge others want and they have insight you need.  Learning is a mutual relationship.

Mark Pollack, Vice President, SIG University and Chief Strategy Officer, SIG