Successfully engaging employees can offer a quick win if you believe in the concept, says Qatari author and HR practitioner Sharoq Almalki. She is optimistic about engagement in Qatar in light of the government’s focus on developing people as the country’s most valuable assets, as stated in the Qatar National Vision 2030. Speaking to The Peninsula, she said some sectors had taken a more progressive step than others, but that the country cares about investment in human capital.

The critical business lesson that ‘the hardest part is not to become successful – it is to stay there’, forms the basis of Rasmus Ankersen’s new book, Hunger in Paradise. Taking Nokia’s stratospheric rise and fall as an example, Ankersen says that when companies become successful, they often end up fighting themselves rather than their competitors, and forget what is important to their customers. “Success and power change the perspective through which people see the world, and often in ways that are counterproductive to sustaining success,” he says.

Adding a bit of science to the interview process could remove some of the variances in people’s judgements on character and lead to more effective recruitment, according to Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. In an article for Fast Company, the professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University says employers can make a start by curbing the amount of ‘chitchat’ in interviews, providing a standardised environment and process for all candidates, and focusing on a factual and data-driven evaluation of their skills, rather than trying to psychoanalyse them.

Professional services firms are increasingly facing problems from clients that are so complicated no single expert could solve them, says Heidi K Gardner, fellow at Harvard Law School and former McKinsey consultant. In her new book, Smart Collaboration, Gardner says that, for these problems to be solved, specialists have to work together to integrate their separate knowledge bases and skills to devise unified solutions. “Smart collaboration is different from the mere assembly of experts’ individual pieces, after each has contributed to a ‘divide and conquer’ approach,” she says – it requires repeated interactions over time.

When dealing with people, leaders need to show empathy and sensitivity, says Eduardo Braun. In his recently published book, People First Leadership, Braun paints a picture of the new CEO – ‘chief emotions officer’ – who he believes should align people behind a vision by generating emotions such as a sense of purpose, pride and trust. To do this, a leader needs certain attributes, including humility, curiosity and the confidence to try new things.

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