Magazine article Talent Development

Laurie Bassi

Magazine article Talent Development

Laurie Bassi

Article excerpt

Laurie Bassi is an internationally renowned HR analytics expert. She works with a variety of clients--from startups to Fortune 100 companies--to help unleash human capability and improve organizational performance using behavioral economics.

Prior to founding McBassi & Company, Bassi served as vice president for research at ASTD and a tenured professor of economics and public policy at Georgetown University. She also is a licensed investment advisor who, for more than a decade, has been generating above-market returns by investing in companies with superior human capital management.

Bassi is author of the 2011 title Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era, which won the 2012 Nautilus Gold Award for the best business leadership book of the year and Choice magazine's 2012 Outstanding Academic Title Award, and was selected as one of the year's top business books by Soundview.

HOW DID YOUR CAREER IN ACADEMICS PREPARE YOU TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER AND CONSULTANT?

As an academic I researched the labor market, looking at low-income working adults and how to help improve their earnings and employment capability. This is how I eventually got into workplace education and training--the research I completed made it apparent that there was a tremendous need for improved measurement on the people side of the business, and investment in people in particular. These findings set me on my path outside of academics, first to ASTD, and then ultimately as a business owner, trying to work on and improve measurement and evaluation.

As far as how my career as an academic prepared me for business, I learned how to take complex ideas and simplify them to their essential kernel. One of my standard jokes is that the most important thing I learned as a professor was how to take a semester's worth of material and teach it in 15 minutes, or take 15 minutes of material and teach it in a semester. So communication was one of the most important skills that I learned.

I also learned how to maneuver in complex political environments--which universities are--where the rules often are not clear, and where governance and power structures sometimes are hidden. Georgetown, perhaps more so than other universities, was a place where entrepreneurs could really thrive--if you had an idea and some "get-up-and-go," you could make things happen there. I didn't know at that time that I was an entrepreneur, but I was.

HOW DOES USING BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS IN TODAY'S WORKPLACE IMPROVE ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE? …

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