Mark Mortensen

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Expert on Organizational Design, Collaboration and Team Dynamics; Authority on the Impact of Technology on the Future Design of Work; Professor, INSEAD

Biography

How do you design an organization that thrives in the complex 21st century business environment? INSEAD professor Mark Mortensen, a leading expert on organizational design and human resources, says that process begins with identifying and understanding the rapid changes taking place within organizations. With keynote speeches that spur audiences to consider the inherent risks their existing business models have on employees and company culture, Mortensen shows leaders how to transform and build adaptable, collaborative global companies in the era of digital disruption.

Mortensen’s research focuses on the many ways in which technology has changed how we work together and offers concrete frameworks for improving team dynamics and cross-project collaboration. Companies increasingly rely on cross-functional groups working remotely from offices around the world in overlapping and fluidly shifting projects. This means leaders must navigate the challenges of global collaboration – differences in language, culture and time-zone – as well as the digital technologies that bring these employees together. A key problem, says Mortensen, is that teams often lack goal clarity or fail to prioritize competing commitments correctly. The result is employees belonging to multiple teams focusing on less urgent projects, to the detriment of the entire organization. Mortensen teaches managers how to build strategies and cultures that make coordination between and amongst teams more efficient and productive, reducing the likelihood of misplaced priorities or miscommunication.

Mortensen’s emphasis on team dynamics extends to analyzing the ways technology and the rise of the “gig economy” have transformed the relationships between employees and their organizations, their managers, and even their co-workers. Successful coordination requires trust. As employment has become increasingly contractual and short-term, companies have struggled to maintain healthy collaboration and allow employees to forge the close working relationships that drive fruitful initiatives. Mortensen offers new frameworks for managers seeking to strengthen team bonds and build trust in a time when workers feel less attached to companies and fellow employees.

Mortensen, owner and principal consultant of Global Works Consulting, advises companies across a wide range of industries on issues of team dynamics, global collaboration, power and social networks and organizational change. Having worked with companies such as adidas, Deutsche Telekom, Ge Re, Goldman Sachs, Maersk Oil, Merck KGaA, SAP, and Qatar Petroleum, Mortensen helps leaders devise strategies that improve how people work together and propel organizations into the future of work. Prior to joining INSEAD, Mortensen was on the faculty of the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Desautels School of Management at McGill University. Professor Mortensen holds a doctorate in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Colby College, both in computer science.

Mark Mortensen is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

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Mortensen, Mark

Biography

How do you design an organization that thrives in the complex 21st century business environment? INSEAD professor Mark Mortensen, a leading expert on organizational design and human resources, says that process begins with identifying and understanding the rapid changes taking place within organizations. With keynote speeches that spur audiences to consider the inherent risks their existing business models have on employees and company culture, Mortensen shows leaders how to transform and build adaptable, collaborative global companies in the era of digital disruption.

Mortensen’s research focuses on the many ways in which technology has changed how we work together and offers concrete frameworks for improving team dynamics and cross-project collaboration. Companies increasingly rely on cross-functional groups working remotely from offices around the world in overlapping and fluidly shifting projects. This means leaders must navigate the challenges of global collaboration – differences in language, culture and time-zone – as well as the digital technologies that bring these employees together. A key problem, says Mortensen, is that teams often lack goal clarity or fail to prioritize competing commitments correctly. The result is employees belonging to multiple teams focusing on less urgent projects, to the detriment of the entire organization. Mortensen teaches managers how to build strategies and cultures that make coordination between and amongst teams more efficient and productive, reducing the likelihood of misplaced priorities or miscommunication.

Mortensen’s emphasis on team dynamics extends to analyzing the ways technology and the rise of the “gig economy” have transformed the relationships between employees and their organizations, their managers, and even their co-workers. Successful coordination requires trust. As employment has become increasingly contractual and short-term, companies have struggled to maintain healthy collaboration and allow employees to forge the close working relationships that drive fruitful initiatives. Mortensen offers new frameworks for managers seeking to strengthen team bonds and build trust in a time when workers feel less attached to companies and fellow employees.

Mortensen, owner and principal consultant of Global Works Consulting, advises companies across a wide range of industries on issues of team dynamics, global collaboration, power and social networks and organizational change. Having worked with companies such as adidas, Deutsche Telekom, Ge Re, Goldman Sachs, Maersk Oil, Merck KGaA, SAP, and Qatar Petroleum, Mortensen helps leaders devise strategies that improve how people work together and propel organizations into the future of work. Prior to joining INSEAD, Mortensen was on the faculty of the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Desautels School of Management at McGill University. Professor Mortensen holds a doctorate in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Colby College, both in computer science.

Mark Mortensen is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

How to Manage Teams in a More Complex World

In recent years, three trends have made it more difficult to successfully manage and direct teams to complete projects:

  1. More virtuality as teams often no longer inhabit a single office, working globally and through technology
  2. The rise of “multi-teaming” in which people are assigned to multiple teams working on different projects at the same time
  3. Increased fluidity where people move on and off projects as needed – particularly the case in knowledge-intensive and highly specialized work

These factors can make it harder for managers to build camaraderie and trust, and inhibit progress toward a shared goal – and yet, they are unavoidable in an increasingly fast-paced, globalized and digitalized business landscape. In this presentation, Mark Mortensen offers a framework for navigating these challenges and ensuring your teams are productive, cohesive and developmental, even when operating separately or engaged in projects that compete for their attention. Though Mortensen’s recommendations require time and effort, they will benefit organizations in the long term as they increase cross-team and cross-functional collaboration.

The Adaptable Organization

What type of company do you lead or work for? Many leaders expend time and energy predicting what kind of organization will succeed in the future, and then working to make their companies fit that description: an admirable goal, but one that assumes we are better at predicting what the future brings than we actually are. Consider that more than half of the companies in the wildly popular book “Built to Last” haven’t. In this presentation, Mark Mortensen offers a different perspective for thinking about your company’s “organizational fit,” and provides a framework to align what you are (an organization), what you do (your strategy) and where you are (your environment). Mortensen’s core message, derived from his research and consulting work, is that there really is no permanent organizational fit and the key to surviving in the future is building in adaptability. Mortensen shows you how to constantly revisit and reimagine the “fit framework” – as well as your organizational design, power dynamics, networks, routines and culture – to build and maintain an adaptable organization. This presentation has cross-industry applicability and can be tailored to any audience.

How to Navigate the Future of Work

For decades, the relationship between organizations and their employees was one of mutual security: the latter worked exclusively for one company while the former guaranteed job security and lifelong benefits. Technology has fundamentally transformed that relationship due to the advent of the “gig economy” and the subsequent shift away from lifetime employment. But while popular discourse focuses on the insecurity experienced by workers, Mark Mortensen reminds business leaders that they too face heightened risk. Employees can now work for multiple companies simultaneously or leave at a moment’s notice to pursue their own endeavors. It also means that personal relationships within organizations have become less common, which could potentially corrode employees’ ability to work together in groups or with members of different teams. Consequently, organizations in the 21st century must rethink how they manage human resources, collaboration, and their relationship to their employees. Though companies should embrace flexibility, they must also ensure that teams can effectively build bonds that enable them to work together on important projects. Relationships will become more important than ever in the future, and managers must find ways to sustain the cohesiveness of organizations in a more fluid world.

 

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