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“Why we work determines how well we work”

Lindsay McGregor cowrote the New York Times bestselling book Primed to Perform and is the CEO of Vega Factor, a consulting and technology company that helps organizations build high-performing operating models and cultures. She recently joined our Integrated Talent Management class as a guest lecturer to share her insights on organizational culture.

A required course in the M.S. in Human Capital Management (HCM) program, Integrated Talent Management examines how organizational processes are designed to attract, manage, develop, motivate, and retain key people. Through in-depth investigations of key talent processes—such as performance management, career management, succession management, leadership development, learning and capability development, total rewards, and talent acquisition—students will participate in an industry-based exercise designed to demonstrate how an organization’s overall capabilities are more effective when integrated through a common interface, data platform, workflow, and cross-process reporting and analytics.

McGregor started the February lecture by sharing her research, which reveals that high-performing organizations have the ability to demonstrate both tactical and adaptive performance. She defines tactical performance as the ability to execute a plan, and adaptive performance as having the ability to adjust the plan and change direction when needed.

McGregor added that in order for an organization to demonstrate both types of performance, employees must be positively motivated. Motivation, she said, plays a big part in an individual’s ability and willingness to perform. “Why we work determines how well we work,” she added.  

A focus on play, purpose, and potential will increase employee motivation, and it is important to align these intrinsic motives into all aspects of a company’s culture, McGregor explained.


About the Program

The Columbia University M.S. in Human Capital Management program prepares graduates to be world-class HCM strategists able to address changing needs in building and motivating talented, engaged workforces in the private, public, academic, and not-for-profit sectors. The program is available part-time, full-time, on-campus, and online.