686: Why You Need Innovation Capital — And How to Get It
Nathan Furr, assistant professor of strategy at INSEAD, researches what makes great innovative leaders, and he reveals how they develop and spend “innovation capital.” Like social or political capital, it’s a power to motivate employees, win the buy-in of stakeholders, and sell breakthrough products. Furr argues that innovation capital is something everyone can develop and grow by using something he calls impression amplifiers. Furr is the coauthor of the book “Innovation Capital: How to Compete--and Win--Like the World's Most Innovative Leaders.”
685: Advice for Entrepreneurs from a Leading Venture Capitalist
Scott Kupor, managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz, says there's a lot about navigating the venture capital world that entrepreneurs don't understand. Some can't figure out how to get in the door. Others fail to deliver persuasive pitches. Many don't know how the deals and relationships really work. Kupor outlines what he and his partners look for in founding teams and business ideas and explains how start-ups work with VCs to become successful companies. He also discusses how Silicon Valley can do a better job of finding more diverse talent and funding new types of ventures. Kupor is the author of the book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It."
Sinéad O'Sullivan, entrepreneurship fellow at Harvard Business School, discusses how space is much more important to modern business than most people realize. It plays a role in making food, pricing insurance, and steering self-driving cars. While moonshot projects from SpaceX to Blue Origin drive headlines, the Earth-facing space economy is booming thanks to plummeting costs of entry. As tech companies large and small compete to launch thousands of satellites, O'Sullivan says we are actually running out of space in space.
Robert Eccles, a visiting professor of management practice at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, says that the global investment community's interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues has finally reached a tipping point. Large asset management firms and pensions funds are now pressuring corporate leaders to improve sustainability practices in material ways that both benefit their firms' bottom line and create broader impact. They're also advocating for more uniform metrics and industry standards. Eccles is the author of the HBR article “The Investor Revolution."
Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, argues that individuals and companies alike can benefit from having rivals. He has studied sports and business rivalries and believes they often add up to more than just zero-sum competition. Grant explains how we can perform and even feel better by taking the risk of treating our rivals more like competitive friends.
Joseph Fuller, professor at Harvard Business School, says that the story we hear about workers being afraid for the future of their jobs might not be right. In surveying 11,000 people in lower-income and middle-skills jobs and 6,500 managers across 11 countries, Fuller discovered that, contrary to what bosses believe, many employees are excited about new technologies and willing to be trained in new skills. But they don't always know what they need to learn or how to access and pay for it. Organizations can do a better job of identifying the skills gaps they have or will soon face and using their existing workforces to fill them. Fuller's project is a joint venture between the HBS Project on Managing the Future of Work and the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute. He's a co-author of the HBR article “Your Workforce is More Adaptable Than You Think."
Harvard Business School's Brian Kenny is joined by professors to distill the school's legendary case studies into podcast form, giving listeners important takeaways they can use in their own businesses and careers. In this episode, Harvard Business School professors Leslie John and Mitch Weiss discuss a case on the city of Toronto, and how it is experimenting with various smart city ideas born of the Google spin-off Sidewalk Labs.
"Cold Call" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
680: How China Is Upending Western Marketing Practices
Kimberly Whitler, assistant professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, believes the days of transplanting well-worn Western marketing practices into national markets may be numbered. She has researched marketing campaigns in China and finds they are faster, cheaper, and often more effective than traditional Western ones. Moreover, she argues they may be better suited to today’s global marketplace. Whitler is the author of the HBR article “What Western Marketers Can Learn from China.”
HBR Presents: FOMO Sapiens with Patrick J. McGinnis
Patrick McGinnis, creator of the term FOMO, engages business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and more about the paths they’ve taken in life – and what they’ve let go of. In this episode, he speaks with Zola CEO Shan-Lyn Ma and Female Founders Fund founder Anu Duggal about how women are driving diversity in the start-up world.
"FOMO Sapiens with Patrick J. McGinnis" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
Marcus Buckingham, head of people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute, and Ashley Goodall, senior vice president of leadership and team intelligence at Cisco Systems, say that managers and organizations are overestimating the importance of critical feedback. They argue that, in focusing our efforts on correcting weaknesses and rounding people out, we lose the ability to get exceptional performance from them. Instead, we should focus on strengths and push everyone to shine in their own areas. To do that, companies need to rethink the way they review, pay, and promote their employees. Buckingham and Goodall are the authors of the book "Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World" and the HBR article "The Feedback Fallacy."
Entrepreneur, investor, and podcast host Azeem Azhar looks at some of the biggest issues at the intersection of technology and society, with a focus this season on artificial intelligence. In this episode, he speaks with University of Bath professor Joanna Bryson on the kind of professional and ethical standards that need to be put in place as AI continues to grow as an industry.
"Exponential View with Azeem Azhar" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
Sydney Finkelstein, professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, says that being the most knowledgeable and experienced person on your team isn't always a good thing. Expertise can steer you wrong in two important ways. It can stop you from being curious about new developments in your field. And it can make you overconfident about your ability to solve problems in different areas. He says that, to be effective leaders, we need to be more aware of these traps and seek out ways to become more humble and open-minded. Finkelstein is the author of the HBR article "Don't Be Blinded By Your Own Expertise."
Harvard Business School professors and hosts Youngme Moon, Mihir Desai, and Felix Oberholzer-Gee discuss news at the crossroads of business and culture. In this episode, they analyze the current food delivery wars and garner some lessons in crisis management from Boeing. "After Hours" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
Nicholas Pearce, clinical associate professor at Kellogg School of Management, says too many companies and individuals go about their daily business without a strong sense of purpose. He argues that companies that are not simply profit-driven are more likely to succeed and that the same goes for people. He says individuals who align their daily job with their life’s work will be happier and more productive. Pearce is also a pastor, an executive coach, and the author of the book "The Purpose Path: A Guide to Pursuing Your Authentic Life's Work."
676: The Right Way to Get Your First 1,000 Customers
Thales Teixeira, associate professor at Harvard Business School, believes many startups fail precisely because they try to emulate successful disruptive businesses. He says by focusing too early on technology and scale, entrepreneurs lose out on the learning that comes from serving initial customers with an imperfect product. He shares how Airbnb, Uber, Etsy, and Netflix approached their first 1,000 customers very differently, helping to explain why they have millions of customers today. Teixeira is the author of the book "Unlocking the Customer Value Chain: How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption."
675: Why U.S. Working Moms Are So Stressed – And What To Do About It
Caitlyn Collins, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis, conducted interviews with mothers in four countries -- the United States, Italy, Germany, and Sweden -- who have jobs outside the home to better understand the pressures they felt. She found that American moms were by far the most stressed, primarily because of the lack of parental benefits offered by their employers and the government. In Europe, women told Collins they had more help, but at times cultural norms around their personal and professional roles had yet to catch up. Collins thinks companies can work to improve the situation but argues that the real solution is carefully designed government interventions that will help families at all income levels. She’s the author of the book “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.”
674: A Theoretical Physicist (and Entrepreneur) on Why Companies Stop Innovating
Safi Bahcall, a former biotech CEO, began his career as a theoretical physicist before joining the business world. He compares the moment that innovative companies become complacent ones to a glass of water freezing, becoming ice. The elements are the same, but the structure of the company has changed. Bahcall offers ways for growing companies to avoid these inevitable forces and continue to innovate. He's the author of the book "Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries" and the HBR article “The Innovation Equation."
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a psychologist and chief talent scientist at ManpowerGroup, says we're not picking leaders in the right way. While we should be promoting people based on their competence and potential, it's often the incompetent, overconfident candidates -- most of them men -- who get ahead. Studies show that, by many measures, women are actually better equipped to become strong, successful managers. But the solution to getting more of them into the executive ranks isn't quotas or other initiatives that mandate gender diversity. To improve leadership across the board, we need to focus on the metrics proven to enhance performance and set higher standards for everyone. Chamorro-Premuzic is also a professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University, and the author of the book "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?: (And How to Fix It)" (Harvard Business Review Press, 2019).
672: Make Customers Happier with Operational Transparency
Ryan Buell, associate professor at Harvard Business School, says the never-ending quest for operational efficiency is having unintended consequences. When customers don’t see the work that’s being done in back offices, offshore factories, and algorithms, they’re less satisfied with their purchases. Buell believes organizations should deliberately design windows into and out of operations. He says increasing operational transparency helps customers and employees alike appreciate the value being created. Buell is the author of the HBR article "Operational Transparency."
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, is on a mission to get more young women into computer science. She says the problem isn't lack of interest. Her non-profit organization has trained thousands of girls to code, and the ranks of female science and engineering graduates continue to grow. And yet men still dominate the tech industry. Saujani believes companies can certainly do more to promote diversity. But she also wants girls and women to stop letting perfectionism hold them back from volunteering for the most challenging tasks and jobs. She is the author of the book "Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder."
670: How Innovative Companies Help Frontier Markets Grow
Efosa Ojomo, global prosperity lead at the Clayton Christensen Institute, argues that international aid is not the best way to develop poor countries, nor are investments in natural resource extraction, outsourced labor, or incremental improvements to existing offerings for established customer bases. Instead, entrepreneurs, investors, and global companies should focus on market-creating innovations. Just like Henry Ford in the United States a century ago, they should see opportunity in the struggles of frontier markets, target non-consumption, and create not just products and services but whole ecosystems around them, which then promote stability and economic growth. Ojomo is the co-author of the HBR article "Cracking Frontier Markets" and the book The Prosperity Paradox.
Kieran Setiya, a philosophy professor at MIT, says many people experience a mid-career crisis. Some have regrets about paths not taken or serious professional missteps; others feel a sense of boredom or futility in their ongoing streams of work. The answer isn't always to find a new job or lobby for a promotion. Motivated by his own crisis, Setiya started looking for ways to cope and discovered several strategies that can help all of us shift our perspective on our careers and get out of the slump without jumping ship.
Anne Curzan, English professor at the University of Michigan, studies the evolution of language. While many of us roll our eyes at bizspeak — from synergy to value-add to operationalize — Curzan defends business jargon. She says the words we say around the office speak volumes about our organizations and our working relationships. She shares how to use jargon more deliberately, explains the origin of some annoying or amusing buzzwords, and discusses how English became the global business language and how that could change.
Ashley Whillans, professor at Harvard Business School, researches time-money trade-offs. She argues more people would be happier if they spent more of their hard-earned money to buy themselves out of negative experiences. Her research shows that paying to outsource housework or to enjoy a shorter commute can have an outsized impact on happiness and relationships. Whillans is the author of the HBR article “Time for Happiness.”
666: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace
Amy Edmondson, professor at Harvard Business School, first identified the concept of psychological safety in work teams in 1999. Since then, she has observed how companies with a trusting workplace perform better. Psychological safety isn't about being nice, she says. It’s about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes, and learning from each other. And she argues that kind of organizational culture is increasingly important in the modern economy. Edmondson is the author of the new book "The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth.”
Teresa Amabile, professor at Harvard Business School, is approaching her own retirement by researching how ending your work career affects your sense of self. She says important psychological shifts take place leading up to, and during, retirement. That holds especially true for workers who identify strongly with their job and organization. Amabile and her fellow researchers have identified two main processes that retirees go through: life restructuring and identity bridging.
Gary Pisano, professor at Harvard Business School, studies innovation at companies large and small. He says there’s too much focus on the positive, fun side of innovative cultures and too little understanding of the difficult truths behind sustained innovation. From candid feedback, to strong leadership, to individual accountability and competence, to disciplined choices, Pisano says leaders need to understand and communicate these realities. He's the author of the HBR article “The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures” and the new book “Creative Construction: The DNA of Sustained Innovation.”
663: How One Google Engineer Turned Tragedy into a Moonshot
Mo Gawdat, founder of One Billion Happy and former Chief Business Officer at Google's X, spent years working in technological innovation. At Google's so-called "dream factory," he learned how to operationalize moonshot ventures aiming to solve some of the world's hardest problems. But then a personal tragedy — the loss of his son — set him on a new path. Gawdat launched a startup with the moonshot goal of helping one billion people find happiness. Gawdat is also the author of "Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy."
Krista Tippett, host of "On Being," believes we are in the middle of a big shift in the workplace. For a long time, she says, we were taught to keep all of our personal opinions and problems out of the office — even if that wasn't the reality. Now, as worker expectations change and people bring more of their authentic selves to work, Tippett says managers need to discover how to allow more honesty and emotions and humanity in the workplace, while still delivering in a high-performing environment.
Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, says it took him years to learn what really mattered at work and how to create that kind of workplace culture. As a company leader today, he works hard to make sure both his job — and the jobs of his employees — are joyful. That doesn't mean they are happy 100% of the time, he argues, but that they feel fulfilled by always putting the customer first. Sheridan is the author of "Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear."
Thomas Steenburgh, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, was inspired by his early career at Xerox to discover why firms with stellar sales and R&D departments still struggle to sell new innovations. The answer, he finds, is that too many companies expect shiny new products to sell themselves. Steenburgh explains how crafting new sales processes, incentives, and training can overcome the obstacles inherent in selling new products. He's the coauthor, along with Michael Ahearne of the University of Houston's Sales Excellence Institute, of the HBR article "How to Sell New Products."
659: The Right Way to Solve Complex Business Problems
Corey Phelps, a strategy professor at McGill University, says great problem solvers are hard to find. Even seasoned professionals at the highest levels of organizations regularly fail to identify the real problem and instead jump to exploring solutions. Phelps identifies the common traps and outlines a research-proven method to solve problems effectively. He's the coauthor of the book, "Cracked it! How to solve big problems and sell solutions like top strategy consultants."
James Detert, a professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, studies acts of courage in the workplace. His most surprising finding? Most people describe everyday actions — not big whistleblower scandals — when they cite courageous (or gutless) acts they’ve seen coworkers and leaders take. Detert shares the proven behaviors of employees who succeed at speaking out and suffer fewer negative consequences for it. He’s the author of the HBR article “Cultivating Everyday Courage.”
657: How Your Identity Changes When You Change Jobs
Herminia Ibarra, a professor at the London Business School, argues that job transitions — even exciting ones that you've chosen — can come with all kinds of unexpected emotions. Going from a job that is known and helped define your identity to a new position brings all kinds of challenges. Ibarra says that it's important to recognize how these changes are affecting you but to keep moving forward and even take the opportunity to reinvent yourself in your new role.
656: Why Management History Needs to Reckon with Slavery
Caitlin Rosenthal, assistant professor of history at UC Berkeley, argues there are strong parallels between the accounting practices used by slaveholders and modern business practices. While we know slavery's economic impact on the United States, Rosenthal says we need to look closer at the details — down to accounting ledgers – to truly understand what abolitionists and slaves were up against, and how those practices still influence business and management today. She's the author of the book, "Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management."
Nick Morgan, a communications expert and speaking coach, says that while email, texting, and Slack might seem like they make communication easier, they actually make things less efficient. When we are bombarded with too many messages a day, he argues, humans are likely to fill in the gaps with negative information or assume the worst about the intent of a coworker's email. He offers up a few tips and tricks for how we can bring the benefits of face-to-face communication back into the digital workplace. Morgan is the author of the book, "Can You Hear Me?: How to Connect with People in a Virtual World."
Rose Hollister and Michael Watkins, consultants at Genesis Advisers, argue that many companies today are taking on too many initiatives. Each manager might have their own pet projects they want to focus on, but that trickles down to lower level workers dealing with more projects at a time that they can handle, or do well. This episode also offers practical tips for senior-level leaders to truly prioritize the best initiatives at their company — or risk losing some of their top talent. Hollister and Watkins are the authors of the HBR article "Too Many Projects." with. They are the authors of "Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women.”
David Smith, associate professor of sociology at the U.S. Naval War College, and Brad Johnson, professor of psychology at the United States Naval Academy, argue that it is vital for more men to mentor women in the workplace. In the post-#MeToo world, some men have shied away from cross-gender relationships at work. But Smith and Johnson say these relationships offer big gains to mentees, mentors, and organizations. They offer their advice on how men can be thoughtful allies to the women they work with. They are the authors of "Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women.”
652: John Kerry on Leadership, Compromise, and Change
John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State, shares management and leadership lessons from his long career in public service. He discusses how to win people over to your side, bounce back from defeats, and never give up on your long-term goals. He also calls on private sector CEOs to do more to solve social and political problems. Kerry’s new memoir is "Every Day Is Extra."
Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School, shares a compelling business case for curiosity. Her research shows allowing employees to exercise their curiosity can lead to fewer conflicts and better outcomes. However, even managers who value inquisitive thinking often discourage curiosity in the workplace because they fear it's inefficient and unproductive. Gino offers several ways that leaders can instead model, cultivate, and even recruit for curiosity. Gino is the author of the HBR article "The Business Case for Curiosity."
Bill Kerr, a professor at Harvard Business School, studies the increasing importance of talent clusters in our age of rapid technological advances. He argues that while talent and industries have always had a tendency to cluster, today's trend towards San Francisco, Boston, London and a handful of other cities is different. Companies need to react and tap into those talent pools, but moving the company to one isn't always an option. Kerr talks about the three main ways companies can access talent. He's the author of the HBR article "Navigating Talent Hot Spots," as well as the book "The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society."
649: A Hollywood Executive On Negotiation, Talent, and Risk
Mike Ovitz, a cofounder of Creative Artists Agency and former president of The Walt Disney Company, says there are many parallels between the movie and music industry of the 1970s and 1980s and Silicon Valley today. When it comes to managing creatives, he says you have to have patience and believe in the work. But to get that work made, you have to have shrewd negotiating skills. Ovitz says he now regrets some of the ways he approached business in his earlier years, and advises young entrepreneurs about what he's learned along the way. He's the author of the new memoir "Who Is Michael Ovitz?"
Editor's note: This post was updated September 26, 2018 to correct the title of Ovitz's book.
648: How Companies Get Creativity Right (and Wrong)
Beth Comstock, the first female vice chair at General Electric, thinks companies large and small often approach innovation the wrong way. They either try to throw money at the problem before it has a clear market, misallocate resources, or don't get buy in from senior leaders to enact real change. Comstock spent many years at GE - under both Jack Welsh's and Jeffrey Immelt's leadership - before leaving the company late last year. She's the author of the book "Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change.”
647: How Alibaba Is Leading Digital Innovation in China
Ming Zeng, the chief strategy officer at Alibaba, talks about how the China-based e-commerce company was able to create the biggest online shopping site in the world. He credits Alibaba’s retail and distribution juggernaut to leveraging automation, algorithms, and networks to better serve customers. And he says in the future, successful digital companies will use technologies such as artificial intelligence, the mobile internet, and cloud computing to redefine how value is created. Zeng is the author of "Smart Business: What Alibaba's Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy.”
646: The Science Behind Sleep and High Performance
Marc Effron, president of the Talent Strategy Group, looked at the scientific literature behind high performance at work and identified eight steps we can all take to get an edge. Among those steps is taking care of your body -- sleep, exercise, and nutrition. But the most important is sleep. He offers some practical advice on getting more and better rest, and making time to exercise. Effron is the author of the new book, "8 Steps to High Performance: Focus On What You Can Change (Ignore the Rest)."
Sunil Gupta, a professor at Harvard Business School, argues that many companies are still doing digital strategy wrong. Their leaders think of "going digital" as either a way to cut costs or to attract customers with a flashy new app. Gupta says successful digital strategy is more complicated than that. He recommends emulating the multi-faceted strategies of leading digital companies. Gupta's the author of “Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business."
Rebecca Shambaugh, a leadership coach, says being too collaborative can actually hold you back at work. Instead of showing how well you build consensus and work with others, it can look like indecision or failure to prioritize. She explains what to do if you over-collaborate, how to manage someone who does, and offers some advice for women — whose bosses are more likely to see them as overly consensus-driven. Shambaugh is the author of the books "It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor" and "Make Room For Her."
David Burkus, a professor at Oral Roberts University and author of the book “Friend of a Friend,” explains common misconceptions about networking. First, trading business cards at a networking event doesn’t mean you’re a phony. Second, your most valuable contacts are actually the people you already know. Burkus says some of the most useful networking you can do involves strengthening your ties with old friends and current coworkers.
Kathryn Hume, VP of integrate.ai, discusses the current boundaries between artificially intelligent machines, and humans. While the power of A.I. can conjure up some of our darkest fears, she says the reality is that there is still a whole lot that A.I. can't do. So far, A.I. is able to accomplish some tasks that humans might need a lot of training for, such as diagnosing cancer. But she says those tasks are actually more simple than we might think - and that algorithms still can't replace emotional intelligence just yet. Plus, A.I. might just help us discover new business opportunities we didn't know existed.
641: Why Opening Up at Work Is Harder for Minorities
Katherine Phillips, a professor at Columbia Business School, discusses research showing that African-Americans are often reluctant to tell their white colleagues about their personal lives — and that it hurts their careers. She says people should expect and welcome differences at work, and she gives practical advice for strengthening connections among colleagues of different racial backgrounds. Phillips is a coauthor of the article “Diversity and Authenticity,” in the March–April 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Roger Martin, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, offers two main reasons General Electric has lost its competitiveness. GE’s stock has been removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Martin blames pressures from activist investors as well as a short-sighted mergers and acquisitions strategy. He’s the author of “GE’s Fall Has Been Accelerated by Two Problems. Most Other Big Companies Face Them, Too.”
Gerry Anderson, the CEO of DTE Energy, and Robert Quinn and Anjan Thakor, professors at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the Olin Business School at Washington University, respectively, discuss how an aspirational mission can motivate employees and improve performance. Anderson talks about his own experience. Quinn and Thakor explain their research showing how leaders can foster a sense of purpose that sharpens competitiveness. They wrote the article “Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization” in the July-August 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Kristie Rogers, an assistant professor of management at Marquette University, has identified a free and abundant resource most leaders aren’t giving employees enough of: respect. She explains the two types of workplace respect, how to communicate them, and what happens when you don't foster both. Rogers is the author of the article “Do Your Employees Feel Respected?” in the July–August 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
637: How Some Companies Beat the Competition... For Centuries
Howard Yu, Lego Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD Business School in Switzerland, discusses how the industrial cluster in the Swiss city of Basel is a unique example of enduring competitive advantage. He explains how early dye makers were able to continually jump to new capabilities and thrive for generations. He says the story of those companies offers a counter-narrative to the pessimistic view that unless your company is Google or Apple, you can’t stay ahead of the competition for long. Yu is the author of “LEAP: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied.”
636: Architect Daniel Libeskind on Working Unconventionally
Daniel Libeskind, a former academic turned architect and urban designer, discusses his unorthodox career path and repeat success at high-profile, emotionally charged projects. He also talks about his unusual creative process and shares tips for collaborating and managing emotions and expectations of multiple stakeholders. Libeskind was interviewed for the July-August 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Bhaskar Chakravorti, the dean of global business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, analyzes the economic impact of India’s unprecedented demonetization move in 2016. With no advance warning, India pulled the two largest banknotes from circulation, notes that accounted for 86% of cash transactions in a country where most payments happen in cash. Chakravorti discusses the impact on consumers, businesses, and digital payment providers, and whether Indian policymakers reached their anti-corruption goals. He’s the author of the article “One Year After India Killed Off Cash, Here’s What Other Countries Should Learn From It.”
Heidi Grant, a social psychologist, explains the right ways and wrong ways to ask colleagues for help. She says people are much more likely to lend us a hand than we think they are; they just want it to be a rewarding experience. Grant is the author of “Reinforcements: How to Get People to Help You.”
Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist and executive coach, talks about why we all should be working on self-awareness. Few people are truly self-aware, she says, and those who are don’t get there through introspection. She explains how to develop self-awareness through the feedback of loving critics and how to mentor someone who isn’t self-aware. Eurich is the author of the book “Insight.”
632: Bill Clinton and James Patterson on Collaboration and Cybersecurity
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and author James Patterson discuss their new novel, The President is Missing, in which a fictional president fights a cybersecurity attack amid intense political dysfunction. The coauthors share their lessons for collaborating across disparate skillsets — “clarity on the objective” and “don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know.” They also talk about their research into cybersecurity threats and how realistic their thriller scenario could be.
Leslie K. John and Alison Wood Brooks, professors at Harvard Business School, say people in business can be more successful by asking more and better questions. They talk through what makes for a great question, whether you’re looking to get information or get someone to like you. They’re the coauthors of the article, “The Surprising Power of Questions,” in the May–June 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Avi Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, explains the economics of machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that makes predictions. He says as prediction gets cheaper and better, machines are going to be doing more of it. That means businesses — and individual workers — need to figure out how to take advantage of the technology to stay competitive. Goldfarb is the coauthor of the book “Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence.”
629: Dual-Career Couples Are Forcing Firms to Rethink Talent Management
Jennifer Petriglieri, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, asks company leaders to consider whether they really need to relocate their high-potential employees or make them travel so much. She says moving around is particularly hard on dual-career couples. And if workers can't set boundaries around mobility and flexibility, she argues, firms lose out on talent. Petriglieri is the author of the HBR article “Talent Management and the Dual-Career Couple.”
Joshua Gans, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, advises against trying to commercialize a new technology or product before considering all the strategic options. He talks through some questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves — like, collaborate or compete? — and outlines a framework he and his fellow researchers have found to work best for startups. Gans is the coauthor of the article “Do Entrepreneurs Need a Strategy?”
Whitney Johnson, an executive coach, argues that on-the-job learning is the key to keeping people motivated. When managers understand that, and understand where the people they manage are on their individual learning curve — the low end, the sweet spot, or the high end — employees are engaged, productive, and innovative. Johnson is the author of the book “Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve.”
Amanda Goodall, a senior lecturer at Cass Business School in London, argues that the best leaders are technical experts, not general managers. She discusses her research findings about doctors who head up hospitals, scholars who lead universities, and all-star basketball players who go on to manage teams. She also gives advice for what to do if you’re a generalist managing experts or an expert managed by a generalist. Goodall is the co-author of the HBR articles “If Your Boss Could Do Your Job, You’re More Likely to Be Happy at Work” and “Why the Best Hospitals Are Managed by Doctors.”
Paul Daugherty and James Wilson, senior technology leaders at Accenture, argue that robots and smarter computers aren't coming for our jobs. They talk about companies that are already giving employees access to artificial intelligence to strengthen their skills. They also give examples of new roles for people in an AI workplace. Daugherty and Wilson are the authors of the new book “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI.”
Nancy Rothbard, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, draws a distinction between workaholism and working long hours. She explains the health consequences of being addicted to your work. She also gives practical advice for managing work addiction, whether it’s you who’s suffering, your direct report, boss, peer, or partner. Rothbard is the coauthor of the HBR article "How Being a Workaholic Differs from Working Long Hours — and Why That Matters for Your Health."
Dan Cable, a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, explains why people often lose their enthusiasm for their work and how leaders can help them get it back. He says we shouldn’t forget that as humans we all need to explore and have purpose — and without that, we languish. Cable offers ideas for restoring people’s passion for their jobs. He’s the author of “Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do.”
Professors Michael Toffel, of Harvard Business School, and Aaron Chatterji, of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, discuss the emerging phenomenon of CEO activism. They explain how political polarization in the U.S. and employee expectations around company values are pushing corporate leaders to enter into controversial political and social debates. Toffel and Chatterji are the coauthors of the HBR article “Divided We Lead.” We also hear from PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, who talks about standing up for transgender rights and what he tells other CEOs who ask his advice on taking on an activist role.
Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter, of the global consulting firm Potential Project, make their case for mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion in leadership. Their survey of 30,000 leaders showed those characteristics are foundational — and often missing from leadership development programs. Practicing self-awareness, they say, leads to more focused and more people-focused organizations. They’re the authors of the new book, “The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results."
620: McKinsey's Head on Why Corporate Sustainability Efforts Are Falling Short
Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of McKinsey&Company, discusses the firm’s sustainability efforts. He talks about the wake-up call he got about sustainability and how he tries to convince CEOs hesitant to make it part of their business model that doing so will improve company performance. He says he sees companies thinking about the environment. “But the speed and scale of what we need to do — I don’t think it’s sufficient.”
619: Harvard's President on Leading During a Time of Change
Drew Gilpin Faust, the president of Harvard University, talks about leading the institution through a decade of change, from the financial crisis to the Trump era. Faust discusses how communicating as a leader is different from communicating as an expert, the surprising ways her study of U.S. Civil War history prepared her for the top job, and what it's like to be the first female president in the University's four-century history.
Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Paul Leonardi, a management professor at UC Santa Barbara, talk about the potential that applications such as Slack, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams have for strengthening employee collaboration, productivity, and organizational culture. They discuss their research showing how effective these tools can be and warn about common traps companies face when they implement them. Neeley and Leonardi are co-authors of the article "What Managers Need to Know About Social Tools" in the November-December 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
617: The CEO of Merck on Race, Leadership, and High Drug Prices
Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of the pharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of North America, discusses his upbringing and how it influences his leadership as chief executive. He is one of the few African-American CEOs in the Fortune 500, and shot to prominence after resigning from a council advising the Trump White House. Frazier discusses the importance of values in leadership and how Merck thinks about R&D and drug prices.
Scott DeRue, the dean of University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, says the old model of business school education is gone. It's no longer good enough to sequester yourself on campus for two years before heading out into the world of commerce. DeRue discusses how the perceived value of an MBA education is changing in the digital era, and how MBA programs are innovating in response to individual and company demands.
What should you do when you become the boss? HBR's new advice podcast Dear HBR: has the answers. In this bonus episode, Dear HBR: co-hosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Harvard Business School professor Alison Wood Brooks, an expert on behavioral insights. They talk through what to do when your direct reports are older than you, how to be a likeable leader, and what to say if you're not ready to be in charge.
Jay Conger, a leadership professor at Claremont McKenna College, goes behind the scenes to show how you can get on, and stay on, your company's fast track. He demystifies how companies (often very secretly) develop and update their list of high-potential employees. And he discusses five critical "X factors" his research has shown are common to high-potential employees. Conger is the co-author of the new book, "The High Potential's Advantage: Get Noticed, Impress Your Bosses, and Become a Top Leader."
In this special episode, HBR IdeaCast host Sarah Green Carmichael introduces Harvard Business Review’s new podcast “Women at Work,” about women’s experiences in the workplace. This episode about being heard tackles three aspects of communication: first, how and why women’s speech patterns differ from men’s; second, how women can be more assertive in meetings; and third, how women can deal with interrupters (since the science shows women get interrupted more often than men do). Guests: Deborah Tannen, Jill Flynn, and Amy Gallo.
613: Controlling Your Emotions During a Negotiation
Moshe Cohen, a senior lecturer at Boston University's Questrom School of Business, says you can't take the emotion out of a negotiation. After all, negotiations revolve around conflict, risk, and reward — which are inherently emotional. Instead of sidelining your feelings, understand them. Cohen explains how to understand your triggers and use your emotions and those of your counterparts to your advantage.
612: For Better Customer Service, Offer Options, Not Apologies
Jagdip Singh, a professor of marketing at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, explains his research team’s new findings about customer satisfaction. He says apologizing is often counterproductive and that offering customers different possible solutions is usually more effective. He discusses what companies can do to help service representatives lead interactions that leave a customer satisfied—whether or not the problem has been solved. Singh’s research is featured in the article "‘Sorry’ Is Not Enough" in the January–February 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, encourages leaders to approach their direct reports like teachers. As Finkelstein explains, being a teacher-leader means continually meeting face to face with employees to communicate lessons about professionalism, points of craft, and life. He says it’s easy to try and that teaching is one of the best ways to motivate people and improve their performance. Finkelstein is the author of “The Best Leaders Are Great Teachers” in the January–February 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Patty McCord, Netflix’s former Chief Talent Officer, sees hiring as constant matchmaking. Building a team of people that gets amazing work done, she says, requires managers to really know what they need, and for HR to actually understand the workings of the business. She says money should not be the reason someone leaves and that we should stop using words like “poaching” and “firing.” McCord is the author of “How to Hire,” in the January–February 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Mihir Desai, a professor of finance at Harvard Business School, breaks down the brand-new U.S. tax law. He says it will affect everything from how corporate assets are financed to how business are structured. He predicts many individuals will lower their tax burdens by setting themselves up as corporations. And he discusses how the law shifts U.S. tax policy toward a territorial system of corporate taxes, one that will affect multinationals and national competitiveness. Finally, Desai explains what he would have done differently with the $1.5 trillion the tax cut is projected to cost.
Aron Ain, the CEO of Kronos Incorporated, explains why unlimited vacation can be in the best interests of employees and the organization. He describes how his software company tracks requests for time off and the conversations he's had with skeptical managers and longtime employees. Ain says the "open vacation" program benefits the business and serves as a template for other companies figuring out how to make unlimited vacation work for them.
Rachel Botsman, the author of “Who Can You Trust?", talks about how trust works, whether in relation to robots, companies, or other people. Technology, she says, speeds up the development of trust and can help us decide who to trust. But when it comes to making those decisions, we shouldn’t leave our devices to their own devices.
606: Box’s CEO on Pivoting to the Enterprise Market
Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, reflects on the cloud storage company’s entry into the enterprise market. He was skeptical about pivoting away from consumers, and it was challenging. But by staying disciplined with the product and deeply understanding market trends, they've made the strategic shift from B2C to B2B work.
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at the global executive search firm Egon Zehnder, makes the case for finding a company’s next CEO inside the firm. But to find the best contenders, organizations have to learn what to look for, how to find it, and how to nurture it. Fernández-Aráoz is the co-author of the new HBR article “Turning Potential into Success: The Missing Link in Leadership Development.”
604: Dow Chemical's CEO on Running an Environmentally Friendly Multinational
Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, discusses the 120-year-old company’s ambitious sustainability agenda. He says an environmentally driven business model is good for the earth—and the bottom line. Liveris is one of the CEOs contributing to Harvard Business Review’s Future Economy Project, in which leaders detail their company’s efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
Freek Vermeulen, an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School, argues that too many companies are following so-called best practices that are actually holding them back. They do it because of deep-seated industry tradition—and because it’s hard to know how seemingly successful business models will hold up over the long term. That’s why, he says, organizations should avoid benchmarking and instead routinely test their business practices before there’s a problem. Vermeulen is the author of “Breaking Bad Habits: Defy Industry Norms and Reinvigorate Your Business.”
602: The Hardscrabble Business of Chinese Manufacturing in Africa
Irene Yuan Sun, a consultant at McKinsey, explains why so many Chinese entrepreneurs are setting up factories in Africa. She describes what it’s like inside these factories, who works there, what they’re making—and how this emerging manufacturing sector is industrializing countries including Lesotho and Nigeria. Sun’s new book is “The Next Factory of the World: How Chinese Investment Is Reshaping Africa.”
Scott Kelly, a retired U.S. astronaut, spent 520 days in space over four missions. Working in outer space is a lot like working on earth, but with different challenges and in closer quarters. Kelly looks back on his 20 years of working for NASA, including being the commander of the International Space Station during his final, yearlong mission. He talks about the kind of cross-cultural collaboration and decision making he honed on the ISS, offering advice that leaders can use in space and on earth. His memoir is “Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery.”
600: 2017's Top-Performing CEO on Getting Product Right
Pablo Isla, the CEO of Inditex, is No. 1 on Harvard Business Review’s list of “The Best-Performing CEOs in the World 2017.” He opens up about his management style and reflects on his tenure leading the Spanish clothing and accessories giant, whose brands include Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Pull&Bear. Successful fast fashion takes much more than speed, he says. Isla discusses aspects of the company’s business model: source close to headquarters, entrust store managers with product orders, and treat what’s sold in stores and online as one stock. He also forecasts the future of physical stores.
Nancy Koehn, a Harvard Business School historian, tells the life stories of three influential leaders: the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the pacifist Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the ecologist Rachel Carson. They all overcame personal challenges to achieve and inspire social change. In Koehn’s new book, "Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times," she argues that tomorrow's leaders of social change will come from the business world.
Jeff Bussgang, a venture capitalist who teaches entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, knows from personal experience and having funded many startups that there’s more than one way into that world. You don’t have to have a technical background. Excellent communication skills and a high emotional IQ are startup skills, too. Bussgang, the author of “Entering StartUpLand,” walks through the process of finding your dream job in a new company.
Dorie Clark, a marketing strategy consultant, answers a burning question: how do people make money off of what they know? She outlines the options for experts who want to monetize their knowledge. Clark explains, using herself and other successful solopreneurs as examples, how to earn revenue from public speaking, podcasting, e-books, and online courses. She also goes over what to charge and when to get an assistant. Clark teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and is the author of the new book “Entrepreneurial You.”
596: Microsoft's CEO on Rediscovering the Company's Soul
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s third CEO, opens up about his effort to refresh the culture of the company and renew its focus on the future. He reflects on important life lessons he learned growing up in India, immigrating to the U.S., and working for Microsoft for 25 years. Nadella thinks of the past, he says, for the sake of the future—of technology, public policy, and work. His new autobiography is "Hit Refresh."
Jennifer Riel, an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, presents a model way to solve problems: integrative thinking. It’s taking the best from two inadequate options to come up with a successful solution. She gives examples from the film industry to show how CEOs have put the process to work. Riel is the co-author, along with Roger Martin, of the book “Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking.”
Annie McKee, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book “How to Be Happy at Work,” tells the story of her journey to happiness—starting with her early job as a caregiver for an elderly couple. Even in later, higher-paying work, McKee saw that pursuing prestige and success for the wrong reasons ruined people’s personal and professional lives. She discusses how misplaced ambition, obsession with money, and fatalism are traps anyone, in any kind of job, can fall for—and how to not let that happen to you.
Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, discusses the research on "multiteaming"—when employees work not only across multiple projects, but multiple teams. It has significant benefits at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Among them: multiteaming saves money. The cost—stretched employees—is hard to see. And that is where the tension, and the risk, lies. Mortensen is the co-author, with Heidi K. Gardner, of “The Overcommitted Organization” in the September–October 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
592: Why Everyone Should See Themselves as a Leader
Sue Ashford, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, breaks down her decades of research on leadership—who achieves it, and how a group grants it. She explains that the world isn’t divided into leaders and followers. Instead, it’s a state that everyone can reach, whether they’re officially in charge or not. She also explains why shared leadership benefits a team and organization. Ashford offers tips on how to effectively grow leadership in yourself and your employees.
Raffaella Sadun, a professor at Harvard Business School, explains why seemingly common-sensical management practices are so hard to implement. After surveying thousands of organizations across the world, she found that only 6% of firms qualified as highly well-managed — and that managers mistakenly assumed they were all above average. She is a co-author of “Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?” in the September–October 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
590: How the U.S. Navy is Responding to Climate Change
Forest Reinhardt and Michael Toffel, Harvard Business School professors, talk about how a giant, global enterprise that operates and owns assets at sea level is fighting climate change—and adapting to it. They discuss what the private sector can learn from the U.S. Navy’s scientific and sober view of the world. Reinhardt and Toffel are the authors of “Managing Climate Change: Lessons from the U.S. Navy” in the July–August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism adviser to U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has made a career of investigating disaster warnings. The way he sees it, catastrophes can happen at any time, so why should decision makers ignore a Cassandra? Now a cybersecurity firm CEO, Clarke is an expert at figuring out who is a conspiracy theorist and who is a credible source. He explains his method through a few case studies—on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, and others—from his new book, “Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.”
Steve Blank, entrepreneurship lecturer at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Columbia, talks about his experience of coming to Silicon Valley and building companies from the ground up. He shares how he learned to apply customer discovery methods to emerging high technology startups. And he explains why he believes most established companies are still failing to apply lean startup methodology in their corporate innovation programs. Blank is the author of the HBR article, "Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything."
Kabir Sehgal, a corporate strategist, Grammy-winning producer, investment banker, bestselling author, and military reserve officer, talks about building and thriving in a portfolio career. He discusses the benefits of pursuing diverse interests, the tradeoffs and productivity discipline demanded by that career choice, and he offers tips for managing a schedule with multiple work activities. And he argues we should stop calling these second careers "side hustles." Sehgal is the author of the HBR article, “Why You Should Have (at Least) Two Careers.”
Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT Sloan School professor, explains how rapid advances in machine learning are presenting new opportunities for businesses. He breaks down how the technology works and what it can and can’t do (yet). He also discusses the potential impact of AI on the economy, how workforces will interact with it in the future, and suggests managers start experimenting now. Brynjolfsson is the co-author, with Andrew McAfee, of the HBR Big Idea article, “The Business of Artificial Intelligence.” They’re also the co-authors of the new book, “Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future.
585: Nike's Co-founder on Innovation, Culture, and Succession
Phil Knight, former chair and CEO of Nike, tells the story of starting the sports apparel and equipment giant after taking an entrepreneurship class at Stanford and teaming up with his former track coach, Bill Bowerman. Together (and with the help of a waffle iron) they changed how running shoes are designed and made. Knight discusses the company's enduring culture of innovation, as well as the succession process that led to former runner and Nike insider Mark Parker becoming CEO.
584: How Authority and Decision-Making Differ Across Cultures
Erin Meyer, professor at INSEAD, discusses management hierarchy and decision-making across cultures. Turns out, these two things don’t always track together. Sometimes top-down cultures still have strong consensus-driven decision-making styles — and the other way around. Meyer helps break down and map these factors so that managers working across cultures can adapt. She’s the author of the article, "Being the Boss in Brussels, Boston, and Beijing" in the July-August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
583: Mental Preparation Secrets of Top Athletes, Entertainers, and Surgeons
Dan McGinn, senior editor at Harvard Business Review, talks about what businesspeople can learn from how top performers and athletes prepare for their big moments. In business, a big sales meeting, presentation, or interview can be pivotal to success. The same goes for pep talks that motivate employees. McGinn talks about both the research and practical applications of mental preparation and motivation. He’s the author of the book, "Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed." His article, “The Science of Pep Talks,” is in the July-August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
582: The Talent Pool Your Company Probably Overlooks
Robert Austin, a professor at Ivey Business School, and Gary Pisano, a professor at Harvard Business School, talk about the growing number of pioneering firms that are actively identifying and hiring more employees with autism spectrum disorder and other forms of neurodiversity. Global companies such as SAP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are customizing their hiring and onboarding processes to enable highly-talented individuals, who might have eccentricities that keep them from passing a job interview — to succeed and deliver uncommon value. Austin and Pisano talk about the challenges, the lessons for managers and organizations, and the difference made in the lives of an underemployed population. Austin and Pisano are the co-authors of the article, “Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Karim Lakhani, Harvard Business School professor and co-founder of the HBS Digital Initiative, discusses blockchain, an online record-keeping technology that many believe will revolutionize commerce. Lakhani breaks down how the technology behind bitcoin works and talks about the industries and companies that could see new growth opportunities or lose business. He also has recommendations for managers: start experimenting with blockchain as soon as possible. Lakhani is the co-author of the article “The Truth About Blockchain” in the January-February 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Chris Kuenne, entrepreneurship lecturer at Princeton, and John Danner, senior fellow at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business talk about one of the least understood factors that leads to success at scale: the personality of the company founder. Their research describes four distinct types of highly successful entrepreneurial personalities: the Driver, the Explorer, the Crusader, and the Captain. While popular culture currently celebrates big-ego personalities in the mold of Steve Jobs, the interview guests show how different kinds of people succeed at that level. Kuenne and Danner are co-authors of the new book, “Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win.”
579: Why Finance Needs More Humanity, and Why Humanity Needs Finance
Mihir Desai, professor at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, argues for re-humanizing finance. He says the practice of finance, with increasing quantification, has lost touch with its foundations. But he says finance can be principled, ethical, even life-affirming. And demonizing it or ignoring it means that the rest of us – those not in finance – risk misunderstanding it, which has all kinds of implications for how we make decisions and plan for our futures. Desai is the author of the new book, "The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return." He also writes about finance and the economy for hbr.org.
Elena Botelho, partner at leadership advisory firm ghSmart, talks about the disconnect between the stereotype of the CEO and what research shows actually leads to high performance at that level. She says the image of the charismatic, tall male with a top university degree who’s a strategic visionary and makes great decisions under pressure is a pervasive one. However, research shows that four behaviors more consistently lead to high performance in the corner office: 1) deciding with speed and conviction 2) engaging for impact 3) adapting proactively 4) delivering reliably. Botelho is the co-author of the article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
577: Why Doesn't More of the Working Class Move for Jobs?
Joan C. Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, discusses serious misconceptions that the U.S. managerial and professional elite in the United States have about the so-called working class. Many people conflate "working class" with "poor"--but the working class is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. Williams argues that economic mobility has declined, and explains why suggestions like “they should move to where the jobs are” or "they should just go to college" are insufficient. She has some ideas for policy makers to create more and meaningful jobs for this demographic, an influential voting bloc. Williams is the author of the new book, “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America.”
Jennifer Petriglieri, professor at INSEAD, discusses how talented employees can avoid being crushed by lofty expectations -- whether their own, or others'. She has researched how people seen as "high potential" often start to feel trapped and ultimately burn out. Petriglieri discusses practical ways employees can handle this, and come to see this difficult phase as a career rite of passage. She’s the co-author of “The Talent Curse” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Wharton professor David Robertson discusses a "third way" to innovate besides disruptive and sustaining innovations. He outlines this approach through the examples of companies including LEGO, GoPro, Victoria's Secret, USAA, and CarMax. It consists of creating a family of complementary innovations around a product or service, all of which work as a system to carry out a single strategy. Robertson's the author of "The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation."
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks about returning to work after her husband’s death, and Wharton management and psychology professor Adam Grant discusses what the research says about resilience. In this joint interview, they talk about how to build resilience in yourself, your team, and your organization. They’re the authors of the new book, "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy."
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London, dispels some of the myths that have persisted in the 20 years since McKinsey coined the phrase “war for talent.” He argues the science of talent acquisition and retention is still in its early stages. Chamorro-Premuzic is the CEO of Hogan Assessments and the author of the book “The Talent Delusion: Why Data, Not Intuition, is the Key to Unlocking Human Potential.”
572: To Reinvent Your Firm, Do Two Things at the Same Time
Scott D. Anthony, Innosight managing partner, discusses why established corporations should be better at handling disruptive threats. He lays out a practical approach to transform a company’s existing business while creating future business. It hinges on a “capabilities link,” which means using corporate assets—that startups don’t have—to fight unfairly. He also discusses the leadership qualities of executives who effectively navigate their companies’ imminent disruption. Anthony is the coauthor of the new book, “Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future.”
Amy Gallo, HBR contributing editor, discusses a useful tactic to more effectively deal with conflict in the workplace: understanding whether you generally seek or avoid conflict. Each personality style influences how you approach a particular conflict, as well as how your counterpart does. Gallo talks about how to escape the common pitfalls of conflict seekers and conflict avoiders, so that you can improve your work and your relationships. She’s the author of the “HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict.”
Deloitte national managing director Kim Christfort talks about the different personality styles in an organization and the challenges of bringing them together. Her firm has developed a classification system to help companies better understand personality styles and capitalize on their cognitive diversity. She and Suzanne M. Johnson Vickberg coauthored the article, "Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators, and Guardians" in the March-April 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom discusses the research he's conducted showing what’s really driving the growth of income inequality: a widening gap between the most successful companies and the rest, across industries. In other words, inequality has less to do with what you do for work, and more to do with which specific company you work for. The rising gap in pay between firms accounts for a large majority of the rise in income inequality overall. Bloom tells us why, and discusses some ways that companies and governments might address it. He’s the author of the Harvard Business Review article, “Corporations in the Age of Inequality.” For more, visit hbr.org/inequality.
Hal Gregersen, executive director of the MIT Leadership Center at Sloan School of Management, says too many CEOs and executives are in a bubble, one that shields them from the reality of what’s happening in the world and in their businesses. The higher you rise, the worse it gets. Gregersen discusses practical steps top managers can make to ask better questions, improve the flow of information, and more clearly see what matters. His article “Bursting the CEO Bubble” is in the March-April 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Danielle Brown, Intel Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, talks about the corporation’s $300 million initiative to increase diversity, the largest such investment yet by a technology company. The goal is to make Intel’s U.S. workforce mirror the talent available in the country by 2020. Brown breaks down what exactly Intel is doing, why the corporation is doing it, where it’s going well (recruiting), where it’s not going as well (retention), and what other companies can learn from Intel’s experience.
Michael Mankins, Bain & Company partner and head of the firm's Organization practice, explains how organizations unintentionally fail to manage their employees' time and energy. He also lays out what managers can do to reduce what he calls organizational drag. Mankins is a coauthor of "Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power."
Pankaj Ghemawat, professor at NYU Stern and IESE business schools, debunks common misconceptions about the current state and extent of globalization. (Hint: the world is not nearly as globalized as people think.) He also discusses how popular reactions in Europe and the U.S. against globalization recently could affect the global economy, and how companies will need to adapt to the new reality. Ghemawat is the author of several books on globalization, including “World 3.0” and most recently “The Laws of Globalization and Business Applications.”
564: Why You Should Buy a Business (and How to Do It)
Richard S. Ruback and Royce Yudkoff, professors at Harvard Business School, spell out an overlooked career path: buying a business and running it as CEO. Purchasing a small company lets you become your own boss and reap financial rewards without the risks of founding a start-up. Still, there are things you need to know. Ruback and Yudkoff are the authors of the “HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business.”
Andy Molinsky, professor of organizational behavior at Brandeis International Business School, discusses practical techniques for getting outside of your comfort zone, and how that can develop new capabilities and experiences that can help your career. His new book is “Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence.”
Larry Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, is calling on American business leaders to stand up to President Donald Trump. Summers sharply criticizes the administration’s protectionist agenda, and he says it’s time for executives to call out how those policies undermine the economy and the country's best interests in the long term.
Senior leaders Brad Feld, Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Mike Ghaffary, Heidi Roizen, and John Rogers Jr. discuss burning out on giving, the techniques they use to avoid it, and how they recognize it in their employees.
Jerry Seinfeld shares his insights into innovation, self-criticism, and how to know when to quit. The U.S. comedian conquered 1990s television with his sitcom and is now finding a new audience for his online talk show, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."
Roger Martin of Rotman School of Management, Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University, Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and HBR Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius respectively discuss customer loyalty, the neuroscience of trust, entrepreneurship in Africa, the source of innovation, and the new, hefty magazine. For more, see the January-February 2017 issue.
Harvard Law School lecturer Heidi K. Gardner discusses how firms gain a competitive edge when specialists collaborate across functional boundaries. But it’s often difficult, expensive, and messy. The former McKinsey consultant is the author of the new book, “Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos.”
Basecamp CEO Jason Fried says too many people find it difficult to get work done at the workplace. His company enforces quiet offices, fewer meetings, and different collaboration and communication practices. The goal is to give employees bigger blocks of time to be truly productive.
Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg discusses a nimbler approach to diagnosing problems than existing frameworks: reframing. He’s the author of “Are You Solving the Right Problems?” in the January/February 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Eddie Yoon, author of "Superconsumers" and growth strategy expert at The Cambridge Group, explains how companies can find their most passionate customers and use their invaluable insights to improve products and attract new customers.
Clayton Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School, builds upon the theory of disruptive innovation for which he is well-known. He speaks about his new book examining how successful companies know how to grow.
552: How Focusing on Content Leads the Media Astray
Bharat Anand, author of The Content Trap and professor at Harvard Business School, talks about the strategic challenges facing digital businesses, and explains how he and his colleagues wrestled with them when designing HBX, the school's online learning platform.
Joan C. Williams, distinguished professor and director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings, discusses the white working class voters who helped elect Republican Donald Trump as U.S. President, and why Democrat Hillary Clinton did not connect with them.
550: A Leadership Historian on the U.S. Presidential Election
Harvard Business School professor Nancy Koehn talks about the surprising election of businessman Donald Trump as U.S. president, and what leaders throughout history can tell us about bridging divides and leading in times of uncertainty.
Jeffrey Garten of Yale School of Management discusses how Genghis Khan, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Margaret Thatcher, and others made the world more integrated. Garten is the author of "From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization through Ten Extraordinary Lives".
Authority changes us all. Berkeley's Dacher Keltner, author of the HBR article "Don't Let Power Corrupt You" and the book "The Power Paradox" explains how to avoid succumbing to power's negative effects.
544: Macromanagement Is Just as Bad as Micromanagement
Tanya Menon, associate professor at Fisher College of Management, Ohio State University, explains how to recognize if your management style is too hands off. She's the co-author of "Stop Spending, Start Managing: Strategies to Transform Wasteful Habits."
Rob Cross, professor at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, explains how work became an exhausting marathon of group projects. He's the coauthor of the HBR article "Collaborative Overload."
Joseph Badaracco, Harvard Business School professor, explains what to do when no decision feels like a good decision. He is the author of "Managing in the Gray: Five Timeless Questions for Resolving Your Toughest Problems at Work."
David Burkus, author of "Under New Management", explains why some companies are taking extreme measures to limit electronic communication. Burkus is also a professor at Oral Roberts University and host of the podcast Radio Free Leader.
Moira Weigel explains how the changing nature of work has reshaped the way we meet, date, and fall in love. She's the author of "Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating" and is completing a Ph.D. at Yale University.
Leslie John, Harvard Business School professor, explains why you shouldn't waste time trying to detect your counterpart's lies; instead, use tactics drawn from psychology to get them to divulge the truth. She's the author of the HBR article "How to Negotiate with a Liar."
Ethan Bernstein, Harvard Business School professor, and John Bunch, holacracy implementation lead at Zappos, discuss the online retailer's transition to a flat, self-managed organization. They are the coauthors of the HBR article "Beyond the Holacracy Hype."
More of us are working in organizations employing a mix of freelancers, contractors, consultants, and full-timers, explains Jonathan Younger, coauthor with Norm Smallwood of "Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts."
529: Greg Louganis on How to Achieve Peak Performance
The champion diver explains how visualization and ambitious goal-setting helped him achieve double gold medals in back-to-back Olympic Games and why he now serves as a mentor to younger athletes and a spokesman for LGBT causes.
Managers play a huge role in their employees' personal lives, which in turn affects productivity, morale, and turnover at work. Professor Scott Behson, author of "The Working Dad's Survival Guide," and professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, gives practical tips for being a leader who is flexible, fair, and effective.
Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, both of Harvard, discuss what they've learned from studying radically transparent organizations where people at all levels of the hierarchy get candid feedback, show vulnerability, and grow on the job. Their book is "An Everyone Culture."
519: Smart Managers Don't Compare People to the "Average"
Todd Rose, the Director of the Mind, Brain, & Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the author of "The End of Average: How to Succeed in a World That Values Sameness," explains why we should stop using averages to understand individuals.
Kira Hudson Banks, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the department of psychology at Saint Louis University, and a principal at consulting firm the Mouse and the Elephant. We spoke with her about why managers shouldn't wait for a controversy to start talking about race.
Job interviews can feel more like a stylized ritual than a normal conversation. Esquire writer and journalist Cal Fussman, who's interviewed scores of people from Mikhail Gorbachev to Jeff Bezos to Dr. Dre, gives us his advice, from how to build trust with a subject to getting an honest answer to a tough question.
Lorne Michaels, Bill Walsh, Alice Waters–all have had a disproportionate impact in their respective industries through their knack for collecting and inspiring great talent. We hear how they do it from Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth Professor of Management in Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the author of "Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent".
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman have administered thousands of 360-degree assessments through their consulting firm, Zenger/Folkman. This has given them a wealth of information about who benefits from criticism, and how to deliver it.
Emma Seppälä, Stanford researcher and author of "The Happiness Track," explains the proven benefits of a positive outlook; simple ways to increase your sense of well-being; and why it's not about being ecstatic or excited all the time.
Jennifer Magnolfi, Founder & Principal Investigator at Programmable Habitats LLC, on how digital work, and the Internet of Things will fundamentally change the how we use the buildings and neighborhoods we work in.
Eric Clayberg, Google software-engineering manager, talks with Harvard Business School professor David Garvin about the feedback and training that he and others at the company receive through Project Oxygen.
Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT Group, and Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former communications director, sat down with editor in chief Adi Ignatius at the launch of Harvard Business Review's London office.