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July 7, 2020
Rafi Mohammed, founder of the consulting firm Culture of Profit, says a crisis or recession is not the time to panic and slash prices. He says leaders should instead reevaluate their price strategy — or develop one for the first time — to better respond to customers during the slump and keep them when the economy recovers. He shares examples of companies across a variety of industries that have created effective price strategies as well as his advice for changing prices in response to Covid-19. Mohammed is the author of “The 1% Windfall: How Successful Companies Use Price to Profit and Grow.”
June 30, 2020
Carlos Brito, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev since 2008, has worked to build a culture of adaptability and customer centricity at the global brewer. Many of his leadership principles are paying off during the Covid-19 pandemic, as empowered employees have quickly changed course to respond to the crisis. Brito explains the challenges his company faces in a making beer for social gatherings at a time when people need to stay apart for safety, how the company has shifted operations and supply chains thanks in part to early lessons in markets such as China and South Korea, and how he’s leading strategic efforts to position AB InBev for a new reality.
June 23, 2020
Katherine Gehl, a former CEO and the founder of the Institute for Political Innovation, and Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School, apply his Five Forces framework to explain why U.S. politics are dysfunctional. They argue that the Republican and Democratic parties make up an industry duopoly with high barriers to entry and low consumer power, and that the resulting lack of competition incentivizes these two dominant players to avoid compromises with majority support. Gehl and Porter provide specific innovations on how to enhance competition and better serve the public, including nonpartisan primary elections and ranked-choice voting. Gehl and Porter are coauthors of the new book “The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy” and the HBR article “Fixing U.S. Politics."
June 16, 2020
Megan Rapinoe, U.S. women's soccer star and World Cup champion, knows how to perform under pressure, motivate her teammates, and advocate for the causes she believes in. In addition to her stellar play as a professional athlete, she's been outspoken about racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and gender pay equity. She offers lessons on overcoming losses, growing into a leadership role, becoming an ally, and operating as your authentic self.
June 15, 2020
Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, has spent a career leading teams, building businesses, and managing people at every level. Along the way, he's learned valuable lessons about the best ways to bring on new talent – as well as when and how to let people go. He also teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the author of the book “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.”
June 9, 2020
Ella Washington, an organizational psychologist at Georgetown University, argues that private sector American organizations have a big role to play in sustaining the fight for racial justice that has gained such momentum in recent weeks. She says that widespread protests should mark a shift in how companies and their leaders push for government policy change, think about diversity and inclusion in their own workplaces, and strive to combat bias and inequality in U.S. society. It not enough for CEOs to release statements and continue on with business as usual. To promote real change, they need to work on these issues each and every day. Washington is the coauthor of the HBR article "U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism."
June 2, 2020
Frances Frei, professor at Harvard Business School, says that trust, empathy - and even a bit of tough love - are all essential ingredients to strong leadership in today's world. Successful managers focus on the effect they have on others, not themselves. They also define a strategy and create a culture that drives employee behavior in their absence. Frei is the coauthor, along with Anne Morriss, of the book "Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You" as well as the HBR article “Begin with Trust.”
May 26, 2020
Darrell Rigby, partner at Bain & Company, says many firms have rapidly adopted agile principles to react to the coronavirus crisis. Namely, they’ve been ditching bureaucratic planning processes and instead fast-tracking ideas, holding focused meetings, and empowering decisions at lower levels of the organization. He argues that C-suite leaders should keep this newfound organizational nimbleness for good and explains how they can. With Sarah Elk and Steve Berez, Rigby wrote the HBR article “The Agile C-Suite” and the new book Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos.
May 19, 2020
Ken Banta, founder of the Vanguard Network, and Orlan Boston, partner at Ernst & Young, argue that every aspiring leader needs to have a side gig -- not to pursue a crazy dream or earn some extra cash but to enhance their skills, knowledge, and network in a way that benefits their existing careers. The key is to find meaningful and strategic roles that help you bring new insights and experience to your day job, and you can even let your boss in on your plans. Banta and Boston are the authors of the HBR article "The Strategic Side Gig."
May 12, 2020
Mark Johnson, cofounder of the consulting firm Innosight, says that too many managers develop strategy while focusing on problems in the present, and that’s especially true during a crisis. Instead, he argues, leaders should imagine the future and work backward, so they can build their organization for that new reality. He shares practical steps managers can take to look beyond the typical short-term planning horizon and help their teams grasp future opportunities. Johnson is the coauthor of the HBR article "Leaders, Do You Have a Clear Vision for the Post-Crisis Future?" and the book "Lead from the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking into Breakthrough Growth."
May 5, 2020
Myriam Sidibe, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, says that brands are uniquely positioned to encourage shifts in consumer behavior that benefit individuals, communities, and the environment. A public health expert, she has studied these types of mission-led marketing campaigns and helped Unilever design one for Lifebuoy soap that not only promoted hand-washing in the developing world but also boosted the business's bottom line. She explains how companies of any size can find the right causes, craft authentic messages, and measure the return on their investments, adding that the current pandemic and economic crisis have made this work even more important. Sidibe is the author of the HBR article "Marketing Meets Mission."
April 28, 2020
Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School, says the need for organizations to adopt digital business models is more important than ever. Change is accelerating as startups tackle incumbents. And suddenly the coronavirus crisis is forcing the hand of many companies that have put off digital transformations. She explains how established firms can avoid bet-the-farm moves and instead take small steps and quickly target their experiments. McGrath is the coauthor of the HBR article "Discovery-Driven Digital Transformation."
April 21, 2020
Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, says that, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were facing another health crisis: loneliness. Studies show that, around the world, more people have been feeling a greater sense of social isolation, which has many negative affects, including increased blood pressure, reduced immune response, and decreased engagement and productivity at work. But organizations can be a place where people find a greater sense of belonging. Murthy wants us to take loneliness more seriously and focus on fostering the types of authentic connections -- face-to-face and virtual -- that we need to combat it. He's the author of the book "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World."
April 14, 2020
Eric McNulty, associate director of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, studies how managers successfully lead their companies through crises such as the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Boston Marathon terror attack. He identifies the common traps that leaders fall into and shares how the best ones excel by thinking longer-term and trusting their teams with operational details. He also finds that companies that put people ahead of the bottom line tend to weather these storms better. McNulty is a coauthor of the book “You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most” and the HBR article “Are You Leading Through Crisis… Or Managing the Response?”
April 7, 2020
Alex Lazarow, venture capitalist at Cathay Innovation, says that start-ups in cities around the U.S. and the world are creating their own rules for success. While Silicon Valley companies have sparked key innovations and generated huge wealth over the past few decades, not everyone should use them as a model going forward. In fact, we can learn more from frontier entrepreneurs, who are thinking more creatively about raising capital, sourcing talent, and pursuing social impact. Lazarow is the author of the book "Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley."
March 31, 2020
Stewart Friedman, organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, and Alyssa Westring, associate professor at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business, say it’s a mistake for a working parent to think of career and home life as competing interests that have to be balanced. Their research shows how many leadership skills apply to parenting, and vice versa. The professors explain how individuals can stop making tradeoffs and instead find sustainable ways to advance their careers and also parent more effectively. Friedman and Westring are the authors of the book "Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life."
March 26, 2020
In 1976, broadcast journalist Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore to coanchor the evening newscast at a local TV station. But she struggled in that spot and was moved to the morning talk show. That demotion led Winfrey to discover a professional calling that aligned with her personal sensibilities and emerging strengths. In the final episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn trace Winfrey’s career as an entrepreneur and leader of a media empire. They discover lessons on how to cultivate self-awareness, cross traditional boundaries, and responsibly wield influence.
March 24, 2020
Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, says that there are simple ways leaders can help their employees stay productive, focused, and psychologically healthy as they work from home during the current global pandemic. The right technology tools and clear and constant communication are more important than ever. She recommends that managers do an official remote-work launch, carefully plan and facilitate virtual meetings, and pay extra attention to workers' behavior. For individual contributors, it's critical to maintain a routine but also embrace flexibility, especially if you're in the house with family.
March 19, 2020
In 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote a scathing letter to his top Union general, who had squandered a chance to end the Civil War. Then Lincoln folded it up and tucked it away in his desk. He never sent it. Lincoln understood that the first action that comes to mind is often counter-productive. In the third episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn explore Lincoln’s career both before and during America’s greatest crisis. They discover lessons on how to learn continuously, communicate values, and exercise emotional self-control.
March 17, 2020
Jim McKelvey, entrepreneur and cofounder of Square, says that most companies that think of themselves as innovative are really just copycats. True innovation, he argues, is about fearlessly exploring novel solutions and dramatically expanding markets. Doing so also helps startups defend their innovations against industry giants, as Square did against Amazon. McKelvey is the author of the book “The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.”
March 12, 2020
In 1958, writer Rachel Carson began her exhaustive research on the effects of widespread pesticide use for her next book, Silent Spring. Over the next four years, she built up an airtight case showing how the world’s most powerful chemical companies were harming animals, plants, and people. Her effort was also a race against time, as she struggled against an aggressive form of breast cancer. In the second episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn trace the modern environmental movement back to Carson’s pioneering reporting and powerful prose. They discover lessons in how to strengthen your resilience, gather your energy and skills for a coming challenge, and why caretaking is an act of leadership.
March 10, 2020
Rebecca Henderson, professor at Harvard Business School, says that both capitalism and democracy are failing us. She argues that it will take public and private leaders working together to simultaneously fix these two systems because free markets don't function well without free politics and healthy government needs corporate support to survive. She is calling on the business community to take the first step. Henderson is the author of the upcoming book "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire." And the March Big Idea article, "The Business Case for Saving Democracy."
March 5, 2020
In 1915, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship became trapped in ice, north of Antarctica. For the next two years, he kept his crew of 27 men alive on a drifting ice cap, then led them in their escape. How Shackleton did that has become one of the most famous leadership case studies. In the first episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn analyze Shackleton’s leadership during the struggle to survive. They discover lessons in building a team, learning from bad bosses, and cultivating empathy.
March 3, 2020
Michelle King, director of inclusion at Netflix, says it’s time to stop telling women to adapt to the male-dominated workplace and time for the workplace itself to change. Her prior academic research shows that diversity training and anti-harassment efforts address important issues but fall short of creating gender equality in organizations. She identifies the real obstacles and shares how leaders can create a culture of equality at work, for women and men alike. King is the author of the book "The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work.”
February 25, 2020
Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, has spent a career leading teams, building businesses, and managing people at every level. Along the way, he's learned valuable lessons about the best ways to bring on new talent – as well as when and how to let people go. He also teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the author of the book “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.”
February 25, 2020
Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, has spent a career leading teams, building businesses, and managing people at every level. Along the way, he's learned valuable lessons about the best ways to bring on new talent – as well as when and how to let people go. He also teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the author of the book “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.”
February 18, 2020
Kim Scott, a cofounder of the executive coaching firm Radical Candor, says that too many managers give meaningless positive feedback, while many others are highly critical without showing any understanding. Scott, who previously worked at Google and has consulted for Twitter and Dropbox, says leaders should learn to give honest feedback in the moment, while also developing a relationship that shows how the hard feedback is coming from a place of caring. She explains the steps managers can take to challenge more directly while also communicating empathy. Scott is the author of the book "Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity."
February 11, 2020
Laura Huang, associate professor at Harvard Business School, has studied groups that face bias in the workplace, from entrepreneurs with accents to women and people of color. She says that the best way for individuals to overcome this type of adversity is to acknowledge and harness it, so it plays to their advantage instead of holding them back. Start by recognizing your outsider status and the preconceived notions others might have about you, then surprise them by showing how you defy their expectations and can offer unique value. Huang is the author of the book "Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage."
February 4, 2020
Stefan Thomke, professor at Harvard Business School, says running experiments can give companies tremendous value, but too often business leaders make decisions based on intuition. While A/B testing on large transaction volumes is common practice at Google, Booking.com, and Netflix, Thomke says even small firms can get a competitive advantage from experiments. He explains how to introduce, run, and learn from them, as well as how to cultivate an experimental mindset at your organization. Thomke is the author of the book "Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments" and the HBR article "Building a Culture of Experimentation."
January 28, 2020
Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business, coined the term "open innovation" over a decade ago. This is the practice of sourcing ideas outside your own organization as well as sharing your own research with others. However, he says that despite a booming economy in Silicon Valley, companies aren't executing on open innovation as well as they should. They are outsourcing, but not collaborating, and fewer value-added new products and services are being created as a result. He's the author of the book "Open Innovation Results: Going Beyond the Hype and Getting Down to Business".
January 27, 2020
In this repeat episode, we honor the legacy of HBS professor Clayton Christensen, who passed away on January 23, 2020. The legendary management thinker was best known for his influential theory of “disruptive innovation,” which inspired a generation of executives and entrepreneurs. This HBR IdeaCast interview was originally published in 2016.
January 21, 2020
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, believes the world demands a new kind of business leader. She says so-called “advanced leaders” work inside and outside their companies to tackle big issues such as climate change, public health, and social inequality. She gives real-life examples and explains how business leaders can harness their experience, networks, innovative approaches, and the power of their organizations to solve challenging problems. Kanter is the author of the book "Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Small Innovation at a Time."
January 14, 2020
Joan Williams, professor and the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, says that it's extremely difficult for organizations to rid their workforces of the unconscious biases that can prevent women and minorities from advancing. But it's not so hard for individual managers to interrupt bias within their own teams. She offers specific suggestions for how bosses can shift their approach in four areas: hiring, meetings, assignments, and reviews/promotions. Leaders who employ these practices, she argues, are able to embrace and reap the advantages of diversity, even in the absence of larger organizational directives. Williams is the author of the HBR article "How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams."
January 7, 2020
Horst Schulze, cofounder of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, started out cleaning ashtrays as a busboy before working his way up through some of the world's best hotels and becoming COO of Ritz-Carlton and later CEO of Capella Hotel Group. He shares the principles of stellar customer service to which he credits his success — and explains how they apply to every business. Schulze is the author of the book "Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise.”
December 31, 2019
James Clear, entrepreneur and author, says that the way we go about trying to form new habits and break bad ones — at work or home — is all wrong. Many people, he says, focus on big goals without thinking about the small steps they need to take along the way. Just like saving money, habits accrue compound interest: when you do 1% more or different each day or week, it eventually leads to meaningful improvement. So if you’ve made a resolution for the new year or have an idea for how to propel your career forward at any time, these strategies will help. Clear is the author of the book "Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results."
December 24, 2019
Nancy McKinstry, CEO of Wolters Kluwer, has successfully shifted her company’s business to digital products over 15 years. The Dutch multinational started in the 1830s as a publishing house and now earns more than 90% of its revenue from digital. McKinstry explains how her firm kept investing in product innovation – and how she learned to be patient as consumers slowly adopted new products and services. She also credits the role of increased diversity in her organization. McKinstry is the top woman in HBR’s 2019 list of the world’s best-performing chief executives.
December 17, 2019
Wayne Baker, professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, has spent much of his career researching the best way to effectively ask for help at work. Whether you're soliciting support on a tricky assignment or more resources for your team, it can feel uncomfortable to approach bosses and colleagues with hat in hand. But we rarely get what we need or want without asking for it. Baker highlights some of the most effective strategies for defining your goal, figuring out who to ask, and crafting your message so it will be positively received. He is also the author of the book “All You Have to Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success.”
December 10, 2019
Dashun Wang, associate professor at Kellogg School of Management, crunched big datasets of entrepreneurs, scientists, and even terrorist organizations to better understand the fine line between failure and success. One surprising finding is that people who experience early failures often become more accomplished than counterparts who achieve early successes. Another insight is that the pace of failure is an indicator of the tipping point between stagnation and eventual success. Wang is a coauthor of the study in the journal Nature: “Quantifying the dynamics of failure across science, startups and security.”
December 3, 2019
Thomas Parenty and Jack Domet, cofounders of the cybersecurity firm Archefact Group, say that most organizations are approaching cybersecurity all wrong. Whether they're running small companies or working in multinational corporations, leaders have to think beyond their IT department and technology systems to instead focus on protecting their businesses' most important assets from attack. They need to work across functions and geographies to identify key risks, imagine potential threats and adversaries, and develop a plan for combating them. Parenty and Domet are the authors of the HBR article “Sizing up your Cyber Risks,” as well as the HBR Press book "A Leader’s Guide to Cybersecurity."
November 26, 2019
Esther Duflo, an MIT economist, won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. Duflo’s early life working at a non-governmental organization in Madagascar and volunteering in soup kitchens in her native France inspired her to study economics and research the root causes of poverty. With her fellow Nobel winners Abhijit Banerjee of MIT and Michael Kremer of Harvard, Duflo showed that effective policies often go against conventional wisdom and popular economic models. The only way to find out what works, she argues, is to rigorously test solutions on the ground, and she encourages businesses to do the same. With Banerjee, Duflo also wrote the new book "Good Economics for Hard Times."
November 19, 2019
Pauline Brown, former chairman of North America for the luxury goods company LVMH, argues that in additional to traditional and emotional intelligence, great leaders also need to develop what she calls aesthetic intelligence. This means knowing what good taste is and thinking about how your services and products stimulate all five senses to create delight. Brown argues that in today's crowded marketplace, this kind of AI is what will set companies apart -- and not just in the consumer products and luxury sectors. B2B or B2C, small or large, digital or bricks-and-mortar, all organizations need to hire and train people to think this way. Brown is the author of the book "Aesthetic Intelligence: How to Boost It and Use It in Business and Beyond."
November 12, 2019
Sari Wilde, a managing vice president at Gartner, studied 5,000 managers and identified four different types of leaders. The surprising result is that the “always on” manager is less effective at developing employees, even though many companies encourage supervisors to give constant feedback. Instead, the “connector” manager is the most effective, because they facilitate productive interactions across the organization. Wilde explains what the best connector managers do, how to be one, and how to work for one. With Jaime Roca, Wilde wrote the book “The Connector Manager: Why Some Leaders Build Exceptional Talent -- and Others Don’t.”
November 5, 2019
Steven Rogelberg, a professor at UNC Charlotte, has spent decades researching workplace meetings and reports that many of them are a waste of time. Why? Because the vast majority of managers aren't trained in or reviewed on effective meeting management. He explains how leaders can improve meetings -- for example, by welcoming attendees as if they were party guests or banning use of the mute button on conference calls -- and how organizations can support these efforts with better practices and policies, from creating meeting-free days to appointing a Chief Meeting Officer. Rogelberg is the author of the book "The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance" and the HBR article "Why Your Meetings Stink -- And What To Do About It."
October 29, 2019
Ethan Bernstein, associate professor at Harvard Business School, studied how coworkers interacted before and after their company moved to an open office plan. The research shows why open workspaces often fail to foster the collaboration they’re designed for. Workers get good at shutting others out and their interactions can even decline. Bernstein explains how companies can conduct experiments to learn how to achieve the productive interactions they want. With Ben Waber of Humanyze, Bernstein wrote the HBR article "The Truth About Open Offices."
October 22, 2019
Scott Young, who gained fame for teaching himself the four-year MIT computer science curriculum in just 12 months, says that the type of fast, focused learning he employed is possible for all of us -- whether we want to master coding, become fluent in a foreign language, or excel at public speaking. And, in a dynamic, fast-paced business environment that leaves so many of us strapped for time and struggling to keep up, he believes that the ability to quickly develop new knowledge and skills will be a tremendous asset. After researching best practices and experimenting on his own, he has developed a set of principles that any of us can follow to become "ultralearners." Young is the author of the book "Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career."
October 17, 2019
On The Anxious Achiever, Morra Aarons-Mele explores the way anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues affect people at work – for better or worse. In this episode, she speaks with clinical psychologist Ellen Hendriksen and Arvind Rajan, the CEO of Cricket Health, about the tension between work and social anxiety. "The Anxious Achiever with Morra Aarons-Mele" 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.
October 15, 2019
Jennifer Petriglieri, associate professor at INSEAD, studied more than 100 couples where both partners have big professional goals. She finds that being successful in your careers and your relationship involves planning, mapping, and ongoing communication. She also identifies different models for managing dual-career relationships and explains the traps that couples typically encounter. Petriglieri is the author of the book “Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love and Work.”
October 8, 2019
Ed Stack, the chief executive of Dick's Sporting Goods, decided after the Parkland school shooting to pull assault rifles and high-capacity magazines from all of his company’s stores. The controversial choice hurt revenues. But the retailer weathered the storm, thanks to inclusive and thoughtful decision-making, careful communication with all stakeholders, and a strategic shift to new product lines. Stack explains why he chose to take such a public stance on a hot-button social issue and how it has affected him personally and professionally. He is the author of "It's How We Play the Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference."
October 4, 2019
Melinda Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Pivotal Ventures, is committing $1 billion over the next ten years to advance gender equality. She says evidence shows it's the best way to drive economic development in nations and performance in companies. She shares her own stories as a female executive at Microsoft, a working mother, and a nonprofit leader learning from women around the world. Gates is the author of the HBR article "Gender Equality Is Within Our Reach."
October 1, 2019
Dave Ulrich, professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, argues today's companies need to replace old hierarchical models with he calls a “market-oriented ecosystem.” From research at Alibaba, Google, Huawei, Supercell, and others, he shows the impressive results of orienting teams and processes toward market opportunities. Ulrich is the coauthor, along with Tencent senior advisor Arthur Yeung, of “Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets.”
September 24, 2019
Nir Eyal, an expert on technology and psychology, says that we all need to learn to be less distracted into activities that don't help us achieve what we want to each day. Unwelcome behaviors can range from social media scrolling and bingeing on YouTube videos to chatting with colleagues or answering non-urgent emails. To break these habits, we start by recognizing that it is often our own emotions, not our devices, that distract us. We must then recognize the difference between traction (values-aligned work or leisure) and distraction (not) and make time in our schedules for more of the former. Eyal also has tips for protecting ourselves from the external distractions that do come at us and tools to force us to focus on bigger-picture goals. He is the author of the book "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life."
September 17, 2019
Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, explains how the U.S. economy is growing and actually using less and less stuff to do so. Thanks to new technologies, many advanced economies are reducing their use of timber, metals, fertilizer, and other resources. McAfee says this dematerialization trend is spreading to other parts of the globe. While it’s not happening fast enough to stop climate change, he believes it offers some hope for environmental protection when combined with effective public policy. McAfee is the author of the book “More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources—and What Happens Next.”
September 10, 2019
Richard Boyatzis, professor at Case Western Reserve University, says that every professional can benefit from having a coach — and serving as one for someone else. He says that a coaching relationship moves beyond mentoring or sponsoring in that it focuses on long-term values and aspirations. The best coaches encourage a positive mindset and ask probing questions to help people make the best choices, not only in their careers but also in their personal lives. Boyatzis is coauthor of the HBR article "Coaching for Change."
September 3, 2019
Oliver Hart, Nobel-winning Harvard economist, and Kate Vitasek, faculty at the University of Tennessee, argue that many business contracts are imperfect, no matter how bulletproof you try to make them. Especially in complicated relationships such as outsourcing, one side ends up feeling like they're getting a bad deal, and it can spiral into a tit for tat battle. Hart and Vitasek argue that companies should instead adopt so-called relational contracts. Their research shows that creating a general playbook built around principles like fairness and reciprocity offers greater benefits to both businesses. Hart and Vitasek, with the Swedish attorney David Frydlinger, cowrote the HBR article "A New Approach to Contracts."
August 27, 2019
Laura Morgan Roberts, professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, says that organizations are still falling short on promoting racial diversity, particularly in their most senior ranks. While many large companies have "inclusion" initiatives, most leaders still shy away from frank discussions about how the experiences of their black employees and executives -- including their feelings of authenticity and potential for advancement -- differ from those of their white peers. She points to several ways we can change these dynamics. With David Thomas and Anthony Mayo, Morgan Roberts is co-author of the book “Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience.”
August 20, 2019
Julie Zhuo, Facebook’s VP of product design, started at the company as its first intern and became a manager at the age of 25. Like many first-time bosses, she made many missteps and acted how she thought managers were supposed to act. Eventually, she grew to find joy in the role and today she leads hundreds of people. She says that becoming a great manager also helps you know yourself better. Zhuo is the author of the book "The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You."
August 13, 2019
Daisy Dowling, founder and CEO of Workparent, says that moms and dads with jobs outside the home don't have to feel stressed or guilty about trying to balance their professional and personal lives. The key is to tease apart the different challenges -- from coping with feelings of loss to managing practicalities -- and to adopt strategies to better guide you through each. She points out that while a lot of emphasis is placed on parental leave, and especially new mothers, people at all stages of parenting need practical, immediate, and effective solutions they can implement themselves. Dowling is the author of the HBR article "A Working Parent’s Survival Guide."
August 6, 2019
Matt Beane, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, finds that robots, machine learning, and AI are changing how we train for our jobs — not just how we do them. His study shows that robot-assisted surgery is disrupting the traditional learning pathway of younger physicians. He says this trend is emerging in many industries, from finance to law enforcement to education. And he shares lessons from trainees who are successfully working around these new barriers. Beane is the author of the HBR article “Learning to Work with Intelligent Machines.”
July 30, 2019
Ranjay Gulati, professor at Harvard Business School, says the most successful organizations tend to have one thing in common: a soul. Moving beyond culture, the "soul" of a growing start-up -- or a more established company -- is built on clear business intent, a strong connection to customers, and a stellar employee experience. Gulati says that leaders must think hard about preserving all three elements of the soul even as they scale and never lose sight of what makes their company special. He's the author of the HBR article "The Soul of a Start-Up."
July 23, 2019
Helen Lee Bouygues, founder of the Reboot Foundation, believes that a lack of critical thinking is responsible for many business failures. She says organizational leaders often rely too heavily on expertise and then jump to conclusions. Instead, leaders should deliberately approach each problem and devote time thinking through possible solutions. The good news, she says, is that critical thinking skills can developed and practiced over time. Bouygues is the author of the HBR.org article "3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking."
July 16, 2019
Spencer Harrison, an associate professor at INSEAD, says that managers in any industry can learn from the success of the Marvel movie franchise. While some sequels lack creativity, Marvel manages to make each of its new releases just different enough, so consumers are not just satisfied but also surprised. Research shows that several strategies drive this success; they include bringing in different types of talent while also maintaining a stable core creative team then working together to challenge the superhero action-film formula. And, Harrison argues, leaders in other industries and functions can easily apply them to their own businesses. He is the co-author of the HBR article "Marvel's Blockbuster Machine."
July 9, 2019
Deborah Ancona and Kate Isaacs, researchers at MIT Sloan School of Management, say many companies struggle to be nimble with a command-and-control leadership culture. They studied Xerox’s R&D outfit PARC and the materials science company W.L. Gore & Associates and found these highly innovative organizations have three kinds of leaders: entrepreneurial, enabling, and architecting ones. These roles work together to give direction and avoid creative chaos. Ancona and Isaacs are coauthors of the HBR article "Nimble Leadership."
July 2, 2019
Eugene Soltes, associate professor at Harvard Business School, studies white-collar crime and has even interviewed convicts behind bars. While most people think of high-profile scandals like Enron, he says every sizable organization has lapses in integrity. He shares practical tools for managers to identify pockets of ethical violations to prevent them from ballooning into serious reputational and financial damage. Soltes is the author of the HBR article “Where Is Your Company Most Prone to Lapses in Integrity?”
June 25, 2019
Peter Cappelli, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and director of its Center for Human Resources, says managers at companies large and small are doing hiring all wrong. A confluence of changes, from the onslaught of online tools to a rise in recruitment outsourcing, have promised more efficiency but actually made us less effective at finding the best candidates. Cappelli says there are better, simpler ways to measure whether someone will be a good employee and advises companies to focus more on internal talent. He's the author of the HBR article "Your Approach to Hiring is All Wrong."
June 18, 2019
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the founder of the Center for Talent Innovation, has studied the difference between mentoring and sponsorship and what leaders have to gain from the latter. She says it's important to seek out protégés who outperform, are exceptionally trustworthy, and, most importantly, offer skills, knowledge, and perspectives that differ from your own, so you can maximize the benefits for both parties. Hewlett brings real-world lessons from several successful pairings and tips on how to effectively launch and manage these long-term relationships. She's the author of the book "The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others."
June 11, 2019
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.”
June 4, 2019
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."
May 28, 2019
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.
May 21, 2019
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."
May 14, 2019
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.
May 7, 2019
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."
May 2, 2019
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.
April 30, 2019
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.”
April 25, 2019
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.
April 23, 2019
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."
April 18, 2019
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.
April 16, 2019
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."
April 11, 2019
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.
April 9, 2019
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."
April 2, 2019
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."
March 26, 2019
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.”
March 19, 2019
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."
March 12, 2019
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).
March 5, 2019
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."
February 26, 2019
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."
February 19, 2019
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.
February 12, 2019
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.
February 5, 2019
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.
January 29, 2019
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.”
January 22, 2019
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.”
January 15, 2019
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.
January 8, 2019
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.”
January 2, 2019
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."
December 26, 2018
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.
December 18, 2018
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."
December 11, 2018
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."
December 4, 2018
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."
November 27, 2018
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.”
November 20, 2018
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.
November 13, 2018
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."
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