Mistakes occur more frequently than we’d like. And generally, when they happen, we often don’t go about advertising them to others. But companies can benefit from letting consumers know when they make mistakes with a product. Consumers perceive these products as more unique, because they think mistakes in product creation are more improbable than there being no mistakes. And the perceived rarity of mistakes increases their value.
To explore the preference for products made by mistake, we conducted a series of experimental studies and examined market sales data. In our fir [...]
Work invariably ebbs and flows, cycling between steady states, where we feel more in control of the pace and workload, and peak periods, where the work crunch hits us hard. Unexpected setbacks, project sprints, or even vacations and holidays can create mayhem and tension. Maintaining focus and managing energy levels become critical as tasks pile onto an already full load. When you’re in your next work crunch, there are a few things you can do to focus and manage your energy more productively:
Accept the situation. When an acute period hits, it’s easy to resist the fact that it̵ [...]
If you’ve ever cringed in a meeting when your direct report was talking, you know how tough it can be to watch a team member undermine themselves. Maybe the person is interrupting colleagues too often. Or being condescending, or even combative. No matter the specific behavior, your employee is clearly rubbing people the wrong way. As the manager, you know it’s your job to address the issue, but you’re not sure how to start the conversation. What should you say? How do you broach the topic?
What the Experts Say
“It always difficult to give someone serious perfo [...]
Apple made headlines by announcing that the price for its new iPhone X (a fancy term for 10) will range from $999 to $1,149. These prices are commanding attention because they are significantly higher than the base prices of the two other iPhone models that were also announced, the 8 ($699) and the 8 Plus ($799). The X’s price is also noteworthy because it approaches, and breaches, the key threshold of $1,000. Boosting prices into four-digit territory crosses an important psychological barrier for consumers.
Why did Apple push the limits of pricing on the highly anticipated device? [...]
Beginning in 2013, a handful of tech companies (including Yelp, where some of us work, Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook) began to research and release data on the diversity of their workforces. The numbers were grim. For instance, in 2014 only 10% of Yelp’s engineers were female. Seven percent of Yelp employees were Hispanic, and 4% were black. These figures were similar at other tech companies, most of which had fewer than 20% of their technical positions filled by women and had low representation of black and Hispanic employees. At Yelp and elsewhere, seeing these numbers was a wake [...]
Shareholder activism is a quintessentially American form of investing. In the U.S., CEOs live in fear of activist hedge funds, and politicians worry about their effects on workers. But the case for shareholder activism is perhaps best seen in Japan, where the corporate sector tends to be structurally skewed in favor of employees, at the expense of shareholders and the economy. In Japan several factors combine to help insulate managers from outside influence, including cross-holdings where the company owns shares in a partner firm, docile boards mostly composed of company executives, and a cour [...]
No workplace is immune to the self-absorbed and self-important employee. You know the one. Preoccupied with status, appearance, and power, narcissists exude a palpable sense of entitlement, often overestimate skills and abilities (while devaluing others), and can be quite comfortable manipulating others for personal gain.
They can be hard to spot at first; a sophisticated narcissist can create a terrific first impression. What will eventually be recognized as haughty arrogance and grandiose self-importance might at first be misinterpreted as bold self-confidence.
Psychologists define narcissis [...]
Much has been written on a leader’s role in motivating, engaging, and bringing out the best in others. Yet research suggests there is still much more that could be done. Frequently cited is the 2014 Deloitte study that found that “up to 87% of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.” This passion gap is important because “passionate workers are committed to continually achieving higher levels of performance.” Robert Kaplan, author of What You’re Really Meant to Do, [...]
Most companies pay salespeople a combination of a salary, a commission, and a bonus for hitting a quota, putting a portion of their pay at risk. The belief is that at-risk pay motivates salespeople to work hard and direct effort towards sales activities that encourage achievement of sales goals.
In reality, however, many of the commissions and bonuses companies pay salespeople aren’t truly at risk–and as a result, the company may be spending money in ways that produce little in the way of extra effort or motivation.
Pay mix – the ratio of fixed pay (base salary) to vari [...]
The tragic crash of Air France 447 (AF447) in 2009 sent shock waves around the world. The loss was difficult to understand given the remarkable safety record of commercial aviation. How could a well-trained crew flying a modern airliner so abruptly lose control of their aircraft during a routine flight?
AF447 precipitated the aviation industry’s growing concern about such “loss of control” incidents, and whether they’re linked to greater automation in the cockpit. As technology has become more sophisticated, it has taken over more and more functions previously performed [...]
Marion Barraud for HBR
Every day, employees make decisions about whether they are willing to go the extra mile in ways that contribute to their organization’s success. These are important decisions because research shows that when employees are willing to go beyond their formal roles by helping out coworkers, volunteering to take on special assignments, introducing new ideas and work practices, attending non-mandatory meetings, putting in extra hours to complete important projects, and so forth, their companies are more efficient and effective. As a result, a critical task for success [...]
Laura Schneider for HBR
If paying excessive CEO salaries is the most maligned use of corporate funds, stock buybacks may well take second place. Conventional wisdom is that CEOs buy back stock to manipulate the short-term stock price. They fund the buyback by cutting investment, and so firm value suffers in the long-term. As Senator Elizabeth Warren argued, “stock buybacks create a sugar high for the corporations. It boosts prices in the short run, but the real way to boost the value of a corporation is to invest in the future, and they are not doing that.” The UK Government is [...]