Juan Díaz-Faes for HBR
I once served on the board of a nonprofit with a group of men and women I deeply admired. Board meetings were an uninterrupted joy. Even lengthy conference calls were opportunities for spontaneous sharing, personal connection, and productive problem-solving. It was Camelot. Until it wasn’t.
As the composition of the board changed, so did my experience. The board got larger. Big donors took board seats – bringing important connections and resources as well as egos and politics. When a voluble board member went on about himself in agonizin [...]
Can a large incumbent company rediscover how to act like an agile start-up?
I believe the answer is yes, though success depends largely on another question: Can the executive team learn to get out of the way?
Behaving like an agile start-up implies speed, a sharply defined mission, and a deep understanding of customers. Those qualities allow a company to consistently formulate the right strategy and execute it cleanly—but also to pivot decisively when conditions change.
Big companies generally don’t act this way, and neither do their leaders. The complex orga [...]
We already know how to reduce sexual harassment at work, and the answer is actually pretty simple: Hire and promote more women. Research suggests that this solution addresses two root causes of harassment.
First, as a raft of studies has shown, harassment flourishes in workplaces where men dominate in management and women have little power. We’ve recently seen this imbalance wreak havoc in the entertainment and media industries, where it’s long been understood that major players like movie producer Harvey Weinstein and former Fox News chief Roger Ail [...]
Marion Barraud for HBR
The mentor-mentee relationship is a tango between a more senior person and a junior one. Just as in dance, coordination and orchestration between parties is necessary for grace and success. And while we and others have written about what makes the ideal mentor, comparatively less attention has been given to the other partner. This gap is unfortunate because, like mentorship, menteeship requires specific behaviors — without which the mentee’s success may be threatened. In this article, we outline six habits of ideal mentees and provide anecdotes an [...]
HBR Staff/Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images
Not long ago, many services such as tax accounting were delivered episodically and in-person, as most health care still is today. Periodically, a client and accountant would meet, review financial materials and status and, at the end of the encounter, make an appointment for the next meeting. Increasingly, in-person accountant visits have been replaced by phone or web meetings and do-it-yourself software like TurboTax. There is still a need for accountants and face-to-face meetings, but typically accountants now require such visits for only the more com [...]
Experts have opined for decades on the reasons behind the spectacular failure rates of strategy execution. In 2016, it was estimated that 67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution. There are many explanations for this abysmal failure rate, but a 10-year longitudinal study on executive leadership conducted by my firm showed one clear reason. A full 61% of executives told us they were not prepared for the strategic challenges they faced upon being appointed to senior leadership roles. It’s no surprise, then, that 50%–60% of executives fail w [...]
Who wouldn’t want a promotion, particularly to a role with leadership responsibilities? It’s hard to argue against more power and more pay. And indeed, promotions to managerial roles are typically associated with an increase in job satisfaction. Management scholars and practitioners have long argued that employees value promotions not only for the accompanying boost in financial compensation but also because managerial positions offer more authority and opportunities for impactful work. Managers also have more job autonomy and decision power, as well as higher occupatio [...]
hbr staff/belterz/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The enduring loyalty of many U.S. white working-class voters to President Trump has puzzled some political pundits. A Quinnipiac University poll suggests that as of October 11, 55% of white people without college degrees approved of Trump’s handling of his job, compared with 38% in the total population. His approval rate from the white working class has held steady throughout his first year in office (it was 52% the week after his inauguration). At the same time, his overall disapproval rating among all voters has rise [...]
Alice Potter/Getty Images
On paper, the project seemed like it would be a hit: The investment by the mining company would bring jobs and 21st-century technology to an economically poor area and tax revenues to the government. So why were citizens blocking the roads and protesting in the streets, drawing considerable attention from NGOs and the media and delaying the project?
This is a familiar scene for companies building mines, pipelines, oil fields, and, more recently, even renewable energy and large real estate projects. Look no further than the recent protests against the completion [...]
Cristina Escultura/EyeEm/Getty Images
Few people today have the luxury of working on a single project at a time; most of us are juggling the demands of many teams at once. In theory, this system of “multiteaming” offers a number of upsides: You can deploy your expertise exactly where and when it’s most needed, share your knowledge across groups, and switch projects during lull times, avoiding costly downtime.
The Overcommitted Organization
Mark MortensenHeidi K. Gardner
Why it’ [...]
Chris Rogers/Getty Images
Globally, many leading organizations have introduced workplace policies to enable flexible work, recognizing its benefits for staff retention, morale, commitment, diversity, recruitment, and being an employer of choice. But despite employee demand and some high-profile examples, it has proved harder to get broader adoption of those policies.
To address this apparent paradox, the New South Wales (NSW) government’s Behavioral Insights Unit used behavioral economics to try to nudge people to behave a little differently and to shift the no [...]
Kenneth Andersson for HBR
I wish he would just get fired.
How is it that rational, good, understanding, kind, collaborative people like you and me can get so triggered by certain colleagues’ work performance that our minds race with how we want them to get out of our lives and work — in any way possible? We come up with long diatribes of the million and one reasons why they need to get their act together — or, better yet, disappear. We don’t care whether they get fired, get a different job, move away, whatever. We just know they’re causing us increase [...]