I got an early start in business. By the time I was 17 years old, I was a partner in a fast-growing company, and when I decided to hire a close friend of my father’s, I was thrilled when he agreed to join.
But it was awkward from the beginning. This man had known me since I was in diapers. I struggled to think of myself as his boss. And so did he. It got really tough when he began coming in late and leaving early, falsifying expense reports, and cutting deals with customers that he didn’t tell us about until after the check was cashed. I agonized [...]
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There is no shortage of hot takes regarding the significant impact that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to have on business in the near future. Much less has been written about how, exactly, companies should get started with it. In our research and in our book, we begin by distilling AI down to its very simplest economics, and we offer one approach to taking that first step.
We start with a simple insight: Recent developments in AI are about lowering the cost of prediction. AI makes prediction better, faster, and cheaper. Not only can you more easily pr [...]
As the new general manager of the Global Research & Innovative Technology Center (GRIT) at Hitachi Metals, Kenichi Inoue is tasked with creating an updated framework for research and development in advanced materials, helping his organization make the shift to a new approach to engineering and innovation in a disrupted world.
With products that include both basic materials and finished products used in automobiles and electronics, Hitachi Metals has established GRIT as a research facility that accelerates the production of advanced materials by using new technologies such as artificial in [...]
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In the past decade, content marketing has become a widely established practice. Companies have hired writers and Chief Content Officers to run departments, create blogs and other materials, and, in the process, some have assured sales people that content marketing can mean the end of cold calling.
The playbook sounds simple: attract prospects with content relevant to each stage of their buying journey and extend offers that motivate them to contact your sales team for a demo or discussion. With online technologies and targeted lists, this should be a cost [...]
As a leader, you probably juggle many things at work and at home. You’re not alone. Most executives I coach struggle with balancing parenting and work duties. They worry that they aren’t spending enough time with their children, and they’d like to help their children learn from their experience and avoid mistakes they’ve made.
What if you could maximize your time by making progress on work challenges while spending time with your children and helping them learn important skills in the process? Given my own challenges with balancing multiple p [...]
Alongside popular misconceptions that healthy people do not need the flu shot and myths about the harmful side effects of the vaccine, numerous studies have shown that one of the biggest reasons people don’t get vaccinated is that a physician never recommends it. (Eighty percent of patients say they would be more likely to get a vaccination if a health care provider recommended it.)
How can we get more care providers to recommend vaccinations? Luckily, there’s a cheap, effective way: “nudging” them to do so by making subtle changes to the co [...]
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You want to be a great boss. You want your company to be a great place to work. But right now, at this very moment, one of your key employees might be about to walk out the door.
She has consistently brought her best game to work and has grown into a huge asset. But her learning has peaked, her growth has stalled, and she needs a new challenge to reinvigorate her.
As her boss, you don’t want anything to change. After all, she’s super-productive, her work is flawless, and she always delivers on time. You want to keep her right where she is.
That’s a g [...]
Is your boss making your life miserable? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Moshe Cohen, a senior lecturer at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. They talk through what to do when your boss is a jerk, a workaholic, or simply incompetent.
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Listen to more episodes and find out how to subscribe on the Dear HBR: page. Send in your questions about workplace dilemmas by emailing Dan and Alison at email@example.com.
From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this e [...]
Is there someone on your team who seems unusually productive? Someone who gets a huge amount done — without working longer hours?
Super-productive people are in every industry. The most productive software developers write nine times more usable code per day than the average developer, according to research by Michael Mankins. He also found that the best fish butcher at Le Bernardin Restaurant in New York can prepare three times as much fish as the average, the best blackjack dealer keeps their table playing five times longer, and the best sales ass [...]
Imagine this: You’re a general manager for a manufacturing company and orders are up. You know you should be celebrating, but instead, you feel gut punched. Your plants are facing severe capacity and material constraints and you know you can’t fill these orders. Now you have to decide which ones to fill, which to delay, and which to turn away.
Your decision will favor winners and losers: desperate customers, angry sales reps, and frustrated factory employees. And, if you don’t get it right, your reputation with all of these stakeholders will take a ser [...]
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Conventional wisdom suggests that negotiators need alternatives to succeed. Alternatives give negotiators the confidence to negotiate offers more ambitiously, to push for more optimal outcomes, and to walk away from the table when needed. But negotiators often have no alternative at all. For example, a recent survey by GMAC suggests that the average MBA graduate only has a single job offer to choose from, suggesting that many MBAs have to negotiate their job offer without an alternative to fall back on.
So what can you do if you lack an alternative? How can you w [...]
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I don’t often start essays about leadership with insights from French novelists, but in this case it seems appropriate. “The real act of discovery,” Marcel Proust wrote, “consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Today the most successful companies don’t just outcompete their rivals. They redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world of copycat thinking. Which means, almost by definition, that the best leaders see things that other leaders don’t [...]