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  • Each Employee’s Retirement Is Unique

    HBR.org
    Charalambos Vlachoutsicos
    30 Sep 2014 | 11:00 am
    When people have been around a long time, you tend to take what they bring to the table for granted and you don’t realize what you lose until they go. I remember the havoc raised by the retirement of our family company’s store manager in Piraeus. He was intimately familiar with every single one of our customers all over Greece, their distinctive preferences and whims. If it was a customer’s birthday you saw their name on the top of his daily to-do list. He was able to combine respect and familiarity in communicating with customers and he knew how to apply his sense of humor. I often got…
  • 426: How Google Manages Talent

    HBR IdeaCast
    Harvard Business Review
    25 Sep 2014 | 5:22 pm
    Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, and Jonathan Rosenberg, former SVP of products, explain how the company manages their smart, creative team.
  • Each Employee’s Retirement Is Unique

    HBR Blog Network Full Feed
    Charalambos Vlachoutsicos
    30 Sep 2014 | 11:00 am
    When people have been around a long time, you tend to take what they bring to the table for granted and you don’t realize what you lose until they go. I remember the havoc raised by the retirement of our family company’s store manager in Piraeus. He was intimately familiar with every single one of our customers all over Greece, their distinctive preferences and whims. If it was a customer’s birthday you saw their name on the top of his daily to-do list. He was able to combine respect and familiarity in communicating with customers and he knew how to apply his sense of humor. I often got…
  • Apple Is More Like a Band than a Company

    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Umair Haque
    Umair Haque
    25 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    You’d think by now more companies would have learned. The tech industry still churns out beige boxes. The fashion industry, misshaped sack-shaped objects it calls “clothing” that make adult humans look suspiciously like overgrown toddlers. The food industry…who knows what’s really in the preservative-flavored genetically mutated stuff that’s labeled “food”? All the endless stuff the developed world is drowning in — that we’re melting down the planet to produce — is, for the most part, as unexciting as it is unoriginal as it is uninspired as it is…
  • The Chief Innovation Officer’s 100-Day Plan

    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Scott Anthony
    Scott Anthony
    17 Sep 2014 | 10:00 am
    Congratulations! Your energy and track record of successfully launching high-impact initiatives scored you a plum role heading up innovation. Expectations are high, but some skeptics in the organization feel that innovation is an overhyped buzzword that doesn’t justify being a separate function. So, what can you do in your first 100 days to set things off on the right track? Over the past decade we’ve helped dozens of leaders through their first 100 days. Based on our experience, augmented by in-depth interviews with a few of the most seasoned practitioners with which we have worked, we…
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    HBR.org

  • Each Employee’s Retirement Is Unique

    Charalambos Vlachoutsicos
    30 Sep 2014 | 11:00 am
    When people have been around a long time, you tend to take what they bring to the table for granted and you don’t realize what you lose until they go. I remember the havoc raised by the retirement of our family company’s store manager in Piraeus. He was intimately familiar with every single one of our customers all over Greece, their distinctive preferences and whims. If it was a customer’s birthday you saw their name on the top of his daily to-do list. He was able to combine respect and familiarity in communicating with customers and he knew how to apply his sense of humor. I often got…
  • How to Deal with Bullies at Work

    Angelia Herrin
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:00 am
    You’ve got a difficult, manipulative boss or maybe an intensely competitive and rude colleague. Is it bullying, bad manners, or merely the normal competition of a workplace? Healthy competition and even some aggression can make for a creative work environment where people push one another to better performance. But a bully can destroy a victim’s core sense of self, and limit their ability to be productive. So how do you identify what is at work in your workplace? Are there gender differences in perceptions and reaction? What’s the best way to deal with the different scenarios? In this…
  • We Need Better Managers, Not More Technocrats

    Didier Bonnet
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    Digital technology is the biggest agitator of the business world today. Mobile technology, social media, cloud computing, embedded devices, big data, and analytics have radically changed the nature of work and competition.  And digital innovations will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Technology has tremendous potential to be the engine of increasing human, organizational, and economic prosperity. However, digital technology is not the true story. Digital transformation is. Fulfilling technology’s potential will require leaders to recreate the way their institutions…
  • When Talent Started Driving Economic Growth

    Roger Martin
    30 Sep 2014 | 8:00 am
    I came out of a standard Keynesian economics education at Harvard College in 1979. It was remarkably closed: from what I could tell, we read Chicago economists, from whom the supply-side movement arose, exclusively to mock them. But I graduated into an economy that was couldn’t be explained by applying the tools I had been taught. And within three years of my graduation, unemployment hit 10.8%, inflation 13.5%, and the prime rate 21.5%. It was supposed to be it impossible for all of those things to happen at once. To try to figure out what was really going on, I started reading stuff by the…
  • Xbox Polling and the Future of Election Prediction

    David Rothschild
    30 Sep 2014 | 6:00 am
    For generations, pollsters have used probability polling (think of the Gallup polls quoted on the nightly news) as their go-to method to forecast the outcomes of elections. But cost increases and concerns about accuracy have called the method into question. A new form of polling called non-probability sampling — opt-in surveys on the internet, prediction markets, and even polls on gaming systems — has emerged as an improvement, and a viable replacement. First, let’s take a look at probability polling, which works like this: ask a random sample of likely voters who they would…
 
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    HBR IdeaCast

  • 426: How Google Manages Talent

    Harvard Business Review
    25 Sep 2014 | 5:22 pm
    Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, and Jonathan Rosenberg, former SVP of products, explain how the company manages their smart, creative team.
  • 425: Fixing the College Grad Hiring Process

    Harvard Business Review
    18 Sep 2014 | 3:43 pm
    Sanjeev Agrawal, Collegefeed cofounder and CEO, explains what recruiters, new graduates, and college career centers need to do differently.
  • 424: How Silicon Valley Became Uncool

    Harvard Business Review
    11 Sep 2014 | 2:44 pm
    Walter Frick, HBR editor, explains why we valorize tech heroes from the past, but scoff at today's entrepreneurs.
  • 423: The Condensed October 2014 Issue

    Harvard Business Review
    9 Sep 2014 | 2:43 pm
    Amy Bernstein, editor of HBR, offers executive summaries of the major features.
  • 422: The Fall of the Talent Economy?

    Harvard Business Review
    4 Sep 2014 | 2:58 pm
    Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management, on why talent's powerful economic position is unsustainable.​
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    HBR Blog Network Full Feed

  • Each Employee’s Retirement Is Unique

    Charalambos Vlachoutsicos
    30 Sep 2014 | 11:00 am
    When people have been around a long time, you tend to take what they bring to the table for granted and you don’t realize what you lose until they go. I remember the havoc raised by the retirement of our family company’s store manager in Piraeus. He was intimately familiar with every single one of our customers all over Greece, their distinctive preferences and whims. If it was a customer’s birthday you saw their name on the top of his daily to-do list. He was able to combine respect and familiarity in communicating with customers and he knew how to apply his sense of humor. I often got…
  • How to Deal with Bullies at Work

    Angelia Herrin
    30 Sep 2014 | 10:00 am
    You’ve got a difficult, manipulative boss or maybe an intensely competitive and rude colleague. Is it bullying, bad manners, or merely the normal competition of a workplace? Healthy competition and even some aggression can make for a creative work environment where people push one another to better performance. But a bully can destroy a victim’s core sense of self, and limit their ability to be productive. So how do you identify what is at work in your workplace? Are there gender differences in perceptions and reaction? What’s the best way to deal with the different scenarios? In this…
  • We Need Better Managers, Not More Technocrats

    Didier Bonnet
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:00 am
    Digital technology is the biggest agitator of the business world today. Mobile technology, social media, cloud computing, embedded devices, big data, and analytics have radically changed the nature of work and competition.  And digital innovations will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Technology has tremendous potential to be the engine of increasing human, organizational, and economic prosperity. However, digital technology is not the true story. Digital transformation is. Fulfilling technology’s potential will require leaders to recreate the way their institutions…
  • When Talent Started Driving Economic Growth

    Roger Martin
    30 Sep 2014 | 8:00 am
    I came out of a standard Keynesian economics education at Harvard College in 1979. It was remarkably closed: from what I could tell, we read Chicago economists, from whom the supply-side movement arose, exclusively to mock them. But I graduated into an economy that was couldn’t be explained by applying the tools I had been taught. And within three years of my graduation, unemployment hit 10.8%, inflation 13.5%, and the prime rate 21.5%. It was supposed to be it impossible for all of those things to happen at once. To try to figure out what was really going on, I started reading stuff by the…
  • Xbox Polling and the Future of Election Prediction

    David Rothschild
    30 Sep 2014 | 6:00 am
    For generations, pollsters have used probability polling (think of the Gallup polls quoted on the nightly news) as their go-to method to forecast the outcomes of elections. But cost increases and concerns about accuracy have called the method into question. A new form of polling called non-probability sampling — opt-in surveys on the internet, prediction markets, and even polls on gaming systems — has emerged as an improvement, and a viable replacement. First, let’s take a look at probability polling, which works like this: ask a random sample of likely voters who they would…
 
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Umair Haque

  • Apple Is More Like a Band than a Company

    Umair Haque
    25 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    You’d think by now more companies would have learned. The tech industry still churns out beige boxes. The fashion industry, misshaped sack-shaped objects it calls “clothing” that make adult humans look suspiciously like overgrown toddlers. The food industry…who knows what’s really in the preservative-flavored genetically mutated stuff that’s labeled “food”? All the endless stuff the developed world is drowning in — that we’re melting down the planet to produce — is, for the most part, as unexciting as it is unoriginal as it is uninspired as it is…
  • Our Economic Malaise Is Fueling Political Extremism

    Umair Haque
    5 Jun 2014 | 12:00 pm
    The head of the fourth biggest and fastest rising political party in the world’s second most powerful economy is a racist. An aide to the Prime Minister of one of the world’s most promising societies is caught on camera kicking a protestor to the ground. The world’s largest democracy proudly elects a man who rode a wave of religious extremism. The head of yet another is a man whose calls for ethnic purity are becoming more strident. And that’s leaving out the rise of extremist parties in Greece, the U.S., France, and elsewhere. What’s going on here? Here’s my…
  • Can You Be Too Rich?

    Umair Haque
    12 May 2014 | 6:00 am
    Is there such a thing as too rich? Like most reasonable people, I agree whole-heartedly that people who accomplish greater, worthier, nobler things should be rewarded more than those who don’t. I’m not the World’s Last Communist, shaking his fist atop Karl Marx’s grave at the very idea of riches. So. Perhaps I’ve asked an absurd question. Perhaps there’s no such thing as too rich — anywhere, ever. But try this thought experiment: Imagine that there’s a single person in the economy who is so rich he’s worth what everyone else is, combined. If there were such a person, he’d…
  • 5 Dirty Secrets About the U.S. Economy

    Umair Haque
    2 May 2014 | 9:00 am
    If there’s one thing I hate these days, it’s discussing the U.S. economy. Will raising wages by seventeen cents destroy humanity? Will edible deodorant add 0.000007 percent to GDP? If we resurrected giant man-eating dinosaurs, could we use them to keep our warehouse pickers in line? Isn’t it awesome when the Dow hits a record high (but everything else flatlines or shrinks)? I feel like I’m listening to a debate on the noble merits of true love between the Real Housewives and a bunch of broseph PUAs. By my count, there are five dirty secrets about the economy we’re not supposed to…
  • The Great Leap Generation F Needs to Make

    Umair Haque
    24 Jan 2014 | 5:00 am
    Imagine a towering, sheer cliff. Imagine a deep canyon below, full of ruined cities. Now imagine, on the canyon’s other side, a bountiful plain, rippling in the breeze, stretching into the sunset. Welcome to the economy of the twenty-first century. For young people today, the economy basically feels something like the portrait above, and they’re the ones stuck at the bottom of the ravine. Consider the following: 1. The global economy is broken. I’ve suggested for many years that we are living through a zombieconomy – where the economy seems to stagger forward in a lifelike fashion,…
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Scott Anthony

  • The Chief Innovation Officer’s 100-Day Plan

    Scott Anthony
    17 Sep 2014 | 10:00 am
    Congratulations! Your energy and track record of successfully launching high-impact initiatives scored you a plum role heading up innovation. Expectations are high, but some skeptics in the organization feel that innovation is an overhyped buzzword that doesn’t justify being a separate function. So, what can you do in your first 100 days to set things off on the right track? Over the past decade we’ve helped dozens of leaders through their first 100 days. Based on our experience, augmented by in-depth interviews with a few of the most seasoned practitioners with which we have worked, we…
  • How to Market Test a New Idea

    Scott Anthony
    3 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    “So,” the executive sponsor of the new growth effort said. “What do we do now?” It was the end of a meeting reviewing progress on a promising initiative to bring a new health service to apartment dwellers in crowded, emerging-market cities. A significant portion of customers who had been shown a brochure describing the service had expressed interest in it. But would they actually buy it?  To find out, the company decided to test market the service in three roughly comparable apartment complexes over a 90-day period. Before the test began, team members working on the idea had built a…
  • Why Would Amazon Want to Sell a Mobile Phone?

    Scott Anthony
    16 Jun 2014 | 12:06 pm
    If you believe the rumors, Amazon.com is going to enter the mobile phone business this week, with most pundits guessing that a mysterious video suggest that it will release a phone with novel 3-D viewing capabilities. There are obvious reasons for Amazon to be eying the category. The mobile phone industry is massive, with close to 2 billion devices shipped annually and total spending on wireless-related services of more than $1.6 trillion across the world. As mobile devices increasingly serve as the center of the consumer’s world, their importance to a range of companies is increasing. What…
  • No Innovation Is Immediately Profitable

    Scott Anthony
    13 Jun 2014 | 8:00 am
    The meeting was going swimmingly.  The team had spent the past two months formulating what it thought was a high-potential disruptive idea. Now it was asking the business unit’s top brass to invest a relatively modest sum to begin to commercialize the concept. Team members had researched the market thoroughly. They had made a compelling case:  The idea addressed an important need that customers cared about. It used a unique asset that gave the company a leg up over competitors. It employed a business model that would make it very difficult for the current market leader to respond. The…
  • The Industries Apple Could Disrupt Next

    Scott Anthony
    4 Jun 2014 | 10:00 am
    After an unprecedented decade of growth, analysts wrote off 2013 as a year to forget for Apple. Most pundits agreed on what was wrong — a lack of breakthrough innovation since the passing of founder Steve Jobs. But in our view, Apple faces a deeper problem: the industries most susceptible to its unique disruptive formula are just too small to meet its growth needs. Apple has seemingly served as an anomaly to the theory of disruptive innovation. After all, it grew from $7 billion in 2003 to $171 billion in 2013 by entering established (albeit still-emerging) markets with superior products…
 
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Peter Bregman

  • Prevent Your Strategy Offsite from Being Meaningless

    Peter Bregman
    15 Sep 2014 | 7:00 am
    I was facilitating the two-day executive offsite of a mid-sized technology company. The goal of the meeting was to solve major issues and identify potential opportunities that would guide their efforts, as a company, for the next year. We were halfway through the first day and, while everything was going according to plan, I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I struggled to put my finger on it. I took in the scene. The CEO and all his direct reports were sitting around the board room table and everyone was engaged. People were being respectful, listening to…
  • What to Do on Your First Day Back from Vacation

    Peter Bregman
    2 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    You come back from vacation and start your game of catch-up. This is an especially challenging game if you’re a senior leader. You have hundreds, maybe thousands of emails, a backlog of voicemails, and a to-do list that doubled or tripled in length while you were away. You need to respond to the pent-up needs of clients, managers, colleagues, employees, and vendors. You need to fight fires. You need to regain control. So you do your best to work through the pileup, handling the most urgent items first, and within a few days, you’re caught up and ready to move forward. You’re back in…
  • Don’t Let Your Head Attack Your Heart

    Peter Bregman
    23 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    I had been planning a dinner party for weeks. There were twenty people coming, some family, some friends, to celebrate my wife Eleanor’s birthday. I designed a ritual for her:  my goal was to create a space where people spoke from their hearts in a way they don’t usually do. I prepared questions I wanted us to explore together, questions like: What do you feel grateful for in your life? What new things do you feel are struggling to grow and be born in you? What do you want to let go of, so that the new can be born? Before I go any further, pause for a second, imagine yourself at the…
  • How to Start a Conversation You’re Dreading

    Peter Bregman
    7 Jul 2014 | 9:00 am
    I anticipated that the conversation would be difficult. Shari* and I had worked together for many years, and I knew she was expecting me to hire her to run a leadership program for one of my clients, Ganta, a high-tech company. But I didn’t think Shari was the right fit for Ganta or, frankly, for the role of running the leadership training. In fact, I had become increasingly critical of her recent performance, though I hadn’t mentioned anything to her about it yet. That was my first mistake. I should have said something before it got to this point. So why didn’t I? I’d love to claim…
  • How to Have Friends at Work When You’re the Boss

    Peter Bregman
    19 Mar 2014 | 5:00 am
    Girish* is a client of mine who runs a 500-million-dollar business. He gets stellar reviews and is seen as a high potential successor to the CEO. But he has a friend problem. Several of his direct reports are close friends and he doesn’t hold them accountable in the same way he does his other direct reports. Often, they don’t do what he asks. And they aren’t delivering the results he expects. It’s hurting his business and his reputation. When I speak with others on his team about the situation, they see it clearly and resent Girish’s friends. They don’t understand why Girish…
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Dan Pallotta

  • The Ice Bucket Challenge Won’t Solve Charity’s Biggest Problem

    Dan Pallotta
    4 Sep 2014 | 5:00 am
    I love the Ice Bucket Challenge. Period. It’s a collective expression of love in a world with far too little of it. It has generated public tears in an age with far too few of them. It restores faith. It connects. And, as of last week, it raised more than $100 million for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, up from donations of $2.8 million for the same period last year. So, are we looking at the future of charity? We are glimpsing the potential of momentary collective engagement, but at the same time, we are seeing the confining rules by which nonprofits must play, collectively…
  • Be Kind to Your Employees, but Don’t Always Be Nice

    Dan Pallotta
    12 Mar 2014 | 5:00 am
    At 39, I was the CEO of a company with a few hundred employees. Depending on the day and the employee you asked, I’d rate anywhere from a zero to a seven on the unkindness scale (10 being a tyrant). I’d guess that I normally hovered around 4.5. I doubt anyone would have rated me a 10—that takes a particular kind of malevolence. I wasn’t taken to raging, other than on one occasion when the lives of the participants in our Montana AIDS Vaccine Ride (a 1,500-person, seven-day bike ride across the Rockies to fight the disease) were in jeopardy during a horrific mountain wind storm that…
  • Take a Walk, Sure, but Don’t Call It a Break

    Dan Pallotta
    27 Feb 2014 | 9:00 am
    Every weekday morning, I take a three-and-a-half mile walk around my neighborhood, in pretty much whatever weather my New England town throws at me. I split an apple and give half to each of the horses at the corner of Cross Street. The sounds of their chomps and slurps fill me with vicarious happiness. When I was a kid I walked to school every day with John Flaherty, Doug Casey, and Rollie Graham. At the end of the day, after debate practice, Bill Bailey, Paul Salamanca, and I would walk home. We never stopped talking for a minute, and we could have used another hour each day to say all that…
  • Nest and Google’s Customer Service Problem

    Dan Pallotta
    17 Jan 2014 | 7:37 am
    “…Google does not offer live customer support at this time…” That’s the recording you’ll eventually receive (after you’ve gone through two decision trees) if you call the Google headquarters phone number, the only number listed on Google’s “Contact Us” page. Really? Google—as in Android, Chromebook, Google Glass, Google TV—does not have live customer support? No, it doesn’t. Google’s intense focus on data and technology and advertisers since its founding meant that it didn’t need retail customer support. So not having it wasn’t really a problem. But…
  • What’s the Point of Creativity?

    Dan Pallotta
    9 Sep 2013 | 1:00 am
    Creativity and innovation are hot topics these days, and they are being studied more frequently and intensely. Great observations have come of the attention, as Will Burns writes for Forbes: A coffee-shop study from the University of Illinois concluded that moderate levels of noise, as opposed to high or low levels, foster greater creativity. A study from the University of Stuttgart found that low levels of lighting enhance creativity. And then there’s my favorite, another study from the University of Illinois, that concluded that alcohol intoxication improves creative problem solving.
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Sylvia Ann Hewlett

  • 4 Ways to Retain Gen Xers

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    24 Sep 2014 | 7:00 am
    The economy’s slow but steady improvement should be good news. But employers may find a cloud lurking behind the sunny forecast: They are at risk of losing some of their most valuable talent — and they may not even realize it. These aren’t the usual suspects. Instead of the 50-something Baby Boomers and the Millennials in their late 20s and early 30s, I’m talking about Generation X, demography’s long-neglected “middle child.” Numbering just 46 million in the United States, Gen X is small compared to the 78 million Boomers and 70 million Millennials. Yet proportionate to…
  • The Authenticity Trap for Workers Who Are Not Straight, White Men

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    17 Jul 2014 | 7:00 am
    Many employees are encouraged to “just be yourself,” only to find their authenticity — and their career ambitions — constrained by unwritten office rules about appearance, speech, and behavior. Professionals of color, women, and LGBTs find there is a much narrower band of acceptance, and the constraints bite harder than wearing more polished outfits, getting a decent haircut, or even de-emphasizing an accent. Because senior leaders are overwhelmingly “pale and male” — professionals of color hold only 11% of executive positions in corporate America, women currently make up…
  • Flextime Is Declining, But “Flex Around the Edges” Is Up

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    20 Jun 2014 | 6:00 am
    Earlier this year, San Francisco and Vermont passed legislation that allows workers to ask for flexible work schedules without fear of reprisal. Are such “right to request” laws indicators of a rise in flextime? Or do they reflect a fear that flextime programs are being eliminated? The answer seems to be a confusing “both.” New research from the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management finds an “on the one hand, on the other hand” contradiction. The good news is that some forms of flexibility — mostly allowing workers more control over…
  • As You Start Your Career, Focus on People Skills

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    29 Apr 2014 | 7:00 am
    All across the country, this year’s soon-to-be graduates are revving up to start their careers. You may be one of them. You’re already thinking about what you’ll do when get into your new position. You’re smart and energetic, and you’re eager to commit both of those attributes to moving ahead. But is that enough to succeed? Unfortunately, no. Brains only take you so far. Smarts get you through the gate, but everyone in your cohort of incoming hires has the hard skills required to qualify for the position. The fact is, the link between merit and success is forged through soft skills…
  • What’s Holding Women Back in Science and Technology Industries

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    13 Mar 2014 | 8:00 am
    Virginia Rometty at IBM. Marillyn Hewson at Lockheed Martin. Meg Whitman at HP. Ellen Kullman at DuPont. Marissa Mayer at Yahoo. Phebe Novakovic at General Dynamics. The presence of these women would imply that science, engineering, and technology (SET) industries welcome women. The fact is, senior female leaders in SET industries are still too few and far between. Even as these women blast open doors and blaze trails, new research (PDF) from the Center for Talent Innovation shows that U.S. women working in SET fields are 45% more likely than their male peers to leave the industry…
 
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    Bill Taylor on HarvardBusiness.org

  • The Best Leaders Are Insatiable Learners

    Bill Taylor
    5 Sep 2014 | 6:00 am
    Nearly a quarter century ago, at a gathering in Phoenix, Arizona, John W. Gardner delivered a speech that may be one of the most quietly influential speeches in the history of American business — a text that has been photocopied, passed along, underlined, and linked to by senior executives in some of the most important companies and organizations in the world. I wonder, though, how many of these leaders (and the business world more broadly) have truly embraced the lessons he shared that day. Gardner, who died in 2002 at the age of 89, was a legendary public intellectual and civic reformer…
  • The Best Leaders “Talk the Walk”

    Bill Taylor
    7 Aug 2014 | 8:00 am
    One of the most ubiquitous aphorisms in business is that the best leaders understand the need to “walk the talk” — that is, their behavior and day-to-day actions have to match the aspirations they have for their colleagues and organization. But the more time I spend with game-changing innovators and high-performing companies, the more I appreciate the need for leaders to “talk the walk” — that is, to be able to explain, in language that is unique to their field and compelling to their colleagues and customers, why what they do matters and how they expect to win. The only…
  • Why Amazon Is Copying Zappos and Paying Employees to Quit

    Bill Taylor
    14 Apr 2014 | 11:05 am
    Last week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos released his annual letter to shareholders. As is the case every year, it is a tour de force of ideas and initiatives about the customer experience (Amazon Prime), disruptive technology (Fire TV), fast-growing product initiatives (Amazon Web Services), and strategic consistency. (As he does every year, Bezos attached his first letter to shareholders from back in 1997 to underscore the company’s long-term commitments.) Still, for all these big, cutting-edge innovations, it was a small, pre-existing idea, something that Amazon borrowed from one its…
  • Stop Me Before I “Innovate” Again!

    Bill Taylor
    6 Dec 2013 | 5:00 am
    The Wall Street Journal is out with a funny (and brutally honest) takedown of a word that has achieved almost-mythical status among business thinkers like me. That word is innovation, and it’s quickly losing whatever meaning it once had. Journal writer Dennis Berman begins by citing Kellogg CEO John Bryant, the respected head of a well-run company, who was describing one of its “innovations” for 2013. What was the game-changing, head-spinning new offering that Kellogg unveiled? The Gone Nutty! Peanut-butter Pop-Tart. That’s right, a world that has had to survive for decades with…
  • Pret a Manger Wants Happy Employees — And That’s OK

    Bill Taylor
    7 Nov 2013 | 5:00 am
    Last week, the front page of the New York Times carried an in-depth report on a “broad and transformative trend” in Russia. It had nothing to do with more democracy or less corruption. It had to do with better customer service — specifically, an intense focus inside Aeroflot, the infamous Russian airline, to teach flight attendants how to smile. “Anna, you just showed her the champagne bottle but didn’t say anything,” one instructor coaxed a young employee. “This is the silent service of Soviet times. You need to talk to her. And you need to smile and smile and smile.” I…
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Rita McGrath

  • To Make Better Decisions, Combine Datasets

    Rita McGrath
    4 Sep 2014 | 6:00 am
    A complicated system is somewhat like a complicated recipe. You know what the outcome will be because you understand what will cause what — combine a given number of ingredients together in a certain way, put them in the oven, and the results will be consistent as long as you repeat the same procedure each time. In a complex system, however, elements can potentially interact in different ways each time because they are interdependent. Take the airline control system—the outcomes it delivers vary tremendously by weather, equipment availability, time of day, and so on. So being able to…
  • Management’s Three Eras: A Brief History

    Rita McGrath
    30 Jul 2014 | 8:00 am
    Organization as machine – this imagery from our industrial past continues to cast a long shadow over the way we think about management today. It isn’t the only deeply-held and rarely examined notion that affects how organizations are run. Managers still assume that stability is the normal state of affairs and change is the unusual state (a point I particularly challenge in The End of Competitive Advantage). Organizations still emphasize exploitation of existing advantages, driving a short-term orientation that many bemoan. (Short-term thinking has been charged with no less than a chronic…
  • The Origins of Discovery-Driven Planning

    Rita McGrath
    29 May 2014 | 6:00 am
    When HBR asked us to write about the origins of discovery-driven planning, we had to laugh. It all started back in the mid-1990s, with Rita’s “flops” file – her collection of projects that had lost their parent company at least US$50 million. (Perfume from the people who make cheap plastic pens, anyone? How about vegetable-flavored Jello?) As we studied those failures, a pattern became clear to us. The projects were all being planned as if they were incremental innovations in a predictable setting: The assumption was that the organizations launching them had a rich platform of…
  • Research: Most Large Companies Can’t Maintain Their Revenue Streams

    Rita McGrath
    26 Dec 2013 | 6:00 am
    My research finds strong evidence that the majority of large companies do not successfully maintain their current revenue streams, let alone grow them over time. My “growth outliers” project looked at publicly traded firms with market capitalizations of greater than US 1 Billion as of 2009, using data from Capital IQ.  I found that in the period from 2000 to 2009, over half of the firms in the sample shrunk their revenue by 10% or more in at least one of those years, clear evidence of eroding competitive advantage. In that same study, there is also striking evidence of the rise of global…
  • The Pace of Technology Adoption is Speeding Up

    Rita McGrath
    25 Nov 2013 | 7:00 am
    Many people suggest that rates of new product introduction and adoption are speeding up, but is it really, across the board? The answer seems to be yes. An automobile industry trade consultant, for instance, observes that “Today, a typical automotive design cycle is approximately 24 to 36 months, which is much faster than the 60-month life cycle from five years ago.”  The chart below, created by Nicholas Felton of the New York Times, shows how long it took various categories of product, from electricity to the Internet, to achieve different penetration levels in US households.  It took…
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Andrew Winston

  • Two Forces Moving Business Closer to Climate Action

    Andrew Winston
    24 Sep 2014 | 9:35 am
    This week, CEOs and world leaders met at the UN to talk climate. In the run-up to these high-level talks, many companies and some relatively new voices from the business community have been sounding both the alarm and the rallying cry for action. At the same time, the cost of renewable energy has dropped very far, very fast. It’s a perfect storm bringing us to two important tipping points: one of belief and commitment to action, and one of economics. But there’s still a major disconnect happening in one other area: the relationship between business and citizen consumers. First,…
  • GE Is Avoiding Hard Choices About Ecomagination

    Andrew Winston
    1 Aug 2014 | 8:00 am
    After nine years, GE is taking its famous green initiative, ecomagination, into some complicated territory. This includes a new open innovation program that encourages ideas to reduce greenhouse gases from Canadian oil sands production — the same controversial, greenhouse-gas-heavy source of fossil fuels that environmental groups are fighting against when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline. By stretching ecomagination into areas that many people clearly don’t consider very green, GE may be risking a valuable business and brand asset. Launched in 2005, ecomagination has always been a…
  • What Momentum on Climate Change Means for Business

    Andrew Winston
    1 Jul 2014 | 5:00 am
    Climate change is real — as in actual, factual, and tangible. And it’s really expensive. This is the clear message from “Risky Business,” a new report issued by former U.S. treasury Secretaries such as Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson and other bigwigs like Michael Bloomberg. Their report is just one of many drumbeats for action on climate — drumbeats that have gotten much louder in recent weeks. Four former EPA chiefs, all Republicans, went to Congress to ask their party peers to take action, for example. And Hank Paulson, George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary, recently wrote an…
  • Why You Need a Resilience Strategy Now

    Andrew Winston
    9 May 2014 | 5:00 am
    This past winter was a rough one for big swaths of the United States, with both unusual cold snaps and disruptive snowstorms. General Mills’ CEO recently blamed the winter for less-than-expected earnings, saying that “severe winter weather…disrupted plant operations and logistics…We lost 62 days of production…which hasn’t happened in decades. That would be the result of people not being able to get into work safely or not having inputs arrive.” It wasn’t just one company, though; the whole economy was slowed by the extremes and volatility we faced. The disruption to…
  • The One Thing Every Business Dies Without

    Andrew Winston
    22 Apr 2014 | 5:00 am
    George Carlin always called people on their BS. He once railed against the idea of “saving the earth,” pointing out that the Earth will be fine with or without us. “The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are! … The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.” All that would be left of us, he said, was maybe some Styrofoam. The idea that the earth needs humans to thank it and care for it is kind of funny. So Earth Day is kind of a quaint idea. And also strange to think that we might only value the spinning ball we’re totally reliant on for a single day each year. Imagine…
 
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    Shoes Count

  • Bally designs the quintessential luxury wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2014 – MoodieReport

    30 Sep 2014 | 3:37 pm
    MoodieReport Bally designs the quintessential luxury wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2014MoodieReportA key highlight from the AW14 collection is The Corner Bag featuring a single cut corner, inspired by the 'gentleman's corner' of a men's shoe. Fresh from the Bally archives of 1935, The Corner Bag is available in embossed Dottie leather, pony, lizard … bally shoes – Google News
  • 15 Times The World’s iPhone Obsession Went Entirely Too Far – Huffington Post

    30 Sep 2014 | 9:33 am
    15 Times The World's iPhone Obsession Went Entirely Too FarHuffington PostAn unidentified businessman transported vans full of homeless people to a Pasadena, California, Apple store last fall to wait in line for the iPhone 5S and 5C. Each one received two vouchers to purchase phones, but when some of the vouchers didn't work … vans shoes – Google News
  • Harvest Fair’s top 3 wines announced – Santa Rosa Press Democrat

    29 Sep 2014 | 9:36 pm
    Harvest Fair's top 3 wines announcedSanta Rosa Press DemocratAt the reception in the lobby, people were sampling award-winning wines and dishes, and they were dressed in everything from jeans and cowboy boots to cocktail dresses and designer shoes with 5-inch heels. The most sentimental part of the evening was …and more » ash shoes – Google News
  • Cheap Sequin Uggs – Office Shoes Ugg Boots Ugg Shearling Bag – Oman Daily Observer

    29 Sep 2014 | 11:30 am
    Cheap Sequin Uggs – Office Shoes Ugg Boots Ugg Shearling BagOman Daily ObserverThe first response from fans came when Alvarez regained his feet at the close of the round. EdPsych: A place to discuss cognitive and developmental psychology, learning, pedagogy, motivation, institutions cheap sequin uggs of learning, applications to …and more » office shoes – Google News
  • 42-Year-Old Los Angeles Man Is Missing – CBS Local

    29 Sep 2014 | 8:44 am
    CBS Local 42-Year-Old Los Angeles Man Is MissingCBS LocalHerrera is in need of medical care for an undisclosed medical condition. The missing man is 5 feet 4 inches tall and about about 166 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. Herrera was last seen wearing a black shirt, gray pants and black Vans shoes.Police Looking for L.A. Man, 42, Missing Since Last WeekMyNewsLA.comall 2 news articles » vans shoes – Google News
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