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  • How to Tell a Great Story

    HBR.org
    Carolyn O'Hara
    30 Jul 2014 | 10:00 am
    We tell stories to our coworkers and peers all the time — to persuade someone to support our project, to explain to an employee how he might improve, or to inspire a team that is facing challenges. It’s an essential skill, but what makes a compelling story in a business context? And how can you improve your ability to tell stories that persuade? What the Experts Say In our information-saturated age, business leaders “won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories,” says Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues and president and founder of Public Words, a communications consulting firm.
  • 415: The Future of Talent Is Potential

    HBR IdeaCast
    Harvard Business Review
    24 Jul 2014 | 2:42 pm
    Linda Hill, Harvard Business School professor, and Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, senior adviser at Egon Zehnder, on the talent strategies that set up a company for long-term success.
  • How to Tell a Great Story

    HBR Blog Network Full Feed
    Carolyn O'Hara
    30 Jul 2014 | 10:00 am
    We tell stories to our coworkers and peers all the time — to persuade someone to support our project, to explain to an employee how he might improve, or to inspire a team that is facing challenges. It’s an essential skill, but what makes a compelling story in a business context? And how can you improve your ability to tell stories that persuade? What the Experts Say In our information-saturated age, business leaders “won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories,” says Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues and president and founder of Public Words, a communications consulting firm.
  • Don’t Let Your Head Attack Your Heart

    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Peter Bregman
    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…
  • The Authenticity Trap for Workers Who Are Not Straight, White Men

    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    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…
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    HBR.org

  • How to Tell a Great Story

    Carolyn O'Hara
    30 Jul 2014 | 10:00 am
    We tell stories to our coworkers and peers all the time — to persuade someone to support our project, to explain to an employee how he might improve, or to inspire a team that is facing challenges. It’s an essential skill, but what makes a compelling story in a business context? And how can you improve your ability to tell stories that persuade? What the Experts Say In our information-saturated age, business leaders “won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories,” says Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues and president and founder of Public Words, a communications consulting firm.
  • 5 Bad Reasons to Start a For-Profit Social Enterprise

    Rich Leimsider
    30 Jul 2014 | 9:00 am
    Should a new social good organization choose a for-profit model or a nonprofit one? This is a question we face each year at my organization, Echoing Green, when we evaluate thousands of business plans from social entrepreneurs seeking start-up capital and support. This year, nearly 50% of those plans proposed using a for-profit model. And when we asked these entrepreneurs why, some of their reasons were just plain bad. They are not alone. New entrepreneurs are increasingly starting for-profit firms whose primary purpose is social impact. Supporting this trend is a tremendous increase in…
  • 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…
  • Are Corporate Taxes Headed the Way of Prohibition?

    Justin Fox
    30 Jul 2014 | 6:20 am
    Argument 1: Corporations that shift their legal residence overseas to avoid U.S. corporate taxes are flouting the spirit of the law. “I don’t care if it’s legal — it’s wrong,” President Obama said last week in Los Angeles. “We need to stop companies from renouncing their citizenship just to get out of paying their fair share of taxes.” Argument 2: The U.S. corporate tax code is an ill-begotten mess that is driving companies into all sorts of weird behavior. “Moving legal headquarters abroad through cross-border mergers is a logical way for a growing number of U.S. companies…
  • Do Not Split HR – At Least Not Ram Charan’s Way

    Dave Ulrich
    30 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Ram Charan’s recent column “It’s Time to Split HR” has created quite a stir. He argues that it’s the rare CHRO who can serve as a strategic leader for the CEO and also manage the internal concerns of the organization. Most CHROs, he says, can’t “relate HR to real-world business needs. They don’t know how key decisions are made, and they have great difficulty analyzing why people—or whole parts of the organization—aren’t meeting the business’s performance goals.“ While I have enormous respect for Ram’s wisdom, I believe CHROs have much to offer CEOs and can be…
 
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    HBR Blog Network Full Feed

  • How to Tell a Great Story

    Carolyn O'Hara
    30 Jul 2014 | 10:00 am
    We tell stories to our coworkers and peers all the time — to persuade someone to support our project, to explain to an employee how he might improve, or to inspire a team that is facing challenges. It’s an essential skill, but what makes a compelling story in a business context? And how can you improve your ability to tell stories that persuade? What the Experts Say In our information-saturated age, business leaders “won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories,” says Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues and president and founder of Public Words, a communications consulting firm.
  • 5 Bad Reasons to Start a For-Profit Social Enterprise

    Rich Leimsider
    30 Jul 2014 | 9:00 am
    Should a new social good organization choose a for-profit model or a nonprofit one? This is a question we face each year at my organization, Echoing Green, when we evaluate thousands of business plans from social entrepreneurs seeking start-up capital and support. This year, nearly 50% of those plans proposed using a for-profit model. And when we asked these entrepreneurs why, some of their reasons were just plain bad. They are not alone. New entrepreneurs are increasingly starting for-profit firms whose primary purpose is social impact. Supporting this trend is a tremendous increase in…
  • 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…
  • Are Corporate Taxes Headed the Way of Prohibition?

    Justin Fox
    30 Jul 2014 | 6:20 am
    Argument 1: Corporations that shift their legal residence overseas to avoid U.S. corporate taxes are flouting the spirit of the law. “I don’t care if it’s legal — it’s wrong,” President Obama said last week in Los Angeles. “We need to stop companies from renouncing their citizenship just to get out of paying their fair share of taxes.” Argument 2: The U.S. corporate tax code is an ill-begotten mess that is driving companies into all sorts of weird behavior. “Moving legal headquarters abroad through cross-border mergers is a logical way for a growing number of U.S. companies…
  • Do Not Split HR – At Least Not Ram Charan’s Way

    Dave Ulrich
    30 Jul 2014 | 6:00 am
    Ram Charan’s recent column “It’s Time to Split HR” has created quite a stir. He argues that it’s the rare CHRO who can serve as a strategic leader for the CEO and also manage the internal concerns of the organization. Most CHROs, he says, can’t “relate HR to real-world business needs. They don’t know how key decisions are made, and they have great difficulty analyzing why people—or whole parts of the organization—aren’t meeting the business’s performance goals.“ While I have enormous respect for Ram’s wisdom, I believe CHROs have much to offer CEOs and can be…
 
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Peter Bregman

  • 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…
  • The Best Way to Defuse Your Stress

    Peter Bregman
    24 Feb 2014 | 11:00 am
    I knew that I probably shouldn’t send the email I had just written. I wrote it in anger and frustration, and we all know that sending an email written in anger and frustration is, well, dumb. Still, I really wanted to send it. So I forwarded it to a friend, who knew the situation, with the subject line: Should I send this? She responded almost immediately: Don’t send it tonight. If you feel like you need to send it tonight, then I think it is for the wrong reasons. Make sense? Yep, I responded. Thanks. Three minutes later I sent it and bcc’d her. She was flabbergasted: You changed…
  • Why You Should Treat Laughter as a Metric

    Peter Bregman
    12 Dec 2013 | 9:00 am
    I was following the same yoga video I had followed more than 30 times in the past. Because I know the routine well, I usually have little trouble breathing rhythmically through the postures, feeling the subtleties of each movement, and sliding gently into a mind-body meditation. This time, though, was drastically off. Not only did my mind wander, I was clumsy and confused. I did “Warrior 1” twice on the same side instead of switching legs. I lost my balance in eagle pose. And, at one point, looking up at the video from my standing split, I found myself two postures behind the leader. The…
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Sylvia Ann Hewlett

  • 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…
  • Make Yourself Sponsor-Worthy

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett
    6 Feb 2014 | 8:00 am
    Gauge whether you’re ready for a sponsor by taking this brief assessment. “I’ve always given 110%,” says Maggie. “Whoever I worked for, I gave them my all, every day, 10 hours a day, weekends and holidays, whatever it took. That endeared me to a lot of powerful men.” That dedication and loyalty should have made Maggie a star. Yet, although she rose in the organization, because she wasn’t strategic about whom she gave her 110% to, she squandered her gifts on leaders who didn’t invest in her. Without a sponsor to spotlight her attributes, offer her opportunities, and kick her…
 
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Anthony K. Tjan

  • Keep Time and Emotion from Killing a Negotiation

    Anthony K. Tjan
    21 Jul 2014 | 7:00 am
    Time and emotion — these are the two things most often wasted during a negotiation. We simply spend too much time on items that don’t really matter, because we let our emotions override any semblance of logic. It is a natural human response to act negatively, reactively, and emotionally to any negotiation points that are counter to one’s pre-disposed positions. It is also poor negotiation practice. The mere fact of having a position lies at the root of why we get caught up in the drama of a negotiation, rather than focusing on the plotline or ending (i.e. goal) toward which we are…
  • The Indispensable Power of Story

    Anthony K. Tjan
    15 Apr 2014 | 5:00 am
    Some people have a way of making the complex clear.  They know who they are, why they do what they do, and where they want to go. Because they have internalized all this, they are able to sharply crystallize ideas and vision. They speak in simple, relatable terms. And they can get a lot accomplished. Making your words understandable and inspirational isn’t about dumbing them down. Instead, it requires bringing in elements such as anecdote, mnemonic, metaphor, storytelling, and analogy in ways that connect the essence of a message with both logic and emotion. Almost everyone leading or…
  • The First Strategic Question Every Business Must Ask

    Anthony K. Tjan
    6 Feb 2014 | 5:00 am
    What business are you in?  It seems like a straightforward question, and one that should take no time to answer.  But the truth is that most company leaders are too narrow in defining their competitive landscape or market space.  They fail to see the potential for “non-traditional” competitors, and therefore often misperceive their basic business definition and future market space. This is because it is much easier to see the world through the lens of today — and through the lens of research analysts who make comparisons to the competitors that look most similar and sell the most…
  • How to Get the Answer You Want

    Anthony K. Tjan
    3 Dec 2013 | 7:00 am
    You have a meeting or an important discussion coming up.  What is your real objective?  If it has anything to do with selling, how can you maximize the likelihood of success? And just to be clear, your objective almost certainly does have something to do with selling. As Daniel Pink argues in his latest book, To Sell is Human, we’re constantly trying to influence behavior — a.k.a. selling. We may not be selling cars, but we are likely on a daily basis to be pushing ideas (e.g., a pitch for a campaign or strategic project), telling about our capabilities and track-record (e.g., for a…
  • The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More

    Anthony K. Tjan
    15 Oct 2013 | 6:00 am
    The setting: the spectacular office of one of the most respected names in entertainment, a senior executive in the motion picture industry. The players: the executive, accompanied by his bevy of direct reports and support staff, plus a CEO friend of mine and his chairman (we’ll call him Mr. Chairman). The meeting was unusual in its purpose. Mr. Chairman, who does not come from the entertainment industry, wanted to share his epiphany on how movie-makers should rethink the categorization of movie genres.  His hypothesis was that movies should not be called romantic, horror, thriller, etc.,…
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    HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review » Rita McGrath

  • 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…
  • Seizing Opportunities When Advantages Don't Last

    Rita McGrath
    29 May 2013 | 8:00 am
    I’ve been researching what allows companies to be successful even when their competitive advantages are short-lived — a phenomenon I call transient advantage. The Regus Group, Ltd., a company that provides many services but is best-known for its offices-for-rent business, is one of many I’ve been studying whose leaders seem comfortable that their current competitive advantages won’t last, and don’t waste too much time clinging on to them once competitors have caught up or the moment has passed.Their success is a great example of how companies can quickly get out…
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