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Renaissance chess pieces (Source: Pixabay)

How to Stay Ahead in the Game of Office Politics

Idea posted: October 2017
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Despite its negative connotation, office politics is a fact of workplace life. Successful people are politically savvy but also driven by integrity and authenticity. Vlerick Business School offers a guidebook for navigating the landscape of office politics without losing that authenticity.

Idea #678
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Joan of Arc depicted on horseback in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript

Younger Generations Determined but Concerned about Leadership

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The rising generation of young leaders have evolving expectations about leadership. Young leaders are ambitious and willing to work hard, but they also believe that great leadership does not necessarily require compromising work-life balance or authenticity. Organizations must adapt to these expectations if they want to attract the best and the brightest. 

Idea #477
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How to Build Brand Equity Through Employee Engagement

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

From the friendly retail clerk helping a customer to the highly paid consultant who delivers groundbreaking solutions to the business unit, employees can directly impact a company’s brand equity. Therefore, any employee-related policy or resource decision — from training to lay-offs — is in effect a branding issue. 

Idea #466
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Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at 'D5: All Things Digital' conference in Carlsbad, California, in 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Formulate a Winning Strategy

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many companies struggle to develop a good competitive strategy and to set a clear direction for managers and employees. Strategy formulation, in fact, almost poses as many challenges for business leaders as strategy implementation. The solution is a back-to-basics approach — and a framework that addresses four fundamental questions about where and how the business will compete.

Idea #411
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How to Be a Customer-intimate Company

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Customer-intimacy is the ultimate customer-centric model, resulting in long-term relationships with the most valuable and profitable customers. It’s not easy to achieve, however. For most businesses, becoming customer-intimate is more of a transformation than a transition. The first step involves a reversal of the normal ‘logic’ of business — and the next a significant organizational change. 

Idea #413
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John Evelyn discovers sculptor Grinling Gibbons (1648 - 1721). Gibbons became Master Carver in Wood to the Court of King Charles II

Co-creating with Customers: More Pros than Cons?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Involving customers in the design and delivery of products and services can be a cost-effective way to meet the demand for constant innovation and improved ‘customer experience’. It has, however, the power to destroy as well as create value. Much depends on the human and technological interfaces between customers and the company.

Idea #344
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John Barrymore as Svengali and Marian Marsh as Trilby, a poster for ‘Svengali’, 1931, produced and distributed by Warner Brothers

Choosing a Venture Capitalist: The Ethical Dimension

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

New and young businesses often depend on equity finance from venture capitalists. This does not, however, mean that they’re indiscriminate in their choice of venture capitalist fund. Recent research suggests that, in certain circumstances at least, entrepreneurs will spurn offers from equity investors who have a poor reputation for ethical behaviour.

Idea #332
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Back to the Future: Managing Change with Retrospection

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Change initiatives have almost become a permanent feature of organizational life, the norm rather than the exception. But one of their critical stages is often missed. The period between projects, when people make sense of what’s happened, needs to be ‘built into’ the programme. It’s the moment of retrospection that defines the relevance and continued impact of decisions — and the corridor of the future. 

Idea #310
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Angels, Entrepreneurs and the Dark Side of Trust

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Trust is often seen as the key to successful partnerships with angel investors, many of whom provide ‘hand-holding’ services as well as capital for entrepreneurs. But recently published research suggests it can threaten the long-term prospects of a business. Entrepreneurs are, it seems, sometimes so keen to preserve high levels of trust in their relationships with ‘angels’ that they avoid experimentation — and fail to take the kinds of decisions that secure re-investment.

Idea #258
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Children Acting the Play Scene in 'Hamlet', by Charles Hunt, 1863, (Source: The Yale Center for British Art. Wikimedia Commons)

Calling in the Consultants: Risks and Rewards

Idea posted: September 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The use of management consultants by businesses and other organizations is controversial — and its benefits hard to quantify. (The ‘consultancy effect’ is impossible to isolate from other factors affecting the organization.)

Anecdotal evidence and experience, however, suggest that the leaders who derive most value from consultants are those who see them not as ‘fixers’ but ‘facilitators’ come to ‘counter-observe’ the organization and help create or measure its aptitude for change.

Idea #214
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Hamlet's Vision, by Pedro Américo, 1893,The Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Surprising Reality of the Leadership of Change

Idea posted: September 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Linear ‘step-by-step’ guides and standardised solutions are of limited use in the management of change. Organizations, by their very nature, defy prescription. Leaders who want to turn companies round are often better off observing things for themselves and encouraging employees to improvise solutions than trying to follow a generalised model. There are, to paraphrase Hamlet, more things in organizational life than are ‘dreamt of’ in the ‘philosophies’ of academics, business writers and management consultants.

Idea #213
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The Tax Collector, Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1542, Alte Pinakothek Museum,  Munich

Rewards that Motivate More than Money

Idea posted: May 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Non-financial rewards such as career-development opportunities and challenges and responsibilities have a much greater impact on staff motivation than salary and benefits. Cash and bonuses and a fair and transparent policy on pay are important to employees – so, too, are flexible benefits. But organizations need to take a ‘holistic’ view of compensation and think in terms of the ‘total rewards package’. Very few people are motivated solely by money.

Idea #146
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Silhouette of a businessman pointing to a projected graph at a presentation

Reporting Risk When Reporting Performance to the Board

Idea posted: May 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

As the board of directors is ultimately responsible for a company’s success or failure, board members should be adequately informed not only about the company’s financial performance but about the full gamut of risks that may impact the company’s prospects and results and influence future strategy.

Idea #150
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