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"Then Out Spake Brave Horatius…" Horatius Cocles Leads the Romans in Battle against the Etruscans, Tommaso Minardi, early to mid 1800’s

Crisis Communication: Emphasize the Positive

Idea posted: March 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

People are more open to messages that fit their motivational impulses, such as the tendency to avoid risk or the desire to achieve stretch goals. New research reveals that this rule of thumb does not apply to times of crises, when, no matter your usual motivational tendencies, positive goal-oriented messages prevail.

Idea #649
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Jean Charles de Menezes, memorial plaque at Stockwell Station, London (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Framing Leads to Bad Decisions and Bad (Even Fatal) Actions

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Decision makers must frame or ‘make sense’ of events and situations, and then make their decisions accordingly. A groundbreaking analysis of an innocent civilian’s tragic shooting by anti-terrorist police reveals how groups of individuals commit, through the interaction of communication, emotions and material cues, to a single, common frame — in this case an erroneous frame. It is a cautionary tale for leaders and other decision makers, exposing how errors or assumptions can cascade into a complete misunderstanding of situations.

Idea #563
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Who We Call and Why in Uncertain Situations

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

When facing uncertain situations of threat or opportunity, people will call on their contacts to help them meet the threat or take advantage of the opportunity. New research shows that how many contacts they call can be influenced by such factors as their rank in the organization, whether they have an internal or external locus of control, and the type of threat or opportunity that the uncertainty represents.

Idea #529
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The Arctic Expedition - the Crow’s Nest. Cover illustration (detail) for The Graphic, May 1875, by Samuel Edmund Waller

Does Your Organization Need a Chief External Officer?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Many large organizations face challenges in managing the demands of external non-market environments — political and social aspects of their working environment. This Idea suggests the creation of a chief external officer and gives some guidance on how to ensure their success.

Idea #362
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President Eisenhower signing of HR7786, June 1, 1954, this ceremony changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do Soldiers Make Good CEOs?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Leadership & Change

CEOs with past military experience are more likely to pursue more conservative corporate policies (particularly those related to finance and investment), are less likely to be involved in fraud, and are in a better position to guide a company during crises or industry downturns, according to new research based on 25 years of corporate data.

Idea #337
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Outsider CEOs and Strategic Change

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

While companies in crisis bring in outsider CEOs to effect change, many of them fail. New research shows why: Outsider CEOs need corporate stability to successfully bring change to an organization.

Idea #260
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Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze, 1851

Resolute Leadership, Coordination and Corporate Culture

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

Resoluteness is often a term used to describe people in battle, moving forward in an unwavering, purposeful way. Now, research indicates that this trait is useful in an organizational setting too; resolute leaders are better equipped to coordinate their followers’ actions, and build high-performance teams. Conviction or resoluteness enhance a leader's credibility. However, resoluteness can also inhibit bottom-up information flow. So a balance is needed.

Idea #087
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Loud hailer

Crisis Management: Leadership and Communication

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations
Institutions: IESE Business School

How many times have you been eagerly awaiting an event, only for unforeseeable circumstances to result in its cancellation? Take the New York marathon as a recent example — it had to be cancelled as a result of the 2012 Hurricane Sandy. Crises are inevitable. But, there are steps leaders can take to avoid their organization from suffering detrimentally. This Idea explores these steps, and considers how to learn from a crisis in its aftermath.

Idea #088
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Andy Murray, 2012 Olympics Gold Medalist (Source: Wikimedia)

Understanding High-Stakes High-Performers

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

How leaders perform when the stakes are very high or when they confront unusually high pressure depends on similar ‘critical abilities’ to the tennis players. Using data from the US Open professional tennis tournament, ‘critical abilities under pressure’ are examined to demonstrate that - what we might also refer to as ‘courage under fire’ - has a major impact on a player’s career success. Applied to the world of business this research helps us understand how leaders are likely to perform when the stakes are very high.

Idea #033
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Leveraging DNA to Survive in Hostile Business Environments

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Developing strategies and capabilities to cope in hostile business environments is a must for today’s managers. In this way, nature and the animal kingdom offer a number of solutions. The coping strategies of animals like lions, seagulls, sharks and bears have evolved over billions of years and can be adopted by managers too; these can be summarized as fight, flight, search and sleep, and are discussed further in this Idea. 

Idea #047
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WH Situation Room, 2010 (Source: Wikimedia)

Crisis As Opportunity: Leadership, Change and Renewal

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Arguably the greatest gift we can glean from a crisis is an improvement in our ability to see the next one coming, to prevent it coming if possible, and to lead our organization successfully through that next crisis situation. We learn Crisis Leadership. This is essential: crises are inevitable. Similarly, there are essential characteristics and skills required to navigate them, and to ensure your organization not only survives but emerges from the crisis better off.

Idea #078
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Blacksmith, India, C19th, British Museum

Leadership Tools: Magnet to Pull, Hammer to Drive

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Theorists often speak of management ‘tools’ when discussing resources. This Idea explores how successful leadership is based on two tools from the tool-shed, the magnet and the hammer, and shows how, with an understanding of why and when to use these tools, managers can effectively lead their teams through challenging circumstances.

Idea #009
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The Emperor Has No Clothes, by Vilhelm Pedersen, Hans Christian Andersen's first illustrator 1835 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Dysfunctional Leadership: Context and Causes

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Though it is easy to simply blame the leader in situations where organizations face dysfunction, the author proposes here that there are a number of contextual factors that, in fact, lead to success or failure. Specifically outlined are three models/frameworks that help to better understand the components involved in leadership disasters.

Idea #029
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Rainbow people

An Holistic Understanding of Management

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Organizations should rethink management development, taking into account that the challenges faced by managers, during a time of social and economic crisis, can be better overcome by an integrative, holistic and humanistic approach to management. 

Idea #053
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 ENRON, 2010, Written by Lucy Prebble, Royal Court Theatre, London

Corporate Scandals: Causes and Cures

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

US corporate scandals plagued the early 2000s, with Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom becoming notorious. The 2008 financial crisis bred Libor rate-fixing and other cases of serious misconduct. Loss-hiding at Japan’s Olympus Corporation was exposed in 2011. In 2013 Shell, BP, Statoil and others came under investigation by the EU Commission for supposed oil price rigging. Fined, sued, disgraced and sometimes collapsed the consequences for organizations can be dire. What preventive measures should be put in place to ensure organizations do not fall prey to such outcomes? 

Idea #085
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The intransigence of Captain De Chaumereys, the ultimate unethical leader, led to the wreck of the Medusa in 1816. Painting by Théodore Géricault, 1819, Musée du Louvre (Source: Wikimedia)

Ethical Leadership in a Crisis (and to Avoid Crises)

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

No leader wants to wake up to discover a major disaster that their organization is responsible for has taken place. But crises can be unavoidable and this Idea considers the role of ethics in crisis management, and how an ethical corporate culture can help when disaster strikes. Using the 2010 BP oil spill as an example where ethics were not applied in crisis management, it also shows how applying ethics to management decisions can avoid disasters occurring in the first place.

Idea #092
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