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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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Committee of the French Art Exhibition in Copenhagen, Peder Severin Krøyer, 1888, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Small Vs Large Top Management Teams and the CEO's Workload

Idea posted: September 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

The larger a CEO’s top management team or direct reports, the more time that CEO spends interacting with internal staff on internal operations issues and the less time he or she spends working alone. Thus, CEOs seeking more time for strategy and individual work, and less time for collaboration and team consensus activities, might opt for smaller top management teams instead. 

Idea #437
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Dame Judi Dench as 'M', James Bond: Quantum of Solace, 2008, directed by Marc Forster, produced by Eon Productions, Sony/MGM

What Do CEOs Actually Do?

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

What does your boss actually do all day? Most of us will have pondered over this question at some time or another! We may be justified in doing so too, as how a CEO spends her/his time — and with whom — can have a direct impact on their productivity and their organization’s success. This Idea will help bosses prioritise their working hours for maximum impact. 

Idea #081
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Cleopatra, John W. Waterhouse, 1888 (Source: Wikimedia)

The Effect of Feminine Charm in Negotiations

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Can friendliness and flirtation help women in negotiations? Apparently so, according to this Idea, but only when balanced and when these behaviours do not undermine professional intent. By looking at the effects of each of these behaviours individually, as well as in combination, the key seems to lie in the perfect mix of friendliness and flirtation — otherwise known as feminine charm. 

Idea #090
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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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