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Older Workers Are Only Asking for a Little Flexibility

Idea posted: May 2019
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Statistics consistently show older workers retiring rather than taking on part or full-time post-career jobs. A new study reveals that older workers want to continue working at least part-time and are willing to make wage concessions to do so; employers, however, are not offering acceptable work arrangements that make working after retirement desirable.

Idea #739
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Surrounded by Artists and Professors: A Rake's Progress, William Hogarth 1732-5 (Courtesy: Sir John Soane's Museum)

Why Competent Jerks Get Hired

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Despite overwhelming evidence that ‘jerks’ in the workplace undermine the success of a team or organization, they continue to be hired. New research explains why: when one’s money is at stake, decision makers value competence over sociability — which is a long-term mistake.

Idea #710
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The invention of compass (Polar stone), Annonymous, Gdańsk, 1590 (Courtesy: National Museum Warsaw)

Why Good Ideas Don't See the Light of Day

Idea posted: October 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

For a novel idea to be accepted and implemented, decision-makers must buy into its future success. Unfortunately, the managers who decide the fate of new ideas are the worst predictors of market success.

Idea #626
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Bill Gates, Micosoft CEO, at IT Forum 2004 in Copenhagen (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How CEO Personality Impacts on Firm Performance

Idea posted: October 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Different personality traits, such as openness to change, conscientiousness and extraversion, are associated with different approaches to investment decisions and differences in firm performance, according to a new study using linguistic metrics for personality.

Idea #632
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Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham meets NGOs to discuss the situation in Sudan, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Nonprofit Boards Need Better Skills and Resources to Do Their Jobs

Idea posted: June 2015
  • CSR & Governance

Most directors of nonprofit organizations do not have the required skills, resources and experience to be effective, according to a new Stanford survey of directors of nonprofit organizations.

Idea #525
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Investors Complain Proxy Statements Unclear on Executive Pay

Idea posted: June 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

Proxy statements are often unclear on major issues, notably executive pay questions such as the appropriateness of compensation size and structure, according to a new survey of major asset managers and owners. They also lack clarity on pay ratios, corporate political contributions, corporate social responsibility and sustainability and CEO succession planning.

Idea #528
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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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The Tribuna of the Uffizi (detail), Johann Zoffany, circa 1772-1778, The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

What to Get Right when Crowdsourcing

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Social media channels have enabled organizations such as Dell, Starbucks, and NASA to successfully reach out to external contributors to collect suggestions, which have in turn stimulated innovation. This research, however, shows that most initiatives to source external contributions fail and that organizations seeking external ideas need to proceed with care and establish proactive processes to avoid potential pitfalls.

Idea #455
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Lifecycle of the Emperor Penguin in Chinese, designed by Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation, Arlington V.A. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Seven Key Steps to Effective Succession Planning

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

Strong leadership is key to the success of a company, yet most companies do not have an actionable succession planning process in place to replace departing CEOs or key C-Suite executives. The solution: to craft succession plans closely tied to coaching and internal talent development.  

Idea #452
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Stock trading on the New York Curb Association market, with brokers and clients signaling from street to offices, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Impact of Ideal Vs Problematic Shareholders

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

In an ideal world, companies would spend significant time managing their shareholder base, striving to attract the ideal shareholder: a shareholder with a long-term investment horizon who will allow the company to make long-term investments and not push for short-term results. Shareholders with short-term investment horizons drag down share prices or increase their volatility by focusing on short-term results.

Idea #447
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Richard Long, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Martha Wentworth, Orson Welles, Philip Merivale, Byron Keith, in The Stranger, 1946, directed by Orson Welles (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Succession Planning: Boards Need to Know Their Senior Managers

Idea posted: October 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

When a CEO leaves, his or her successor will be chosen from among internal and external candidates. Research shows that a board of directors will know surprisingly little about internal candidates, since directors have minimal interaction with executives below the CEO level — often limited to formal board presentations. Effective succession planning requires directors to become more directly involved in the organization’s talent development program.

Idea #443
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Lion tamer in cage with two lions, a lioness, and two tigers.  Chromolithograph, Gibson & Co. (Cincinnati, Ohio), published c. 1873 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coaches Needed to Help CEOs and Senior Managers

Idea posted: September 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive any coaching or leadership advice from the outside (e.g. from mentors, coaches or consultants), says a Stanford survey on executive coaching. Yet the CEOs would welcome the help. The survey shows that nearly 100% would welcome outside advice and coaching — especially on issues such as sharing, leadership delegation, and conflict management — the major developmental areas of concern for CEOs.

Idea #442
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Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, enthroned over his defeated enemies, Giulio Clovio, mid 16th century

What Boards Think of CEOs

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

The greatest weakness of CEOs is their lack of people management and talent management skills, according to a Stanford Graduate School of Business survey of Boards of Directors. However, the directors themselves must shoulder part of the blame: the survey also shows that when evaluating their CEOs, boards place significantly more value on financial metrics than any other factor. 

Idea #439
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Pierre and Marie Curie in their laboratory, 1906 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Build Long-Lasting Collaborations

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Effective collaboration is at the heart of the best organizations. It’s not enough, however, to launch new collaborative relationships. Ongoing, long-lasting collaborations have a greater return on an organization’s productivity and performance than new collaborations. Managers must understand how to help collaborations to last — and new research shows that the actions and activities that make collaborations last are not the same as those that enable new collaborations.

Idea #426
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1950s office workers, in cats eye glasses (Source: Wikifashion.com)

Happiness at Work: How Daily Reminders Improve Employee Morale

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee happiness improves when employees focus on maximizing their happiness. Deliberately taking steps to maximize happiness at work can lead to positive behavioural changes. Companies can help employees through daily technology-driven individual interventions that are more effective than the occasional company picnic or visit to the stadium.

Idea #410
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The Royal Malay Regiment get ready at the Malaysian King Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin birthday parade on June 4, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Source: Shutterstock)

Rapid Response Teams: Strategic Renewal for Organizations

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

The world changes rapidly these days. Technologies move on and companies adapt – or not in some cases. The problem lies in being able to change as quickly as the environment in which your business operates. But change management need not be crisis management. Through a process of strategic renewal leaders can develop a set of practices that can guide their organizations to a new era of innovation. 

We often find it easier to resist change rather than embrace it, but this process allows leaders to approach the future and all its uncertainties with confidence, while acknowledging the

Idea #331
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The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin (detail), van Eyck, 1435, Musee du Louvre, Paris. Nicholas Rolin was Chancellor to Philip the Good.

Rebuilding Reputation after a Serious Financial Restatement

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Operations

In the wake of a serious financial restatement, how can companies repair their reputations and increase the value of their shares? According to this Idea, the answer may lie in focusing not just on investors but on stakeholders who are non-capital providers and can be viewed as ‘softer’ constituencies. 

Idea #313
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Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, Adolph Northen (1828–1876)

Power Reduces Awareness of Constraints

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Whether imagining the future or reviewing the past, powerful people are consistently less aware of constraints and obstacles than the less powerful. This lack of constraint awareness explains their inhibition in attacking daunting goals and projects, but can also make them somewhat reckless and risk-taking.

Idea #279
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Leaders Less Stressed than Followers Due to a Sense of Control

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

Today’s leaders face increasing demands and must be inundated with stress, right? Not so according to this research, which suggests that the heightened sense of control that accompanies leadership may actually help to reduce stress levels. In fact, non-leaders are probably more stressed than their leaders are. 

Idea #211
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Peer-to-Peer Deference in Email Communication

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

Emails have fast become the most widely-used form of written communication in business, both externally and internally within organizations. This Idea looks at the relationship between hierarchy and the language used in emails, showing that surprisingly, peer-to-peer communication tends to contain more signs of deference than subordinate-superior communication.

Idea #196
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The Good Samaritan, Master of the Good Samaritan, circa 1530–1550, Centraal Museum Utrecht (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Prosocial Goals Promote Employee Happiness

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

The pursuit of ‘happiness’ is perhaps one of the most important goals in a person’s life, and prosocial activities have proved to be a successful way to achieve it. But as the list of potential prosocial acts is endless, how can you narrow down which are the most effective? According to this Idea, activities framed in concrete rather than abstract terms make the crucial difference between happiness and unhappiness. 

Idea #163
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The ladies' egg & spoon race, Picklescott Village Fete & Sports Day 1963 (Source: Picklescott.org.uk)

Motivation by Last Place Aversion

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Nobody wants to fail, and being in last place is the worst of failures. New research reveals, however, that the aversion to last place is a powerful driving factor in many decisions, which might offer unexpected opportunities for business.

Idea #155
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Twitter- 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

How Twitter Levels the Information Dissemination Playing Field

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

All businesses want to increase their visibility, but for small businesses this is even more of a concern. Could Twitter be the key to getting your firm noticed by investors? According to new research, small businesses that use Twitter to communicate with investors may experience an increase in the demand at market value of their stocks, helping to level the playing field between them and larger firms.

Idea #140
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World War II poster (detail) J. Howard Miller, 1918–2004

The Value of Front Line Managers

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Front-line bosses may be far more valuable for an organization than has been previously thought. According to research from Stanford Graduate School of Business, good as opposed to poor line-managers and supervisors can increase organizational productivity by as much as 11% — or the same amount as adding an additional worker to a nine-member team!

Idea #133
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Women in an Interior, Fernand Léger, 1881 - 1955

Why Good Bosses Tune Into Their People

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

A Swedish study tracking just over 3,000 men for ten years found that those with bad bosses suffered 20–40% more heart attacks than those with good bosses? So having a bad boss can literally kill you! Research shows that good bosses get more from their people, demonstrate better employee retention and much more. This Idea offers some advice on how you can be one too.

Idea #093
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Man with light bulb

How Evidence-Based Management Reduces Entrepreneurial Risk

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

Despite the fact that many talented individuals put hard work and diligence into new start-ups, why do high failure rates still exist? This Idea proposes that evidence-based management could help with this, reducing risks, costs, and wasted time and effort. However, the mindset-shift required to implement this approach is significant; as such, not many leaders adopt it, even though the risk of failure could be demonstrably reduced and vast sums of money saved.

Idea #036
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Contraption for the Lazy Father, W. Heath Robinson, 1872 - 1944

Home Working: Does it Work for the Organization?

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Although the numbers of employees working from home are increasing, there is still widespread scepticism about introducing this working practice into organizations. The experience of one company, however, showed a notable increase in productivity when employees were given the option of doing so. In this Idea, faculty from Stanford Graduate School of Business suggest that offering such a choice can lead to long-term organizational benefits. 

Idea #079
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Battle of the River Plate, 1956, Dir. Powell and Pressburger

Leadership Alignment and Strategy Implementation

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

It is essential for leaders to understand how to ensure strategic decisions are effectively implemented throughout their organizations. In this respect, leader effectiveness in the aggregate across different levels, as opposed to individual leadership actions, has the most significant effect. This Idea looks at the importance of leadership alignment in implementing strategy. 

Idea #032
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Sustainable People Policies for Sustainable Organizations

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Are human sustainability policies any less vital for a 21st Century organization than environmental ones? While the surface effects may not be so obvious, the impact on society can be huge. As pace-setting companies and cultures re-optimise toward ‘higher order fundamentals’ like human prosperity; well-being, happiness, satisfaction – employee health becomes a crucial conversation to have.

Idea #010
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