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Why Project Leaders Are Different from Project Managers

Idea posted: August 2019
  • Strategy

Project leadership and project management do not require the same skills, competencies and behaviours. Likewise, the success factors for project leadership are not the same as the success factors for general leadership. A new study identifies the unique skills, knowledge, behaviours and values at the heart of superior project leadership. 

Idea #749
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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Staying Competitive Today While Preparing Full-On for Future Success

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Companies must be ambidextrous: they must focus on winning the present while at the same time laying the foundation to win the future. The challenge is that emphasizing one priority can undermine the second. A recent study offers some guidelines for overcoming the challenge of ambidexterity by examining key factors – sometimes complementary, sometime conflicting – that enable companies to focus on the present and the future.

Idea #748
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 1: People, Technology and Collaboration

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

The first phase of a major project on sustainable manufacturing, a food-and-drink industry giant and a UK university sponsored a roundtable discussion on sustainable manufacturing by 24 manufacturing experts from industry, government and academia. The roundtable yielded six major themes — People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience — that describe the key areas on which manufacturers must focus to build a sustainable future.

Idea #652
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 2: Five Pathways

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A collaborative research project on sustainable manufacturing between a food and drink giant and a university uncovers five pathways to sustainable manufacturing in 2050 that leverage technology and collaboration to build environmentally conscious supply chains that support — and involve — society.

Idea #653
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Water polo at the 2012 Summer Olympics (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation and the Pros and Cons of Close Personal Relationships

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Not all dimensions of social capital have a clear positive influence on organizational exploration activities. A new study shows that the acquisition of new knowledge, ideas and insight can be both helped and hindered when members of a team have close, trusting relationships.

Idea #621
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The Symbolic Value of New Management Practices

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A new study shows that companies that are seen as continuously using new and improved management practices are valued more highly by analysts and other observers.

Idea #594
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Male Middle Managers: Linchpins of Gender Parity at Work

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

Gender equality in the workplace can be undermined through everyday organizational practices, from sexually charged remarks to limiting female contributions to meeting discussions or refusing to give women credit for ideas or initiatives. Male middle managers are the key to halting such practices and fostering gender parity in their organizations.

Idea #572
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Launch Intentional Communities of Practice in Global Companies

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

As professionals in an organization acquire knowledge and experience, they share this knowledge among themselves in informal communities of practice (CoPs). In large international organizations with geographically dispersed professionals, such organic, informal CoPs aren’t possible; however, research shows top management-initiated, deliberately structured intentional communities of practice (ICoP) can fulfil the same function of distributing knowledge throughout the organization.

Idea #441
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How to Win a Price War

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Price wars are usually won by companies with the widest profit margins and the best cost structures — i.e. those that can afford to fight them. It is, however, possible for a business with a cost disadvantage to achieve victory. Much depends on the way a ‘campaign’ is carried out and planned. Sometimes strategic capabilities, not cost structure, decides the outcome.

Idea #403
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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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Genius Bar at the Apple Store, Prince Street, SoHo, Manhattan, New York City, 2003 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Servitization: Implications for Sales and Marketing

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Marketing

In a business world where competition is higher than ever before, it has become increasingly difficult for firms to differentiate solely on products. That is why many firms have begun focusing on services too. This Idea looks at this trend, referred to here as ‘servitization’ and considers how you can ensure the shift to such sales is a successful one for your organization.

Idea #293
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At the market, Tajikistan, photo by Kate Dixon, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

RET: Market Research in Real Time

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

As market researchers cannot follow customers around 24 hours a day, how else can they understand what sways them to buy certain brands? This Idea discusses a new research tool — real-time experience tracking (RET) — which seeks to capture how people respond to experiences and interactions with a given brand, all in real-time.

Idea #282
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Covver Illustration from Developing Leaders 8, Julian Burton, www.delta7.com

Bridging Organizational Governance Gaps

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

What the Board spells out as good practice, and what motivates managerial behaviour is not necessarily the same thing. The gap between both can lead to serious consequences, not unlike the scandals that took place at Enron, WorldCom and more recently, the BBC. How can your organization create a sense of moral responsibility from ‘the bottom up?’

Idea #179
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Herman Hollerith’s Electric Tabulator, US Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 1908, Photograph by Waldon Fawcett (Source: Library of Congress LC-USZ62-45687)

Big Data = Big Opportunities: If the CEO Takes the Lead

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Big Data has recently gained lots of hype, prompting organizations to consider the best ways to utilize it. In this Idea, researchers suggest the responsibility lies not within IT departments, as is typically assumed; rather, CEOs need to take charge of understanding, exploring and exploiting the opportunities presented by Big Data.

Idea #175
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Business woman draws modern business concept

New Priorities for Marketing Leaders

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The priorities of marketing leaders are rapidly changing. According to a report from Cranfield School of Management, improving marketing’s ability to work cross-functionally and building influence at Board level are currently two of the lowest priorities for marketing leaders. Could this pose a problem when it comes to long-term strategies?

Idea #130
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Financial Literacy to Get Women on Board

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

What competencies must be displayed by individuals aiming for board-level positions? Traditionally, the answer to this question would include things like knowledge, motivation and networks. While those are certainly still relevant, new research suggests a finance qualification, or background in finance, is also a key influence — especially when the candidate in question is female.

Idea #104
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Shopping cart with green arrow

Embedding CSR and Sustainability: Marks & Spencer

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

Using Marks & Spencer as an example, there are certain practices other organizations can similarly apply to improve focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability. The UK retailer has made a number of successful moves towards embedding social and environmental awareness and practices into its everyday strategic vision. In this Idea, these are analyzed and discussed, offering companies tips they can similarly apply.

Idea #039
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Engaged Employees: CSR, Sustainability and Performance

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

Engaging employees with sustainability issues can play an important role in the creation of both social and commercial value. Forward-thinking companies are embracing sustainability programs driven from the top down and bottom up, to gain a number of additional benefits interlinked with increased employee engagement and performance.

Idea #040
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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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Chrysalis to butterfly

Establishing Sustainable Change in Organizations

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

Leading through change is extremely difficult. Organizational culture is an ‘evolving organism’ made up of many sub-cultures and helping it to change is an incredibly complex task. While there are no hard-and-fast rules to change management, there are things we can do to increase the likelihood of a change initiative’s sustained success.

Idea #073
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Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner, 2006 (Source Wikimedia)

Ensemble Leadership: Lessons from the Orchestra Pit

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

An examination of musical ensembles offers insight into how ‘distributed’, or ‘plural leadership’ can work. This type of leadership, as opposed to individual or hierarchical styles can be more effective in moving organizations collectively towards shared goals.

Victoria Concordia Crescit — Victory through harmony.

Idea #074
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Satisfied customer

Failed CRM Initiatives and How to Avoid Them

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Customer relationship marketing (CRM) has become a big focus for companies in recent years, witnessing heavy investment in call centres, sophisticated database systems, online support services, etc. But despite these large-scale CRM investments, 55–75% of companies have failed to meet the expected returns. Why is this the case and, moving forward, how can managers ensure better results from their CRM initiatives?

Idea #099
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