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The Cheats, Valentin de Boulogne, c.1619 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

Last Chance Cheating: A Gig Economy Challenge

Idea posted: May 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Because short-term or contract employees are hired for a specific period of time, they know when the end of their time with the employer is near. A new study shows that as they approach this final period, departing short-termers will often cheat the employer in some way. The reason: it’s their last chance to make a little gain at the employer’s expense. 

Idea #605
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Illustration from Europa's fairy book, published by G. P. Putnam's & Sons, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Best-Self Activation Launches Sustained Performance Improvement

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

New research confirms that best-self activation — activating a mental representation of your best self — leads to short- and long-term improvement in performance. The research specifically highlights the positive emotional, physiological (e.g. resilience to stress), and cognitive impact of best-self activation.

Idea #565
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The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, by Norman Hunter, illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. (Courtesy: Penguin Books, First Published 1933)

Broad Knowledge or Narrow Expertise: What Works Best for Innovation?

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who is most likely to find the innovative breakthrough: an expert with a deep knowledge of the domain or a cross-functional team with broader knowledge and a variety of experience? New research shows that the cross-functional and diverse knowledge approach to innovation can be a double-edged sword: shattering the myopia of experts but not providing the expertise needed to generate novel ideas in the field.

Idea #548
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Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, Giacomo Balla, 1912 (Courtesy: Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, New York)

Tracking Customers Who Leave Without Saying Goodbye

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Marketing

Customers don’t always inform a business that they are no longer customers. A new model, developed by researchers from Columbia Business School and London Business School and based on customer behaviour, allows companies to disentangle customers who are still active customers from customers who have ‘silently left’. The model also identifies customers who are in danger of leaving. 

Idea #538
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Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin(left), who is believed to have coined the phrase, "Speak truth to power." (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Candid Feedback Keeps Power-holders Accountable

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

Those in positions of power have control over an organization’s allocation of scarce resources. But are subordinates as powerless as they think? New research shows that candid feedback from subordinates can compel power-holders to be fairer and less self-serving in their allocation decisions.

Idea #521
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Thumbs Up Ballet in a field choreography of Stars in my Eyes, Quebec, 1944 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Does Employee Satisfaction Improve Company Value? It Depends...

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

Recent studies of U.S. companies have shown that increased employee satisfaction is linked to higher value for the firm. But what about companies in other countries? A new study shows that the U.S. results are replicated only in countries that have levels of labour flexibility (ease of hiring and firing) similar to the U.S. Companies in countries with low labour flexibility show a more limited benefit from employee satisfaction.

Idea #478
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Naremon Thepchai Theatre production of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman', 1971(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|

Do Your Managers’ Responses to Market Results Damage Profits?

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Self-serving biases can lead managers to make less than optimal decisions when faced with poor results. This can hurt profits as their biases lead to the wrong quality and price responses to market results. However, forward looking executives can take steps to pre-emptively counter those biases when they make their initial price and quality improvement decisions.

Idea #423
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Women Workers in Estonia, unknown artist from the soviet period (Courtesy: ussrpainting.blogspot.com)

Back to Leadership Basics: Make Time for Your Team

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: London Business School

Leaders can make a much greater impact on their businesses if they spend more of their time ‘at the sharp end’, working directly with their people. To do it, they need ruthlessly to delegate, or desist from, time-consuming but relatively unproductive tasks, freeing up several more hours a week to coach and motivate employees to achieve higher performance. 

Idea #393
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How Employees Win ‘Voice’ and Influence Decisions

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

High levels of engagement and commitment in the workplace could be both a cause and an effect of involving employees in decision-making processes. Research suggests that leaders ‘grant voice’ to followers who combine a need to influence the organization with a need to belong and take part — and that followers work better for leaders when they do.

Idea #391
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Rear Adm. Daniel Holloway talks with sailors during his weekly Admiral's ‘brown bag lunch’ aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

How Seeing Things Employees’ Way Builds Performance

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: London Business School

By adopting an employee-centred attitude to the way you lead, your staff will not only achieve the best for themselves and their own goals, but they will also deliver the best for your business. It requires a move away from the controlling orientation of traditional leadership and towards a more communicative process, in which you try to understand the strengths, fears, and aspirations of employees, and manage them accordingly.

Idea #353
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Ideas, Implementation and the Learning Organization

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee deviation from official strategy can result in discoveries and innovations that increase profits. It’s not always to be actively encouraged, though. Employees who try to implement the ideas of management — and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t — can better serve the interests of the organization in the long term.

Idea #314
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Self-Reflective Job Titles Reduce Emotional Exhaustion

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

Allowing employees to give themselves self-reflective job titles — the title of Berkshire Hathaway’s event organizer is Director of Chaos, for example — helps them affirm their identity and, even in the most stressful of jobs, reduce emotional exhaustion. The result is less staff turnover, better teamwork, and higher performance.

Idea #305
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The Fall of Icarus, Carlo Saraceni (c.1580-1620), Museo e Gallerie Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy

CSR: Pride Comes Before a Fall

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

CEOs with a strong record in corporate social responsibility (CSR) are more likely to engage in less ethical behaviour further down the line, despite maintaining an appearance of morality. Leaders should, therefore, be aware of their propensity to fall from grace and boards should closely monitor their behaviour, especially if the CEO in question is currently ‘on a pedestal’, with recent CSR achievements to their name.

Idea #273
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Don’t Just Follow the Crowdfunding Crowd

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: London Business School

Crowdfunding has been much talked about as an innovative way of funding entrepreneurial businesses, allowing them to source financial backing from a growing plethora of online platforms. But in reality crowdfunding may not be suitable for a particular business idea or sector – and some crowdfunding platforms may not be viable at all. As the research’s author, Gary Dushnitsky, puts it, “It’s great that crowdfunding is the solution, but to what question and, specifically, in what industry?”

Idea #236
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Mark Webber's Red Bull Formula One car, Canadian Grand Prix, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Product Choice: Are You Paying Attention?

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Product choice is linked to the amount of prior attention or conversely, inattention, that we give to something before encountering it again at a later date, when we either choose or reject it. Leaders should ask themselves what their organization can do to guard against the risks of its brand or products being overlooked.

Idea #218
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If the Price is Right: Charging for Online Content

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Publishers and media owners who provide sought-after online content can profit financially by charging for it – rather than relying on declining online advertising revenues. But it is crucial how a fee-based charging structure is implemented: charge too little and you are missing out on valuable subscription revenue; but charge too much – or for the wrong content – and you will lose viewers, further undermining advertising revenues. The key is for media companies to take a flexible approach, charging optimal fees for selected content

Idea #224
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New recruits to the British Army, First World War, Nicholls Horace, © Imperial War Museum (Q 30060)

Onboarding New Employees Successfully

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

Employee turnover can be expensive and time-consuming, so organizations need to know how to get the most from and retain the valuable new additions they make. According to recent research, the secret lies in promoting self-expression and encouraging newcomers to bring their unique values and perspectives to the job. Most importantly, this should be done from the first day through a process known as ‘onboarding’. This Idea offers some practical advice on managing the process.

Idea #135
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Mahatma Gandhi. Photo 1947 Margaret Bourke-White, LIFE Magazine (Source: Wikimedia)

Live and Learn: The Innovation Imperative

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

The success of innovative businesses can be attributed in part to the fact that, by innovating, they learn to face new challenges, which in turn improves their knowledge and skills. Extending their range of experience can lead them to outperform their competitors.

Idea #121
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The Conjurer, Hieronymus Bosch, c.1475, Musée Municipal, St. Germain-en-Laye (Source: Wikimedia)

Custom-made: Customer Funding for Business Growth

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: London Business School

Venture capital (VC) is the default route to gaining funding for a growing business. But there are other ways to unlock money, indeed, some of the largest and most successful companies never raise any venture capital. Change your approach to growth by focusing on your customers, not investors, as your means to the end.

Idea #110
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The Women's Land Army, Bellingham, 1943

Maximising Employee Performance

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

Aligning the personal goals of employees with organizational goals can bring huge benefits but it is not easy. This Idea looks at the benefits of a management model based on the perspective of the employee, which can provide better communication with employees and, as a result, more effective performance from them; and suggests some ways to go about it. 

Idea #084
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