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Hamlet's Vision, by Pedro Américo, 1893,The Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Surprising Reality of the Leadership of Change

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

Linear ‘step-by-step’ guides and standardised solutions are of limited use in the management of change. Organizations, by their very nature, defy prescription. Leaders who want to turn companies round are often better off observing things for themselves and encouraging employees to improvise solutions than trying to follow a generalised model. There are, to paraphrase Hamlet, more things in organizational life than are ‘dreamt of’ in the ‘philosophies’ of academics, business writers and management consultants.

Idea #213
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Bathing beach parade, 1919, Bathing Beach Washington D.C. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Identifying High-Potential Talent

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

Organizations are struggling with how to effectively identify, attract and retain high-potential talent. This Idea — based on a Leadership Survey carried out by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School — proposes employing a formal and systematic approach, and outlines four steps to putting such an approach into practice. 

Idea #203
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The Money Lender and his Wife, Quentin Metsys, founder of the Antwerp school, 1514, The Louvre, Paris

When Financial Incentives Backfire

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: HEC Paris

Companies often rely on performance-based systems to reward their ‘smartest’ or most productive employees. But financial incentives can have unintended consequences. New research suggests that the smartest workers also tend to be the most skilled at playing performance-based systems for personal gain. Leaders need to look closely at the way they structure and design incentives — and reduce the risks of employees concentrating their efforts on activities that trigger rewards.

Idea #180
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Image from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Talent to Manage Big Data

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

The sudden and prominent appearance of big data in the business world means many organizations need to start thinking about investing in new staff specifically trained in big data analysis. How can HR executives stay ahead and ensure they find and retain the right people for this important role? 

Idea #176
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Man standing with his back to a crowd

Conquering Racism by Taking Personal Responsibility

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: HEC Paris

Increased sensitivity to the problem of racism is not, it seems, being matched by a willingness to take personal responsibility for it. We tend to excuse our own prejudices by blaming them on cultural and social conditioning. If more progress is to be made in the fight against racism, we need to take a more rational approach — and acknowledge that the extent to which we endorse prejudices is within our control.

Idea #168
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Good and Evil (Courtesy Suzanne van Gils)

Instilling Morality In Organizations

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

The ethical climate of an organization is not solely a reflection of the personality and morality of the leader. It is also a product of relationships. The interplay between leaders and followers and co-workers can cause the aggregate level of morality in an organization to rise and fall. People are motivated — and demotivated — to do the right thing partly by their environment and those around them. To reduce moral failures in organizations, you have to understand the bigger picture of human interaction.

Idea #164
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Female Leader

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion with Respectful Leadership

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

Both anecdotal evidence and empirical research suggest that demographic differences can make it harder for leaders and followers to collaborate and cause levels of employee engagement to fall. The problems are greatest where male employees report to a female boss. Overcoming them depends on moral leadership. People who demonstrate respect for others can transcend demographic differences and combat prejudices. As the workforce becomes more diverse, moral and respectful leadership becomes an even bigger imperative for organizations. 

Idea #165
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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley with cadets at his retirement ceremony,  2008 (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash. Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Delaying Retirement Can Be Bad for the Brain

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

Changing demographics are forcing many countries to raise the retirement age. But this could increase the social and financial costs of ageing populations. Working for longer does not necessarily keep the mind active. In tests for cognitive flexibility (the ability to switch between two different concepts and think about different things at the same time) the retired perform better than their employed counterparts.

Idea #166
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The Tax Collector, Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1542, Alte Pinakothek Museum,  Munich

Rewards that Motivate More than Money

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

Non-financial rewards such as career-development opportunities and challenges and responsibilities have a much greater impact on staff motivation than salary and benefits. Cash and bonuses and a fair and transparent policy on pay are important to employees – so, too, are flexible benefits. But organizations need to take a ‘holistic’ view of compensation and think in terms of the ‘total rewards package’. Very few people are motivated solely by money.

Idea #146
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Forced Entry

When Successful Managers Go off the Rails

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

Managers who are solidly established in their organizations and boast impressive track records can suddenly find their careers ‘derailed.’ They no longer have the skills, mindset, personality or reputation that made them effective leaders in the past; eventually they are demoted, fired or asked to take early retirement. New research from the Center of Creative Leadership confirms the causes of such derailment and also identifies what managers and companies can do today to prevent situations that are not only devastating to the individuals but also costly to their organizations.

Idea #136
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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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Australian Recruitment Poster, World War 2 (Source: Wikimedia)

Leveraging Cyclical Unemployment for a Stronger Workforce

Idea posted: April 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

What can we learn from an analysis of the compositional changes in the pool of unemployed over the years? This Idea demonstrates that during recessions, the pool of unemployed shifts disproportionately towards workers with high wages. Unfortunately for the companies letting them go, these are usually also the most productive employees too, but for savvy HR executives that are able to hire them, it could mean great additions to their organization’s workforce.

Idea #094
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Harnessing Individual and Organization Networks

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

Leveraging employee networks can optimize individual and organizational performance and unearth hidden talent. Organizations teem with informal employee networks. Awareness of these living networks, and an understanding of how collaborations take place between top performers, can be a great, effective tool for overall success. To do so, managers must understand both the structure of talent networks within their company, and the categories their employees fall into. 

Idea #017
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Principles of Competitive Global Talent Management

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

Companies must use talent management to build and sustain a talented workforce. Recruit, develop, deploy and retain the right people; these are the core aims of a successful global talent management strategy. Rather than follow untailored ‘best practices’ to do that, a company can subscribe to six outline principles that are consistent with the organization’s overall strategy and culture.

Idea #018
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Women's rights protest in Egypt, 2011, Al Jazeera English (Source: Wikimedia)

Women Leaders Are Held Back in Some Cultures More than Others

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

Why are there not more female leaders, and could culture be one of the factors that holds women back? This Idea proposes that the strength of norms and social sanctions in a culture — its ‘tightness’ — determines how many women will be represented in top leadership positions there. 

Idea #098
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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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Keeping Employee Engagement High in Tough Times

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

During a downturn, employee engagement increases rather than decreases. However, employers should implement strategies to keep engagement high so the reverse does not occur when economic conditions eventually improve.

Idea #013
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Diagram of the Brain, 14th Century

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Behaviour

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

Emotional intelligence is our ability to control our emotions, understand the emotions of others and use this information to guide thinking and action – and it can have a huge impact on leadership effectiveness. In relation to the collaborative aspects of leadership in particular, emotional intelligence has been found to have a significant effect.

Idea #023
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Global Sales Teams and the Impact of National Culture

Idea posted: February 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: HEC Paris

As international sales forces become more prevalent companies need to standardize their sales force management controls across national borders. This research looks at how the effectiveness of sales force control models is influenced by national culture, and how sales team managers need to understand and balance cultural influences that promote behaviour controls over outcome controls.

Idea #101
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Attracting, Developing and Retaining Millennials

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

The number of ‘Millennials’ entering the workforce is peaking, and there is now global interest in understanding how best to manage them. By some estimates, nearly 80 million Millennials (young adults born between the late 1970s to early 2000s) make up today’s global workforce. There is also evidence that they are fundamentally changing how business is conducted. Here are some steps to maximizing their effectiveness in your organization. 

Idea #086
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Helping Employees Realize Their Dreams: The Search for Meaning

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

Do you want a more engaged and productive workforce?  You’re not alone—all managers do! To achieve this, managers can help employees realize and reclaim their lost dreams through tailored career development programs. This Idea offers four practical strategies to help you do this.

Idea #015
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Flexible Career Paths in Organizations

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

Over the years, career paths have changed from a steady ascent, to unique tracks adapted to each person. Whereas previously, the concept of career trajectory was upward progression on a preset track, today career paths are more flexible and adaptable to personal needs. Why is it important for leaders to understand this? Well, by doing so, they can drive personal and professional development in ways based on feasible flexibility, development-orientated relationships, visibility and transparency, and diversity management. 

Idea #016
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Samurai at a Waterfall, 19th Century Japanese Woodblock Print, Fuji Arts

Grapes of Wrath: How Self Control Leads to Anger

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

Does making a healthy food choice make us angry? In an important piece of consumer research, a relationship is found to exist between exerting self-control, and a preference toward ‘themes of anger’ in e.g. entertainment. This mismatch - getting irritated by our own self-control - has far-reaching implications for marketers and policy-makers as we try to further understand consumer behaviour.

Idea #034
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Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life, 1913, Mack Sennett & Mabel Normand

Matching Decisions to Decision-Makers: via Our Testosterone Levels

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

Hormones can play a role in decision-making, particularly testosterone, which when present in high levels can lead to more utilitarian decisions being made. In a study where participants were made to answer philosophical questions involving morality, high-testosterone individuals were consistently more willing to endorse a difficult decision, if there was some ‘greater good’ involved. On the other hand, this made them more likely to violate a moral norm in doing so. So can we match decisions to decision-makers based on an individual’s chemical make-up?

Idea #043
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Shaping a Global Leadership Strategy For Cross-Cultural Effectiveness

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

In organizations across the globe, managers at all levels must be trained and ‘groomed’ for future leadership roles. But will a manager in Delhi respond in the same way to the same training as a manager in Beijing – or in California, or Singapore? This research Idea from CCL identifies both the universal sources of leadership learning, found across China, India, Singapore and the US, as well as unique approaches specific to each country – by way of a cross-country comparison of developmental experiences.

Idea #046
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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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The Fall of Icarus, Andrew Johnstone, Cadogan Contemporary London www.cadogancontemporary.com

Why Do CEOs Fail? How the Mighty Are Fallen

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

In the past year, the average tenure of a CEO has halved. This is, of course, worrying news for top leadership teams and CEOs want to know, how can they ensure their roles are secure? Well, there is no magic formula to guarantee that; but, remaining aware of the factors (endogenous and exogenous) that have been shown to contribute to CEO failure can help them be better equipped to succeed.

Idea #007
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Dayron Robles winning the 110 meters hurdles at the Beijing Olympic Games, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia)

Embedding Diversity: Three Key Steps

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

Diversity within an organization is now obligatory, and management policies in this domain are a must. However, implementing such policies is only the first hurdle in diversity management. In this Idea, two other hurdles faced by executives charged with this are presented, as well as tips based on others’ experiences on how to overcome them.

Idea #027
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Enthusiastic employees

Turning Employees into Brand Champions: Leadership Style Makes a Difference

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

It is crucial for managers to develop brand-building behaviours on the part of employees. The leadership style they adopt to do so will affect how well this is done. This Idea suggests that a high level of transformational leadership, combined with a moderate level of transactional leadership will be most effective in maximizing employees’ internal motivation to engage in brand-building behaviour.

Idea #035
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‘Partners of Choice’ for an Agile Workforce

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

An alternative to traditional full-time employment relationships, ‘Partners of Choice’ are starting to form the basis of new, supremely agile organizations. This is a longer form of contracting relationships, based on trust and cherry-picking expertise - whilst still ensuring commitment and competence. Choosing, attracting, and managing the right partners then, is key to their success. 

Idea #075
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