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Inclusive Leadership: Aligning the Different

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: Mercer LLC

Globalization, advances in technology, and the impact of emerging markets have made the leadership of organizations increasingly complex. To address this complexity leaders need to embrace the ‘different’ and to become ‘inclusive’.  Inclusive leaders have the skill to engage with people with different backgrounds and outlooks, are willing to adapt personally, and are able to create a shared vision which brings diverse individuals to a collective focus on a coherent end-goal. Organizations should follow the advice from Apple and their strapline “Think Different.”

Idea #415
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The School of Athens (detail), fresco by Raphael in the Apostolic Chapel, Vatican City

Be a Learning Leader

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

For organizations to learn and adapt, their employees must also learn and adapt. Leaders inspire learning through a range of relationships with direct reports and peers. They must develop relationships that encourage and facilitate individual learning. Different types of learning relationship need distinct personal leadership behaviours. Leaders can adapt to the different learner expectations and create conducive conditions for improving organizations’ learning performance.

Idea #407
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Creating Shared Value Using Inter-Organizational Networks

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

More and more companies are making the connection between commercial success and attaining sustainable growth through ‘creating shared value’. This Idea outlines three steps organizations can take to advance their efforts in ‘creating shared value’, highlighting the role of inter-organizational networks as a key driver.

Idea #395
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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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Kenya's Faith Chemaoi crosses the finishing line of the 2014 Paris Marathon (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Reference Points Motivate Us

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

Reference-dependent theories state that individuals evaluate outcomes as gains or losses, depending on a neutral reference point. Making 19 sales in a month is a loss when the goal — the reference point — was 20 sales a month. Data from 10 million marathon finishes provides a field test that confirms the behavioural expectations and implications of these theories, shedding a light on how milestone goals can push individuals to higher performance.

Idea #394
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"Just like that", the supreme British comedian, Tommy Cooper, 1921-1984 (Courtesy: Virgin Media)

How Transformational Leaders Use Self-deprecating Humour

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

Transformational leaders, who are focused on helping others advance and succeed, know how to use self-deprecating humour to earn the respect and trust of their followers. 

Idea #382
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An Holistic Approach to Leadership Development

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

Leadership development tends to focus on behavioural competencies, and how these can be attuned to create more effective leaders. This Idea takes a different approach: look beyond competencies and consider inner experiences as well. Such a holistic approach can help organizations and their leaders utilize a broader repertoire of responses to difficult situations.

Idea #383
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Walkie talkie. Image from World War II US Signals Corps' manual (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Lead Virtual Teams

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Virtual teams, groups of diverse and geographically dispersed people communicating mainly by technology, pose challenges for companies. They can deliver superior performance and become an important source of value creation, but they demand a new management and leadership approach. Organizations that apply the ‘rules’ for classic or traditional teams will be disappointed.

Idea #384
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Detail from a poster by Eric Frazer, for the Post Office Savings Bank, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How a Culture of Integrity Boosts the Bottom Line

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

A culture of integrity adds value to the firm. Research shows that the more employees perceive top managers as trustworthy and ethical, the better the financial performance of the firm and the more attractive the firm to potential employees. 

Idea #379
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The Misers, by a follower of Marinus van Reymerswaele, c.1490-1567, The Royal Collection Trust

Profits Vs Principles: Market Competition and Moral Transgression

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

Competition sometimes has undesirable consequences. These could include ‘tolerance’ of moral transgressions that further the economic interests of the organization. New research suggests that in highly competitive markets, where the pressure to outperform is intense, leaders might be less likely to discipline ‘bad’ employees who are ‘good’ for the bottom line.

Idea #380
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Can a Leader Be Too Ethical?

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

Ethical leadership reduces the risks of antisocial and selfish employee behaviour and encourages the kind of ‘pro-social’ behaviours that create value and promote the collective interest. There could, however, be a point at which it is counterproductive. Recent research suggests that leaders demonstrating particularly high ethical standards can weaken the psychological contract with employees through perceived ‘moral reproach’.

Idea #377
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Columbia Man. A 1902 poster for Columbia University, by John E. Sheridan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do Ivy League or Elite Educated CEOs Outperform Others?

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

When selecting a potential CEO for your organization, will having studied at an Ivy League school make a difference to the performance they bring? According to this Idea, yes but only under certain conditions. Read on to find out more about whether it is worth the effort to specifically seek out elite or Ivy League-educated individuals for CEO positions.

Idea #370
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Securing Talent with a Superior Employee Value Proposition

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

A shift is taking place in the business world; power has moved from employers to employees. In this Idea, the reasons behind this shift are explored, and advice is provided to organizations on how to ensure they successfully attract, develop and retain employees, and remain an ‘employer of choice’.

Idea #348
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Hamlet, 1948 film, directed, produced and starring Laurence Olivier, Distributed by Rank Film Distributors (UK)

How Procrastination Undermines Pro-Active Leadership

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

When it matters most, are you able to make effective decisions or do you hesitate and find reasons to delay them? Many leaders are guilty of the latter, the underlying cause of which is procrastination — something that stands in the way of proactive leadership and should be dealt with to ensure you and your organization does not suffer from its rippling negative effects.

Idea #336
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President Eisenhower signing of HR7786, June 1, 1954, this ceremony changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do Soldiers Make Good CEOs?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Leadership & Change

CEOs with past military experience are more likely to pursue more conservative corporate policies (particularly those related to finance and investment), are less likely to be involved in fraud, and are in a better position to guide a company during crises or industry downturns, according to new research based on 25 years of corporate data.

Idea #337
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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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Black Eyed Peas during Walmart Shareholders' Meeting 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Diversity in Teams: Tasks, Not Relationships Drive Performance

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Leadership & Change

Diversity is a catalyst to creativity and better decision-making, but is considered to have a downside in terms of relationships: there is less of a ‘bond’ or a connection among members of a diverse team. Researchers now claim that this supposed downside is actually the central mechanism that improves the performance of diverse teams; focusing less time on the relationship, team members — especially in pre-meeting preparation — focus more on the task at hand. 

Idea #322
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Othello and Iago, illustration from Charles and Mary Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1901) (Souce: Wikimedia Commons)

Is Othello Boss Syndrome Affecting Your Organization?

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

What can be learnt about leadership from Shakespeare’s Othello? According to this Idea, the characteristics and personality changes experienced by Othello may not be so different from what many executives experience in the business world. Jealousy, in particular, can be extremely damaging not just for the executives themselves, but for their organization as a whole. Read on to find out how to spot, correct and avoid the ‘Othello Syndrome’.

Idea #315
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Andrus Ansip, Prime Minister of Estonia, witnesses a nitrocellulose explosion 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Stress Improve Experiential Learning for Leaders?

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

In this Idea, the behavioural neuroscience (or ‘psychobiology’) of learning is explored, suggesting that the key to better learning may be to ensure raised heart-rates — something that take place when participants feel challenged and taken out of their comfort zones. 

Idea #297
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Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin in the 1960s US TV series, based the DC Comic characters, broadcast by ABC Netwrk (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coaching Chemistry: Building a Collaborative Relationship

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: Henley Business School

The best circumstances for successful coaching include a number of factors, from the skill, style, and experience of the coach, to the desire of the coachee to develop, to the actual process of coaching sessions. But none of these will work effectively if the relationship between the two is lacking. What can leaders do to get the best out of their teams, and the best out of themselves as coaches?

Idea #311
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Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech during his MSU visit, 1965 (Source: Michigan State University archives)

Leaders' Charisma, Team Performance and Organizational Change

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

If a leader has charisma, he/she is said to be more likely to achieve better team performance. But what exactly is it that makes a leader seem charismatic, and why does this have an effect on performance outcomes? In this Idea, these questions are explored, and the behaviours that enhance the perception of charisma are outlined.

Idea #303
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Map of the World and Constellations, Petrus Plancius (1552 – 1622) Dutch astronomer, cartographer and clergyman

The Role of Cultural Self-awareness in Global Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IE Business School

We are shaped by our backgrounds, by the values and beliefs that have been instilled in us since birth.  By understanding how one’s own cultural hinterland can affect behaviour in a global workplace, leaders can learn to adapt that behaviour and do better business with those around them, whatever their nationality or background.

Idea #306
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Participants in the 2013 Clipper Round the World Race

Leading Dynamic Teams: Alignment, Capability, Autonomy

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change

This Idea offers insights from a round-the-world yacht race to reveal several key behaviours that make a real difference to team performance. Using sports teams as a metaphor for understanding team dynamics in organizations and the associated leadership challenges can be useful. However sports teams generally seek short-term black or white goals; whereas in business, and life, the time horizons are longer and the outcomes much more graded. Trans-ocean sailing teams provide a more realistic environment for leadership analysis. 

Idea #301
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The Blue Bottle coffee house founded in 1686 in Vienna. Painting c.1900 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Network Perspective: Social Networks and Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Are you aware of the different roles individuals play in your organization, and how they connect to each other to form an informal structure that supports the organization as a whole? If so, you are well on your way to developing network perspective — something that is, according to this Idea, imperative for 21st century executives. 

Idea #291
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‘War Horse’, the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s book, performed at the Lyric Theatre Sydney, Australia, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Indirect Control: The Future of Management?

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

Management models are often seen as falling into one of two camps: command and control or the more laissez-faire, participative variety. But this is a false dichotomy. Successful managers and leaders today combine elements of both — in the ratio that’s right for them and their organizations. They offer autonomy and ‘self-actualisation’ but they do so in a clear and conscious ‘frame’ that reflects their sector and circumstances — and the preferences and skills of their employees. 

Idea #276
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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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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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Outsider CEOs and Strategic Change

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

While companies in crisis bring in outsider CEOs to effect change, many of them fail. New research shows why: Outsider CEOs need corporate stability to successfully bring change to an organization.

Idea #260
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Global Leadership: One Size Does Not Fit All

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

Successful leaders, it’s commonly acknowledged, share certain core characteristics and competences. You don’t get very far in business without, for example, the ability to ‘envision’ the future, set and design strategy, and motivate others to achieve shared goals. But not all successful leaders are the same. A recent global study finds significant regional variations in the behaviours of successful leaders — and in the expectations and preferences of their followers.

Idea #250
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The Meeting, Ester Almqvist, 1929, (Source: The Swedish National Museum. Wikimedia Commons)

Leadership Ensembles: 4 Blueprints for Senior Decision-Making

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

The ‘Lone Ranger’ style of senior leader decision-making is a thing of the past; most organizations now bring together groups of leaders (‘ensembles’) for input into different types of decision-making. This Idea identifies approaches for these ensembles to follow in order to make the most successful choices and reach the best decisions when they come together.

Idea #229
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