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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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Knowledge Sharing Networks Between Developing and Developed Countries

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

Managers in emerging markets can benefit from interpersonal ties to more developed countries. Personal contacts abroad can provide useful ‘inside information’ and transfer critical knowledge — for free. They should not, however, be pursued exclusively. The best personal networks include contacts at home as well as overseas. Recent research points to the relative merits and usefulness of local and distant knowledge.

Idea #292
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The Mad Hatter's Teaparty, illustration by John Teniel for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland 1895

Deferring to Others: When Able People Prefer Lower Status

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

Why do some able people opt for positions of lower status, though they may actually desire the respect associated with higher status? According to this Idea, others’ expectations are a key driver of the status individuals opt for in group settings. If they believe that they lack the characteristics to help a group succeed, they will opt for lower status in that group.  

Idea #287
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Traditional Marriages and Attitudes to Gender Diversity at Work

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

Is there a link between the structure of a man’s marriage and his attitude to gender diversity in the workplace? According to this Idea, there certainly is; men in more traditional marriages are more likely to have more unfavourable attitudes towards women in the workplace than their counterparts in modern marriages. Read on to find out why this is important for organizations to acknowledge and understand.

Idea #288
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Mary Marvel, the world's mightiest girl, Marvel Comics, illustrator Jack Binder, 1941 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Priming Power to Influence and Persuade

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

New research confirms that simply remembering a personal experience with power can increase a person’s appearance of confidence, command and persuasiveness in either the written form or a face-to-face meeting. The researchers focused on job application and interview settings, but the findings can easily apply to a variety of situations.

Idea #289
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Louis Armstrong (Source: Wikimedia Commons). Armstrong and His Orchestra recorded ‘Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive’ in 1945

Accentuate the Positive – the Art of Coaching with Compassion

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

Coaching with compassion creates positive emotions that affect the health and well-being of individuals in the workplace. Not only will they perform better as individuals but the ripple effect of such coaching can filter down through teams, departments and the organization as a whole. It helps develop a more caring culture, a more effective workforce, and a business that is more open to change.

Idea #283
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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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The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, Kunsthalle, Hamburg

Body Language: Power Poses That Get Lost in Translation

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

Expansive postures and gestures — leaning forward, standing tall with arms outstretched, etc — are considered part of the ‘body language’ of power. They make the ‘actor’ feel more positive and focused and they communicate confidence and authority to the observer. But not all of them ‘travel well’ or cross cultural boundaries. Recent research suggests leaders should stop and think before striking a ‘powerful pose’.

Idea #278
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Inequalities in the Competition for Global Talent

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

Finding and hanging on to people with the right skills is a problem shared by most organizations today — in both the private and public sectors. The ‘talent war’, however, is not being fought on a ‘level field’. The new Global Competitiveness Talent Index, a tool that measures countries’ efforts to attract, develop and retain talent and their access to both vocational and higher-level skills reveals significant disparities.

Idea #280
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Drawing by new or trainee teacher illustrating beliefs about science in the classroom, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Transferring Learning from Classroom to Workplace

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

Leadership development programs have gained popularity over the years, with rising numbers of organizations sending participants on various courses every day. But how can they ensure that the learning from these programs is effectively applied in the workplace? In this Idea, three key areas are identified that play a vital role in the transfer system.

Idea #281
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Pessimismo e Optimismo, 1923, by Italian futurist painter Giacomo Balla, 1871-1958 (Source:Wiki Paintings)

Integrated IT Outsourcing: Total Package or Total Chaos?

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

There’s a growing trend in IT outsourcing towards integrated solutions. Clients no longer want to buy service components separately from multiple vendors: they want the ‘total package’ from a single provider. Integrated solutions, however, can be particularly challenging to implement, requiring intensive co-ordination by vendors. How can they be delivered on time — and to clients’ satisfaction? Recent qualitative research, looking at integrated IT services from the provider’s perspective, points to some answers. 

Idea #275
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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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The Pilot Faints, from Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, illustrated by Gustave Doré, published 1798

Choosing a CEO: Safe Pair of Hands Vs Too Much Experience

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

A good track record of experience as a CEO does not necessarily lead to success in subsequent appointments. Evidence suggests that those appointed to the CEO role without a background in the role outperform their more seasoned counterparts. Why is this so, and what can prior CEOs do to avoid ‘the experience trap’? 

Idea #270
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The Rejected Suitor, Francis William Edmonds (1806 – 1863)

Once Bitten, Twice Shy? Past Refusal and Future Acceptance

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

Nobody likes to be rejected. But according to this Idea, we may be overestimating the chances that our requests will be denied. In particular, contrary to popular expectation, if we have already been rejected in the past then that same potential helper is more (not less) likely to grant a request the second time around.

Idea #271
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National Youth Orchestra performing Beethoven’s ninth symphony at the Royal Albert Hall, London, during 2013 BBC Proms (Source: Royal Philharmonic Society)

Music in the Meeting Room: Beethoven's 9th?

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

The power of music in leadership and the development of trust is widely recognised. So, too, is the value of face-to-face meetings, which, despite a battery of technological alternatives, are still commonplace in organizations. The possible synergies between music and meetings, however, have been overlooked. Managers are missing an opportunity to improve productivity, efficiency and teamwork. Is it time for music, long a feature of corporate events, to make it to the company meeting room?

Idea #264
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Positive and Negative Drivers of Creativity

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

There is no doubt that creativity is essential for organizations to thrive. But how can you inspire creativity in your organization? This Idea suggests that in addition to the popular perception that positivity inspires high creativity, negative affects also have an important role to play. In fact, when a combination of both negative and positive effects occur together, the highest levels of creativity take place.

Idea #266
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St. Francis Preaching to the Birds, Giotto, 1299, San Francesco Upper Church, Assisi, Italy (Source: Wikipaintings)

Building Trust: The Role of Stakeholders' Personal Values

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

For stakeholders, such as employees and customers, the trustworthiness of a company is based on competence and character attributes. New research shows that whether competence or character is more important to establishing trust depends on the personal conservative or liberal values of the stakeholders. This research helps companies develop targeted trust-building strategies.

Idea #262
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The Sleeping Shepherd, lithograph by Jean-Baptiste Aubry-Lecomte (1787-1858) after a painting by Raymond Monvoisin (The French National Library, Paris)

The Importance of Sleep for Work

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

According to this Idea, the science is clear: lack of sleep compromises brain processes and the skills needed for effective leadership. Executives — and indeed everyone — should get at least 7–9 hours sleep in order to perform at their best. Read on for some suggestions on how to create a culture that understands and values sleep in your organization.

Idea #257
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Angels, Entrepreneurs and the Dark Side of Trust

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Trust is often seen as the key to successful partnerships with angel investors, many of whom provide ‘hand-holding’ services as well as capital for entrepreneurs. But recently published research suggests it can threaten the long-term prospects of a business. Entrepreneurs are, it seems, sometimes so keen to preserve high levels of trust in their relationships with ‘angels’ that they avoid experimentation — and fail to take the kinds of decisions that secure re-investment.

Idea #258
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Tobacco Warning (Source: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Health Warnings Can Boost Sales: Regulators Beware

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Warnings of the health risks and possible side-effects of products are commonly considered an important part of consumer protection and responsible marketing. But they can be counter-productive. Recent research suggests they not only fade over time but also lead to perverse increases in consumer confidence and product sales.

Idea #253
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1939, starring Charles Laughton as Quasimodo, directed by William Dieterle, RKO Radio Pictures

How Power Mediates the Effects of Social Exclusion

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

How would you react if you were socially excluded from a group? According to this Idea, your level of power will be a strong determinant of this. High power individuals will try to connect with others, whereas low power individuals may withdraw further. It is important for managers to understand the dynamics of social exclusion not least because it can have a negative effect on productivity.

Idea #254
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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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Taxcaltecans meets Hernan Cortez. Mural created by Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin 1956-2000. Palacio de Gobierno, Tlaxcala City (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Managerial Derailment in Latin America

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

Why do some managers ‘derail’ and how do these factors differ in various regions of the world? In the research behind this Idea, managers in Latin America and the U.S were compared to analyse managerial derailment. The Idea offers suggestions as to what Latin American organizations can do to avoid this and effectively develop their leaders to an international level.

Idea #245
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The Laughing Cavalier (detail), Frans Hals, 1624. (Source: The Wallace Collection, London)

Reasons to Be Cheerful: Positivity Linked to Profitability

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

Over-optimism in business is often seen as a bad thing, associated with recklessness and corporate ‘buccaneering’. New research, however, challenges this view. ‘Against-the-odds’ positivity can, it seems, motivate managers to work harder and propel them towards high performance targets.

Idea #246
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The Mona Lisa (detail),Leonardo Da Vinci, c.1503-1506, Musée du Louvre, Paris

In the Eye of the Beholder – When Eye Contact Fails to Persuade

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

Maintaining eye contact has long been considered an effective way of engaging a listener and thereby enhancing the persuasive power of the speaker's arguments. But leaders should be aware of new research showing that eye contact may actually make people less susceptible to persuasion, especially when they already disagree. 

Idea #248
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Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait, George Gower, 1588 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Identity Crises: Occupational Hazards for Female Leaders?

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

Life is notoriously tough and demanding for female leaders. The difficulties, however, are not confined to balancing the commitments of home and working life. Female leaders often find it hard to reconcile their professional roles with their identities as women and feel prevented from being their ‘authentic selves’ at work. Solving the problem may depend on a fundamental shift in organizational values — and reversing ‘gendered definitions’ of leadership.

Idea #239
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US TV sitcom Happy Days, 1975, broadcast by ABC. Pictured are Potsie (Anson Williams), Richie (Ron Howard), Fonzie (Henry Winkler) and Ralph Malph (Donny Most) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coaches, Mentors and the Risk of ‘Rescuer Syndrome’

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

Coaching and mentoring are increasingly seen as integral to effective leadership development. Like all ‘therapeutic’ interventions, however, they carry risks. Some executives are attracted to the mentoring role for complicated personal reasons and may form ‘co-dependent’ relationships that do more harm than good. Organizations need to take steps to protect mentors and the people they’re trying to help from ‘rescuer syndrome’.

Idea #240
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Using Adaptive Decision-Making in Customer Management

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

How do managers make decisions related to customer relationship management? This Idea looks at research that shows that the majority of managers are adaptive in their decision-making, and those that demonstrate the highest accuracy in their decisions also employ “fast and frugal heuristics” – i.e. rather than using careful analysis of information, they use experience-based techniques for problem solving.

Idea #241
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Harold Lloyd in 'Safety Last!', 1923, directed by Fed C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, produced by Hal Roach Studios

Managing Stress by Building Resilience

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many people in the business world today are experiencing high levels of stress, and corporate burnout is becoming a worryingly common phenomenon. According to this Idea, there is a way out that involves four simple steps. By making these steps a habit and therefore a natural part of your being, you can lead yourself to a better and more productive lifestyle.

Idea #242
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BOAC advertisement (detail), 1946. BOAC was a British airline, which merged with BEA in 1974 to form British Airways.

Top flight talent? The Value of International Assignments

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

What are the factors – at both an individual level and a corporate level – that affect the relationship between international assignment experience and career advancement? Research suggests it is not as easy for leaders to rise to the top if they have been away from head office for too long.

Idea #244
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