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Third Floor Coffee Bar, London School of Economics, 1964 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Buy-In: The Value of Informal Relationships and Coalitions

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: Baylor University

Being able to influence senior executives is desirable for most, if not all, members of an organization. According to this Idea, the key lies in internal relationships and informal coalitions. These relationships, used by executives positioned in lower levels of the organization, can help span internal boundaries across a company's various business units, thus enabling better communication and better strategic decision-making.

Idea #405
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U.S. Army enlisted promotion - CONTIC Intelligence Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Employees Be Motivated by More than Money and Benefits?

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

Managers mistakenly believe that, although they have to provide both intrinsic (e.g. the love of a challenge) and extrinsic (compensation) motivations, employees are only extrinsically motivated. To best motivate their employees, managers need to look beyond the traditional external motivations such as bonuses and find ways to make the work challenging and interesting.

Idea #401
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Robert Maxwell, media tycoon and owner of Mirror Group Newspapers, 1991 in London. Maxwell died in November 1991 (Copyright: Shutterstock)

The Curse of the Narcissistic CEO

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

In theory, strategic decision-making is a democratic process in which the knowledge and previous experience of all executives is brought to bear. In practice, it doesn’t always work that way. A recent study finds that more narcissistic CEOs fail to pool knowledge effectively, putting themselves and their own experiences first. This underlines the importance of checks and balances on CEO power.

Idea #404
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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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George Washington and the cherry tree. A lithograph by John C. McRae, 1867, after a painting by G. G. White

How to Limit Ambiguity of Responsibility and Learn from Failure

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

Failed experiences are not always a bad thing; they can be sources of learning, and improved performance. However, individuals do not always learn from failure. Whether they attribute that failure internally or externally has a role to play in their learning, and an additional factor is how ambiguous their responsibility for that task was. This Idea explores these factors and more.

Idea #396
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Players from Clermont Auvergne 2010 Rugby union team in a huddle (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Emotional Intelligence Shape a Team's Collective Performance?

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

Emotional intelligence on the part of team members as well as team leaders may have a significant impact on the team’s performance. The mediating factor seems to be trust — something emotional intelligence can enhance, which subsequently leads to better overall collective performance. Read on to find out more.

Idea #398
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Can Late-Night Smartphone Use Reduce Engagement and Productivity?

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

The increasing use of smartphones around the world has led to many organizations endorsing them, and providing them to their employees. However, could there be a downside to the benefit of having instant access to work documents and emails? According to this Idea, late night use of smartphones may interfere with sleep, resulting in employees being less engaged at work the next day. Read on to discover the implications of these findings.

Idea #399
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The White Rabbit, by Sir John Tenniel (1820 –1914), an illustration from the original edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

How to Ensure Knowledge Sharing under Pressure

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

Knowledge sharing among employees is vital to an organization’s success. But increasing time pressure makes employees less willing to break away from their tasks and deadline work to help others. In a busy and competitive environment it is up to organizations to help relieve this pressure.

Idea #392
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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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The Procession of the Magi (detail), by Benozzo Gozzoli (c 1421–1497), Chapel of the Magi, Medici Palace Florence

When Suspending Group Debate Enables Innovation

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

Traditionally, new product development teams generate ideas for innovations by ‘continuous’ group interaction. This method has its drawbacks, however. Many good ideas get lost in the ‘noise’ of the debate. Taking a short break from discussion to allow people to reflect and gather their thoughts could make a real difference to the number and diversity of ideas — and, importantly, the quality of the final concept.

Idea #388
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A copy of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker on the Columbia University campus (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Reflection Aids Performance: The Thinker as Learner

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

What is ‘learning-by-thinking’ and how can it improve individual performance in your organization? This Idea explains why it is important to incorporate time for reflection in the learning process, and how it differs from learning by experience alone, without reflection. 

Idea #390
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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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"Your reputation precedes you" Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in That Hamilton Woman, 1941, produced and directed by Alexander Korda, distributed by United Artists.

How to Measure and Manage Reputation

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

Reputation management is a complex task and the measurement of it particularly so, concerned as it is with diverse stakeholder groups and their respective, sometimes differing, evaluations of an organization. Getting the right level of engagement with stakeholders is a critical factor in a firm achieving its objectives, because from that engagement business recommendation and take-up will flow.

This research focuses on the pharmaceutical industry, although the model it uses is transferable to other industries and therefore offers potential to the wider corporate communication and

Idea #378
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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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Managing the Multigenerational Workplace

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

There is an increasing demand in the workforce today to add multigenerational diversity to the mix. What exactly comprises a multigenerational team, and what are the unique characteristics and expectations each generation brings the fore? Read this Idea to learn more about how to ensure your organization makes the most of its multigenerational workforce.

Idea #381
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The Sower by Jean-François Millet, circa 1865, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

How Well Is CSR Embedded in Business Strategy?

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

CSR and sustainable development are now widely seen as core parts of business. This does not, however, mean they’re always treated as core parts of business strategy. The management control systems big companies use to design, implement and monitor CSR sometimes suggest a ‘reactive’ rather than a ‘proactive’ approach from leaders.

Idea #374
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“And dressed myself in such humility that I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts.” Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1. Painting of Henry IV, British School, 1620s, Dulwich Picture Gallery

How Humility in the CEO Improves Management Performance

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

Humility on the part of a CEO can lead to highly beneficial results in their organization; humble CEOs improve top management team integration, which in turn increases middle managers’ perception of an empowering organizational climate, resulting in better work engagement, commitment, and job performance. Read on to learn more about why this trait is so important for CEOs to develop.

Idea #375
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Why Women, Particularly Mothers, Miss Out on Mentors and Networking

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

Mentorship can overcome the barriers to leadership positions for women. Even with mentors, however, women, especially those with children, face continued resistance in personal development, included limited access to the networking opportunities so vital to a leadership career.

Idea #376
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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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The Feast of Attila the Hun by Mór Than, 1870, the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Ways to Cope with Abusive Superiors

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

Abusive supervision can have negative effects on employee performance. However, according to this Idea, how an employee copes with such abuse and their level of conscientiousness can be determining factors as to just how deep these negative effects are. Read on to find out how to minimize the effects of abusive supervision in your organization.

Idea #367
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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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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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Mortality: The Ultimate Motivator

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Existing management theories fail to provide the complete picture on employee motivation. To understand what drives us as human beings you have to understand a range of complex psychological factors — including fear of death and denial of our own mortality. Death is a powerful ‘stealth motivator’ that leads to defensive and avoidance strategies in the workplace. 

Idea #365
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Managing Cross-industry Innovation

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

Cross-industry collaborations can combine and ‘re-configure’ existing technologies and lead to the development of new ‘applications’. Their success, however, depends on more than a culture of enterprise and a commitment to innovation at the ‘partnership’ companies. Procedural and organizational factors can make or break interindustry product development. 

Idea #357
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