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Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio, 1600, National Gallery London

Gaining Influence through Listening

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

We can process language at 300 to 500 words per minute; however, most people speak around 100 words per minute. The extra brain capacity makes it difficult to manage our attention: Listening is difficult. It’s a discipline and a skill and those who have it are more likely to conduct influence, to persuade, and negotiate successfully. Here’s why you need to, and how you can: gain influence by listening

Idea #077
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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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Dame Judi Dench as 'M', James Bond: Quantum of Solace, 2008, directed by Marc Forster, produced by Eon Productions, Sony/MGM

What Do CEOs Actually Do?

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

What does your boss actually do all day? Most of us will have pondered over this question at some time or another! We may be justified in doing so too, as how a CEO spends her/his time — and with whom — can have a direct impact on their productivity and their organization’s success. This Idea will help bosses prioritise their working hours for maximum impact. 

Idea #081
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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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Women jumping in the water

Business Relationships: Test the Water or Take a Leap of Faith?

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Professional relationships built slowly and consistently over time are more likely, in the long run, to be more stable, robust and cohesive. When embarking on a new relationship with a client, co-worker, or employee - we can fast-track that solidarity with early, frequent and consistent interactions to create a sense of momentum.

Idea #002
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Donkey and overloaded cart, India 2008 (Source: flickr.com)

Why Scaling Up Is No Longer the Only Strategy

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Traditionally, industrial production has moved in only one direction: from small to large. ‘Scaling up’ was the best way to maximize productivity and lower per-unit costs. A fleet of 100 ten-ton dump trucks requires more drivers than a fleet of 10 hundred-ton dump trucks. But automation and communication technology has evolved to the point where a large number of small units may be cheaper, better and more efficient than a small number of large units.

Idea #107
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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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Business people negotiating

Precise First Offers in Negotiations Vs Rounding

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Negotiators will typically use round numbers in their first offers. Research from Columbia Business School shows, however, that beginning with precise rather than rounded numbers gives negotiators, whether buyers or sellers, an edge.

Idea #153
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Noah's Ark, Cameo by Allessandro Masnago who worked in Milan around 1600 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Severe Weather: Moderating Its Impact on Productivity

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

As the extreme temperatures and violent storms caused by climate change continues to create havoc, a team of researchers from Columbia Business School and The Wharton School is investigating the impact of weather on productivity. Using productivity in US automobile assembly plants as the basis for the research, they demonstrate the correlation between bad weather and poor productivity, even in industries that are not ‘climate-sensitive,’ such as manufacturing and services.

Idea #154
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The ladies' egg & spoon race, Picklescott Village Fete & Sports Day 1963 (Source: Picklescott.org.uk)

Motivation by Last Place Aversion

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Nobody wants to fail, and being in last place is the worst of failures. New research reveals, however, that the aversion to last place is a powerful driving factor in many decisions, which might offer unexpected opportunities for business.

Idea #155
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People with children stand in queue to oceanarium at shopping mall RIO at Moscow Dmitrovsky highway

How Checkout Lines Affect Consumer Purchases

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

While retailers know that lines or queues are inevitable, new research shows just how much impact a long line can have on purchase behavior. The research, conducted by a team from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School, also demonstrates that, contrary to the accepted wisdom, short lines each served by one checkout clerk is better than one line served by several clerks.

Idea #169
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King Lear, a UK TV film version, 2008, starring Sir Ian McKellen, Frances Barber, Romola Garai, Jonathan Hyde and Sylvester McCoy; directed by Sir Tevor Nunn and produced by Paul Wheeler for Channel 4

When Allowing Decision Latitude Can Backfire

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

The best leaders today avoid micromanaging their employees, recognizing that giving employees job autonomy and decision latitude — allowing employees to make decisions concerning their work — will result in greater motivation and better performance. New research, however, shows that too much decision latitude can backfire. Instead of being viewed as effective and conscientious leaders, the research shows managers who give their employees too much discretion and freedom in decisions and managing their work will be viewed as not being conscientious about their work.

Idea #212
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John Cleese, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett in The Class sketch,  first broadcast on The Frost Report on 7 April 1966, BBC Televisio (Source Wikimedia)

Social Status, Performance and Managing Stress

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

Leaders and managers may be underestimating the impact of social status in the business world. New research links higher social status to healthier biological responses to stress, as well as positive behavioural outcomes, such as higher performance levels and greater generosity to colleagues. This insight into the power of social status can help leaders and managers anticipate problems and conflicts, and encourage better performance from their teams and business units.

Idea #216
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Marmite pop-up, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Brand Equity through Event Marketing

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

Brand event marketing will increase brand equity through brand experience, especially if the event involves a direct and intense customer experience with the brand. But brand attitude increases brand equity only for certain types of events (namely, trade and street events, but not pop-up shops and sponsored events). Pop-up shops exemplify the best type of brand experience-driven event marketing.

Idea #251
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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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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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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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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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The Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator, according to legend this famed traveller reached North America between 512 and 530 AD

How Travelling Abroad Builds Trust and Tolerance

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

The idea that travel can be important for personal development and ‘growth’ is well established. Spending time overseas can ‘broaden the mind’ — not only by increasing knowledge but also by reducing xenophobia. The maximum benefits, however, might depend on breadth as well as depth of experience. Recent empirical research finds a causal link between the ability to trust and accept others and exposure to a diverse range of ‘out groups’.

Idea #335
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Multiculturalism by Monisha Pushparaj (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Multicultural Experience: Better Performance, Better Job Prospects

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

The ability to process complex information and synthesize opposing ideas is associated with creativity and, by extension, increased professional opportunities and better job prospects. A multicultural environment can help build it — but only if people engage psychologically with others. The capacity to ‘integrate’ differing perspectives comes from interaction not observation.

Idea #340
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"Drink Coca-Cola 5¢", an 1890s advertising poster (Source: Wikimedia Commons) 

How Advert-Evoked Feelings Sway Attitudes to Brands

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

A new study, recreating real-world marketplace conditions, shows that positive feelings evoked by ads can create positive feelings toward brands, both directly and indirectly. This applies to all products, although hedonistic products show the greatest impact of ads on brand attitudes.

Idea #363
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Queen Elizabeth I of England, by an unknown Dutch artist, c.1575

Why Women Who Blend Gender and Professional Identities Are Better Negotiators

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Women who believe that their gender and professional identities are compatible are more likely to be successful in negotiations and other professional pursuits than women who are unable to ‘integrate’ their multiple identities.

Idea #417
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Hedge Fund Activism Can Help, Not Hurt, in the Long Run

Idea posted: August 2014
  • CSR & Governance

New evidence disputes the general consensus that institutional shareholder activism has a long-term negative impact on the results of a corporation. A team of researchers from Harvard, Duke and Columbia argue, based on their empirical research, that on the contrary shareholder activism leads to improvement in both short-term and long-term results.

Idea #428
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Hierarchical or Egalitarian Organizations? The Advantages of Hierarchy

Idea posted: September 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

While hierarchies can be used by people in power to control others, new research indicates hierarchies also help people in lower positions to feel a sense of control and order in their lives. Change agents who are flattening hierarchies to create leaner, more effective organizations must make sure that they don’t unintentionally undermine this sense of order.

Idea #436
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Committee of the French Art Exhibition in Copenhagen, Peder Severin Krøyer, 1888, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Small Vs Large Top Management Teams and the CEO's Workload

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

The larger a CEO’s top management team or direct reports, the more time that CEO spends interacting with internal staff on internal operations issues and the less time he or she spends working alone. Thus, CEOs seeking more time for strategy and individual work, and less time for collaboration and team consensus activities, might opt for smaller top management teams instead. 

Idea #437
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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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The Unexpected Creative Effect of Sarcasm

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Sarcasm in the workplace may not be as destructive as once thought. New research shows that expressing or receiving sarcasm can spark creativity through abstract thinking — especially if the sarcasm is directed at or received from a trusted person

Idea #550
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An umpire: Australia v World XI, Sydney Cricket Ground, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How People React to the Fairness of Decisions: Trust Makes a Difference

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Perceived fairness, whether of the outcome or procedural fairness, impacts on how people react to decisions. New research shows that the level of trust in decision makers sets expectations that significantly influence this interaction of outcome and procedural fairness.

Idea #583
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Corporate Culture: A Key Drivers of a Firm’s Value

Idea posted: January 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A survey of more than 1300 executives confirms that for most leaders, corporate culture is one of the top five contributors to a firm’s value — and that current CEOs are most responsible for establishing an effective culture.

Idea #641
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Shopping for hats in London,1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

What ‘First Impression’ Data Reveals About Customers

Idea posted: April 2017
  • Marketing

Companies can form a ‘first impression’ of a customer based on the information collected during a customer’s first transaction with a company. This first impression data can help companies predict how often new customers will purchase in the future and how much money they will spend on each transaction. It can also help companies target their marketing campaigns more effectively.

Idea #651
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