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The Leopard, 1963, directed by Luchino Visconti, starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alan Delon, 20th Century Fox Pictures

Charisma or Miasma: Seduced by the Charismatic

  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: University of Florida

Charismatic CEOs come across as higher achievers, and charisma has often been thought of as a must when hiring CEOs, but a large number turn out to be overpaid and underperforming. Boards should measure performance over personality when hiring and compensating CEOs.

Idea #026
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Sustainable People Policies for Sustainable Organizations

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Are human sustainability policies any less vital for a 21st Century organization than environmental ones? While the surface effects may not be so obvious, the impact on society can be huge. As pace-setting companies and cultures re-optimise toward ‘higher order fundamentals’ like human prosperity; well-being, happiness, satisfaction – employee health becomes a crucial conversation to have.

Idea #010
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Mad Men, 2007 premiered on AMC, created and produced by Matthew Weiner, Lionsgate Television

Managers Who Undermine the Meaningfulness of Work

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

A sense of working toward something meaningful is absolutely central to our happiness and well-being. Sadly, many senior executives undermine their employees’ creativity and productivity by inadvertently denying them this meaning. There exist common traps which even the best-intentioned managers will fall foul of in this regard. A loss of meaningfulness in the work lives of employees has obvious long-term implications for the overall health of an organization. This Idea identifies those traps and shows how we can avoid them.

Idea #052
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Inspiring Indian Business Leaders’ Development

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

The most effective leadership development breakthroughs for business leaders in India come from events during their lives and on-the-job experiences; and not necessarily through classroom learning. This Idea explores that research-based notion, and the important role senior leaders have to play in becoming inspiring bosses and positive role models.

Idea #057
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Graphic of staff superimposed on a background of skyscrapers

Creating a High Integrity Corporate Culture

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

At what point do employees realize, if at all, that they are making an inappropriate decision? And what interventions are available to help ensure they make the right ones? When employees fail to act with a strong sense of integrity, there are conscious and unconscious factors at play. Leaders should be aware of these in order to create and sustain a corporate culture where doing the right thing becomes second nature.

Idea #058
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Driving Risk Appetite Higher or Lower: Penalties Vs Rewards

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Innovate or die’ we are told. What if an organization’s ability to innovate could be enhanced by managing risk-taking behaviour through monetary incentive schemes and through a culture that tolerates failure? In this Idea we identify the precise levers that shift risk appetite, and show how they can be tweaked to foster innovation.

Idea #059
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Red flag on the beah

Avoiding Bad Decisions: ‘Red Flags’ and Reflection

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

Decision-making can be understood better with an awareness of the brain processes involved in it. There are certain ‘red flag’ conditions that can lead to distortions in judgement, in turn leading to bad decisions being made. The authors provide examples of where this has been the case, and highlight safeguards that can be adopted to avoid them.

Idea #028
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Dark forest behind windows

When Growth Fails: Managing the Dark Side

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

Fast growing businesses are susceptible to failures. To sustain the enterprise executives must know how to manage the aftermath of an organizational failure. Specifically, the authors point to mindset shifts that can improve leadership in volatile environments. These include: collaborating with critics, making sure everyone is on the same page, and above all remaining grounded in a strong set of personal values.

Idea #030
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Man jumping cliff

Avoiding Flawed Decisions: A Finance Manager's Role

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

Finance executives are particularly well-positioned to help organizations improve their decision-making and introduce more rational decisions-making processes. In particular they are in a position to help management teams learn to identify ‘red flags’ and adopt extra safeguards against them. 

Idea #037
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Adam Forepaugh and Sells, Circus Poster, 1899 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Ten Critical Skills for Tomorrow’s Workforce

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

Bearing in mind the number of changes or ‘disruptive forces’ which are radically affecting the current business environment and will impact workers and companies over the next decades, this Idea suggests 10 critical skills that every worker will require in the future, to ensure success in their careers and to contribute effectively as professionals.

Idea #045
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3:10 to Yuma, is a 2007 production directed by James Mangold produced by Cathy Konrad, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, distributed by Lionsgate Films and Columbia Pictures

Leadership: Beyond the Western Model

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

Understanding and relying on traditional Western models of leadership alone is no longer sufficient in a world where most companies operate globally. Progressive organizations need to accommodate cultural differences and approaches to leadership. It is crucial that their managers learn to understand and adapt to this and work hard to acquire the competencies needed to prosper. 

Idea #055
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Signing the contract

Narcissistic CEOs – A Signature for Poor Performance

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

Have you ever worked for a bit of a self-obsessed boss? You weren’t imagining it; corporate narcissism is an actual and not unusual phenomenon. It can even eventually diminish firm performance and is therefore something to look out for. Now, research suggests that the size of a CEO’s signature may give a clue as to how big their ego is. 

Idea #080
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 ENRON, 2010, Written by Lucy Prebble, Royal Court Theatre, London

Corporate Scandals: Causes and Cures

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

US corporate scandals plagued the early 2000s, with Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom becoming notorious. The 2008 financial crisis bred Libor rate-fixing and other cases of serious misconduct. Loss-hiding at Japan’s Olympus Corporation was exposed in 2011. In 2013 Shell, BP, Statoil and others came under investigation by the EU Commission for supposed oil price rigging. Fined, sued, disgraced and sometimes collapsed the consequences for organizations can be dire. What preventive measures should be put in place to ensure organizations do not fall prey to such outcomes? 

Idea #085
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The intransigence of Captain De Chaumereys, the ultimate unethical leader, led to the wreck of the Medusa in 1816. Painting by Théodore Géricault, 1819, Musée du Louvre (Source: Wikimedia)

Ethical Leadership in a Crisis (and to Avoid Crises)

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

No leader wants to wake up to discover a major disaster that their organization is responsible for has taken place. But crises can be unavoidable and this Idea considers the role of ethics in crisis management, and how an ethical corporate culture can help when disaster strikes. Using the 2010 BP oil spill as an example where ethics were not applied in crisis management, it also shows how applying ethics to management decisions can avoid disasters occurring in the first place.

Idea #092
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Closing the Generation Y/Management Gap

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

Some of what we read about ‘Gen Y’ is exciting (they are super-talented, highly motivated); and some more damning (they are selfish, with a sense of entitlement). Some say there is nothing new under the sun and ‘Gen Y’ is merely an immature ‘Gen X’. What’s not in question is that there exists a disconnect between Generation Y and their employers; in terms of perspective and expectations. This disconnect can and must be bridged to create maximum value in an organization. This Idea suggests how it can be done. 

Idea #067
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Hindustan Unilever's Shakti Programme

CSR: Creating Value through Partnerships

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

Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives have overcome the stigma of being a distraction; something to be suffered. Smart companies now recognise CSR as an opportunity to significantly strengthen their businesses – while building and renewing human, social and natural wealth. Finding the right partner is absolutely critical to the success of a CSR strategy; and there are steps that can be taken to ensure a partnership co-creates value for both business and society.

Idea #071
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Her Complexities, Jennifer Main, www.jennifermaingallery.com

How Women Leaders Can Avoid the Gender Trap

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

There is a ‘Gender Trap’ that women leaders face. The received wisdom that female executives looking to get ahead should adopt male leadership traits is defunct. Traits a male can ‘get away with’, or even be praised for, are perceived very differently in a woman. To break the trap and cultivate a winning leadership style: women must live up to collective expectations of what makes a leader, but remain true to certain gender expectations too. 

Idea #072
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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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Five male trapeze artists, 1890, US Library of Congress (Source: Wikimedia)

Creating a Culture of Trust in Organizations

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

Organizations with high levels of trust have more productive workforces, better employee morale, lower employee turnover, and they also perform better financially than their industry peers. But what exactly are the foundations and characteristics of trust? What steps can executives take to build it and to avoid its erosion?

Idea #076
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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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Shopping cart with green arrow

Embedding CSR and Sustainability: Marks & Spencer

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Using Marks & Spencer as an example, there are certain practices other organizations can similarly apply to improve focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability. The UK retailer has made a number of successful moves towards embedding social and environmental awareness and practices into its everyday strategic vision. In this Idea, these are analyzed and discussed, offering companies tips they can similarly apply.

Idea #039
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Engaged Employees: CSR, Sustainability and Performance

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

Engaging employees with sustainability issues can play an important role in the creation of both social and commercial value. Forward-thinking companies are embracing sustainability programs driven from the top down and bottom up, to gain a number of additional benefits interlinked with increased employee engagement and performance.

Idea #040
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To Centralize or Not to Centralize?

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

The decision as to whether or not to centralize can be a difficult one for CEOs. This Idea suggests that three critical questions can provoke thoughtful debate and help teams make better choices: 1) is it mandated?; 2) does is add significant value?; and 3) are the risks low? No to all three questions would signal to a decision-maker not to centralize, whereas yes to even one can justify centralization.

Idea #049
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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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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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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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