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Blacksmith, India, C19th, British Museum

Leadership Tools: Magnet to Pull, Hammer to Drive

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Theorists often speak of management ‘tools’ when discussing resources. This Idea explores how successful leadership is based on two tools from the tool-shed, the magnet and the hammer, and shows how, with an understanding of why and when to use these tools, managers can effectively lead their teams through challenging circumstances.

Idea #009
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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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Rainbow people

An Holistic Understanding of Management

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Organizations should rethink management development, taking into account that the challenges faced by managers, during a time of social and economic crisis, can be better overcome by an integrative, holistic and humanistic approach to management. 

Idea #053
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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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‘Red Dwarf - Series II’, starring Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat). First broadcast in 1988, Red Dwarf was created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor and ran on BBC2 for eight series. In 2009, the show was brought back for a three-part special by UK digital broadcaster Dave © 2013 Grant Naylor Productions (Source: www.reddwarf.co.uk)

Better and Fairer Management Control Systems

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Management control systems can be formal and/ or informal, fair or unfair. In order to achieve an organizations overall goals, the best systems are fair and formal, with the users of the system also fair. The opposite, an unfair system with unfair users (i.e. two unstable states) leads to total goal incongruence – a not unusual state which can be very damaging to any organization.

Idea #061
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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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Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the Apple 1 PC

Creating Innovative Business Models

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Choices organizations make about their business model often go unchallenged for a very long time. This is an underutilized source of future value. As an alternative or complement to product and process innovation - business model innovation can be where the greatest benefits lie. With that in mind, and before launching a new business model, managers should ask themselves the six key questions outlined in this Idea.

Idea #048
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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (Source: Wikimedia)

Three Competencies Every Entrepreneur Should Develop

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Is there such a thing as a ‘natural-born entrepreneur’? According to this Idea there is not. Specific techniques and habits must be practiced and developed by all would-be entrepreneurs. And as well as business competencies, entrepreneurs need interpersonal and self-leadership skills too; however, these are often overlooked. Read on for advice on how to build and put these skills into practice.

Idea #011
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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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Loud hailer

Crisis Management: Leadership and Communication

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations
Institutions: IESE Business School

How many times have you been eagerly awaiting an event, only for unforeseeable circumstances to result in its cancellation? Take the New York marathon as a recent example — it had to be cancelled as a result of the 2012 Hurricane Sandy. Crises are inevitable. But, there are steps leaders can take to avoid their organization from suffering detrimentally. This Idea explores these steps, and considers how to learn from a crisis in its aftermath.

Idea #088
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Building Knowledge Sharing Networks in Organizations

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

When it comes to innovation, what works better: formal organizational structures or informal network ties between employees? According to this Idea, which stresses the strength of social ties as having important implications for knowledge sharing, it is the latter. Organizations can improve their knowledge sharing by following a few core strategies. Ultimately, this may also facilitate better conditions for innovation as well, invaluable in today’s competitive business environment.

Idea #089
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Concept of euro money or cash flow, either positive or negative.

Community Banks Offer a Better Business Logic

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

What can large institutions learn from smaller enterprises such as community banks? According to this Idea, reconnecting with communities in vital and lasting ways is an essential lesson — offering a logic that is the opposite to the ‘financial’ logic that has driven many organizations into difficulties. By reviewing the logic that drives your firm, damaging consequences in the future could be avoided. 

Idea #126
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Man and boy making shoes. Reproduction of a painting by Louis Emile Adan (1839-1937), © Braun & Co., N.Y. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Family Business Ownership and the Next Generation

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Most owners of family businesses want to ensure that their firm stays in the hands of the family for generations to come. This is not impossible to achieve. In this Idea, some practical steps that senior managers can take to ensure next-generation members are committed to the family business are outlined. The key is to develop a sense of “psychological ownership.”

Idea #174
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A Zara shopfront, London, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Fast Fashion Retailing – Transforming Operations Management

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Since the early 2000s, Spanish retailer Zara (founded 1975) has taken the fashion industry by storm, with its ability to react to rapid changes in market conditions and keep its stock fresh and up-to-date, once claiming it needs only two weeks (as compared to up to six months traditionally needed by rivals) to produce and distribute new stock. According to this Idea, other retailers can achieve similar success by optimizing three key operation management decisions: design, sourcing and distribution.

Idea #198
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Strike, Stanisław Lentz, 1910, Warsaw Museum (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Three Strategies for Resolving Workplace Conflict

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Almost all organizations experience conflict at some point or another, and by acknowledging its inevitability, managers can focus on constructive strategies to deal with it. In this Idea, three ‘systems’ are presented that can be used alone or in combination for effective conflict management.

Idea #284
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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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The Steben Twins, famous trapeze artists and innovators of the feet-to-feet catching technique (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation Partnerships — Loosely or Tightly Coupled?

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

‘Loosely coupled’ research partnerships — in which the flow of new ideas and new knowledge tends to be one-way — are often considered the ‘poor relation’ in the quest for innovation. They can, however, be just as successful as ‘tightly coupled’ and more reciprocal alternatives. Much depends on the conditions at the ‘in-sourcing’ company. 

Idea #329
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King Canute showing he did not have power over the tide. This story recorded in Henry of Huntingdon's twelfth-century History of England, was a testimony to Canute's wisdom and Christian humility.

Six Steps to Using Executive Power Wisely

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

This Idea presents six positive steps leaders can take to use power well, maintain it, and use it for good ‘pro-social’ ends. By following these steps they can enhance group success and make decisions that have a positive impact on their organization. The Idea also warns them against falling prey to “illusions of alliance” that can lead to the eventual demise of both their power and position.

Idea #358
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Strategic investors. Dr. Stephan Goetz, Warren Buffett (on video link) and Baronin Ariane de Rothschild at the Munich Film Festival,2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Investors’ Strategies for Wealth Creation

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Finance

Strategy, whether for business, military or political ends, involves the optimal use and deployment of resources in order to achieve an objective. In this Idea, using strategy for wealth creation is explored, in the context of individual investors.

Idea #361
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'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler, 1877. Portraying William Brydon, the only survivor the evacuation from Kabul in January 1842. Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Learning from Expatriate Experience After the Return Home

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IESE Business School

Expatriates who return home bring with them the knowledge benefits of the relationships that they made during their international assignments. New research shows that these knowledge benefits continue even after the assignment because the expatriate still has the connections with his or her former colleagues in the international host office. 

Idea #493
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Ten Steps for New Executives: Understand the Culture before Implementing Change

Idea posted: May 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: IESE Business School

New executives must immediately understand and evaluate a company’s culture before launching any significant change initiatives. They must ask themselves: Is this the right culture for the future? And given the current values, norms and beliefs of the company, how can I best implement change and build the foundation for sustainable success?

Idea #606
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Cincinnati, USA. Photo by Jordan Andrews on Unsplash

In Uncertain Times It's Best to Have Fewer Industry Experts on a Board

Idea posted: September 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

Having domain experts on boards is often touted as an advantage. New research shows, however, that too many experts from a company’s industry can actually hinder a board’s efforts in times of strategic uncertainty.

Idea #672
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