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Chrysalis to butterfly

Establishing Sustainable Change in Organizations

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

Leading through change is extremely difficult. Organizational culture is an ‘evolving organism’ made up of many sub-cultures and helping it to change is an incredibly complex task. While there are no hard-and-fast rules to change management, there are things we can do to increase the likelihood of a change initiative’s sustained success.

Idea #073
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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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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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Communication and the Science of Great Team Building

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

There is an ineffable buzz about a good team at work. You can just sense it. Understandings between team members seem effortless, sometimes almost telepathic. The attainment of this serene team cohesion is often discussed in terms of ‘art’ rather than something we can look at through the prism of science. But what if that buzz were something that could actually be taught to a team? This Idea shows just how it can.

Idea #050
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The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Lone Ranger, 1949–1957, Dir. George W. Trendle

Leadership Dyads: Beauty, Disaster, and the Big Five

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

‘Leadership dyads’ — or leader/deputy partnerships — can be optimised for high performance by looking at the similarities and differences between the two individual personalities, and marrying them to form a complimentary dyad. This can lead to great results for an organization as a whole. Key to applying this Idea is self-awareness — a rare and precious talent indeed. Fortunately, there is a five-factor personality model — ‘the Big Five’ — that we can use to help us achieve it. 

Idea #068
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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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Win-Win Negotiation to Create Long-term Value

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: INSEAD

Negotiations need to be about more than just money. By playing ‘hardball’ businesses can do irreparable damage to long-term relationships and destroy trust that has taken years to develop. There is a change in approach amongst large organizations looking to create long term value by creating true partnerships with suppliers and customers.

Idea #103
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What to Learn from Pirates

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Pirate companies may be viewed by ‘legitimate’ business as cheaters and rogues, but research by Professor Jean-Philippe Vergne of the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario shows that pirates are often innovators who fill gaps or create new business models that better fit the current and future challenges of an industry.

Idea #114
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LOS ANGELES - JUNE 8: Nintendo showing Wii Fit U for the first time during E3 2012, world video games Expo June 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA

Video Games for Learning and Development

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

A study by the US Office of Naval Research found that video game players perform 10-20% better in perceptual and cognitive ability than non-game players. Considering most workers today have played video games at some stage of their lives, these are positive findings. Now, organizations are also acknowledging that well-crafted video games can be used to support learning and to develop organizational talent. This Idea explores how.

Idea #123
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Solar-powered Camel Fridge System, Nomadic Communities Trust (Source: Wikimedia)

Reverse Innovation: Ideas from Emerging Countries

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets are usually coveted for the potential customers they represent — perhaps hundreds of millions of new consumers who are looking (or will be looking in the near future) for products to buy.  Most companies, however, develop products for developed markets first and then adapt them to the emerging markets. Research conducted by two professors from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business reveals a new strategy that reverses the traditional flow of innovation. This new strategy calls for developing products that are adopted first in emerging markets and then adapted for

Idea #127
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Forced Entry

When Successful Managers Go off the Rails

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

Managers who are solidly established in their organizations and boast impressive track records can suddenly find their careers ‘derailed.’ They no longer have the skills, mindset, personality or reputation that made them effective leaders in the past; eventually they are demoted, fired or asked to take early retirement. New research from the Center of Creative Leadership confirms the causes of such derailment and also identifies what managers and companies can do today to prevent situations that are not only devastating to the individuals but also costly to their organizations.

Idea #136
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Battle of the River Plate, 1956, Dir. Powell and Pressburger

Leadership Alignment and Strategy Implementation

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

It is essential for leaders to understand how to ensure strategic decisions are effectively implemented throughout their organizations. In this respect, leader effectiveness in the aggregate across different levels, as opposed to individual leadership actions, has the most significant effect. This Idea looks at the importance of leadership alignment in implementing strategy. 

Idea #032
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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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The Women's Land Army, Bellingham, 1943

Maximising Employee Performance

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

Aligning the personal goals of employees with organizational goals can bring huge benefits but it is not easy. This Idea looks at the benefits of a management model based on the perspective of the employee, which can provide better communication with employees and, as a result, more effective performance from them; and suggests some ways to go about it. 

Idea #084
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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of a fresco by Raphael (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Character - The Unspoken Essence of Leadership

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

In assessing leaders at any level in an organization, three questions are asked:

  1. Do they have the competencies to be a leader?
  2. Do they have the commitment to be a leader?
  3. Do they have the character to be a good leader?

This Idea focuses on leadership character because it is the most difficult to define, measure, assess and develop. Its aim is to define those dimensions of leadership character that are most important in today’s business environment and suggest how character can be developed.

Idea #157
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Archers, engraved after a drawing by Adam Buck,1799 (Detail). (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Targets Not Quotas to Promote Women Leaders

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

Awareness about the benefits of having more female representation on corporate boards seems to have hit an all time high, yet increases in numbers have been slow and have currently reached an impasse. When we talk about board diversity, the solutions given are in the form of either ‘targets’ or ‘quotas’. In this Idea, both are examined to show why quotas may not work as intended, and how targets instead can be designed to achieve the desired benefits of gender diversity. 

Idea #162
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Innovation and the Power of Positive Thinking

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: HEC Paris

A company’s ability to develop new products is not solely a function of its resources. Managerial cognition and organizational context play a big part. Negative perceptions of changes in the operating environment and defensive strategies are likely to lead to less innovative products and stifle creativity and entrepreneurship. We need to take an integrated, multi-dimensional approach to understanding innovation and new-product development decisions.

Idea #171
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Bathing beach parade, 1919, Bathing Beach Washington D.C. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Identifying High-Potential Talent

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

Organizations are struggling with how to effectively identify, attract and retain high-potential talent. This Idea — based on a Leadership Survey carried out by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School — proposes employing a formal and systematic approach, and outlines four steps to putting such an approach into practice. 

Idea #203
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Aircraft Workers on Lunch Break, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia)

Reenergizing Lunch Breaks and the Role of Autonomy

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour

Intuitively, a lunch break will give employees a chance to stop working and restore some energy for the rest of the day. New research, however, shows that not all lunch breaks are restorative. Indeed, it is not only what employees do during lunch but whether they had a choice in what they did that makes a difference. The researchers demonstrate that the less choice or ‘autonomy’ given to employees over their lunch breaks, the less rested or reenergized they will feel by the end of the workday.

Idea #208
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1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98 Coupe, detail from advert in Life Magazine April 1957

How Customers Watch What Others Buy

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Marketing

While consumers (and the marketers who market to them) believe that purchasing decisions are based on a combination of emotional and rational factors, a research team from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania identify a more basic motivation that pushes people to buy: they look at what others around them are buying. 

Idea #223
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Sir James Dyson puts on Dyson product launch, Sydney, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Eureka! How to Get that Great Idea to Market

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Henley Business School

‘Making a market’, or creating a need for something no-one has experienced before, is difficult enough for the most well-known sellers, but for entrepreneurs it is doubly so. To overcome the hurdle of succeeding with a new product, they need to work not only on the innovation itself but also on educating potential customers. This research sets out an approach to market-making for entrepreneurs in certain complex markets.

Idea #286
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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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Participants in the 2013 Clipper Round the World Race

Leading Dynamic Teams: Alignment, Capability, Autonomy

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change

This Idea offers insights from a round-the-world yacht race to reveal several key behaviours that make a real difference to team performance. Using sports teams as a metaphor for understanding team dynamics in organizations and the associated leadership challenges can be useful. However sports teams generally seek short-term black or white goals; whereas in business, and life, the time horizons are longer and the outcomes much more graded. Trans-ocean sailing teams provide a more realistic environment for leadership analysis. 

Idea #301
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Panelists at the 2nd annual Arabian Business Women's Forum, November 2013, Dubai (Courtesy: www.ArabianBusiness.com) 

Promoting Women Leaders in Different Cultures

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

To successfully promote women to leadership positions around the globe, multinational corporation executives must adapt their strategies to each country’s cultural tightness — the degree to which a culture favors authority and rigidity, and has a low tolerance for deviance. 

Idea #304
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Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin in the 1960s US TV series, based the DC Comic characters, broadcast by ABC Netwrk (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coaching Chemistry: Building a Collaborative Relationship

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: Henley Business School

The best circumstances for successful coaching include a number of factors, from the skill, style, and experience of the coach, to the desire of the coachee to develop, to the actual process of coaching sessions. But none of these will work effectively if the relationship between the two is lacking. What can leaders do to get the best out of their teams, and the best out of themselves as coaches?

Idea #311
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The Royal Malay Regiment get ready at the Malaysian King Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin birthday parade on June 4, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Source: Shutterstock)

Rapid Response Teams: Strategic Renewal for Organizations

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

The world changes rapidly these days. Technologies move on and companies adapt – or not in some cases. The problem lies in being able to change as quickly as the environment in which your business operates. But change management need not be crisis management. Through a process of strategic renewal leaders can develop a set of practices that can guide their organizations to a new era of innovation. 

We often find it easier to resist change rather than embrace it, but this process allows leaders to approach the future and all its uncertainties with confidence, while acknowledging the

Idea #331
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Last Call for Social Media Sceptics

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

Social media sceptics have all but scurried back into the woodwork. The game is up and the die cast: social media is here to stay. Each week the ‘fad’ seems to blow open a new way of doing things in a different industry; democratizing our flow of ideas even further. The scope of opportunity for science, art, and business here – seems infinite. But what role can leadership play to facilitate those opportunities and create value for their organizations?

Idea #062
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Bricklayer to Architect: How Managers Become Leaders

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

Many executives making the shift from leading a function to leading an enterprise can stumble as they take the step up. It’s tough to do. We are asking someone to shift from left-brain, analytical thinking to right-brain conceptual mind-sets. It’s a big change. Michael D. Watkins highlights seven Seismic Shifts here that allow the emerging leader to do that over time: to draw focus from a wider lens, and make the transition successfully.

Idea #060
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Young woman working as a telephone operator

The Cost of Rudeness and Incivility at Work

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

Rudeness at work is on the rise, according to the latest research from two academics who have studied the phenomenon of incivility in the workplace for many years. The consequence of such rudeness is not just an unpleasant environment for employees. As the research by Christine Pearson, professor of global leadership at Thunderbird School of Global Management and Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, shows, there is a significant, tangible cost to the company resulting from this behaviour. 

Idea #119
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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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