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World War II poster (detail) J. Howard Miller, 1918–2004

The Value of Front Line Managers

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Front-line bosses may be far more valuable for an organization than has been previously thought. According to research from Stanford Graduate School of Business, good as opposed to poor line-managers and supervisors can increase organizational productivity by as much as 11% — or the same amount as adding an additional worker to a nine-member team!

Idea #133
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Liberating Knowledge in the Organization

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

It is a universal challenge for large organizations: the larger and more segmented the company, the harder it is to match its people to its problem. This Idea looks at how internal ‘knowledge markets’ can facilitate information sharing within large organizations; helping employees locate expertise and matching knowledge seekers with knowledge sources.

Idea #020
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Chief Information Officers: Secrets to Success

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

A valuable learning tool for CIOs, this Idea draws upon the successes and experiences of 14 extraordinary Chief Information Officers from organizations including FedEx, Cisco, Time Warner and the US Department of Defence. Cross-referencing both personal characteristics and environmental factors universal to all 14 we can define and determine the skills needed to excel in this role.

Idea #069
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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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Diagram of the Brain, 14th Century

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Behaviour

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

Emotional intelligence is our ability to control our emotions, understand the emotions of others and use this information to guide thinking and action – and it can have a huge impact on leadership effectiveness. In relation to the collaborative aspects of leadership in particular, emotional intelligence has been found to have a significant effect.

Idea #023
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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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Principles of Competitive Global Talent Management

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

Companies must use talent management to build and sustain a talented workforce. Recruit, develop, deploy and retain the right people; these are the core aims of a successful global talent management strategy. Rather than follow untailored ‘best practices’ to do that, a company can subscribe to six outline principles that are consistent with the organization’s overall strategy and culture.

Idea #018
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Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest, 1953

Virtuousness: Beyond Mere Ethical Leadership

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

Responsible leadership is often thought of as ethical leadership – and indeed it should be. Virtuousness is an important and powerful second aspect of responsible leadership that has sometimes been ignored. Unlike ethics, virtuousness in the leadership context leads to two important outcomes: a fixed point for coping with change, and organizational benefits that may otherwise have never been achieved.

Idea #031
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Some Have Entertained Angels Unawares, Edward Clifford (1844-1907) (Source: Wikimedia)

Creating Harmony: Harnessing Stakeholders to Boost Innovation

Idea posted: April 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: Henley Business School

Collaborative innovation and co-creation between stakeholders can deliver value for businesses.

Collaborative innovation can be defined as: “Working with others, sharing knowledge and learning, and building consensus to invent something new or create a new way of doing something, with a view to realizing shared goals.”

Benefits include more – and better – ideas, reduced risk, increased quality and speed to market, reduced costs, new skills and resources, an enhanced brand, and the ability to create value for the common good.

Idea #122
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Business people in a series with a casual guy doing the headstand

How Team Reflexivity Fosters Innovation

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

‘Team Reflexivity’ is the extent to which teams collectively reflect upon and adapt their operating methods and ways of working. This research explores the fundamental belief that highly reflexive teams will be more innovative than teams low in reflexivity, especially when faced with demanding work environments. It is an important predictor of team outcomes and innovation. The researchers explore why teamwork is better and more effective than individual acts and innovation.

Idea #125
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Business woman draws modern business concept

New Priorities for Marketing Leaders

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The priorities of marketing leaders are rapidly changing. According to a report from Cranfield School of Management, improving marketing’s ability to work cross-functionally and building influence at Board level are currently two of the lowest priorities for marketing leaders. Could this pose a problem when it comes to long-term strategies?

Idea #130
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The Emperor Has No Clothes, by Vilhelm Pedersen, Hans Christian Andersen's first illustrator 1835 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Dysfunctional Leadership: Context and Causes

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

Though it is easy to simply blame the leader in situations where organizations face dysfunction, the author proposes here that there are a number of contextual factors that, in fact, lead to success or failure. Specifically outlined are three models/frameworks that help to better understand the components involved in leadership disasters.

Idea #029
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Stephen Fry and Hugh Lawrie as ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ a 1990s British TV adaptation by Clive Exton from P.G. Wodehouse's ‘Jeeves’ stories. The series was a collaboration between Brian Eastman of Picture Partnership Productions and Granada Television

How Dominant Personality Trumps Competence in Teams

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

Individuals that display higher levels of dominance within a group also attain higher levels of influence. Through two studies, the authors demonstrate how displaying certain behaviours can make a person appear to be more competent that they may in fact be. This perception in turn leads to greater, but perhaps unjustified, influence within a group.

Idea #038
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Covver Illustration from Developing Leaders 8, Julian Burton, www.delta7.com

Bridging Organizational Governance Gaps

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

What the Board spells out as good practice, and what motivates managerial behaviour is not necessarily the same thing. The gap between both can lead to serious consequences, not unlike the scandals that took place at Enron, WorldCom and more recently, the BBC. How can your organization create a sense of moral responsibility from ‘the bottom up?’

Idea #179
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Singing in the Rain, stage production, Birmingham UK, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Weather Means Better Productivity

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

We all know that bad weather often leads to a bad mood, and therefore it must also lead to bad productivity, right? Not so, according to this Idea which suggests that bad weather actually increases productivity. Through a field study and laboratory experiment, researchers show that when the weather is rainy, there is low visibility and extreme temperatures, workers seem to be more, not less, productive.

Idea #226
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The Board Game, Magdelena Giesek, 2010. View her work at www.giesek.com

Gamification and Games at Work that Work

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

Employers are using gamification — the introduction of games in the workplace — to make work more enjoyable and ‘fun’, and hopefully improving, in the process, employee engagement and motivation. But mandated fun is considered no fun at all, unless employees consent to the game. Without consent, new research shows, the gamification attempt will backfire; with consent, gamification will engage employees even though the essential core task has not changed.

Idea #228
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Avoiding the Acceleration Trap

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

Is your organization stuck in an ‘acceleration trap’? If you demand that your employees constantly give you the same level of accelerated effort, however committed they are, eventually their energy will burn out and the company’s performance will suffer. This Idea explains how to spot this trap, break free from it, and avoid getting stuck in this harmful position in future.

Idea #231
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The Laughing Cavalier (detail), Frans Hals, 1624. (Source: The Wallace Collection, London)

Reasons to Be Cheerful: Positivity Linked to Profitability

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

Over-optimism in business is often seen as a bad thing, associated with recklessness and corporate ‘buccaneering’. New research, however, challenges this view. ‘Against-the-odds’ positivity can, it seems, motivate managers to work harder and propel them towards high performance targets.

Idea #246
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Woman and Man Contemplating the Moon, David Caspar Friedrich, c.1818-1824, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation: Seeing the Wood for the Trees

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Popular process management activities such as total quality management (TQM) facilitate incremental innovation but impede exploratory innovation. If a firm’s capacity for innovation is rooted in its ability to explore new areas – perhaps making groundbreaking discoveries – as well as exploiting existing capabilities, then process management activities must be separated from efforts to generate completely new ideas. 

Idea #268
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The Wagah border often called the "Berlin wall of Asia", is a ceremonial border on India–Pakistan Border,

Organizational Identity and Adaptation to Disruptive Change

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Discontinuous technologies (often the result of ‘disruptive innovation’) emerge at the periphery of organizational vision, requiring fundamental changes in business structures in order to be adopted successfully. So it is not surprising that they present particularly demanding challenges for executives. This Idea explains why organizational identity has an important role to play in dealing with this type of technological change.

Idea #272
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Four Ways CEOs Can Align Function Heads with Corporate Strategy

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

Corporate functions often lack strategic direction from CEOs. As well as underperformance, this can also lead to many other issues, such as bureaucracy on the part of function heads. But according to this Idea, four simple changes to normal management processes can help to avoid this and align corporate strategies between CEOs and corporate functions.

Idea #274
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‘War Horse’, the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s book, performed at the Lyric Theatre Sydney, Australia, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Indirect Control: The Future of Management?

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

Management models are often seen as falling into one of two camps: command and control or the more laissez-faire, participative variety. But this is a false dichotomy. Successful managers and leaders today combine elements of both — in the ratio that’s right for them and their organizations. They offer autonomy and ‘self-actualisation’ but they do so in a clear and conscious ‘frame’ that reflects their sector and circumstances — and the preferences and skills of their employees. 

Idea #276
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The Blue Bottle coffee house founded in 1686 in Vienna. Painting c.1900 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Network Perspective: Social Networks and Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Are you aware of the different roles individuals play in your organization, and how they connect to each other to form an informal structure that supports the organization as a whole? If so, you are well on your way to developing network perspective — something that is, according to this Idea, imperative for 21st century executives. 

Idea #291
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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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Composition VI, Wassily Kandinsky, 1913 (Courtesy: The State Hemitage Museum, St Petersburg)

A Symphony of Agency and Stewardship Values Ensures Family Business Success

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Agency theory describes a contractual relationship between managers and shareholders who have divergent interests. Stewardship theory describes a collaborative relationship between managers and shareholders toward shared goals. Which works best for family businesses? New research reveals that a combination of the two, changing as the business moves through its lifecycle, offers the best recipe for success. 

Idea #518
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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos at his desk, Francisco Goya, circa 1798

How to Use Compensation and Team Composition to Manage Procrastination

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Project managers must manage the tendency of project workers to procrastinate, which leads to delayed efforts and, subsequently, quality problems. Understanding the behavioural biases of project workers leads to solutions to procrastination — solutions related to compensation, team composition and the management of information. 

Idea #519
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3D visualization of ecological networks on the Internet, IS&T/SPIE Symposium, 2004 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Informal and Formal Networks Hurt and Help Performance

Idea posted: June 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Individuals in organizations draw on formal and informal interactions for resources, knowledge and advice. New research shows that inconsistency between the formal and informal interactions can be beneficial, to a certain extent, because of the diversity of information and resources such inconsistency provides.

Idea #526
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Painting depicting Parson Weems and his famous story of George Washington and the Cherry Tree. Grant Wood (Courtesy: Amon Carter Museum of American Art)

Does Character Add to the Success of Transformational Leadership?

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Character and transformational leadership do not necessarily overlap. New research shows that positive character traits will increase the level of success obtained by transformational leadership. Negative character traits can reveal the dark side of transformational leadership — a dark side that leads to poor results.

Idea #539
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Marble relief of the Roman Praetorian Guard c50AD (Courtesy: Louvre-Lens Museum, Lens, France)

Transformational Leadership Extra Effective When Employees Have High Self-Esteem

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

Transformational leadership is key to helping employees reach their full potential. This is especially true, according to new research, for high core self-evaluation (CSE) employees, whose job satisfaction and organizational commitment is significantly strengthened under the influence of transformational leaders. 

Idea #547
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When Non-Average Performers Are Targeted by Bullies

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

As workplace incivility, aggression and harassment continues to worry business leaders and managers, new research explores some of the ways both high performers and poor performers may be inadvertently inspiring their victimization. 

Idea #553
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