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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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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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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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Man with light bulb

How Evidence-Based Management Reduces Entrepreneurial Risk

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

Despite the fact that many talented individuals put hard work and diligence into new start-ups, why do high failure rates still exist? This Idea proposes that evidence-based management could help with this, reducing risks, costs, and wasted time and effort. However, the mindset-shift required to implement this approach is significant; as such, not many leaders adopt it, even though the risk of failure could be demonstrably reduced and vast sums of money saved.

Idea #036
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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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Women in an Interior, Fernand Léger, 1881 - 1955

Why Good Bosses Tune Into Their People

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

A Swedish study tracking just over 3,000 men for ten years found that those with bad bosses suffered 20–40% more heart attacks than those with good bosses? So having a bad boss can literally kill you! Research shows that good bosses get more from their people, demonstrate better employee retention and much more. This Idea offers some advice on how you can be one too.

Idea #093
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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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The Good Samaritan, Master of the Good Samaritan, circa 1530–1550, Centraal Museum Utrecht (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Prosocial Goals Promote Employee Happiness

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

The pursuit of ‘happiness’ is perhaps one of the most important goals in a person’s life, and prosocial activities have proved to be a successful way to achieve it. But as the list of potential prosocial acts is endless, how can you narrow down which are the most effective? According to this Idea, activities framed in concrete rather than abstract terms make the crucial difference between happiness and unhappiness. 

Idea #163
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Peer-to-Peer Deference in Email Communication

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

Emails have fast become the most widely-used form of written communication in business, both externally and internally within organizations. This Idea looks at the relationship between hierarchy and the language used in emails, showing that surprisingly, peer-to-peer communication tends to contain more signs of deference than subordinate-superior communication.

Idea #196
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Leaders Less Stressed than Followers Due to a Sense of Control

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

Today’s leaders face increasing demands and must be inundated with stress, right? Not so according to this research, which suggests that the heightened sense of control that accompanies leadership may actually help to reduce stress levels. In fact, non-leaders are probably more stressed than their leaders are. 

Idea #211
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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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Investors Complain Proxy Statements Unclear on Executive Pay

Idea posted: June 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

Proxy statements are often unclear on major issues, notably executive pay questions such as the appropriateness of compensation size and structure, according to a new survey of major asset managers and owners. They also lack clarity on pay ratios, corporate political contributions, corporate social responsibility and sustainability and CEO succession planning.

Idea #528
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Bill Gates, Micosoft CEO, at IT Forum 2004 in Copenhagen (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How CEO Personality Impacts on Firm Performance

Idea posted: October 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Different personality traits, such as openness to change, conscientiousness and extraversion, are associated with different approaches to investment decisions and differences in firm performance, according to a new study using linguistic metrics for personality.

Idea #632
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Pierre and Marie Curie in their laboratory, 1906 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Build Long-Lasting Collaborations

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Effective collaboration is at the heart of the best organizations. It’s not enough, however, to launch new collaborative relationships. Ongoing, long-lasting collaborations have a greater return on an organization’s productivity and performance than new collaborations. Managers must understand how to help collaborations to last — and new research shows that the actions and activities that make collaborations last are not the same as those that enable new collaborations.

Idea #426
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Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, enthroned over his defeated enemies, Giulio Clovio, mid 16th century

What Boards Think of CEOs

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

The greatest weakness of CEOs is their lack of people management and talent management skills, according to a Stanford Graduate School of Business survey of Boards of Directors. However, the directors themselves must shoulder part of the blame: the survey also shows that when evaluating their CEOs, boards place significantly more value on financial metrics than any other factor. 

Idea #439
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Richard Long, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Martha Wentworth, Orson Welles, Philip Merivale, Byron Keith, in The Stranger, 1946, directed by Orson Welles (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Succession Planning: Boards Need to Know Their Senior Managers

Idea posted: October 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

When a CEO leaves, his or her successor will be chosen from among internal and external candidates. Research shows that a board of directors will know surprisingly little about internal candidates, since directors have minimal interaction with executives below the CEO level — often limited to formal board presentations. Effective succession planning requires directors to become more directly involved in the organization’s talent development program.

Idea #443
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Lifecycle of the Emperor Penguin in Chinese, designed by Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation, Arlington V.A. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Seven Key Steps to Effective Succession Planning

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Strong leadership is key to the success of a company, yet most companies do not have an actionable succession planning process in place to replace departing CEOs or key C-Suite executives. The solution: to craft succession plans closely tied to coaching and internal talent development.  

Idea #452
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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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Surrounded by Artists and Professors: A Rake's Progress, William Hogarth 1732-5 (Courtesy: Sir John Soane's Museum)

Why Competent Jerks Get Hired

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Despite overwhelming evidence that ‘jerks’ in the workplace undermine the success of a team or organization, they continue to be hired. New research explains why: when one’s money is at stake, decision makers value competence over sociability — which is a long-term mistake.

Idea #710
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