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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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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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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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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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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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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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Leveraging DNA to Survive in Hostile Business Environments

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

Developing strategies and capabilities to cope in hostile business environments is a must for today’s managers. In this way, nature and the animal kingdom offer a number of solutions. The coping strategies of animals like lions, seagulls, sharks and bears have evolved over billions of years and can be adopted by managers too; these can be summarized as fight, flight, search and sleep, and are discussed further in this Idea. 

Idea #047
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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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Jump Before You’re Pushed: The Companies That Change Without Pressure

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

Do companies need a financial trauma to provoke them into change, or can they adopt new ways of doing things when not under pressure? The history of successful organizations shows us that decline, while perhaps not inevitable, is at least likely. And yet few companies opt willingly to change strategy without being forced to. There are some companies, however, that do - and we can learn a lot from them as this Idea shows.

Idea #051
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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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The Conjurer, Hieronymus Bosch, c.1475, Musée Municipal, St. Germain-en-Laye (Source: Wikimedia)

Custom-made: Customer Funding for Business Growth

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: London Business School

Venture capital (VC) is the default route to gaining funding for a growing business. But there are other ways to unlock money, indeed, some of the largest and most successful companies never raise any venture capital. Change your approach to growth by focusing on your customers, not investors, as your means to the end.

Idea #110
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The Impact of Technology and Social Media on Sales Relationships

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Technology, and especially social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn, has fuelled an ‘always on’ culture. The pervasiveness of social media is fundamentally altering the methods through which buyers and sellers interact — salespeople feel obliged to respond immediately to communications from anywhere in the world, at whatever time. Potentially there is a revolutionary change in the way contemporary selling is conducted, driven in large measure by social media technology.

Idea #112
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Mahatma Gandhi. Photo 1947 Margaret Bourke-White, LIFE Magazine (Source: Wikimedia)

Live and Learn: The Innovation Imperative

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

The success of innovative businesses can be attributed in part to the fact that, by innovating, they learn to face new challenges, which in turn improves their knowledge and skills. Extending their range of experience can lead them to outperform their competitors.

Idea #121
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Mount Rushmore: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Four Capabilities of Great Strategic Leaders

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

Intellectual honesty, accountability, and self-awareness are three of the four key capabilities of strategic leaders - leaders capable of inspiring change, innovation, teamwork and competitive performance in their companies and organizations. The final and fourth key capability of strategic leaders is the ability to attract and develop great people - to be a ‘talent magnet’. Boards searching for CEOs, and CEOs searching for a top executive team must interview candidates and select CEOs with these four capabilities in mind. And once successful CEOs and C-

Idea #137
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Hulls Mills, Eric Ravillious c.1936, Source: Merivale Editions, www.merivaleeditions.com

Green Light for Governance

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
Institutions: IE Business School

We live in a society that scrutinizes the environmental activities of the corporate world. How can companies address society’s concerns and improve levels of environmental performance, while maintaining market share and financial returns? The answer could lie in their corporate governance structure.

Idea #138
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I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott', William Waterhouse, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Homeworking Beats Outsourcing: a 6 Step Model

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

The use of homeworkers as call centre operatives can benefit both businesses and homeworkers. For companies, common advantages include cost savings, increased flexibility, reduced absenteeism and improved customer satisfaction. But there are also potential problems to overcome. By adopting a six-step model, business leaders can plan homeworking projects effectively, identifying the key areas they need to address.

Idea #142
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Humanoid with his knowledge of universe on space background

Embed the Strategy (Do Not Rely on Cascading)

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

It’s not enough to ‘cascade’ strategy down through the chain of command. Senior leaders need a ‘direct line’ of communication with employees. Decisions about the future of the business need to be explained by those who make them. Supervisors and middle managers help to embed strategy by creating the working conditions that make it possible — not by ‘parroting’ the ideas of senior leaders

Idea #143
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Think difference

How Social Intrapreneurs Get Heard

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: INSEAD

Corporate social entrepreneurship initiatives, usually the work of intrapreneurs (entrepreneurial executives within the corporation) keen to solve social problems, have important macro- and micro-economic implications. They create value for people who are not current stakeholders - and they create opportunities to innovate and diversify. There are, however, barriers to their development. A model that counters the conventional logic of the organization and puts financial sustainability before growth could be the solution.

Idea #151
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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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Winston Churchill, 1941 (Source: Wikimedia)

Leadership Essentials: Diagnostics, Influence and Energy

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

There are three essential prerequisites - diagnostics, influence and energy - that would-be leaders must develop at the start of their managerial careers and maintain to become successful. This Idea describes these prerequisites and suggests five essential tools that managers can adopt to assist the development of diagnostics, influence and energy.

Idea #064
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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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Argentinian Tango, Buenos Aires, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons

Smart Moves – the Tango and Modern Leadership

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IE Business School

The tango is presented as a metaphor for leadership in the modern world. Although it has adapted to changing social structures and attitudes to gender, it remains a passionate and emotionally powerful pastime. It also provides leaders with a novel approach to assessing their own management capabilities.

Idea #159
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Belshazzar's Feast, Rembrandt van Rijn, c.1635-1638, National Gallery, London

CFOs Reborn as Agents of Organizational Change

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

After the financial crisis of 2009–10 and the subsequent global recession, CFOs have suddenly found themselves thrust under the spotlight like never before. They are no longer being seen merely as ‘chief number crunchers’ or even as senior accountants; organizations now want more out of their CFOs, and expect them to act as agents of ‘organizational change’. In this idea, some guidance is offered on how to effectively undertake such change management.

Idea #161
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Flexibility Vs Commitment in the Entrepreneurial Process

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations
Institutions: EMLYON Business School

Academic literature has provided valuable insights into ways to manage the uncertainties inherent in new ventures — but failed to produce a consensus. Some scholars advocate an approach in which critical decisions are delayed and early commitments avoided, others one that ‘marries’ (to a greater or lesser extent) commitment and flexibility. ‘Re-conceptualisation’ of the main models can help reconcile the different schools of thought — and provide clearer guidance for entrepreneurs.

Idea #191
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The Education of Alexander the Great by Aristotle, Charles Laplante, 1866 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Aristotle, Ethics and the ‘Art’ of Leadership

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Aristotle’s ‘master virtue’ of phronesis, which combines ethics and action so that people can ‘live well’ and be happy, is often seen as the key to effective leadership. But it tends to be too narrowly defined. A re-reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics reveals that phronesis is linked not only to knowledge, skill, wisdom and intelligence but also to sensory perception, intuition and aesthetics. For Aristotle, doing the right thing partly depended on seeing and appreciating the fine thing. This raises important questions about how leaders reach their

Idea #202
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U.S. Social Security Administration early accounting operations in Baltimore circa 1936 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Computer Says ‘Yes’ – The Impact of IT Investment

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance

The impact of information technology on an organization’s profitability can be significant but it needs to be strategically managed, from the top down. View your IT management as a corporate rather than a departmental issue.

The key message for today’s leaders is, choose the right kind of IT projects, spend your money wisely, and focus on growth over cost savings. 

Idea #219
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Balancing Local and Global Efficiency with Anchored Agility

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations
Institutions: IMD

If your organization is struggling to balance local flexibility and global efficiency, it is not the only one; even leading multinationals are facing the problem of managing fixed vs. local needs. According to this Idea, the solution lies in adopting a framework called ‘anchored agility’. 

Idea #247
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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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Ideas, Implementation and the Learning Organization

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee deviation from official strategy can result in discoveries and innovations that increase profits. It’s not always to be actively encouraged, though. Employees who try to implement the ideas of management — and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t — can better serve the interests of the organization in the long term.

Idea #314
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La Asociación Cultural de Aficionados a LEGO® de España, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How LEGO® Helps Strategic Thinking and Idea Generation

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

People tend to think of intense brainstorming sessions in a conference room when they imagine idea generation and problem-solving within an organization. In this Idea, an entirely different and much more novel way of developing innovative new strategies and solutions is presented: playing with Lego bricks! Read on to find out more about how Lego® Serious Play® can help you.

Idea #321
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