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The Hare and the Tortoise, The Fables of Aesop, Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), Source: The Bewick Society

Advantages of Confidence and Dangers of Overconfidence

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

Confidence can be a useful quality for leaders to demonstrate when they wish to gain stature, credibility and influence. But what happens when a leader acts overconfidently? The past is overpopulated with overconfident leaders who have led their companies to disaster. Finding the balance between leveraging the benefits of acting confidently and avoiding the dangers of overconfidence is crucial. This Idea explores how to do so.

Idea #118
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All-consuming: Brand Management in the Digital Age

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: ESADE

Media fragmentation, globalization and expanding social networks are changing the way we view and follow brands. Leaders need to respond to these changes and challenges, taking a comprehensive approach to satisfying an increasingly diverse set of stakeholders in an ever more competitive environment. 

Idea #215
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Jean Charles de Menezes, memorial plaque at Stockwell Station, London (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Framing Leads to Bad Decisions and Bad (Even Fatal) Actions

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

Decision makers must frame or ‘make sense’ of events and situations, and then make their decisions accordingly. A groundbreaking analysis of an innocent civilian’s tragic shooting by anti-terrorist police reveals how groups of individuals commit, through the interaction of communication, emotions and material cues, to a single, common frame — in this case an erroneous frame. It is a cautionary tale for leaders and other decision makers, exposing how errors or assumptions can cascade into a complete misunderstanding of situations.

Idea #563
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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2004, directed by Adam McKay, starring Will Ferrell. Also also written by Ferrell and McKay. Distributed by  DreamWorks Pictures

Balancing Extravert Leaders and Pro-active Employees

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

Despite both being characteristics which are promoted in many organizations, leadership extraversion and employee proactivity are uneasy bedfellows. This research suggests that extraverted leaders are less receptive to proactivity, and that they may only enhance group performance when employees are passive. 

Idea #006
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St. John the Evangelist and St. Francis, El Greco, c. 1608, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Being an Empathic Leader

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

An unexpected ‘skill’ that may be the key to more effective management and leadership is empathy. Empathic managers are viewed as better performers in their jobs, especially in certain cultures. As it is not a fixed trait, it can (and should) be learnt and taught by leaders everywhere, as empathic leaders are important assets for their organizations.

Idea #041
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The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, Kunsthalle, Hamburg

Body Language: Power Poses That Get Lost in Translation

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

Expansive postures and gestures — leaning forward, standing tall with arms outstretched, etc — are considered part of the ‘body language’ of power. They make the ‘actor’ feel more positive and focused and they communicate confidence and authority to the observer. But not all of them ‘travel well’ or cross cultural boundaries. Recent research suggests leaders should stop and think before striking a ‘powerful pose’.

Idea #278
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Bring Your Own Device to Work: The Pros and Cons for a Multinational

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Rapid advances in communications technology available to consumers has meant that employees often have far greater private access to sophisticated technology than they do in the workplace. Is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) - permitting employees to bring personal laptops, tablets, and smart phones to work, and to use their devices to access company information a sensible policy? In theory organizations benefit, in practice this presents many problems. This Idea uses a case study of a particular multi-national organization to see its response to this question. 

Idea #433
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Third Floor Coffee Bar, London School of Economics, 1964 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Buy-In: The Value of Informal Relationships and Coalitions

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: Baylor University

Being able to influence senior executives is desirable for most, if not all, members of an organization. According to this Idea, the key lies in internal relationships and informal coalitions. These relationships, used by executives positioned in lower levels of the organization, can help span internal boundaries across a company's various business units, thus enabling better communication and better strategic decision-making.

Idea #405
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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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Women jumping in the water

Business Relationships: Test the Water or Take a Leap of Faith?

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Professional relationships built slowly and consistently over time are more likely, in the long run, to be more stable, robust and cohesive. When embarking on a new relationship with a client, co-worker, or employee - we can fast-track that solidarity with early, frequent and consistent interactions to create a sense of momentum.

Idea #002
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Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

Can Leaders Be Too Smart?

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

Can leaders be too smart? A recent study offers a surprising answer: up to a certain point, the smarter you are, the more effective you are as a leader. But being too smart can actually reduce how effective you are perceived— in large part because you lose touch with your subordinates. 

Idea #696
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411_World War 2 poster. Wireless operators (Courtesy: BT Archives)

CIOs: Coach and Communicate with C-suite for Digital Innovation

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

European companies are losing innovation opportunities because C-suite executives fail to respond to information technology and digital-related proposals of the CIO and the information technology function of the company, according to a new survey of European companies in three countries. The problem: lack of communication between IT and non-IT leaders.

Idea #573
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Communicating Multiple Roles through Social Media

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

Communications executives are surely the experts on using social media to create value in large organizations. This Idea shares the results of a large survey on social media use in the communication profession, specifically looking at the increasingly common practice of executives using multiple social media profiles or personas to achieve diverse goals.

Idea #070
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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 German delegation at the Treaty of Versailles, 1919 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Conducting Better Meetings - Can Data Help?

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

The science of meetings — which includes collecting sophisticated data that analyzes meetings word-by-word and phrase-by-phrase — is still in its infancy. Researchers from MIT, however, used an available database with a myriad of data to reach some tentative conclusions about different facets of meetings, from calculating average ‘wrap-up’ times once a decision is reached to identifying the most persuasive words used in meetings. They were even able to use language analysis to identify when participants in a meeting were about to make a decision

Idea #182
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Edward Lloyd's Coffee House, where Lloyd's List was originally published in the 17th century (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Constructive Networking: The Strategies of Players and Purists

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD, ESCP

Research and experience tells us that networking improves individual and organizational performance. But how does it work and what dynamics are at play? This research helps us understand the strategies individuals use to build networks and uses specifics about individual’s attitudes, behaviours, and position to identify three networking archetypes - Devoted Players, Purists, and Selective Players. Understanding these archetypes can help organizations encourage constructive networking.

Idea #485
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Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Conversations Don’t End When We Want Them To

Idea posted: November 2021
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Successful and productive social interactions, in the form of our conversations with others, are at the heart of our lives and our work. A new study reveals, however, that most conversations don’t end when people want them to end. Conversations, it seems, are much harder to manage than we realize. 

Idea #805
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Five male trapeze artists, 1890, US Library of Congress (Source: Wikimedia)

Creating a Culture of Trust in Organizations

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

Organizations with high levels of trust have more productive workforces, better employee morale, lower employee turnover, and they also perform better financially than their industry peers. But what exactly are the foundations and characteristics of trust? What steps can executives take to build it and to avoid its erosion?

Idea #076
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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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St Anne, 8th century, from Faras – a city in Lower Nubia, present day Egypt (Courtesy: National Museum of Warsaw)

Encouraging Employees Who Stay Silent to Give Feedback

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Employees with a low sense of power are more likely to stay quiet about problems or concerns and less likely to come forward with suggestions or disagreements. Managers who can convince employees that they are genuinely interested in hearing from their employees can overcome their sense of powerlessness.

Idea #496
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Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner, 2006 (Source Wikimedia)

Ensemble Leadership: Lessons from the Orchestra Pit

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

An examination of musical ensembles offers insight into how ‘distributed’, or ‘plural leadership’ can work. This type of leadership, as opposed to individual or hierarchical styles can be more effective in moving organizations collectively towards shared goals.

Victoria Concordia Crescit — Victory through harmony.

Idea #074
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Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram 1809, Horace Vernet, 1836 (Courtesy: Palace of Versailles)

Ensure the CEO Gets the Right Information at the Right Time

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

CEOs must be informed at all times about all internal and external facets of the company relevant to his or her performance as leader of the company. A personal knowledge infrastructure, based on the right practices, relationships and tools and aligned with the needs and personality of the CEO, can make the difference between leadership success and failure. 

Idea #532
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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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Chinese Office Worker, 2010, Jakob Montrasio (Source: Wikimedia)

Ethics and Conflict Resolution in Chinese Firms

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

Inter-organizational conflicts can be extremely harmful. A study has revealed how Chinese firms manage and reduce their inter-organizational conflict. Ethical leadership plays a vital role in Chinese business culture, and as this study illustrates, it helps them foster more cooperative relationships – and those are the key to less inter-organizational conflict.

Idea #025
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Flattened Organizations: When Cons Outweigh Pros

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

When an organization is ‘flat’ employees report directly to senior managers; but as management layers increase, so too does the hierarchical gap between employees the CEO and the C-suite, leading to decision-making being focused at the top of the organization. So should firms eliminate these layers in order to shift more decision-making powers downwards? Well, this Idea shows that this may in fact achieve the opposite. Flattening can lead to more control at the top. 

Idea #083
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Supper at Emmaus, Caravaggio, 1600, National Gallery London

Gaining Influence through Listening

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

We can process language at 300 to 500 words per minute; however, most people speak around 100 words per minute. The extra brain capacity makes it difficult to manage our attention: Listening is difficult. It’s a discipline and a skill and those who have it are more likely to conduct influence, to persuade, and negotiate successfully. Here’s why you need to, and how you can: gain influence by listening

Idea #077
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Global Sales Teams and the Impact of National Culture

Idea posted: February 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: HEC Paris

As international sales forces become more prevalent companies need to standardize their sales force management controls across national borders. This research looks at how the effectiveness of sales force control models is influenced by national culture, and how sales team managers need to understand and balance cultural influences that promote behaviour controls over outcome controls.

Idea #101
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Helping Employees Realize Their Dreams: The Search for Meaning

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

Do you want a more engaged and productive workforce?  You’re not alone—all managers do! To achieve this, managers can help employees realize and reclaim their lost dreams through tailored career development programs. This Idea offers four practical strategies to help you do this.

Idea #015
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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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How Best to Juggle Multiple Conversations at Work

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

Can an employee multicommunicate – simultaneously participating in a face-to-face meeting while checking emails, for example — and still be productive? The answer, research shows, depends on such factors as whether the employee initiated the second conversation, the different media being used (some are complementary, some are not), and the complexity of the conversation.

Idea #408
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