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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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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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Who We Call and Why in Uncertain Situations

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

When facing uncertain situations of threat or opportunity, people will call on their contacts to help them meet the threat or take advantage of the opportunity. New research shows that how many contacts they call can be influenced by such factors as their rank in the organization, whether they have an internal or external locus of control, and the type of threat or opportunity that the uncertainty represents.

Idea #529
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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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Angry Wikipe-tan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Using Anger in Negotiations - Real and Fake

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Previous studies indicated that in negotiations, the anger of one party would lead to concessions from the other party. New research shows, however, that there is a difference between real anger and feigned anger. While real anger might be effective in negotiations — causing the other party to think of the negotiator as tough and less likely to make concessions — new research reveals that faked anger will actually backfire. The reason being that counterparts in the negotiation see through the feigned emotion, lose their trust in the good faith and sincerity of the negotiators, and thus

Idea #209
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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (Source: Wikimedia)

Three Competencies Every Entrepreneur Should Develop

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Is there such a thing as a ‘natural-born entrepreneur’? According to this Idea there is not. Specific techniques and habits must be practiced and developed by all would-be entrepreneurs. And as well as business competencies, entrepreneurs need interpersonal and self-leadership skills too; however, these are often overlooked. Read on for advice on how to build and put these skills into practice.

Idea #011
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Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich: the Sister, by Edward Ardizzone,1941 (Courtesy: The Imperial War Museum, London)

The Overlooked Productivity Costs of Collaboration

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

While management theorists and business leaders trumpet knowledge sharing and other advantages of collaboration, new research shows that workforce collaboration also comes with ‘spillover’ time-related costs that hurt productivity. These costs, however, can be managed.  

Idea #552
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The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563 (Courtesy: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

The Language Challenge for Social Media in Multinationals

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The growth of social media in business enables and enhances a company’s communication among employees and with outside stakeholders, including customers and partners. The diversity of languages within a multinational, however, can hamper communication and collaboration both externally and internally. 

Idea #500
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Cleopatra, John W. Waterhouse, 1888 (Source: Wikimedia)

The Effect of Feminine Charm in Negotiations

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

Can friendliness and flirtation help women in negotiations? Apparently so, according to this Idea, but only when balanced and when these behaviours do not undermine professional intent. By looking at the effects of each of these behaviours individually, as well as in combination, the key seems to lie in the perfect mix of friendliness and flirtation — otherwise known as feminine charm. 

Idea #090
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Washington Crossing the Delaware, Emanuel Leutze, 1851

Resolute Leadership, Coordination and Corporate Culture

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

Resoluteness is often a term used to describe people in battle, moving forward in an unwavering, purposeful way. Now, research indicates that this trait is useful in an organizational setting too; resolute leaders are better equipped to coordinate their followers’ actions, and build high-performance teams. Conviction or resoluteness enhance a leader's credibility. However, resoluteness can also inhibit bottom-up information flow. So a balance is needed.

Idea #087
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The Marx Brothers, Horse Feathers, 1932, directed by Norman Z. McLeod, Paramount Pictures

Rendered Speechless: Too Powerful Leaders Stymie the Team

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

We have all seen it happen; a newly promoted leader monopolizing more and more ‘air time’ in meetings. It seems to be an occupational hazard: when leaders experience heightened power, they are compelled to demonstrate it with verbal dominance. This compromises and even stymies good team communication. The good news is that this effect can be virtually eliminated by taking steps to protect an egalitarian culture. 

Idea #063
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Remote Working Vs Office Working: Why Office is Best

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: NUS Business School

While technology makes remote work more and more feasible, companies are finding that keeping employees on site is more effective. There are significant disadvantages to remote work and equally significant advantages to working in the office.

Idea #471
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Public Sector Leadership: Managing 'Multirational' Organizations

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Public sector organizations are hybrid organizations that bring together different rationalities (e.g. political, economic, legal) together under one roof. The role of the public-sector manager is to find a way to enable these different rationalities to collaborate effectively. The key, according to social systems theory, is communication: finding the common language.

Idea #497
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Pricing and the Power of Red

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

Retailers commonly highlight prices and ‘good deals’ in red in their ads and promotional material. But relatively little is known about how this affects consumers. New research reveals that the impact varies significantly by gender. Put simply: men are likely to see a bargain when they see red; women are far less easily swayed. The findings have clear implications for companies — and for precision marketing.

Idea #197
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Keep Mum She's Not So Dumb: Careless Talk Costs Lives', WW II poster (detail), Harold Foster, 1941

Political Correctness Helps Expression in Mixed-Sex Teams

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

In recent years, speaking in a ‘politically correct’ way has been criticised by many as excessive restriction on the freedom of speech. What was initiated as a positive way to minimize offence, had been taken too far and had come to be viewed negatively. But now, research demonstrates that in organizational settings, and in mixed-sex groups in particular, being politically correct is still a very positive step that can go far to facilitate better team work.

Idea #147
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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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Daniel's Answer to the King, Briton Rivière, Mezotint, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Overcoming Our Evolutionary Fears to Speak Up to Authority

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

Employees are often afraid to speak up even though they may have something to say. New research points to the evolutionary origins of fear-based silence and highlights the productive steps (e.g. developing emotional intelligence and better communication skills) employees can take to overcome these fears.

Idea #498
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Mad Men, 2007 premiered on AMC, created and produced by Matthew Weiner, Lionsgate Television

Managers Who Undermine the Meaningfulness of Work

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

A sense of working toward something meaningful is absolutely central to our happiness and well-being. Sadly, many senior executives undermine their employees’ creativity and productivity by inadvertently denying them this meaning. There exist common traps which even the best-intentioned managers will fall foul of in this regard. A loss of meaningfulness in the work lives of employees has obvious long-term implications for the overall health of an organization. This Idea identifies those traps and shows how we can avoid them.

Idea #052
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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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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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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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The Mona Lisa (detail),Leonardo Da Vinci, c.1503-1506, Musée du Louvre, Paris

In the Eye of the Beholder – When Eye Contact Fails to Persuade

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

Maintaining eye contact has long been considered an effective way of engaging a listener and thereby enhancing the persuasive power of the speaker's arguments. But leaders should be aware of new research showing that eye contact may actually make people less susceptible to persuasion, especially when they already disagree. 

Idea #248
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Her Complexities, Jennifer Main, www.jennifermaingallery.com

How Women Leaders Can Avoid the Gender Trap

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

There is a ‘Gender Trap’ that women leaders face. The received wisdom that female executives looking to get ahead should adopt male leadership traits is defunct. Traits a male can ‘get away with’, or even be praised for, are perceived very differently in a woman. To break the trap and cultivate a winning leadership style: women must live up to collective expectations of what makes a leader, but remain true to certain gender expectations too. 

Idea #072
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Walkie talkie. Image from World War II US Signals Corps' manual (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Lead Virtual Teams

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Virtual teams, groups of diverse and geographically dispersed people communicating mainly by technology, pose challenges for companies. They can deliver superior performance and become an important source of value creation, but they demand a new management and leadership approach. Organizations that apply the ‘rules’ for classic or traditional teams will be disappointed.

Idea #384
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The Keystone Cops, 'In the Clutches of the Gang, 1914, directed by George Nichols and Mack Sennett (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Avoid Task Conflicts Damaging Team Relationships

Idea posted: June 2015
  • Leadership & Change

The potential performance benefits of task-related conflicts can be jeopardized when those conflicts deteriorate into personal relationship conflicts. Strong team identification can prevent such deterioration — as long as the original conflict is of medium intensity.

Idea #523
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BW of man with telephone

How Time of Day Impacts on Business Conversations

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

When delivering bad news in a meeting or by phone, the time of day can make a difference in how the news is received. By studying quarterly corporate earnings calls to analysts, researchers showed that the tone of the conversations was more negative in the afternoon than in the morning. In addition, the market had a tendency to overreact to bad news when delivered in the morning. 

Idea #141
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How Political Correctness Increases Creativity in Mixed-Sex Teams

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

Creativity can suffer in mixed-sex teams. Men and women both experience uncertainty when asked to generate ideas as members of a mixed-sex work group: men because they may fear offending the women and women because they fear having their ideas devalued or rejected. Being PC helps men and women become more creative. 

Idea #505
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How Neuroscience Can Aid Collaborative Leadership

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

Insights from neuroscience can improve the way we understand our own and other people’s behaviour. The SCARF® model provides a framework for this understanding and for how the brain processes our interactions and collaborations with others. This Idea focuses on findings from recent social neuroscience research supporting SCARF®.

Idea #473
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How Creativity Starts With Respectful Engagement

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

There are a wide variety of methodologies and concepts for developing individual and team creativity in organizations. New research, however, reveals the unexpected foundation of organizational creativity: respectful relationships.

Idea #578
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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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