Monthly Archives - September 2020

Adapt Your Business to the New Reality

It will be quite some time before we understand the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the history of such shocks tells us two things. First, even in severe economic downturns and recessions, some companies are able to gain advantage. Among large firms doing business during the past four downturns, 14% increased both sales growth rate and EBIT margin. Second, crises produce not just a plethora of temporary changes (mainly short-term shifts in demand) but also some lasting ones. [...]

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The Innovator’s DNA

The Innovator’s DNA How do I find innovative people for my organization? And how can I become more innovative myself?” These are questions that stump senior executives, who understand that the ability to innovate is the “secret sauce” of business success. Unfortunately, most of us know very little about what makes one person more creative than another. Perhaps for this reason, we stand in awe of visionary entrepreneurs like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar, and P&G’s A.G. [...]

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Name Your Brand with a Global Audience in Mind

by Nataly Kelly Name Your Brand with a Global Audience in Mind Coming up with the perfect name for a brand takes a lot of work. Whether you’re launching a new product or rebranding an existing one, marketers often spend months analyzing data, conducting interviews, and carrying out research to find the best name to set themselves apart from competitors. But no matter how thorough you may be, if your research is biased toward your home market, you’re likely to run into [...]

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What Deaf People Can Teach Others About Virtual Communication

by Sabina Nawaz and Roberta J. Cordano After months of working remotely from home, many of us have found that the daily routine of virtual meetings saps our energy. It is difficult to maintain continuity, connection, and coherence. We are prone to speak too little or too much, repeating things unnecessarily. Our attention wanders, and we tune out. Not moving from one conference room to the next as we transition between meetings enervates us and bores us with its lack [...]

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Social-Impact Efforts That Create Real Value

Until the mid-2010s few investors paid attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data—information about companies’ carbon footprints, labor policies, board makeup, and so forth. Today the data is widely used by investors. Some screen out poor ESG performers, assuming that the factors that cause companies to receive low ESG ratings will result in weak financial results. Some seek out high ESG performers, expecting exemplary ESG behaviors to drive superior financial results, or wishing, for ethical reasons, to invest [...]

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Managing Yourself: Extreme Productivity

Bob Pozen does a lot. He’s been a top executive at two mutual fund giants, Fidelity and MFS Investment Management. He’s also been an attorney, a government official, a law school professor, a business school professor, and a prolific author. And he has often been several of those things at once. Yet Pozen never comes across as overwhelmed, frazzled, or even all that busy. We know this because he’s a frequent contributor to HBR and hbr.org—with a reputation around [...]

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An Agile Approach to Budgeting for Uncertain Times

It’s another month, and you know what that means. Leadership teams are launching annual business planning and budgeting processes, all too aware that the current year’s plans went kaput sometime around March thanks to the pandemic. 2020 has been particularly chaotic, but let’s face it, even in typical times most planning and budgeting processes are frustrating. They start five or six months early with promises of visionary transformations that quickly give way to tedious templates, endless financial forecasts, haggling over [...]

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Avoid Making This Strategic Mistake in a Recession Avoid Making This Strategic Mistake in a Recession

We are currently in the midst of the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate has hit a record high, and the International Monetary Fund is predicting a drop in our GDP of nearly 6 percent this year. If this is purely a supply shock, then our economy should recover quickly once restrictions on economic activity are lifted. On the other hand, according to a report from the Becker Friedman Institute of the University of [...]

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Managing People – Lean Knowledge Work

The Toyota Production System is arguably the most important invention in operations since Henry Ford’s Model T began rolling off the production line. It has spawned numerous approaches to improving operations, all based on the same principles: relentless attention to detail, commitment to data-driven experimentation, and charging workers with the ongoing task of increasing efficiency and eliminating waste in their jobs. This collection of ideas is often termed “lean.” Today most manufacturing companies and some service firms reap its [...]

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How to Build a Company That (Actually) Values Integrity – Robert Chesnut

For decades, leaders were expected to focus on one thing: financial results. But we are now in the midst of an ethical revolution. Leaders are increasingly held accountable for poor behavior, and companies are pushed by employees, governments, and customers to step up and adopt a multi-stakeholder approach that serves social purposes as well as investor demands. Canned codes of ethics that ask employees to check a box to certify that they’ve read the material and third-party online ethics training [...]

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