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It's Time to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability

harvardbusiness.org - 17 August 2017
Despite conflicting messages about climate change from U.S. government leaders, sustainability is getting more and more attention at American companies. Shareholders are ratcheting up their demands on environmental and social issues. Consumers are registering their concerns about how companies make their products. And talented Millennial employees are voting with their feet by leaving laggard companies behind. Meanwhile, new technologies are making it easier for sustainability investments to pay off in the middle to long term.
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How Gatorade Invented New Products by Revisiting Old Ones

harvardbusiness.org - 17 August 2017
When it comes to innovation, businesses have a strong bias for the new. The idea of creating a fresh new product, the prospect of increasing market share with brand new offerings, or the vision of disrupting some slow-moving incumbent with a radical new technology – these have an inherently strong appeal for companies keen for growth. What’s more, legacy products seem to be at a natural disadvantage. Company leaders and product managers worry that these core products have been around for years and may not be able to deliver much more. How will they perform well enough for us to meet our targets?
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Whiteboard Session: Clashing with a Coworker? Here's What to Do

harvardbusiness.org - 16 August 2017
These 4 steps will help you resolve conflicts, whether you're a seeker or an avoider.
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The Dark Side of Resilience

harvardbusiness.org - 16 August 2017
Resilience, defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events, is a highly sought-after personality trait in the modern workplace. As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant argue in their recent book, we can think of resilience as a sort of muscle that contracts during good times and expands during bad times.
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To Come Up with a Good Idea, Start by Imagining the Worst Idea Possible

harvardbusiness.org - 16 August 2017
There are many creative tools a designer uses to think differently, but none is more counter-intuitive than “wrong thinking,” also called reverse thinking. Wrong thinking is when you intentionally think of the worst idea possible — the exact opposite of the accepted or logical solution, ideas that can get you laughed at or even fired — and work back from those to find new ways of solving old problems.
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Is Tesla Really a Disruptor? (And Why the Answer Matters)

harvardbusiness.org - 16 August 2017
Tesla, Elon Musk’s automotive start-up, is having a very good year. In September, the company expects to begin shipping its all-electric Model 3 to non-employee customers, who have already logged 500,000 pre-orders. After reporting earnings earlier this month, its stock jumped, rocketing the 14-year-old startup’s valuation to over $53 billion, ahead of every other U.S. car manufacturer and all but three worldwide. This despite the fact that the company lost nearly two billion dollars in the past two years alone.
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Help Employees Create Knowledge - Not Just Share It

harvardbusiness.org - 15 August 2017
Many leaders see organizational learning simply as sharing existing knowledge. This isn’t surprising given that this is the primary focus of educational institutions, training programs, and leadership development courses. It’s the “sage on the stage” model, in which an expert shares what they know with those who are assumed not to know it. These “best practices” are presumed to work in a variety of different contexts and situations.
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How One Insurance Firm Learned to Create an Innovation Culture

harvardbusiness.org - 15 August 2017
More and more companies are realizing they must reinvent their cultures by infusing innovation into their DNA. Unlike startups that get to shape culture from scratch, established companies must transform existing norms, values, and assumptions in ways that inspire everyone to innovate — not just at the top of the organization, but at all levels.
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How Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time

harvardbusiness.org - 15 August 2017
One of the most stressful things about being self-employed is managing your cash flow. This is especially difficult when clients don’t pay you on time. What can you do to make sure that your invoices are handled promptly? And if a client is late, how should you address it, especially if you want to work with this company again? Is there ever a point at which you need to involve a lawyer?
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Study: More Frequent Sales Quotas Help Volume but Hurt Profits

harvardbusiness.org - 14 August 2017
Firms often struggle with finding the best way to motivate their salesforce. How much of a rep’s compensation should consist of a fixed salary and how much should be based on commission? Should commissions be capped? What’s the effectiveness of bonuses and other incentives? And so on. While past quantitative research has investigated some of these issues, in our recent study we focused on an under-researched aspect of salesforce compensation: sales quotas. More specifically, what should be the appropriate frequency of quotas—for example, daily or monthly?
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Assessment: Are You Taking the Time Off That You Need?

harvardbusiness.org - 14 August 2017
We all know we should take time away from work. But too often we let our constant busyness and the threat of looming deadlines keep us from going on vacations. This has consequences for our stress levels, our teams, and our organizations. It also costs us. According to research by Project: Time Off, an organization that studies vacation time in the U.S., most Americans don’t use all of their vacation days. In 2016 alone, U.S. employees ended up forfeiting the equivalent of $66.4 billion in time off. This means that, last year, Americans effectively donated an average of $604 to their employers.
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When Male Unemployment Rates Rise, So Do Sexual Harassment Claims

harvardbusiness.org - 14 August 2017
Despite all the mandatory trainings on sexual harassment that have taken place in American workplaces over the last two decades, the problem seems to be getting worse. Sex discrimination claims made to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are up about 10% in the last 20 years. Some of that is surely due to increased reporting, but some is also the result of changing gender dynamics in society. Women’s progress towards economic parity may present a threat to the way that men understand their own roles in their workplaces and in society in general, and sex discrimination is one way for them to assert their dominance. To test this theory, I analyzed EEOC and Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that sex discrimination spikes when men fall behind women in the workforce.
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Why We Prefer Dominant Leaders in Uncertain Times

harvardbusiness.org - 11 August 2017
We are witnessing a worldwide surge in a certain type of leader claiming the highest offices of power — leaders who are confident, controlling, and strongly hierarchical. Indian voters elected the dominant Narendra Modi into power in 2014, Britain’s Nigel Farage saw his sharply argued views endorsed during the 2016 Brexit campaign, Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S. in 2016 after repeatedly promising to be “strong,” and autocratic Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reelected this year. The question is: Why are voters choosing this type of leader now? Our research (recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) attempts to answer this by focusing on when and why such leaders ascend to leadership roles.
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PE Firms Are Creating a New Role: Leadership Capital Partner

harvardbusiness.org - 11 August 2017
During the last 20 years, private equity (PE) investors have assumed an increasingly influential role in business, with publicly traded firms dropping from about 7,500 to 3,800. Today, large private equity firms not only buy and sell (phase 1), buy and hold (phase 2), but buy and transform (phase 3). This third phase has led to large private equity organizations governing their assets in a unique way.
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What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time

harvardbusiness.org - 11 August 2017
Have you ever felt burned out at work after a vacation? I’m not talking about being exhausted from fighting with your family at Walt Disney World all week. I’m talking about how you knew, the whole time walking around Epcot, that a world of work was waiting for you upon your return.
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When to Listen to a Dire Warning

harvardbusiness.org - 10 August 2017
Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism adviser to U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has made a career of investigating disaster warnings. The way he sees it, catastrophes can happen at any time, so why should decision makers ignore a Cassandra? Now a cybersecurity firm CEO, Clarke is an expert at figuring out who is a conspiracy theorist and who is a credible source. He explains his method through a few case studies—on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, and others—from his new book, Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.
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How the Imagined 'Rationality' of Engineering Is Hurting Diversity - and Engineering

harvardbusiness.org - 10 August 2017
Just how common are the views on gender espoused in the memo that former Google engineer James Damore was recently fired for distributing on an internal company message board? The flap has women and men in tech — and elsewhere — wondering what their colleagues really think about diversity. Research we’ve conducted shows that while most people don’t share Damore’s views, male engineers are more likely to.
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Firing James Damore Could Be a Setback for Google's Diversity Goals

harvardbusiness.org - 10 August 2017
One of the mistakes CEOs often make with their diversity efforts is assuming everyone shares their goals. In my experience — consulting on gender with hundreds of companies — this is rarely the case. Leadership teams are usually not aligned on gender issues and objectives. And if they’re not, you can bet the rest of the organization isn’t either.

Good Leaders Are Good Learners

harvardbusiness.org - 10 August 2017
Although organizations spend more than $24 billion annually on leadership development, many leaders who have attended leadership programs struggle to implement what they’ve learned. It’s not because the programs are bad but because leadership is best learned from experience. Still, simply being an experienced leader doesn’t elevate a person’s skills. Like most of us, leaders often go through their experiences somewhat mindlessly, accomplishing tasks but learning little about themselves and their impact. Our research on leadership development shows that leaders who are in learning mode develop stronger leadership skills than their peers.

How to Make Work More Meaningful for Your Team

harvardbusiness.org - 9 August 2017
There is a well-known story about a cleaner at NASA who, when asked by JFK what his job was, responded 'I'm helping to put a man on the moon.' This anecdote is often used to show how even the most mundane job can be seen as meaningful with the right mindset and under a good leadership. Today, more and more employees demand much more than a good salary from their jobs. Money may lure people into jobs, but purpose, meaning, and the prospect of interesting and valuable work determines both their tenure and how hard they will work while they are on the job. Finding meaning at work has become so important that there are even public rankings for the most meaningful jobs. Although there are many factors determining how appealing jobs tend to be, those that contribute to improving other people's lives are ranked top (e.g., healthcare and social work). Interestingly, meta-analytic studies indicated that there is only a marginal association between pay and job satisfaction. A
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Having Work Friends Can Be Tricky, but It's Worth It

harvardbusiness.org - 8 August 2017
How often have you had the following conversation at work? How are you? Good. You? Fine. It is a script we stick to even if we are dying inside. It’s hard to build real connections with your colleagues if you never get beyond superficial chit-chat. And yet people who have a “best friend at work” are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job. What’s more, employees who report having friends at work have higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who don’t.
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Tesla Shows How Traditional Business Metrics Are Outdated

harvardbusiness.org - 8 August 2017
Elon Musk is having a moment. Tesla just delivered its first Model 3, the affordable model that he envisioned in his “secret” strategy some 11 years ago. He wanted to build a sports car, then build a more affordable car with zero emissions. He’s basically already there. The Model 3 has mostly rave reviews and a multiyear waiting list, which is quite a feat, even for an industry leader like Musk.
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How CEOs Can Work with an Active Board

harvardbusiness.org - 8 August 2017
At companies of almost all sizes, across all sectors, boards are undergoing a profound transformation. Largely as a result of intensifying shareholder intolerance of mediocre or poor corporate performance, the ceremonial boards of the past are being replaced by active boards that are more demanding of managers and more intrusive in their affairs.
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Do Your Customers Actually Want a 'Smart' Version of Your Product?

harvardbusiness.org - 8 August 2017
There’s been a gold rush happening in technology these last few years, focused on the Internet of Things, or IoT. It’s even frequently been referred to as “the next Industrial Revolution.” The stampede to connect anything and everything in the home to a mobile app – a stampede that I’d argue has been driven by grossly inflated numbers and speculation – has the potential to lure companies into unfamiliar territory, with no guarantee of a safe or profitable return. I know because I’ve been there.
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How New Managers Can Send the Right Leadership Signals

harvardbusiness.org - 8 August 2017
One of the most exciting and — sometimes anxiety-producing transitions in a career — comes when you move from being an individual contributor to becoming a manager. At this juncture, what you think, what you say, and how you show up — in effect, your leadership presence — can have a direct impact on those you are now leading and managing for the first time. So, as a new manager, how do you build an authentic and connected leadership presence that has a positive impact on your team and colleagues?
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How to Work with Someone Who's Always Stressed Out

harvardbusiness.org - 7 August 2017
We all know people who seem to be constantly stressed out - who claim to be buried in work, overloaded with projects, and without a minute to spare. Colleagues like that can be difficult to work with, but you probably don't have a choice. How do you deal with coworkers who can't handle stress? Should you address the issue directly? Or try other tactics to help them calm down and focus? And how can you protect yourself from their toxic emotions? What the Experts Say Stress is part of everyday life. 'We all go through periods when we are dealing with a lot of stress,' says Caroline Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day. 'Those periods might last 10 minutes, 10 days, or 10 months.' But for certain people, 'stress is a habitual pattern.' These folks always 'feel overwhelmed, constantly stretched, and always out of their depth.' Working closely with a person like this can be a real challenge.

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