Storytelling is one of the most important skills for leaders to learn, because their job is to gain trust, and to persuade and influence people. Today, a number of consultants offer services that teach storytelling to executives or help them develop stories for internal or external consumption. A good story is a memorable way to make a point. And by engaging the emotions, a story makes it easier to persuade or motivate the listener. Stories can fulfill several roles for an organization. Founders’ stories, for instance, can be especially useful in giving people a sense of their company’s identity and in shaping the company’s culture.
With new innovations taking place every day, we have entered an era where industries and companies are increasingly at risk for disruption and job security is much less than it was in the past. One way to safeguard your professional life is to develop a strong reputation to fit in with the changing market. However building a public reputation is never easy: finding your uniqueness, how other people think of you and what to listen to can all become barriers to self-promotion. In this interview Dorie Clark, the author of two popular personal branding books, explains a step-by-step approach for individuals who are interested in creating their personal brand.
These days, corporate value is based not only on what you sell, but who you are: in a 2016 global study by Edelman, 48% of consumers said they won’t buy from a company they distrust but 37% said they will pay more for a product from a company they do trust. Unfortunately, becoming one of these admired companies is not easy. A great reputation doesn’t just appear by magic simply by behaving honorably and doing good work. So what facets are needed to build a respected corporate identity?
We make decisions every day. Most of them are small: Should I buy that shirt? Others demand more thought: Is marriage right for me? The common thread running between all of them is that we are unequipped to make sense of any of it. The world in which the human race came of age—one of ferocious predators and unforgiving nature—is no longer the world we live in. For the risks we face now, we are out of date. Dan Ariely, author of bestsellers like Predictably Irrational, has built a career mapping the peculiarities of our innermost decision-making foibles, and offers insight in guarding against them.
Once upon a time, designers were considered a fairly rarified breed in the corporate world—people with more interesting hair, eyeglasses and talent than the rest of us, but not a key part of the “real” business. Today, however, that’s changing. As more and more companies face the need for constant innovation, design is earning more respect. In fact, these days, many organizations are training their employees to think like designers. Jeanne Liedtka, a professor of strategy and author of three books on design thinking, argues that learning to approach problems the way designers do can be a useful way to spark innovation in almost every company.
Whether you’re working at your dream job or you’ve been plotting your escape for months, chances are you’ve experienced your fair share of days that simply can’t end soon enough. From snarky colleagues to grim commutes, the possibilities for our working day taking a wrong turn are seemingly endless, and remedies aren’t always in sight. Caroline Webb, CEO of Sevenshift, an advisory firm focused on performance in the workplace, has put together a guide for improving our work life with her book How to Have a Good Day. Drawing upon research in neuroscience, behavioral economics and psychology, Webb tells us how we can make our work smarter, productive and satisfying.
Throughout our careers, we encounter a range of management styles, with mixed results. But what is it that distinguishes a regular boss from a truly great boss? Why is it that some help us to reach new heights, while others make us feel constrained? These are deceptively simple questions with many complex answers, the latest of which comes from Sydney Finkelstein. In his new book Superbosses, Finkelstein takes as his guide figures from disparate industries, including jazz musician Miles Davis and newspaper editor Gene Roberts, and examines the traits of those who have spawned extensive networks of talent, the titular superbosses, and ultimately brought greater success to themselves.
Developments in technology have always led to changes in management practices. Papyrus and writing made the first empires possible, and the telegraph and telephone later gave the modern corporation its central nervous system. As digitalization changes the nature of our work, it’s not so wild to imagine management will change too. One answer may be Holacracy, a trademarked management system designed by former programmer Brian J. Robertson. Using what he describes as “a new social technology”, Robertson hopes to remove what he sees as a key defect in the modern enterprise: the inability to incorporate the insights of individuals into the actions of the group.
Why do so many overseas acquisitions by Chinese companies not live up to expectations? Very often the blame is pinned on ‘cultural challenges’ a subjective and suitably vague term. But if you dig deeper, you’ll find that in most cases the problem begins with the acquiring firm’s motives. In the past few decades the majority of Chinese overseas acquisitions have targeted resources. Their aim is to improve performance or lower costs by acquiring other companies’ resources such as technology, raw material, talent, etc. Acquisitions with this purpose come with several challenges afterwards. Is there a better way to evaluate possible acquisition targets? If yes, what is it?
Managers instinctively think about the threat of competitors because they can push down prices and lower profits. But there are other threats to profits that managers should not ignore. One of these is the threat that suppliers can pose. This idea was formalized and called “supplier power” by Harvard economist Michael Porter in 1979. The idea is that even with little competition a firm can still lose profits to a supplier that has significant bargaining power. But the situation gets even more complicated when the people bearing the supplier power are its own star employees. What should a company do about that?