Gregory P. Shea

Nobody wants to fail, but when there’s failure, does it get debriefed so that learning occurs in the organization? If there’s success, do you debrief to try to improve, as well? Debriefing shouldn’t be a code word for “We only do it when we fail.” You want to secure the ways that you succeed, as well. If you did succeed, part of the development and … [ Read more ]

Organizing for the Future: Nine Keys to Becoming a Future-Ready Company

Companies should embrace nine imperatives that collectively explain “who we are” as an organization, “how we operate,” and “how we grow.”

Ariel Silverstone

[An] effective way to detect what [customer data] has leaked, and through which possible partner, is to pre-poison the data, sowing into it information that can provide a reference point in the case of a leak.

Research: How Virtual Teams Can Better Share Knowledge

One of the stated reasons for trying to get workers back into the office is the chorus of concern around the difficulties of sharing knowledge and experience amongst remote co-workers. New research, however, suggests a method that could improve this process both in the office and remotely: guided meetings between coworkers, which can easily happen in person or remotely. Compared to monetary incentives (without guidance … [ Read more ]

How Executives Can Help Sustain Value Creation for the Long Term

Companies create more shareholder value when executives and directors concentrate on long-term results. A new report highlights behaviors that allow them to maintain a long-term orientation.

Having a Clear Purpose Drives Performance

Does corporate purpose influence firm performance? More than two decades ago, the scholars Christopher A. Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal argued that purpose, not strategy, structure or systems, was the essential precursor to effective management. Since then, the public discourse on purpose has gone up substantially. And while there’s a growing body of research on related topics — from CSR to ESG — when it comes … [ Read more ]

The Distance

Basecamp spent three years telling the stories of people who run businesses that endured 25 years or more. Have a listen — they’re an inspiration for anyone looking to build a business that goes the distance.

Why Your Next Transformation Should be ‘All In’

Improve the odds of a successful business transformation by going “all in” to kick-start performance and remake your portfolio.

9 Habits of World Class Startups

Startups that grow into transformative companies do two things: (1) they nail the basics and (2) they cultivate the right habits (core operating principles).

The first is mandatory. If you don’t get the basics right, in all probability your company won’t succeed. A list of things we consider basics:

  • Fundraising (don’t run out of capital)
  • Ship (don’t just talk about it, ship it)
  • Customer focus (live

[ Read more ]

For Outstanding Performance, Change How You Solve Problems

Ask any business leader if he or she is good at solving problems and the likely response is, “Of course!” After all, business leaders spend a lot of their time navigating problems. If they weren’t good at it, those leaders would lose their jobs, wouldn’t they? Not if the organization doesn’t know what robust problem solving looks like. Most organizations don’t and as a result … [ Read more ]

How to Make the Bold Strategy Moves that Matter

What does it take to make a true performance leap? The authors of Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick explain the key strategic levers their analysis has revealed, and how strongly you have to pull them.

A Better Business through a Great Place to Work for All

What it means to be a great workplace has evolved. We have entered a new era, a new frontier in business. Our economy has evolved through agrarian, industrial, and ‘knowledge’ phases to the point where the essential qualities of human beings—things like passion, creativity, and a willingness to work together—are the most critical. In this ‘human economy,’ every employee matters.

A New Approach to Contracts

Companies understand that their suppliers are critical partners in lowering costs, increasing quality, and driving innovation, and leaders routinely talk about the need for strategic relationships with shared goals and risks. But when contract negotiations begin, they default to an adversarial mindset and a transactional contracting approach. They agonize over every conceivable scenario and then try to put everything in black-and-white. A variety of contractual … [ Read more ]

Masters of the Middle-Market Universe

The midsized companies in the U.S. that grow the fastest understand their strong suits and play their hands accordingly.

How Much Does Management Matter to Productivity?

More than you might realize. Research finds management practices account for 20% of variation in productivity among certain firms.

Freek Vermeulen

Benchmarking is by definition where companies look at the best-performing companies in their industry. What companies don’t look at is the bottom-performing ones. Companies therefore are inclined to imitate the practice and strategies of the top 10 performing companies — whichever they pick in the benchmarking exercise. But of course different strategies and practices are often associated with different risks. Some strategies may, on average, … [ Read more ]

Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

To most leaders, the speed and flexibility that drive innovation lie at the opposite end of the spectrum from standardization and centralization, which promote efficiency and control risk. Not so. Rita Gunther McGrath’s research sheds light on agile organizations. Large companies that raise their income disproportionately, she found, have two main characteristics: they are innovative and experimental and can move quickly but also have consistent … [ Read more ]

Duff McDonald

Each year, scores of management books claim significant new scientific findings in the pursuit of an unchanging goal: how to perform better, both individually and in groups. But most of those so-called findings are neither scientific nor new. The majority of management writers simply offer up freshly tossed word salads in hopes of coining that year’s business buzzword.

The Journey to Exceptional Performance

When it comes to corporate financial performance, we typically think in absolute terms, measuring ROA in percentage points. We are less accustomed to thinking of corporate performance in relative terms, but knowing a company’s relative performance is essential to setting and achieving performance improvement targets and, eventually, exceptional performance.

The Case Against Corporate Short Termism

Despite strong pressures to focus on the short term, it is possible to manage for the long term and reap considerable rewards.