Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer

What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often, innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why.

Editor’s Note: for more on this theme, read “Visionary, Salesman and Pragmatist Model of Business Succes.”

Why Agile May Be Fragile

The hype around Agile organizations needs some debunking, so that Agile’s actual value can be salvaged.

Popular Management Theories Decoded

Theorists and social scientists have long speculated on what type of management is best for man: especially in the professional setting. In response: they created management theories and compiled vast collections of ideas that have now provided a framework for an effective management strategy for man. These strategies are implemented in modern workplaces to motivate and bring the best out of employees.

At the end … [ Read more ]

Carlos Llano

Hay que estar más preocupado por los hombres que tienen que hacer las cosas, que por las cosas que tienen que hacer los hombres.

English translation: You have to be more concerned about the men who have to do things, than about the things that men have to do.

Amy Edmondson

Psychological safety takes off the brakes that keep people from achieving what’s possible. But it’s not the fuel that powers the car. In any challenging industry setting, leaders have two vital tasks. One, they must build psychological safety to spur learning and avoid preventable failures; two, they must set high standards and inspire and enable people to reach them.

Rahul Vohra

[Sean] Ellis [has] found a leading [product/market fit] indicator: just ask users “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percent who answer “very disappointed.” After benchmarking nearly a hundred startups with his customer development survey, Ellis found that the magic number was 40%. Companies that struggled to find growth almost always had less than 40% of users … [ Read more ]

Rahul Vohra

To increase your product/market fit […] spend half your time doubling down on what users already love and the other half on addressing what’s holding others back.

Five Ways Companies Can Be More Nimble

In order to manage and surmount uncertainties, companies need to become intelligence-driven, and that is achieved by understanding and acting upon five types of agility, notes Baba Prasad. He discusses these concepts in his book Nimble: Make Yourself and Your Company Resilient in the Age of Constant Change. Prasad spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about his book in a recent interview.

25 Employee Incentive Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

Employee recognition is the timely informal or formal acknowledgement of a person’s or team’s behavior, effort or business result that supports the organization’s goals and values. It is a known fact that appreciation is one of the top motivators for employees to work harder and to be more committed to their companies. Even cost-efficient forms of appreciation show employees that they are valued. Therefore, here … [ Read more ]

Maud Lindley, Jeffrey Schwartz, and Malcolm Thompson

Why should organizations care about groupthink? Why not just let the prevailing point of view stand? That may be an expedient solution, but it can cause problems in the long run. An innovative enterprise needs employees who feel that they can contribute freely and bring their whole selves to work. If people are expected to rise above the status quo and challenge their competitors, they … [ Read more ]

Maud Lindley, Jeffrey Schwartz, and Malcolm Thompson

If you’re a leader taking a stand on values in your enterprise, you have a seemingly Herculean task: to engage all your employees, regardless of their attitudes and backgrounds. It’s not possible to achieve your goal by excluding the people who disagree with the prevailing corporate point of view. Nor can you avoid values altogether these days; some topics, including diversity and inclusion, LGBT identity, … [ Read more ]

Ibrahim Gokcen

Failing fast and cheap doesn’t mean making bad decisions. It means complying within the constraints that you have, and learning how do you go faster or how do you test things faster. And then implementing the decisions properly.

Ichak Adizes

If a system is effective in the short run—i.e., it fulfills the purpose of its existence at the present time, which means satisfying the present needs of its clients, (P); is effective in the long run—i.e., it works proactively to identify the future needs of both its existing clients and its new clients, and is preparing at present to satisfy those future needs, (E); is … [ Read more ]

Ichak Adizes

I suggest that the goal of every system–and that includes corporations and not-for-profit organizations, micro-, mezzo-, and macro–is to be and to remain healthy. Confronted with major strategic decisions, or even some tactical decisions that have strategic repercussions, a leader should ask him- or herself: Is my decision going to promote or impair the health of the system I lead?

Richard H. Thaler

Write stuff down. Anybody that’s making repeated forecasts, there should be a record. If you have a record, then you can go back. This takes some patience. But keeping track will bring people down to earth.

Phanish Puranam, Julien Clément

We are fans of Agile practices as a solution to a distinct class of problems in certain contexts, such as those involving a search, be it for new designs, product features or even management policies. Agile practices use rapid, parallel and inexpensive iterations to solve search problems. If there are parts of your organization that can benefit from this kind of problem solving, then Agile … [ Read more ]

Jerry Muller

Measurement demands judgement: judgement about whether to measure, what to measure, how to evaluate the significance of what’s been measured, whether rewards and penalties will be attached to the results, and to whom to make the measurements available.

James Everingham

You can have more decisions than decision-makers, but if you have more decision-makers than decisions, that’s when you run into problems.

James Everingham

When you think of transparency, you usually default to the communication aspect: telling everyone what’s happening or admitting when you’ve made a mistake. But when folks say that things aren’t transparent, what they’re probably getting at is that decision-making isn’t transparent. It’s the feeling that decisions sometimes roll on down from the lofty perch of the leadership team, seemingly out of nowhere. Instead, pull back … [ Read more ]

John K. Coyle

All of us — individuals, teams, and organizations — have weaknesses. These are not skill gaps; those can be corrected with learning. Weaknesses are inherent deficiencies of talent or capability that do not change even after aggressive efforts to improve them. Pride and our ingrained work ethic may cause us to deny our weaknesses, but acceptance is the first step toward designing for strength.

[…] … [ Read more ]