Business Insight for MBAs and Managers

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Content added in November 2015



4 Business Models for the Data Age » Visit Original Source

Organizations have always depended on data — to manage operations, to communicate with customers, to pay employees and suppliers, to plan their futures, and so forth. Those with the best data have enjoyed distinct advantages — in commerce, for example, better understanding the market leads to better products offered at better prices, and so forth. Data has enabled strategy, but, with few exceptions, neither driven … [ Read more ]

Author: Thomas C. Redman | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subjects: IT / Technology / E-Business, Strategy

Are CEOs Overpaid? The Case Against » Visit Original Source

Steven Neil Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at Chicago Booth, is making a sometimes–unpopular but data–driven case in defense of high–earning CEOs. Kaplan has written a string of papers challenging the common views that executive pay isn’t tied to performance, that boards rarely punish underperforming CEOs, and that average CEO pay keeps going up.

Instead, he argues, the market for … [ Read more ]

Authors: Hal Weitzman, Vanessa Sumo | Source: Capital Ideas | Subject: Corporate Governance

Thriving with the Crowd: Marketing with (and against) the New Influence Peddlers » Visit Original Source

Moving at the speed of the crowd has become mandatory for any company that is on the Web (which is just about every company). These companies must understand how influence gets peddled in the marketplace today (and constantly refresh their understanding) – and they must constantly reevaluate how customers are influenced and what the appropriate response should be. Readers will learn what the responses should … [ Read more ]

Authors: Joshua B. Bellin, Paul F. Nunes | Source: Ivey Business Journal | Subjects: Customer Related, Marketing / Sales

Seven Tools for Creating Infographics Without Using Photoshop » Visit Original Source

How can you create beautiful infographics without using Photoshop? I'm not a Photoshop expert, so I take days to create a basic infographic. I'm a Paint ninja, but I can't create nice infographics by using Paint. So I searched for fast, easy, and cheap (even free) alternatives. [, Piktochart,, Venngage, Canva, Visme, Infoactive] … [ Read more ]

Author: Tamas Torok | Source: MarketingProfs | Subjects: Marketing / Sales, Productivity / Work Tips

Decoding Leadership: What Really Matters » Visit Original Source

New research suggests that the secret to developing effective leaders is to encourage four types of behavior. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, Ramesh Srinivasan | Source: McKinsey Quarterly | Subject: Leadership

When Financial Incentives Don’t Work » Visit Original Source

Performance incentives may encourage employees to deliver but when it comes to innovation it’s by no means certain they trigger the best results. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Philipp Meyer-Doyle, Sunkee Lee | Source: INSEAD Knowledge | Subjects: Innovation, Management, Organizational Behavior

Making Sense of Globalization » Visit Original Source

The DHL Global Connectedness Index, now in its third edition, shows that not all flows of trade, capital, information, and people are alike. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Pankaj Ghemawat, Steven A. Altman | Source: strategy+business | Subject: International

What Is Strategy, Again? » Visit Original Source

In “What Is Strategy,” [Michael] Porter argues against a bevy of alternate views ... At a fundamental level, all strategies for Porter boil down to two very broad options: Do what everyone else is doing (but spend less money doing it), or do something no one else can do.

A tour de force by any measure, “What Is Strategy?” is certainly required reading for all … [ Read more ]

Author: Andrea Ovans | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subject: Strategy

How to Deliver Superior Customer Service » Visit Original Source

Customer service is a crucial part of your business, and one that deserves your attention and your money—you are trying to build a life-long customer relationship. Here are four focus areas to help you achieve your customer service goals. … [ Read more ]

Author: Chris Zane | Source: Chief Executive | Subjects: Customer Related, Management

Do You Know These Marketing Rules of Thumb? » Visit Original Source

Do you know the “50/50 rule” of content marketing?

How about the “99:1 rule” of affiliate marketing?

Or the “25-50-25 rule” of time management for entrepreneurs?

Or Fred Gleeck’s “10X rule” of information product pricing?

This infographic shows you in a concise, graphic format the 12
important marketing rules of thumb every marketer should know. … [ Read more ]

Author: Bob Bly | Source: | Subject: Marketing / Sales

Trends Reshaping the Future of HR: Digital Radically Disrupts HR » Visit Original Source

Digital technology is changing the face of human resources. Top-performing HR organizations will likely respond by becoming smaller, less centralized and more project-oriented. Expertise in marketing and analytics will be highly valued. New ways to identify, attract and nurture talent could proliferate, with more emphasis given to workplace culture. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Catherine Farley, David Gartside, Himanshu Tambe, Maureen L. Brosnan, Susan Cantrell | Source: Accenture | Subject: Human Resources

Driving Growth with Business Model Innovation » Visit Original Source

Business model innovation is complex and challenging. By understanding four distinct approaches—and the success stories of companies using those approaches—executives can make effective choices in designing the path to growth and uncovering a lasting competitive advantage. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Margaret Ayers, Zhenya Lindgardt | Source: Boston Consulting Group (BCG) | Subjects: Management, Strategy

Strategy Is About Both Resources and Positioning » Visit Original Source

Anyone taking the time to delve into the literature of strategy quickly realizes that there are two fiercely opposed camps.

In the red corner we have the “positioning school” (TPS) and in the white we have the “resource-based view of the firm” (RBV). Michael Porter is credited with (or more often accused of) creating TPS in 1980—positing that a firm should think about positioning itself in … [ Read more ]

Author: Roger L. Martin | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subject: Strategy

A Two-Speed IT Architecture for the Digital Enterprise » Visit Original Source

Delivering an enriched customer experience requires a new digital architecture running alongside legacy systems. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Chris Ip, Jürgen Laartz, Oliver Bossert | Source: McKinsey Quarterly | Subject: IT / Technology / E-Business

Why You’re Working Too Hard » Visit Original Source

We have become much more productive—output per hour worked increased more than fourfold between 1950 and 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the amount we work hasn’t fallen anywhere near as fast. In the United States, the average working year went from 1,963 hours in 1950 to 1,790 hours last year, a drop of less than 10%.

This has prompted some people to … [ Read more ]

Author: Dave Nussbaum | Source: Capital Ideas | Subjects: Economics, Organizational Behavior

The Reclamation of Strategy » Visit Original Source

Using big data to improve a business means more than just collecting the information, or even analyzing it — companies must develop a strategy for how to use the information to build their brands. Unfortunately, many firms are using big data tactically, rather than strategically. Marketers, in particular, are not realizing the full potential of big data —they’re mainly using it to drive programmatic advertising. … [ Read more ]

Author: Colin Strong | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: IT / Technology / E-Business, Marketing / Sales

Should Hiring Be Based on Gut – or Data? » Visit Original Source

How do you decide whether or not to hire someone? Can you predict how successful they would be? How do you know if they’ll stay? How useful is data in human resources as opposed to “trusting your gut”? These are questions a lot of companies would like better answers to, considering the critical importance of people to a business’s success and the high costs associated … [ Read more ]

Source: [email protected] | Subjects: Human Resources, Management, Organizational Behavior

There Are Still Only Two Ways to Compete » Visit Original Source

Back in the early 1960s, the great Boston Consulting Group founder and strategy theorist Bruce Henderson asserted that there was only one way to successfully compete: gain a relative market share advantage over all competitors so as to have lower costs than all of them. The payoff is that it puts the firm in a position to drive those relative costs even lower as competition … [ Read more ]

Author: Roger L. Martin | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subject: Strategy

Beware Groups » Visit Original Source

The Internet is generating “groupthink” inside groups and greater conflict between groups. Here, Chief Executive details the three types of groupthink and how CEOs can resist groupthink in their organizations. … [ Read more ]

Author: Robert Lawrence Kuhn | Source: Chief Executive | Subject: Organizational Behavior

Sangick Jeon: How Do You Manage Diversity? » Visit Original Source

In Kenya, a Stanford researcher shows that ethnic diversity can spur productivity. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Edmund Andrews, Sangick Jeon | Source: Stanford University | Subject: Organizational Behavior

What I’ve Learned About Venture Funding » Visit Original Source

VC funding. Our perspectives on the topic wax and wane with market cycles. We love capital efficiency until we love land grabs until we abhor “over funding” until we get huge distribution & ring the bell for more funding until we attract every non-VC on the planet to invest in startups until it crashes and we start the cycle all over again none the wiser. … [ Read more ]

Author: Mark Suster | Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Industry Specific, Venture Capital

Three Ways Companies Can Make Co-Creation Pay Off » Visit Original Source

Involving outsiders in the creative process of developing products and services is harder than it sounds. Here’s how leading companies do it. … [ Read more ]

Author: Jacques Bughin | Source: McKinsey Quarterly | Subject: Innovation

20 Questions for Business Leaders » Visit Original Source

For the 20th anniversary of strategy+business, we, the editors and staff of this magazine thought we’d celebrate this grand story of management thinking by holding, in effect, a grand party. We’d invite all the luminaries of management thought, from antiquity to today, to join us in spirit. Or at least to have their ideas in the room. And you’re invited too.

This catalog will give … [ Read more ]

Authors: Art Kleiner, Nancy A. Nichols | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: Management, Strategy

8 Reasons Companies Don’t Capture More Value » Visit Original Source

Doesn’t every business want to maximize its profits? Pricing textbooks certainly all assume they do, or at least that they want to achieve a certain profit level under given constraints. But in truth businesses rarely focus on only profitability; most strive to satisfy various stakeholders and meet the goals of balanced scorecards. And even when a company is focused tightly on financial performance, there are … [ Read more ]

Author: Stefan Michel | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subjects: Finance, Management, Pricing

Transforming the Business Portfolio: How Multinationals Reinvent Themselves » Visit Original Source

Recent research by BCG and Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg investigated the motivations and success factors for business portfolio restructurings. By analyzing the characteristics and patterns of the underlying transformation processes, we developed practical insights on issues relating to the magnitude, speed, and sequencing of restructurings.

Editor's Note: I was really intrigued by this research. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Michael Nippa, Sebastian Schönhaar, Ulrich Pidun | Source: Boston Consulting Group (BCG) | Subjects: Management, Miscellaneous, Strategy

Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy: Which Dwarf Are You? » Visit Original Source

How does an adult achieve a high level of contentment while living a frenetic and distraction-packed life? It’s not easy. You first have to figure out how you’re spending your time personally and professionally. I measure this in two dimensions: short-term satisfaction and long-term benefit. … [ Read more ]

Author: Marshall Goldsmith | Subject: Personal Development

Startup Best Practices 16 – Option Pool Planning » Visit Original Source

No matter the stage of the business, startups need to manage the size of their Employee Stock Option Pool or ESOP. The ESOP contains the shares set aside by the company for hiring and retaining employees. Like a financial budget, ESOP budgets help a startup plan how to finance its growth. … [ Read more ]

Author: Tomasz Tunguz | Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Finance

How to Choose Between Growth and ROIC » Visit Original Source

Investors reward high-performing companies that shift their strategic focus prudently, even if that means lower returns or slower growth. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Bin Jiang, Tim Koller | Source: McKinsey Quarterly | Subjects: Finance, Management

Recommended Books

Key Performance Indicators: Developing, Implementing, and Using Winning KPIs

By exploring measures that have transformed businesses, David Parmenter has developed a methodology that is breathtaking in its simplicity and yet profound in its impact. Now in an updated and expanded Second Edition, Key Performance Indicators is a proactive guide representing a significant shift in the way KPIs are developed and used, with an abundance of implementation tools, including:

- The four foundation stones that … [ Read more ]

Author: David Parmenter | Subject: Management

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

What makes things popular?

If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times … [ Read more ]

Author: Jonah Berger | Subject: Marketing / Sales

Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting and Orienting New Employees

Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees has long been the go-to reference on every aspect of the employment process. Packed with forms, checklists, guidelines, and ready-to-use interview questions, the revised and updated fifth edition provides readers with practical information on topics including interview methods, documentation issues, reference-checking, orientation programs, and applicant testing.

The fifth edition has been brought completely up-to-date, addressing new legislation on … [ Read more ]

Author: Diane Arthur | Subject: Human Resources

Career Resource

The Smartest Ways to Network at a Party » Visit Original Source

Reading a room is a skill that can be learned; a guide to nonverbal cues like how people stand or hold their hands. … [ Read more ]

Author: Sue Shellenbarger | Source: Wall Street Journal | Subject: Networking - General

Thought Leader Interview

Erin Meyer Can Make Your Global Team Work » Visit Original Source

The INSEAD professor shows how people can communicate across cultures. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Christie Rizk, Erin Meyer | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: International, Organizational Behavior

Audio/Video Entries

How to Determine Which Part of What You Know Really Matters

In the corporate world, businesses are regularly graded on the value of their assets: They report to their shareholders about the physical assets they own, their cash in hand, and revenues and profits, both past and expected. But when it comes to measuring their knowledge assets — the value of those can be harder to gauge. However, the entrepreneurial management of knowledge assets can be … [ Read more ]

Authors: Ian C. Macmillan, Martin Ihrig | Source: [email protected] | Subject: Knowledge Management

Can People Analytics Help Firms Manage People Better?

How an organization makes its people-related decisions has a huge impact on its success or failure. But traditionally, these decisions have largely been based on intuition and biases and therefore have been prone to error. But now, companies are starting to use data and sophisticated analysis in issues such as recruiting, compensation and performance evaluation because they believe it can help in better decision making. … [ Read more ]

Authors: Adam Grant, Cade Massey | Source: [email protected] | Subjects: Human Resources, Management, Organizational Behavior

Business-related Quotations

Paul Graham » Visit Original Source

If you try to do some big thing, you don't just need it to be big; you need it to be good. And it's really hard to do big and good simultaneously. So, what that means is you can either do something small and good and then gradually make it bigger, or do something big and bad and gradually make it better. And you know … [ Read more ]

Author: Paul Graham | Source: Inc. Magazine | Subjects: Innovation, Management

Paul Graham » Visit Original Source

The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they're something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. … [ Read more ]

Author: Paul Graham | Source: Inc. Magazine | Subject: Entrepreneurship

Nelson Mandela

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. … [ Read more ]

Subject: Leadership

Phil Libin » Visit Original Source

Customer feedback is great for telling you what you did wrong. It's terrible at telling you what you should do next. … [ Read more ]

Author: Phil Libin | Source: Inc. Magazine | Subject: Customer Related

Phil Libin » Visit Original Source

There are many types of customer feedback, but it's useful to group them into three main categories: complaints, suggestions, and compliments. Usually, it will feel as though the categories are complaints, complaints, and complaints.

Complaints are great; the more detailed, the better. They tell us where our product or overall experience is failing. Plus, they are the easiest form of feedback to get. No training or … [ Read more ]

Author: Phil Libin | Source: Inc. Magazine | Subject: Customer Related

Cynthia McCauley » Visit Original Source

To be effective, every executive needs a broad perspective on both the organization and the business context that it operates within. This perspective can only come from having work experiences in different parts of the organization, in different businesses, and, for global companies, in different parts of the world. Although important, traditional leadership coaching, training, and mentoring programs—which most companies have focused on in their … [ Read more ]

Author: Cynthia McCauley | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: Career / Employment, Human Resources, Management, Training & Development

Cynthia McCauley » Visit Original Source

Organizations must have systems in place to allow temporary assignments, and opportunities for people to take on work that’s not part of their official jobs, in order to keep people from hoarding talent or blocking its development. Leader development won’t succeed if the organization sets it up to be the responsibility solely of the talent management function within HR. It needs to be the joint … [ Read more ]

Author: Cynthia McCauley | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: Human Resources, Management, Organizational Behavior, Training & Development

Sydney Finkelstein » Visit Original Source

Relying on averages, for anything, is a sure-fire method to cover up little differences that might have big meaning. An average removes the most interesting data from the discussion.

Don’t you want to know who is best, and who is worst, at something? Averages disguise this. Don’t you want to know what accounts for outlier performance, on either end? Averages cover this up. … [ Read more ]

Author: Sydney Finkelstein | Source: The Conference Board Review | Subjects: Management, Measurement

Greg Satell » Visit Original Source

The first person to think seriously about how businesses function was Ronald Coase. In his groundbreaking 1937 paper he argued that firms gained competitiveness by reducing transaction costs, especially those related to information. In his view, firms could grow until the point that organizational costs cancelled out transactional benefits.

In the 1980s, Michael Porter built on this idea and made it more possible for … [ Read more ]

Author: Greg Satell | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subject: Marketing / Sales

Roger Martin » Visit Original Source

Strategy is not the inevitable outcome of a process of analysis: it is a choice of where a firm wants to play and how it will win there going forward. Yes, a working knowledge of the industry and its likely evolution, the customers and their likely preferences, the firm itself and its potential capabilities and cost structure, and its competitors and their likely responses and … [ Read more ]

Author: Roger L. Martin | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subject: Strategy

Ken Favaro » Visit Original Source

Smart executives know that sustaining great companies requires both strategic consistency and reinvention. But how do you achieve each without sacrificing the other?

In my experience, the answer lies in being able to answer — and act on — two important questions: what capabilities set your company apart from everyone else? And, are there changes happening in your world that will make those capabilities obsolete or … [ Read more ]

Author: Ken Favaro | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subjects: Management, Strategy

Robert H. Schuller » Visit Original Source

Failure doesn't mean you are a failure. It just means you haven't succeeded yet. … [ Read more ]

Source: OPEN Forum (American Express) | Subjects: Innovation, Success / Failure

Adam Osborne » Visit Original Source

The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake—you can’t learn anything from being perfect. … [ Read more ]

Source: OPEN Forum (American Express) | Subjects: Experience, Learning, Mistakes, Success / Failure

Seneca » Visit Original Source

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. … [ Read more ]

Source: OPEN Forum (American Express) | Subjects: Management, Strategy

Michael Porter » Visit Original Source

Efforts to grow blur uniqueness, create compromises, reduce fit, and ultimately undermine competitive advantage. In fact, the growth imperative is hazardous to strategy. … [ Read more ]

Author: Michael E. Porter | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subjects: Growth, Strategy

Derek Lidow » Visit Original Source

If you are self-aware, you know yourself and have a good sense of how others see and react to you. This is the emotional intelligence that Daniel Goleman has written about. You never stop being you, but you have to know how to be the version of you that is right for the business and the people in it. I think parenting is a good … [ Read more ]

Author: Derek Lidow | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Management

Derek Lidow » Visit Original Source

Every relationship of two or more people is based on shared objectives. They needn’t agree on how to bring it about and may not both take action to effect the change. Cooperative relationships are those where both parties agree on how to share the benefits and costs of creating change. Competitive relationships, by contrast, are those in which you don’t agree on how to allocate … [ Read more ]

Author: Derek Lidow | Source: strategy+business | Subjects: Leadership, Management, Negotiation, Organizational Behavior

Derek Lidow » Visit Original Source

There are four periods in the life of a startup, from the initial idea to long-term financial sustainability. Each one requires a distinct leadership attitude and set of leadership skills. The first phase is customer validation, where you go from having an idea to finding a customer willing to pay for your product or service. The second is operational validation. This is the phase … [ Read more ]

Author: Derek Lidow | Source: strategy+business | Subject: Management

David K. Hurst » Visit Original Source

The “scientific model” of management, as Warren Bennis and Jim O’Toole called it, emphasized conceptual knowledge and tools and techniques – what Greek philosophers would have called episteme and techne. It was assumed that organizations could be studied by detached “objective” observers and that management science could be “values-free” – just like the natural sciences. More generally this scientific model has resulted in a misanthropic … [ Read more ]

Author: David K. Hurst | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subjects: Capitalism, Education, Leadership, Management, Mission

Roger Martin » Visit Original Source

An economist falls apart and turns into a blubbing puddle on the floor if you take away the concept of trade-offs because they all started in the same place: the societal trade-off between guns and butter. Trade-offs are a sacred article of faith for economists. You simply can’t be an economist if you don’t consider trade-offs to be a central feature of your worldview. … [ Read more ]

Author: Roger L. Martin | Source: Harvard Business Review | Subject: Economics

Sydney Finkelstein » Visit Original Source

In the constant push to get everyone going in the same direction on the job—an admittedly critical component of leadership—we’ve fallen into the trap of valuing alignment over insight. What’s the point of having everyone rowing in perfect unison if you’re going the wrong way? … [ Read more ]

Author: Sydney Finkelstein | Source: The Conference Board Review | Subjects: Leadership, Mergers & Acquisitions, Organizational Behavior

Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman » Visit Original Source

Power is the possibility for one person to make a difference on issues—or stakes—that matter to someone else. Because A can make a difference on issues that matter to B, then B will do things that he or she would not have done without A’s intervention. Power always exists, one way or another, either helping or hindering good outcomes. It helps mobilize people, either directly … [ Read more ]

Authors: Peter Tollman, Yves Morieux | Source: The Conference Board Review | Subjects: Organizational Behavior, Power / Authority