Kieran Conboy, Eoin Whelan, Seán Morris

Senior managers may feel that crafting a story around the data is a pointless and laborious effort—that the facts alone are enough to initiate the desired change. Unfortunately, this opinion is based on the flawed notion that business decisions are solely based on logic and reason. A multitude of experiments from the field of behavioural economics clearly prove that emotion, not rational thinking, is what … [ Read more ]

Tom Jenkins

If you recall, Henry Ford made history by creating the production line that enabled him to sell low-cost automobiles to the very workers paid to build them, which created a virtuous circle that lifted the quality of life for the middle class in America. This pattern was repeated elsewhere. But we are now automating so many jobs, so quickly, that our ability to benefit society … [ Read more ]

Bryan Hong

Corporate boards that aim to maximize shareholder value should use executive compensation not to reward managers for luck, but to pay for their abilities and the quality of their decisions. However, this poses two significant challenges: measuring management’s ability and ruling out other independent factors. First, it is very difficult to measure and assess the ability and quality of managerial decisions, which prevents boards from … [ Read more ]

Himanshu Saxena

Unlike other species, human beings are fundamentally designed to self-correct. In addition to enabling us to think clearly, choose precisely and act decisively, our intellect allows us to recalibrate. But we need to see the need for an update and our vision is often blurred by perception, blind spots and mental cobwebs. And therefore our perception of situations is often based on outdated beliefs and … [ Read more ]

Brian Fielkow

Teamwork is supposed to be about the efficient allocation of resources. And it’s no secret that teams can be bureaucratic, frustrating, and costly. So it is the leader’s job to figure out when it’s appropriate to deploy more than one employee to a task. After all, if an assignment can be efficiently completed by an individual, then creating a team to take it on is … [ Read more ]

Nick Leeson

When profit is the motivation, there is always an inclination to believe good results have been generated the right way, especially by top performers.

John Sculley

There is one thing that every large organization has in common no matter what industry they’re in and that’s middle managers empowered with the authority to say no. And middle managers are typically measured on keeping everything going, not saying yes to change. This is true at old companies that have been around for 100 years. It is true at large tech companies like Apple … [ Read more ]

Kim Scott

Don’t let decisions get pushed up. A lot of times you see decisions get kicked up to the more senior level, and so they get made by people who happen to be sitting around a certain table, not the people who know the facts. Don’t let this happen.

Jeffrey Overall

A common misconception is that all unethical behaviors are self-serving. Examples of this include deceiving customers to make a sale and lying on expense reports. But although some unethical behavior is clearly self-serving, most unethical acts in the workplace are actually the result of managers encountering a moral dilemma.

Juan Luis Suárez

Consumers have two dimensions. On the one hand, there is the individual that produces and consumes information, and on the other, there is the community member who shares information and whose behavior responds to a flock dynamic. Organize your business processes simultaneously for these two levels of granularity — individuals and groups/communities whose interactions bring about changes in behavior.

Juan Luis Suárez

According to Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd, authors of Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, culture is “information that affects individuals’ behaviors and that they learn from other members of their species through imitation, learning, and other social practices.” […] And if we accept that culture is information that affects individuals’ behavior, then understanding it requires us to figure out what … [ Read more ]

Thomas Watson

[Andrew Fastow] thinks all management decisions should face one simple question. “If this company were privately owned, and I were leaving this company to my grandchildren, would I make this decision?”

Charles J. Palus

Managers typically spend roughly 80 per cent of their time solving a problem and only 20 per cent actually examining the problem and its context. For situations of high complexity or novelty, another approach is required such that 80 per cent of one’s time is spent exploring the challenge and its context.

Tima Bansal, Mark DesJardine

The common approach to corporate social responsibility is grounded in ethics, morality and norms. And there is no question that many CSR initiatives are good at balancing competing demands made by shareholders and other stakeholders. To do this, however, many supposedly responsible firms borrow resources and capital from the future, which can magnify the imbalance in the distribution of resources between the short and long … [ Read more ]

Knud B. Jensen

When it comes to an effective governance model, one size does not fit all. Context is paramount. Context is both endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous variables include complexity, asset base, competitive advantage, capital structure, quality of management, and board culture and leadership. Exogenous variables include industry structures, position in growth cycle, competitive force, macroeconomics (interest rate, commodity pricing), world supply and growth, political changes, and unforeseen … [ Read more ]

Reviewing the Review

As head of strategy for a global consulting firm, I was involved in hundreds of reviews. Based on my observations, I estimate business leaders spend an average of three to five days per month being reviewed or reviewing someone else. A typical review with any leader takes 60–90 minutes. People generally prepare 20–30 presentation slides to show during their review, and 40 per cent of … [ Read more ]

Paying for CSR is Good Governance

More and more firms today are including incentives for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their executive compensation contracts. But is this a worthwhile practice? Who benefits from it? Recent research shows a link between CSR activities and better social performance and the bottom line. But is paying for CSR beneficial for shareholder interests? Accounting and stock-price performance incentives are already common in executive compensation contracts … [ Read more ]

The Perils of Democratic Decision Making

Enterprise Social Software (ESS)-enabled communities can contribute significantly to decision making, but how well they contribute depends on the type of decision being made and the role given to ESS. Deploying online communities to democratize decision making is very conducive to enhancing operational and tactical decisions in terms of identifying and including the “right” stakeholders and decision makers impacting work practices, as well as gaining … [ Read more ]

Building Trust Is a Blood Sport

Trust is seen by many managers as one of those soft issues best discussed in a sensitivity seminar. However, science clearly shows that a culture of trust stimulates productivity and innovation while also improving employee health and happiness. And after a decade of experiments, science also shows us how to build trust.

This article looks inside our heads to explain why trust is an effective means … [ Read more ]

The Myths of Unethical Behaviour

This article attempts to debunk the myths of unethical behavior created by business ethicists and to use the work of criminologists, who have been studying immoral behaviors for generations, and researchers in social psychology, to argue that unethical corporate behavior is most often a result of situational and contextual factors, job dependence and cognitive factors, which is perhaps an even more disturbing conclusion than the … [ Read more ]