What Do You Really Know About Your Customer Base?

In an excerpt from their book ‘The Customer-Base Audit,’ Peter Fader, Bruce Hardie, and Michael Ross ask critical questions to help you gauge how much you really understand about your customers’ buying behavior.

Scott A. Snyder, Sanjay Macwan

Instead of just looking at new innovation opportunities through the classic lens of financial impact/ROI, organizations should be evaluating opportunities against a “triple bottom line” consisting of people (community/social impact), profit (financial return), and planet (environmental benefit). There is an opportunity to leverage impact investing metrics like Impact Multiple of Money (IMM) that combine all three lenses.

Choosing a New Board Leader: Eight Questions

Our experience indicates that many boards may not have enough clarity on their roles and responsibilities. What’s needed is a deliberate process for selecting new leaders to help them achieve their goals. Using the eight questions we developed will help ensure boards are applying the same rigor and analysis in selecting the right board leader as they would for a new chief executive.

Vigilant Leaders: Paying Attention to What Matters Most

This Nano Tool from Wharton Executive Education offers strategies to help leaders better detect potential opportunities and threats and be proactive rather than reactive.

How Firms Can Overcome the ‘Paradox of Preparedness’

When major threats are looming, but their timing is uncertain, it’s hard for business leaders to make an action plan for dealing with them. Wharton marketing professor emeritus George Day and global management consultant Roger Dennis call it “the paradox of preparedness.” In this essay, they offer four steps to help leaders heed the warning signs of disaster before it’s too late.

Why Employee Wellness Programs Don’t Work

Many companies have employee wellness programs with the goal of reducing the skyrocketing costs of health care for their workers. But there is little evidence that these programs are effective.

Wharton management professors Iwan Barankay and Peter Cappelli suggest that instead of free gym memberships or yoga classes, companies should try to meet the most vulnerable workers where they are by offering … [ Read more ]

How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

If one of your goals is to improve your time management skills, then Wharton management professor Michael Parke can help. He’s the co-author of a study that looks at two specific types of daily planning for employees. It turns out there’s no perfect solution — the best type depends on your work environment and the kind of day that you’re having.

Falling Flat: Why Startups Need Hierarchical Structure

Wharton management professor Saerom (Ronnie) Lee has a word of warning for aspiring entrepreneurs who envision an egalitarian workplace where there are no bosses and every employee ranks the same.

According to his latest research, startups with flat organizational structures often fail.

How Language Boosts Customer Satisfaction

Great customer service is the holy grail of sales. When customers feel satisfied, they spend more money and are more likely to come back. Happy customers write positive reviews online and share their experiences through word of mouth. But great customer service is also really hard. Shoppers complain that sales associates aren’t listening to them or are just going through the motions.

There is a simple … [ Read more ]

Katherine Klein

It’s a commonly held belief, one that gets played out daily in organizations around the world: Employees who receive performance feedback are much more likely to improve their performance than those who don’t get feedback. But research tells us that it’s simply not true. Typically, performance after feedback improves only modestly — and over one-third of the time, it actually gets worse. People who receive … [ Read more ]

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 ]

What Makes Some Ads More Shareable Than Others?

Shared content is a goldmine for marketers, but it’s tough to determine exactly what moves viewers enough to want to share. A new study from Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger and Daniel McDuff of Microsoft Research looks at the emotional triggers — happiness, sadness, and even disgust — that make people want to share advertising content.

Pull, Don’t Push: Designing Effective Feedback Systems

To get favorable results from performance evaluations, evaluators must set positive expectations, showing that they believe improvements can be made, and that the feedback itself — even negative feedback — is an opportunity to learn rather than a punitive final word. They should also be willing to assist with concrete steps toward the suggested improvements, including coaching and goal setting. Done correctly, performance feedback can … [ Read more ]

Employee Engagement: Making a Difference

When clients, customers and other end users express feedback and appreciation, employees develop stronger beliefs in the impact and value of their work. Interaction also increases empathy for customers, even when the interaction is virtual.

Kwasi Mitchell

Do not underestimate communication. Because in the absence of that communication, the narrative will be made for you, and the narrative is always negative, right? I’ve never seen a situation where someone has made up a positive narrative in the absence of any information at all.

Better Communication Through Neuroscience

Real-world, face-to-face communication — complete with eye contact, body language, and other important sources of information — is a rarity in business today, and the potential for failing to convey an intended message or giving the wrong impression has grown. Neuroscience research has uncovered specific ways that you can fine-tune your message — whether it’s giving performance feedback, persuading your team to embrace a change … [ Read more ]

Gregory P. Shea

How does one communicate commitment? [Based on] the work systems model, it would be to build the work systems that indicate the commitment to the narratives you’re trying to have unfold inside the organization.

What Really Helps Employees to Improve (It’s not Criticism)

“Some employees have more potential than others.”

“The best employees are well-rounded individuals.”

“People can reliably rate others’ performance.”

It’s safe to say most HR professionals wouldn’t take issue with these basic tenets. But Marcus Buckingham flat-out calls them “lies.”

Marcus Buckingham

In [Marcus] Buckingham’s view, another quality which cannot be defined is leadership. He agrees that “followership” can be measured — by the overall success of your team, or people’s willingness to give you their attention — but not leadership, despite what he termed a $50 billion industry built around describing it.

“If we start measuring the traits of leaders, the first thing that strikes you is … [ Read more ]

Marcus Buckingham

Traditional notions about high-potential employees did not escape [Marcus] Buckingham’s criticism. He takes issue with the common practice of identifying certain employees as “HiPo.” For one thing, he said, potential cannot be measured. “Show me the people analytics that has been taught anywhere, ever, that showed you could measure something in [an individual], independent of context or situational role, that’s called ‘potential.’” Nevertheless, he said, … [ Read more ]