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.

Bryan Hancock, Bill Schaninger

We found through our research […] what drives perceived fairness in the performance-management process. One of the drivers of fairness is that you understand how what you’re working on fits in the bigger picture. […] The second driver of fairness is that there’s an ongoing component. “My manager has an ongoing conversation with me about how I’m doing, so I’m not surprised. I know what … [ Read more ]

Ajay Agrawal

When looking at artificial intelligence from the perspective of economics, we ask the same, single question that we ask with any technology: What does it reduce the cost of? Economists are good at taking the fun and wizardry out of technology and leaving us with this dry but illuminating question. The answer reveals why AI is so important relative to many other exciting technologies. AI … [ Read more ]

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.

Nancy Koehn

Widespread transformation always unleashes waves of collective fear, discontent, and doubt—emotions that often translate into vocal, and potentially more destructive, opposition. …If left unacknowledged, adversaries have the power to derail even the worthiest attempts at reform, and thus it is a leader’s responsibility to identify and, when necessary, neutralize his or her most powerful critics. But how is the person at the center of the … [ Read more ]

Nancy Koehn

The bigger the issue, the less likely it is that a leader can resolve it in one or two swift strokes. Understanding this means abandoning the quest for the single definitive answer. Letting go of this quest frees leaders—emotionally and practically—to focus on the many possible approaches and actions needed to make a meaningful difference.

Nancy Koehn

Leaders trying to accomplish a worthy mission have to cultivate the ability to identify the one, two, or three essential issues facing them at a given moment. It is never five or ten. It is always one or two—maybe three—issues that really matter. Having identified these, leaders must let the remaining concerns go, either by giving themselves permission to turn their attention away from all … [ Read more ]

Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi

It can be difficult to discern how a mathematical model trained by deep learning arrives at a particular prediction, recommendation, or decision. A black box, even one that does what it’s supposed to, may have limited utility, especially where the predictions or decisions impact society and hold ramifications that can affect individual well-being. In such cases, users sometimes need to know the “whys” behind the … [ Read more ]

Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit

To deliver the message that people will not be punished simply because a high-risk plan did not pan out, we suggest developing an “unbalanced scorecard” for incentive plans that has two distinct halves. On the left is a common set of rolling financials with a focus on two or three (such as growth and return on investment) that connect to the economic-profit goals of the … [ Read more ]

Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit

The best way to create [a rolling strategic plan] is to hold regular strategy conversations with your top team, perhaps as a fixed part of your monthly management meeting. To make those check-ins productive, you should maintain a “live” list of the most important strategic issues, a roster of planned big moves, and a pipeline of initiatives for executing them. At each meeting, executives can … [ Read more ]

Sandrine Devillard, Vivian Hunt, and Lareina Yee

Drawing on research in behavioral psychology and what McKinsey calls the “organizational health” of a company, we showed that women tend to encourage a more participatory decision-making process, such as improving the “working environment” component of organizational health. Men, meanwhile, tend to take corrective action more frequently when objectives are not achieved to bolster the “coordination and control” component of organizational health. Not all women … [ Read more ]

Blockchain Beyond the Hype: What is the Strategic Business Value?

Companies can determine whether they should invest in blockchain by focusing on specific use cases and their market position.

Seeing Your Way to Better Strategy

Viewing strategy choices through four lenses—financial performance, markets, competitive advantage, and operating model—can help companies debias their strategic dialogues and make big, bold changes.

The Next-Generation Operating Model for the Digital World

Companies need to increase revenues, lower costs, and delight customers. Doing that requires reinventing the operating model.

Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

[Books often] say that you have a limited period to achieve full productivity as a leader and that if you don’t make it in time, you are doomed. The evidence doesn’t support these claims: 92 percent of external and 72 percent of internal hires take far more than 90 days to reach full productivity.14 Sixty-two percent of external and 25 percent of internal hires admit … [ Read more ]

Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

Every leader should mount a transition in two equally important stages: first take stock and then take action by asking questions about five basic dimensions of leadership—the strategy and operation of the business or function, the corporate culture, the team, the leader herself or himself, and other stakeholders that need to be managed. Beware of generic answers because every leader’s starting point is different. For … [ Read more ]

Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

Organizations most often try to help newly appointed leaders by supplying them with mentors or informal “buddy” networks. Yet only 47 percent of external hires and 29 percent of internal ones find these helpful. Standard orientation programs are the second most common approach, but only 19 percent of externally and 11 percent of internally recruited executives consider them effective. Some methods—for instance, tailored executive coaching … [ Read more ]

How To Take the ‘Outside View’

It may be easier than you think to debias your decisions and make better forecasts by building the “outside view.”

Jack Welch

Anybody can run a company for the short term, and anybody can run a company for the long term, but the hard part about management is getting the balance right.

Rodney Zemmel

[Dividends and buybacks matter because] it’s a sign of companies not having the confidence to invest in the long term and instead handing the cash right back to their shareholders now. There’s nothing wrong with giving cash to shareholders. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re a company. But the idea that you would give all your current cash back to shareholders rather than … [ Read more ]