Episodes
Ajay Banga, the executive chairman and former CEO of Mastercard, has spearheaded a strategy focused on serving the previously unbanked via new technologies. During his 11-year tenure as president and chief executive, the company tripled revenues, increased net income six-fold, and saw its market cap rise from below $30 billion to more than $300 billion. He attributes this growth to setting ambitious goals, planning for the long term, and ensuring that all employees and customers feel valued.
Published 05/13/21
Leslie John, associate professor at Harvard Business School, has done some deep research into the ways that people self-promote in their professional lives and identified what works and what doesn't. She says it is possible tout your own accomplishments without annoying your colleagues, if you do it at the right time or enlist others to boast on your behalf. She notes that many common workarounds -- such as humblebragging -- are highly ineffective and advises people to not only look for more...
Published 05/11/21
Mary Barra, chair and CEO of General Motors, says that electric vehicles are the future for the company and the automobile industry. GM has said it will phase out vehicles using internal combustion engines by 2035 and go carbon neutral at all of its facilities. Barra describes how she's executing on that plan as well as offering broader leadership lessons in an interview with HBR editor Amy Bernstein.
Published 05/06/21
Zak Dychtwald, founder of the advisory firm Young China Group, believes that the perception of China as a copycat and not an innovator is outdated. Instead, he argues the willingness of Chinese consumers to try new things is powering the country’s new innovation economy. Technology adoption rates in areas such as mobile payment are extremely high. He says non-Chinese companies can learn important lessons from this rapidly changing market and potentially use it to jump-start their own...
Published 05/04/21
Ethan Kross, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has spent years studying how people talk to themselves and the effect that this "chatter" has on our performance. From professional athletes to top students and senior executives, even the most talented among us sometimes struggle to quiet the voices in our heads. And Kross says that, while some self-talk can help us, it's often unproductive. He offers tips and tricks to break out of negative thinking and get back on track,...
Published 04/27/21
Felix Oberholzer-Gee, professor at Harvard Business School, says many organizations spend so much energy on strategy that it overwhelms with conflicting priorities. Instead, he argues companies should simplify and focus on two value drivers: customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. By aligning strategic initiatives on these alone, leaders make their workers’ jobs less complicated and also improve customer experiences. Oberholzer-Gee is the author of the HBR article “Eliminate...
Published 04/20/21
Gorick Ng, career advisor at Harvard, tried to learn about the world of work at an early age, helping his mother search job listings and send out resumes. To launch his own career, he studied hard in school, secured an Ivy League education, and landed a plum job. But he still found himself struggling - as many first-generation college graduates do - because he didn’t understand workplace norms in the way that his (mostly white, middle- to upper-class) peers did. While they'd been taught how...
Published 04/13/21
Scott Belsky, chief product officer at Adobe, says that creative workers are a bigger part of the economy than ever, thanks to new technologies, more gig work, and shifting norms following the pandemic. He recommends that leaders at all companies — not just those in traditionally creative fields — understand this key component of value creation today. He explains how companies can make themselves more competitive by making themselves more attractive to the likes of designers, writers, and...
Published 04/06/21
Melissa Bernstein, cofounder of the toy company Melissa & Doug, spent decades hiding her struggles with depression even as she launched and led a booming business focused on bringing joy to children and raised six of her own. She finally opened up to her family, colleagues, and the public and recently launched an organization to give people better tools to discuss and manage their mental health. Bernstein explains what managers and organizations can do to help workers facing depression...
Published 03/30/21
Alison Dachner, management professor at John Carroll University, and Erin Makarius, management professor at the University of Akron, say that an organization can become more competitive by implementing a stronger offboarding process. Their research shows that similar to the way universities maintain alumni networks, an offboarding strategy keeps former employees networked, which leads to more employee referrals, new business, expert consulting, or even re-employment. Dachner and Makarius...
Published 03/23/21
Anne-Laure Fayard, associate professor at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, was studying the effects of workplace design on employees long before the Covid-19 crisis. Now, she says, the trend of flexible schedules and hybrid offices - where some people come in, others work from home, and many do both - is here to stay. This means that businesses need to reimagine offices as places built less for individual knowledge work than for learning, collaboration, and culture-building. Fayard is the...
Published 03/16/21
Lauren Smith, vice president at Gartner Research, says the pandemic is accelerating several key recruitment trends. She led a survey of thousands of job candidates and hiring managers that details the shift to virtual interviews, but also identifies other ongoing transitions that may be more important. The research points to three main trends to manage: a rapid turnover of necessary skills, the need to expand beyond existing talent pools, and the competitiveness that comes from offering an...
Published 03/09/21
Chad Sanders, a former tech executive and entrepreneur, says that people of color, especially Black men like him, often feel the need to assimilate to white corporate culture. They learn to code switch and downplay their race. But Sanders realized a few years into his career that, by trying to fit in, he was failing to leverage the strengths he'd developed growing up as a minority in the United States. After digging into the stories of successful Black leaders, he discovered some common...
Published 03/02/21
Christoph Senn, marketing professor at INSEAD, has spent years studying how top executives involve themselves in B2B sales. Some are very hands-off. Others make only social calls. Still others sit at the negotiating table. Outcomes vary widely. Senn explains the best combination of approaches for top executives engaging with core customers. And he shares how account managers and other employees can benefit from knowing their leader’s style. Senn is the coauthor, with Columbia Business...
Published 02/23/21
Bill Gates, philanthropist and founder of Microsoft, argues that, even as we work to end the global pandemic, we can't lose sight of another existential threat: climate change. He says that we need to take aggressive action to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and insists that regulation isn't enough. Businesses need to pave the way forward by investing much more heavily in climate-friendly innovation. Gates speaks with HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius about his new book, "How to...
Published 02/16/21
Muriel Wilkins, cofounder of the executive coaching firm Paravis Partners, says that starting a leadership role at a new company or via internal promotion is demanding. Doing so remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic is even more challenging. She says that new senior leaders must focus on two things: connectivity and credibility. And she explains how to build those attributes when much of the job is performed virtually. Wilkins is the host of the new HBR Presents podcast “Coaching Real Leaders.”
Published 02/09/21
Jennifer Aaker, a Stanford professor, and Naomi Bagdonas, an executive coach, say that, even in times of stress and crisis, leaders should use and encourage good humor and levity at work as a way of building employee morale and engagement. That doesn't mean you have to tell jokes all the time. Instead, figure out what kind of humor works best for you and learn to pinpoint the opportunities for using it to best effect. They explain what makes things funny (hint: surprise) and the pitfalls...
Published 02/02/21
Josh Baron and Rob Lachenauer, cofounders of BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors, say that a family-run company has more flexibility than its publicly-traded counterpart to build a legacy and grow sustainably for the long term. But making critical decisions when there are family dynamics can be extremely challenging. They offer approaches to understand the real impact of ownership and effectively manage conflict. Lachenauer and Baron wrote “The Harvard Business Review Family Business...
Published 01/26/21
Martin Lindstrom, founder and chairman of Lindstrom Company, says that many companies are still held back by doing things the way they've always done them, or failing to break down bureaucracy. For Lindstrom, it's not just about getting away from bureaucratic norms for the sake of innovation, but because so many things workers do each and every day don't actually make much sense. He suggests workers, leaders, and organizations consider ways in which processes can be improved - and the ways...
Published 01/19/21
Marissa King, professor at Yale School of Management, has studied the strengths and weaknesses of different types of social networks. She argues that most of us have a natural style of networking: we favor tight social circles, or brokering across varied groups, or having an expansive list of contacts. But she says we can also tweak the way we build relationships to meet our changing needs. For example, widening our outreach to boost creativity and innovation or focusing on trusted friends...
Published 01/05/21
Colin Fisher, associate professor at University College London's School of Management, conducted in-depth studies at several companies to determine how managers can effectively help employees who need assistance without demoralizing them. He found that the most effective helpers were the ones who clearly communicated their intentions, timed their interventions at points when people were most receptive, and figured out a rhythm of involvement that best suited their needs. He shares examples...
Published 12/29/20
Nashater Deu Solheim, a forensic psychologist and leadership coach, says many people struggle to gain influence with those in their organization who don't report directly to them. That has only become more difficult in virtual office settings. But she says whether it comes to managing up to your bosses or out to your peers and clients, there are proven techniques to understand others’ thinking and win their respect. She explains her framework of preparation, behavior, and communication...
Published 12/22/20
Christina Maslach, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying the causes of burnout, and its impact, for decades. She says that, in a year when everyone feels overwhelmed and exhausted, it's more important than ever for managers to recognize when and why employees are suffering and take steps to solve those problems. In her framework, burnout stems from not only large workloads but also lack of control, community, and/or reward and values mismatches....
Published 12/15/20
Barry Nalebuff, professor at Yale School of Management and cofounder of Honest Tea, says too many companies shy away from cooperating with a competitor, and they’re leaving value on the table. He says even when working with other companies to find mutual benefits is not a clear win, cooperating may still be better than not cooperating. He shares how Honest Tea, Apple, Ford, and other firms analyze and capitalize on opportunities without giving up their secret sauce. Nalebuff is the author,...
Published 12/08/20
Race at Work is an HBR Presents podcast hosted by Porter Braswell about the role race plays in our careers and lives. In this episode, he speaks with Donna Johnson, former chief diversity officer at Mastercard, about leading the charge on changing company culture and how diversity can drive real business results.
Published 12/03/20