Monday, November 16, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Tuesday, November 03, 2020
In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the sea soon after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. Investigators identified a problem with the new Boeing 737 MAX jet’s stall-prevention system (known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS). However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowed airlines to continue flying the jet, while Boeing worked on some changes to the MCAS software. Less than five months later, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff. Once again, a faulty sensor triggered a misfire of the MCAS software. The system pushed the nose of the plane down repeatedly. The pilots could not determine how to stop the sharp descent, and the plane plunged into the ground at more than 500 miles per hour. Four days later, facing immense pressure from government officials around the world, Boeing grounded its entire fleet of 737 MAX jets.
The Boeing board of directors faced a multi-part dilemma. Was the current CEO still the right person to lead the company, or to what degree, if any, was he responsible for the position Boeing found itself in? Had something gone awry with the company’s culture after decades of engineering excellence? How did it come to happen that pilots suddenly experienced fatal difficulties flying the latest model of one of the world’s most-used passenger jets? And, how could Boeing ensure such a situation would not happen again?
Monday, November 02, 2020
|Source: Northwestern University|
Thursday, October 29, 2020
|Source: Fibre2Fashion.com |
Suzanne Kapner has written a great article about The Gap in the Wall Street Journal this week. She describes in great detail the formidable challenge facing new CEO Sonia Syngal. The long-running troubles at The Gap are summarized most eloquently by Ivan Wicksteed, former chief marketing officer at Old Navy (one of the retail chains operated by The Gap Inc.). The article quotes him directly:
Monday, October 26, 2020
The Observer Effect has published a fascinating interview with Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify. Ek has a clear and concise take on how to tackle important issues, define his role in the decision-making process, and design effective group meetings. Here's an excerpt on how he thinks about defining his own role in the decision process in advance of discussions with his team members:
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Monday, October 19, 2020
Take a look at this brief video featuring Ed Batista, a Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer and executive coach. He talks about the strategic importance of empathy. He argues that we often make a series of assumptions when we confront someone whose decisions or actions seem befuddling or even maddening. Rather than make assumptions, we should try to stand in their shoes, and ask ourselves: What is the reason they are making that argument, initiating that conflict, or making that seemingly unjustifiable decision? What's behind their frustrating course of action? Challenging our own assumptions can often help us find a path to more effective interaction and potentially collaboration.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
|Source: The Clorox Co.|
In my experience, many managers ask themselves the first question about the worst case scenario. However, they don't pose the second question. What is the cost of inaction? Could we miss a terrific opportunity? Will rivals gain the upper hand? I think managers should follow Rendle's lead here. They must ask themselves both questions when approaching tough decisions about high stakes, risky new initiatives.
Friday, October 09, 2020
Wednesday, October 07, 2020
University of North Carolina scholars Hanna Kalmanovich-Cohen, Matthew Pearsall, and Jessica Siegel Christian have published an interesting new study in a paper titled, "The effects of leadership change on team escalation of commitment." The authors completed two studies as part of this research project. In one of those studies, they conducted an experiment using the Food Truck Challenge simulation that I created in partnership with Harvard Business Publishing. In the simulation, students try to maximize revenue for a food truck business. To accomplish that goal, they must try to determine the optimal location and menu for the truck.
Monday, October 05, 2020
Let's face it: we often are pretty bad at learning from our own failures. We make excuses, blame uncontrollabe external causes, and argue that we simply have to "move on" and not dwell on the past. What about learning from others' failures? Can we improve by examining others' mistakes carefully and systematically? Bledow, Carette, Kuhnel, and Bister conducted an experimental study several years ago on this subject. They published an article in the Academy of Management Learning and Education titled "Learning from others' failures: The effectiveness of failure stories for managerial learning." In a training setting, they gave research subjects stories about others' failures or successes. The stories all provided the same learning content, whether failure or success. They examined whether failures stimulated more learning than successes. Here is an excerpt from the paper, in which they explain their results:
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
|Source: Best Buy|
"As a retailer, we are geared toward perfection around process... As a brick and mortar retailer, you are not as geared to just push out a new experience and iterate quickly on the process behind it. We are geared at putting out there a perfect SOP (standard operating procedure), and then you just run it... It was not as much in our DNA to put out there something that might not be perfect."
Barry highlights a key barrier to innovation at many large well-established firms. They resist introducing new products and services until they feel as though the innovation is perfect. They don't want any failures or mistakes. They don't want any negative customer feedback. Yet, the desire for perfection slows them down substantially. Moreover, it deprives them of the vital learning-by-doing that comes with soliciting feedback from customers (and front-line employees) early and often. Every brick-and-mortar retailer, and frankly every large firm, should consider this discussion about perfectionism and ask whether it's holding their organization back too.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Sara Brown has written a good piece for the MIT Sloan Management Review. The title of the article is "4 ways to design employee experience in the remote work era." Brown draws on an interview with research scientist Kristine Dery. In the article, Brown & Dery argue that organizations have to reduce their reliance on heroic behavior on the part of employees to get to the job done. Here's an excerpt:
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
The company doesn't sell through big box stores. In fact, in the past, Stihl has boasted about not selling in these establishments. They once runs ads saying that you wouldn't find their chainsaws in a box, not even a big box. The ad referenced the fact that the dealer staff often assembled and taught you how to use the product before you left the small neighborhood store. The article ends noting the loyalty of its customers:
Monday, September 14, 2020
In a recent Fortune article by Michal Lev-Ram, several chief human resource officers comment on lessons from the pandemic. Here's an excerpt with a perspective shared by Grace Zuncic, CHRO at Chobani:
Friday, September 11, 2020
Tuesday, September 08, 2020
Monday, September 07, 2020
|Source: Psychology Today|
Adam Bryant writes terrific articles on leadership based on his interviews with leaders in a variety of industries. Bryant used to write for the New York Times; his most recent article was published by Strategy + Business. It's titled, "Ambiguous Times are no time for Ambiguous Leadership." In that piece, Bryant tells a terrific story about Tom Lawson, CEO of FM Global.
Friday, August 21, 2020
- Most data will be flawed or incomplete. Be honest and transparent about this.
- For some questions, certainty may never be reached. Consider carefully whether to wait for definitive evidence or act on the evidence you have.
- Make sense of complex situations by acknowledging the complexity, admitting ignorance, exploring paradoxes and reflecting collectively.
- Different people (and different stakeholder groups) interpret data differently. Deliberation among stakeholders may generate multifaceted solutions.
- Pragmatic interventions, carefully observed and compared in real-world settings, can generate useful data to complement the findings of controlled trials and other forms of evidence.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
- 63% believe their employers are using the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty as an excuse to trim down their organizations
- 61% believe their employers are using workplace downsizing during the pandemic to transition to a more automated workforce
- 52% believe their employers are leaning toward relocating their employees and organizations because of COVID-19
- What did I do in the past that caused an erosion of trust in the organization?
- When did my actions not match my words in the past?
- Have I acted in ways that employees might perceive as unfair or unjust? Why did they come to see my actions in that way?
Friday, August 07, 2020
Wednesday, August 05, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Monday, July 20, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Thursday, July 09, 2020
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
|Source: Getty Images|
Monday, July 06, 2020