Monday, June 30, 2008

Insider CEO is more successful

Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders.
By: Bower, Joseph L.,
Harvard Business Review,
Nov 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 11

In my analysis of 1,800 successions, for instance, I found that company performance was significantly better when insiders succeeded to the job of CEO. Other researchers, including Jim Collins in Good to Great, have come to similar conclusions working from different data sets.

My research suggests that as a rule the best leaders are, therefore, people from inside the company who have somehow maintained enough detachment from the local traditions, ideology, and shibboleths to maintain the objectivity of an outsider.

Joseph L. Bower ( is the Donald Kirk David Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School in Boston. He is the author of The CEO Within: Why Inside Outsiders Are the Key to Succession Planning (Harvard Business School Press, 2007).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Run Your Company like a PrivateEquity Firm Board

If Private Equity Sized Up Your Business.
By: Pozen, Robert C.,
Harvard Business Review,
Nov 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 11

A broad review of what happens at companies in the aftermath of private equity buyouts reveals five major thrusts of reform. These translate into five key questions that directors should pose to senior management and impress upon them to come out with a thoughtful response and action.

• Have we left too much cash on our balance sheet instead of raising our cash dividends or buying back our own shares?

• Do we have the optimal capital structure with the lowest weighted after-tax cost of total capital, including debt and equity?

• Do we have an operating plan that will significantly increase shareholder value, with specific metrics to monitor performance?

• Are the compensation rewards for our top executives tied closely enough to increases in shareholder value, with real penalties for nonperformance?

• Have our board members dedicated enough time and do they have sufficient industry expertise and financial incentive to maximize shareholder value?

Robert C. Pozen ( is the chairman of MFS Investment Management, a global money management firm. He is based in Boston.

Frameworks for Decision Making in Different Contexts

A Leader's Framework for Decision Making.
By: Snowden, David J., Boone, Mary E.,
Harvard Business Review,
Nov 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 11

The framework presented in this paper sorts the issues facing leaders into five contexts defined by the nature of the relationship between cause and effect. Four of these - simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic - require leaders to diagnose situations and to act in contextually appropriate ways. The fifth - disorder - applies when it is unclear which of the other four contexts is predominant.

Simple Contexts: The Domain of Best Practice
Simple contexts, properly assessed, require straightforward management and monitoring. Here, leaders sense, categorize, and respond.

Complicated Contexts: The Domain of Experts
In a complicated context, leaders must sense, analyze, and respond. This approach is not easy and often requires expertise: A motorist may know that something is wrong with his car because the engine is knocking, but he has to take it to a mechanic to diagnose the problem.

Complex Contexts: The Domain of Emergence
Leaders need to probe first, then sense, and then respond.

Chaotic Contexts: The Domain of Rapid Response
In the chaotic domain, a leader's immediate job is not to discover patterns but to stanch the bleeding. A leader must first act to establish order, then sense where stability is present and from where it is absent, and then respond by working to transform the situation from chaos to complexity, where the identification of emerging patterns can both help prevent future crises and discern new opportunities. Communication of the most direct top-down or broadcast kind is imperative; there's simply no time to ask for input.

David J. Snowden ( is the founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge, an international research network. He is based primarily in Lockeridge, England. Mary E. Boone ( is the president of Boone Associates, a consulting firm in Essex, Connecticut, and the author of numerous books and articles, including Managing Interactively (McGraw-Hill, 2001).

Make Your Brain Fit

Cognitive Fitness.
By: Gilkey, Roderick, Kilts, Clint,
Harvard Business Review,
Nov 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 11

Brain-imaging studies indicate, for example, that acquired expertise in areas as diverse as playing a cello, juggling, speaking a foreign language, and driving a taxicab expands and makes more communicative the neural systems in the parts of the brain responsible for motor control and spatial navigation. In other words, you can make physical changes in your brain by learning new skills.

So how can you become cognitively fit?

Understand How Experience Makes the Brain Grow

Work Hard at Play

Search for Patterns

Seek Novelty and Innovation

Exercising Your Brain: A Personal Program

Manage by walking about.
Read funny books.
Play games.
Act out.
Find what you're not learning and learn
Take notes - and then go back and read them.
Try new technologies.
Learn a new language or instrument.
Exercise, exercise, exercise.

Roderick Gilkey is an associate professor of organization and management at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta and an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine. Clint Kilts is the Dr. Paul Janssen Professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HBR Article List 2007 - Part 1

Article belonging to subject areas

Change Management
Customer Relations
Decision Making
Ethics and Society
Finance and Accounting

Change Management

Back in Fashion: How We're Reviving a British Icon Stuart Rose

When retailer Marks & Spencer hired Stuart Rose to turn the company around, he told the board that three things needed to be done right away: Improve the product, improve the stores, and improve the service. It was - and still is - that simple. MAY Reprint R0705B

British Library CEO Lynne Brindley on Helping to Spur Business Innovation Sarah Cliffe

Lynne Brindley, the CEO of the British Library, explains how the United Kingdom's exclusive repository for rare books, manuscripts, and scientific papers has loosened the design of its Business & IP Centre to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711G

Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail John P. Kotter

Companies often cope with new, more-challenging environments by making fundamental changes in the way they do business. To succeed, follow these eight critical steps in the right order - and with plenty of patience. JANUARY Originally published in 1995. Reprint R0701J; OnPoint 1710; HBR Article Collection "Lead Change - Successfully, 3rd Edition" 1908

Customer Relations

Beating the Market with Customer Satisfaction Christopher W. Hart

A growing body of research conclusively shows that higher customer satisfaction leads to higher share prices. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703H

HBR CASE STUDY: The Customers' Revenge Dan Ariely. With commentary by Nate Bennett, Tom Farmer, Nancy Fein, Barak Libai, and Chris Martin

A disgruntled Atida customer is threatening to air his case on YouTube. Is it new-age extortion, or does the automaker need a fresh approach to customer service? DECEMBER Reprint R0712A, Reprint Case only R0712X, Reprint Commentary only R0712Z

How Valuable Is Word of Mouth? V. Kumar, J. Andrew Petersen, and Robert P. Leone

Your most profitable customers are probably not the ones who buy the most - they're the ones who do the best job of referring your firm to others. Use this tool to distinguish the two groups - and raise the lifetime value of both. OCTOBER Reprint R0710J

Northwestern Mutual's Ed Zore on Staying Relevant to Customers Thomas A. Stewart

Ed Zore is the CEO of Northwestern Mutual, a highly admired 150-year-old insurer. Relevance, not innovation, matters most to customers, he says, and should matter most to companies as well. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712H

Service with a Very Big Smile New research confirms that the bigger the employees' smiles, the happier the customers. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705C

Silo Busting: How to Execute on the Promise of Customer Focus Ranjay Gulati

More and more companies claim that they offer solutions - packages of products and services that are hard to copy and can command premium prices. To truly solve customers' problems, however, companies often have to make significant changes to their structures, processes, and mind-sets. MAY Reprint R0705F

Understanding Customer Experience Christopher Meyer and Andre Schwager

Customer satisfaction is just a slogan unless companies face up to the unvarnished reality of their customers' subjective experiences. Here's a process to ensure that every corporate function plays a role in monitoring, probing, and enhancing customer experience. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702G

Work with Me Simon J. Bell and Andreas B. Eisingerich

Should service firms show clients their inner workings or keep their cards close? Recent research touts the benefits of letting customers know how firms operate. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706J

Decision Making

Hotter Heads Prevail Andrew O'Connell

A detached and impassive executive may seem like the corporate decision-making ideal, but people make better choices when they're experiencing intense emotions, according to new research. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712G

The Wisdom of (Expert) Crowds Robert S. Duboff

The Delphi technique involves recruiting panels of experts from a variety of fields and asking them to iteratively evaluate predictions about the future of, say, an emerging innovation until they reach consensus. Shaping the strongest predictions into several possible scenarios prepares managers to act quickly when one outcome begins to unfold. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709G


HBR CASE STUDY: Good Money After Bad? John W. Mullins. With commentary by Ivan Farneti, Fred Hassan, Robert M. Johnson, and Christoph Zott

Jack Brandon is a committed entrepreneur with a sound proprietary technology but not much marketing expertise. Should his VC backers put more money into a second product when he hasn't succeeded in selling the first? MARCH Reprint R0703A, Reprint Case only R0703X, Reprint Commentary only R0703Z


Forethought: Special Report: Climate Business, Business Climate Climate change will transform the business landscape. Companies will see the price of carbon emissions rise steeply, in both monetary and social terms. Businesses will face new costs and risks and discover new ways to seize competitive advantage. Here's what executives need to do to prepare for the coming carbon-constrained world. FORETHOUGHT, OCTOBER Reprint F0710A

Ethics and Society

Beware of Bad Microcredit Steve Beck and Tim Ogden

Failing to reduce poverty by supporting the wrong microcredit program can tarnish a company's good name. Executives in charge of corporate social responsibility should insist on clearly defined measures of success, invest in improving microcredit's effectiveness, and support the growth of small companies in regions of poverty. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709C

HBR CASE STUDY: The CEO's Private Investigation Joseph Finder. With commentary by Harry "Skip" Brandon, James B. Comey, Eric A. Klein, Christopher E. Kubasik, and William J. Teuber, Jr.

If a CEO suspects her colleagues of wrongdoing, is it appropriate for her to commission a private investigation? OCTOBER Reprint R0710A, Reprint Case only R0710X, Reprint Commentary only R0710Z

Finance and Accounting

The Flaw in Customer Lifetime Value Detlef Schoder

Marketers commonly estimate customer lifetime value in order to decide which customers are worth continued investment. But the way companies typically calculate that value is flawed because it overlooks the real option of abandoning unprofitable customers. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712J

So You Think You Understand Revenues Robert Shaw and Vincent-Wayne Mitchell

The sophisticated technologies used to understand costs don't illuminate revenue sources well. For that you need a whole new breed of accountant. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705D

The Truth About Private Equity Performance Oliver Gottschalg and Ludovic Phalippou

Private equity fund performance is most often reported in a way that exaggerates the truth. A modified calculation gives a more accurate read of performance and often changes a fund's relative rank. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712D

HBR Articles List 2007 - Part 2

General Management

The Art of Designing Markets Alvin E. Roth

Sometimes markets break down. A new branch of economics can resurrect them, make them more efficient - and even create new ones where none existed. OCTOBER Reprint R0710G

THE HBR LIST: Breakthrough Ideas for 2007 Ordinary people, not "influentials," are the best word-of-mouth marketers… leaders should embrace the word "hope"…patriarchy is making a comeback…health care costs are falling (it's spending that's on the rise)… and other thought-provoking ideas. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702A

The Next 20 Years: How Customer and Workforce Attitudes Will Evolve Neil Howe and William Strauss

The generation gap is actually just part of a historical pattern, according to two eminent scholars - a pattern we can use to forecast market, workplace, and social trends for decades. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707B

Who Owns the Long Term? Perspectives from Global Business Leaders Maurice Lévy, Mike Eskew, Wulf H. Bernotat, and Marianne Barner

Top executives of global companies discuss how they manage for the long term: Stay close to your front line and time your moves well; maintain your vision and values during tough periods; balance your customers' energy needs with environmental concerns; and be socially responsible. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707C


Cocreating Business's New Social Compact Jeb Brugmann and C.K. Prahalad

Companies and NGOs are finding mutual benefit in going into business together, not as wary rivals but as trusted partners. The innovative business models they're developing are leading to real breakthroughs in the creation of new markets and the eradication of poverty. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702D; OnPoint 1829

Forward-Thinking Cultures Mansour Javidan

Singapore is the most future-oriented country in the world, new research from Thunderbird business school reveals, whereas Russia is the least. Yet people the world over aspire to plan for the future, a fact global managers can use to inspire workers in present-oriented cultures to look ahead. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707B

China + India: The Power of Two Tarun Khanna

After decades of hostility, the dragon and the tiger have begun to cooperate. Companies that make use of both nations' capabilities stand to gain competitive advantage. DECEMBER Reprint R0712D

Mao's Pervasive Influence on Chinese CEOs Shaomin Li and Kuang S. Yeh

Executives of multinationals partnering with Chinese firms should be alert to Mao Zedong's lingering influence on some of the country's most successful executives. In particular, watch for a leadership tactic that can undermine a joint venture. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712C

Nurturing Respect for IP in China Georg von Krogh and Stefan Haefliger

The best way to foster an appreciation for intellectual-property rights in China is to let partner firms experience the benefits of locally generated knowledge. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704E

If Private Equity Sized Up Your Business Robert C. Pozen

How can your company capture the kind of value increase for its shareholders that a private equity firm would seek? Try making the same types of changes. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711D

Reducing Directors' Legal Risk Michael Klausner

Outside directors are at lower risk of liability than they might think, but they can protect themselves even further. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704J

Health Care

What Health Consumers Want Caroline Calkins and John Sviokla

Consumers of health care constitute a highly diverse market, but the idea that companies might segment customers and profit by addressing their varied needs seems almost foreign to the health industry. You can tap hidden value by making use of patterns in the demand for health products and services, especially if you segment consumers according to health and wealth at the same time. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712A

Realizing the Promise of Personalized Medicine Mara G. Aspinall and Richard G. Hamermesh

The future of medicine - and the medical business - lies in using genetic and other diagnostic tests to tailor more treatments to individuals. First, the health care system must clear four barriers. OCTOBER Reprint R0710F

Human Resources

HBR CASE STUDY: We Googled You Diane Coutu. With commentary by Danah M. Boyd, Michael Fertik, Jeffrey A. Joerres, and John G. Palfrey, Jr.

Keeping skeletons in the closet has become almost impossible in the Internet age. But should they cost an otherwise promising candidate a job? JUNE Reprint R0706A, Reprint Case only R0706X, Reprint Commentary only R0706Z

How Risky Is Overtime, Really? Harris Allen and William Bunn, MD

Not all that much, empirical data from two medical researchers suggest. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705E

How to Teach Pride in "Dirty Work" Employees in stigmatized occupations can be helped to cope with or even feel proud of their jobs with an array of techniques, including developing an occupational ideology to confer a more positive image on the work, creating social buffers such as professional associations, and avoiding specifics in conversation with outsiders. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709B

Making Relationships Work A Conversation with Psychologist John M. Gottman Diane Coutu

Good personal relationships clearly are essential for success and fulfillment in the workplace - what's elusive is how to maintain them. The best science on the art of marriage might just point the way. DECEMBER Reprint R0712B

Munchausen at Work Nathan Bennett

Someone suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder, fabricates or induces illness in another to win attention and praise as a caregiver. A similar pathology in the workplace leads employees to create or exaggerate problems in order to get credit for solving them. Here are some questions to help managers recognize such behavior. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711A

Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership Alice H. Eagly and Linda L. Carli

The "glass ceiling" metaphor doesn't accurately depict the complex, varied barriers women encounter today in their pursuit of senior leadership roles - and it causes managers to invest in the wrong solutions. It's time to rename the challenge. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709C; HBR Article Collection "Required Reading for Executive Women - and the Companies Who Need Them, 2nd Edition" 2489

Younger Women at the Top More women than men at Fortune 1,000 firms have reached executive officer positions in their thirties, forties, and fifties - and they've done it faster. Still, nearly half of those companies lack female executive officers. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704C

HBR Articles List 2007 - Part 3

Innovation and Creativity

Breakthrough Thinking from Inside the Box Kevin P. Coyne, Patricia Gorman Clifford, and Renée Dye

Ask people to think outside the box, and many of them simply freeze up. You'll generate far more - and far more useful - ideas if you construct new boxes for people to think within. DECEMBER Reprint R0712E; HBR Article Collection "Cooking Up the Next Big Thing" 2655

A Buyer's Guide to the Innovation Bazaar Satish Nambisan and Mohanbir Sawhney

Too many choices in the marketplace of ideas can be overwhelming. With this conceptual guide, companies can determine what kinds of outside innovations they should acquire - and who can help them do so. JUNE Reprint R0706H; HBR Article Collection "Innovating from the Outside In, 2nd Edition" 2130

Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson

Businesses need large, diverse teams to pull off major initiatives - yet the size and complexity of such groups make it hard to get anything done. These practices will help firms ensure strong, effective collaboration, even when teams span the globe. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711F

Innovate Faster by Melding Design and Strategy Ravi Chhatpar

If designers are brought into the innovation process at the very beginning, they can test prototypes and share users' responses even as the business case is being developed, enabling companies to nimbly adjust to changes in market opportunities. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709J

The Innovation Value Chain Morten T. Hansen and Julian Birkinshaw

Subscribing to the latest innovation advice won't help your business if you don't understand your firm's unique strengths and flaws. Here's a framework for assessing your company's innovation processes and determining which best practices will help you address weak spots. JUNE Reprint R0706J

Is It Real? Can We Win? Is It Worth Doing? George S. Day

Overly cautious companies can strangle their own growth by avoiding risky projects. Better to screen them systematically for maximum balance and profit. DECEMBER Reprint R0712J

Meet the Innovation Capitalist Satish Nambisan and Mohanbir Sawhney

Large firms puzzling over whether to pay for developed technology or take a risk on bleeding-edge concepts now have a third choice - a new kind of "innomediary" that identifies and refines innovations, reducing market risk in return for a share in the potential rewards. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703D

$152,000 for Your Thoughts Gary Carini and Bill Townsend

Making employees prove the worth of their ideas results in better concepts and more-motivated workers. Executives must give people the tools to stand behind their ideas and must follow up with strong rewards. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704D

Preparing for the Perfect Product Launch James P. Hackett

How come some projects fail while others succeed? This is the story of a CEO who refused to accept failures as inevitable and set up a system to prevent them. APRIL Reprint R0704B

Saving the Internet Jonathan Zittrain

The very openness and user adaptability that make the Internet a creative wellspring also allow for the propagation of assorted evils - spam, porn, predation, fraud, privacy violations - that threaten the integrity of the Internet itself. JUNE Reprint R0706B

The Value Captor's Process: Getting the Most out of Your New Business Ventures Rita Gunther McGrath and Thomas Keil

It's a mistake to assume that a venture is successful only if it proceeds directly to go and produces payback within two years. Value captors have learned how to systematically mine all the possible benefits of their initiatives - including the failures. MAY Reprint R0705J

Knowledge Management

The Knowledge-Creating Company Ikujiro Nonaka

Japanese companies, masters of manufacturing, have also been leaders in the creation, management, and use of knowledge - especially the tacit and often subjective insights, intuitions, and ideas of employees. JULY-AUGUST Originally published in 1991 Reprint R0707N


Becoming the Boss Linda A. Hill

The experience of becoming a boss for the first time leaves an indelible mark - some might call it a scar - on the psyche. But the transition to new manager doesn't have to be quite so painful. JANUARY Reprint R0701D; OnPoint 1723

The Best Advice I Ever Got Hans-Paul Bürkner. Interviewed by Daisy Wademan

By watching a colleague assemble diverse, high-performing teams, the CEO of the Boston Consulting Group learned the art of nurturing team members' strengths and steering them away from tasks that would expose their weaknesses. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712F

The Best Advice I Ever Got Fred Carl, Jr. Interviewed by Daisy Wademan

The founder and CEO of Viking Range recalls the eventful words of an early adviser: "You should run this from day one like it's a public company. Treat it like it's going to be big." He did, and it was. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711C

Building a Leadership Brand Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood

A reputation for producing good leaders time and again is part of a strong company brand. To build that kind of enduring capability, firms must do more than focus on the traits of individual leaders. They need to follow five key strategies. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707G; HBR Article Collection "Building Your Leadership Bench" 2281

The CEO's Second Act David A. Nadler

A new CEO's brilliance can fade quickly once he or she has solved the company's immediate problems and the next set of challenges comes along. A chief executive's Act II requires a lot less swashbuckling and a lot more humility. JANUARY Reprint R0701F

The Chief Strategy Officer R. Timothy S. Breene, Paul F. Nunes, and Walter E. Shill

Overwhelmed CEOs are increasingly hiring CSOs. Their job: to keep strategy front and center, drive real execution, and direct and sustain change in complex organizations. OCTOBER Reprint R0710D

Courage as a Skill Kathleen K. Reardon

Courage in business is rarely impulsive; rather, it results from careful deliberation and preparation. The "courage calculation," consisting of six decision-making processes that can be refined over time, helps managers make bold moves that will lead to success while averting career suicide. JANUARY Reprint R0701E; OnPoint 1726

Discovering Your Authentic Leadership Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, and Diana Mayer

How do you become an authentic leader? A new study shows that you do not have to be born one. You can learn to be authentic by understanding your life story and by developing self-awareness. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702H

The Ethical Mind A Conversation with Psychologist Howard Gardner Bronwyn Fryer

Leaders have earned their reputation as ethical miscreants - a huge cost to public trust and organizational health. It's time to take a look in the mirror and step up to the ethical plate. MARCH Reprint R0703B

Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld and Andrew J. Ward

Stunning recovery is possible from even the most catastrophic of setbacks. Michael Milken, Martha Stewart, Home Depot's Bernie Marcus, Bank One's Jamie Dimon, and others came back from the depths by following the path of the universal hero. JANUARY Reprint R0701G

A Formula for the Future A Conversation with Craigie Zildjian Gardiner Morse

The oldest family-run business in the U.S., the Zildjian Company has been making cymbals, first in Turkey and then in America, since 1623. As a 14th-generation leader of the company, Craigie Zildjian sees innovation in collaboration with customers as her best path to continued success. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707F

The Four Truths of the Storyteller Peter Guber

Leaders can use well-crafted stories to captivate and inspire people whose help they need. A top movie producer and entertainment industry executive shares the secrets he's learned. DECEMBER Reprint R0712C

THE HBR INTERVIEW: The Institutional Yes Jeff Bezos. Interviewed by Julia Kirby and Thomas A. Stewart is known for its bold and sometimes counterintuitive strategic moves. Its founder and CEO reveals that the company's strategy derives from a distinctive and deeply held cultural point of view. OCTOBER Reprint R0710C

THE HBR INTERVIEW: Lessons from Toyota's Long Drive Katsuaki Watanabe. Interviewed by Thomas A. Stewart and Anand P. Raman

Toyota's president explains why the automaker must combine radical change and continuous improvement if it wants to remain one of the world's leading companies. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707E

The Hidden Good News About CEO Dismissals Chuck Lucier and Jan Dyer

Four times more CEOs are being fired today than in 1995, a Booz Allen Hamilton study finds. That's good news. It's not that CEOs are being pressured to think more in the short term; it's that boards are finally clearing away the deadwood. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707C

How Successful Leaders Think Roger Martin

Great leaders refuse to choose between A and B. Through holistic thinking, they forge an innovative third way. JUNE Reprint R0706C

In Praise of the Incomplete Leader Deborah Ancona, Thomas W. Malone, Wanda J. Orlikowski, and Peter M. Senge

It's time to end the myth of the complete leader: the flawless person at the top who's got it all figured out. The sooner leaders stop trying to be all things to all people, the better off their organizations will be. Only when leaders accept themselves as incomplete - as having both strengths and weaknesses - will they be able to make up for their missing skills by relying on others. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702E

A Leader's Framework for Decision Making David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone

Leadership approaches that work well in one set of circumstances can fall far short in others. With the proper decision-making framework, you can sort issues into their appropriate contexts and tailor your management style to fit each one. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711C

The Leadership Team: Complementary Strengths or Conflicting Agendas? Stephen A. Miles and Michael D. Watkins

When members of a leadership team play complementary roles, the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts - but such relationships may also result in confusion, especially when members move on. Organizations can learn to enjoy the advantages and minimize the risks of complementarity without sowing the seeds of disaster during succession. APRIL Reprint R0704F

Leading Clever People Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones

It's not quite as bad as herding cats, but attracting and retaining the smart, creative people on whom your organization depends can be a challenge - especially because they don't like to be led. Approaching them as a benevolent guardian rather than as a traditional leader will improve your odds of success. MARCH Reprint R0703D; HBR Article Collection "Leading Creative People" 1867

Making Judgment Calls Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis

A leader's judgment call may seem like a momentous event. The best calls, however, are part of a larger process that begins with preparation and ends with execution. Instead of trying to slam-dunk their decisions, good leaders attend to the entire judgment process and take advantage of "redo loops" at every stage. OCTOBER Reprint R0710E

Moments of Truth: Global Executives Talk About the Challenges That Shaped Them as Leaders When did you realize you had the right stuff to lead? HBR's editors ask a wide range of business leaders that question and get some surprising answers. JANUARY Reprint R0701A

Picking Winners A Conversation with MacArthur Fellows Program Director Daniel J. Socolow Diane Coutu

What can business leaders learn from the organization that confers the storied "genius grants"? For one thing, that exceptional creativity is very hard to find. If you're looking for a way to pack your staff with outstanding talent, you're probably on the wrong track. MAY Reprint R0705H

Raising Haier Zhang Ruimin

The CEO of Haier explains how he has grown with the challenges he has tackled in transforming a struggling appliance company into a world-class global enterprise. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702J

Stay on the Q&A Offensive A Conversation with Michael Sheehan Julia Kirby

The Q&A should be more than just an afterthought, says communications consultant Michael Sheehan. It may be the only part of your speech people actually listen to. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704G

The Tests of a Prince Ivan Lansberg

Corporate heirs have a particular challenge when it comes to turning stakeholders into followers. To prove they have what it takes, they must manage a four-part iterative testing process. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709F

What Every Leader Needs to Know About Followers Barbara Kellerman

Your subordinates are not an amorphous bunch. A new typology that classifies them according to their level of engagement can help you better understand their relationships with superiors and manage them more effectively. DECEMBER Reprint R0712F

What Your Leader Expects of You Larry Bossidy

A longtime CEO reveals the behaviors that leaders should look for in their subordinates - behaviors that drive individual as well as corporate performance and growth - and what those subordinates should expect in return. APRIL Reprint R0704C

When a New Manager Takes Charge John J. Gabarro

Fourteen managers accepted new assignments. At the end of three years, ten had succeeded and four had been fired. What made the difference? Experience, the situation's urgency, managerial style, the quality of the managers' working relationships, and the level of support from superiors were critical factors. JANUARY Originally published in 1985 Reprint R0701K

Management Development

Employees Get an Earful Anders Gronstedt

Portable media players are helping employees make productive use of their downtime, as businesses learn how to train people via podcast. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706E

HBR CASE STUDY: The Very Model of a Modern Senior Manager Mike Morrison. With commentary by George Manderlink, Reuben Mark, Rebecca Ray, and Dave Ulrich

A leadership crisis at Barker Foods has the executive committee wondering whether the company should create a competency model for senior managers. Is such a framework just what Barker needs, or is it an exercise in oversimplification? JANUARY Reprint R0701B, Reprint Case only R0701X, Reprint Commentary only R0701Z

Help Newly Hired Executives Adapt Quickly Michael D. Watkins

Often executives who are hired from outside a firm fail because they can't fit in with its culture. Here's how to help them avoid missteps. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706F

Make Your Company a Talent Factory Douglas A. Ready and Jay A. Conger

Are you making the most of your high-potential talent? To compete on the global stage, you need to put the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time - and fast. JUNE Reprint R0706D

Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders Joseph L. Bower

There's no better way to reverse the long-term destruction of shareholder value than for companies to commit to growing internal CEO candidates who can lead through good times and bad. Simple? No. The right thing to do? Absolutely. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711E; HBR Article Collection "So You Want to Be CEO" 2616

Managing People

HBR CASE STUDY: Off-Ramp - or Dead End? Sharman Esarey and Arno Haslberger. With commentary by Robert J. Maricich, Rebecca Matthias, Monica McGrath, and Evelyne Sevin

Cheryl Jamis is an ambitious marketing director in line for a promotion. She's also the dedicated mother of a young daughter. When increasing demands on her time threaten to spiral out of control, Cheryl faces a tough choice: Should she stay with her company or chuck it all? FEBRUARY Reprint R0702B, Reprint Case only R0702X, Reprint Commentary only R0702Z

Managing Technology

HBR CASE STUDY: Too Far Ahead of the IT Curve? John P. Glaser. With commentary by Monte Ford, George C. Halvorson, Randy Heffner, and John A. Kastor

Peachtree Healthcare, a network of 11 medical institutions, is on the verge of a systems breakdown. What's the right fix for its patchwork IT infrastructure? JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707A, Reprint Case only R0707X, Reprint Commentary only R0707Z


Charge What Your Products Are Worth Venkatesh Bala and Jason Green

For customers, value has two components: benefits received and price paid. After gauging their customers' perceptions of value, managers can plot a simple chart that reveals any misalignment and use it to balance the benefit-price equation. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709D

Companies and the Customers Who Hate Them Gail McGovern and Youngme Moon

If your company is on a slippery slope - extracting more and more value from customers through inscrutable contracts, hidden fees, and complicated offerings - expect punishment. Here's how to recognize and purge those adversarial practices and gain an advantage by offering a customer-friendly alternative. JUNE Reprint R0706E

Even Commodities Have Customers François M. Jacques

Who would have thought there'd be so much differentiation opportunity in cement? Someone clever enough to apply marketing's most basic tools, it turns out. If it works for cement, it could work for your commodity business, too. MAY Reprint R0705G

Getting Attention for Unrecognized Brands
Daniel G. Goldstein People prefer a brand they know over one they don't - even when the familiar one is dangerous. But there are ways for unknown brands to compensate. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703E

HBR CASE STUDY: Mad About Plaid Julia Kirby. With commentary by Gill Corkindale, Niall Ferguson, Dov Seidman, and Dana Thomas

Castlebridge & Company, the maker of an iconic British product, is poised to shift the last of its manufacturing operations outside the UK. Is it jeopardizing the "Britishness" of its brand? NOVEMBER Reprint R0711A, Reprint Case only R0711X, Reprint Commentary only R0711Z

Hidden Wealth in B2B Brands James R. Gregory and Donald E. Sexton

Managers consistently skimp on B2B brand building. That's an expensive mistake. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703C

If Brands Are Built over Years, Why Are They Managed over Quarters? Leonard M. Lodish and Carl F. Mela

Your product may fly off the shelves during a price promotion, but those discounts could ultimately damage your brand. Don't be blinded by short-term sales data. Instead, watch a dashboard of long-term measures to protect your brand and your profit margins. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707H; HBR Article Collection "Building A+ Brands" 2282

Quality Is in the Eye of the Beholder Debanjan Mitra and Peter N. Golder

Consumers are slow to notice positive or negative changes in a product's quality, and that could have important implications for your company's marketing plan. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704H

Sports Sponsorship to Rally the Home Team Francis J. Farrelly and Stephen A. Greyser

Companies are beginning to use their brand-enhancing sponsorship of teams and events internally, to motivate employees or facilitate major structural change. Sports-related communications and incentives can create cohesion and foster pride in the company. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709E

Viral Marketing for the Real World Duncan J. Watts and Jonah Peretti

By combining viral-marketing tools with mass marketing, you can extend your reach at minimal cost. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705A

Mergers and Acquisitions

Deals Without Delusions Dan Lovallo, Patrick Viguerie, Robert Uhlaner, and John Horn

Executives who pursue mergers and acquisitions often allow psychological biases to interfere with good deal making. Here's how to keep flawed notions from impeding the M&A process. DECEMBER Reprint R0712G; HBR Article Collection "Making Smart Acquisitions" 2654

Human Due Diligence David Harding and Ted Rouse

Most companies do a thorough job of financial due diligence when they acquire other firms. But the success of most deals hinges on people, not dollars. Here's how to diagnose potential people problems before a deal is completed. APRIL Reprint R0704J

Rules to Acquire By Bruce Nolop

Study after study finds that acquisitions tend to destroy value - yet most high-performing companies rely on them to grow. That makes sense only if, like Pitney Bowes, you can learn how to do them well. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709J


Investigative Negotiation Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman

Too many people try to win negotiations like a sales person - through persuasion. The best way to get what you want, however, is to think like a detective: Dig for information that will help you understand the other side. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709D; HBR Article Collection "Nuts and Bolts Negotiation" 2486

HBR Article List 2007 - Part 4


Are Your Engineers Talking to One Another When They Should? Manuel E. Sosa, Steven D. Eppinger, and Craig M. Rowles

Avoiding expensive mistakes in the design of complex, highly engineered products boils down to making sure the right product-component teams communicate. A new application of an old project management tool can help managers see where such communication should be taking place - but isn't. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711J

Are You the Weakest Link in Your Company's Supply Chain? Reuben E. Slone, John T. Mentzer, and J. Paul Dittmann

A CEO who pays special attention to supply chain management enhances the company's competitive advantage - and avoids classic, potentially costly pitfalls for the firm and its suppliers, partners, and customers. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709H

Break the Paper Jam in B2B Payments Steve Berez and Arpan Sheth

Many companies still overlook the virtues of electronic invoice and payment systems: Some 70% of business-to-business transactions involve paper invoices and checks, and managing them costs about $116 billion a year. Electronic systems can help cut accounts payable overhead by more than 50% - but suppliers need to be converted quickly. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711D

High-Tech Ways to Keep Cupboards Full Peter J. McGoldrick and Peter M. Barton

Makers of nondurable goods should focus on keeping customers' - not just retailers' - shelves fully stocked. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703B

Improve Your Return on Returns Andrew O'Connell

A "reverse logistics" value chain strategy - what you do with goods your customers send back - can strengthen your company's competitiveness, according to the authors of a recent article in the Academy of Management Perspectives. Estée Lauder built a $250 million product line from returned cosmetics. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711F

Lessons from the Leaders of Retail Loss Prevention Adrian Beck and Colin Peacock

Arresting thieves and investing in technology, the main approaches to retail loss prevention, haven't managed to diminish the problem over the past 15 years. A study of companies that have successfully reduced shrinkage uncovers nine practices behind their success, beginning with organizational and senior management commitment to making loss prevention a priority. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711H

Make Your Back Office an Accelerator Paul Rogers and Hernan Saenz

A new study identifies exactly how much bang for the buck a firm can get when it makes targeted cuts in back-office costs and takes steps to boost efficiency. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703G

Pandemic Preparedness: Who's Your Weak Link? George Abercrombie

A company's ability to function during a flu pandemic is only as good as the weakest link in its supply chain. Hoffmann-La Roche, the maker of a frontline anti-flu drug, works closely with its suppliers to ensure that their preparedness plans are as robust as its own. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712B

Performing a Project Premortem Gary Klein

In a premortem, team members assume that the project they are planning has just failed - as so many do - and then generate plausible reasons for its demise. Those with reservations may speak freely at the outset, so that the project can be improved rather than autopsied. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709A

The Process Audit Michael Hammer

Redesigning business processes can generate dramatic improvements in performance, but the effort is notoriously difficult. Many executives have floundered, uncertain about what exactly needs to be changed, by how much, and when. A new framework can take the mystery out of reengineering business processes and help you plan and assess your company's process-based transformations. APRIL Reprint R0704H

Selecting Management Tools Wisely Darrell Rigby and Barbara Bilodeau

With so many management tools out there, from benchmarking to outsourcing, it's hard to decide which ones to try. To help executives make informed choices, the authors compare levels of use and satisfaction for the most popular tools, and chart the evolution of a select few. FORETHOUGHT, DECEMBER Reprint F0712E

Simplicity-Minded Management Ron Ashkenas

As corporations add layer upon layer of complexity, they grow increasingly unwieldy and ungovernable. Simplification is no longer a "nice to have" virtue; it's an imperative for bottom-line success. DECEMBER Reprint R0712H

Organization and Culture

Avoiding Integrity Land Mines Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

How do you keep thousands of employees, operating in hundreds of countries, as honest as they are competitive? General Electric's longtime general counsel describes the systems the company has put in place to do just that. APRIL Reprint R0704G

HBR CASE STUDY: Why Didn't We Know? Ralph Hasson. With commentary by Stephen R. Hardis, Jackson W. Robinson, Mary Rowe, and Hal Shear

A whistle-blower sues Galvatrens for wrongful termination. The lawsuit triggers a much larger discussion about the company's system for uncovering misconduct. How should the company strengthen that system - and what roles should the board and management play? APRIL Reprint R0704A, Reprint Case only R0704X, Reprint Commentary only R0704Z

Inner Work Life: Understanding the Subtext of Business Performance Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer

New research shows how business performance is driven by workers' state of mind - and how managers, if they're not careful, can drive both down. MAY Reprint R0705D; HBR Article Collection "Build a Motivated Workforce, 2nd Edition" 2102

A Larger Language for Business: A Conversation with David Whyte Lisa Burrell

Poet David Whyte talks about how poetry begets courageous conversation and, in turn, better leadership. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705F

Promise-Based Management: The Essence of Execution Donald N. Sull and Charles Spinosa

The most vexing leadership challenges stem from broken or poorly crafted commitments between employees and colleagues, customers, or other stakeholders. To overcome such problems and foster a productive, reliable workforce, managers must cultivate and coordinate promises in a systematic way. APRIL Reprint R0704E

Reconcilable Differences Jonathan Knowles and Richard Ettenson

If Marketing and Finance can learn to get along, both can advance their agendas. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706D

Simple Rules for Making Alliances Work Jonathan Hughes and Jeff Weiss

At least 60% of all corporate alliances fail. If you don't want yours to join the scrap heap, consider adopting five principles. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711H

To Thine Own Staff Be Agreeable Gary Davies and Rosa Chun

Studies show that the more staffers' opinions of a company outshine customers', the greater that company's sales growth will be. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706H

What It Means to Work Here Tamara J. Erickson and Lynda Gratton

You won't find - and keep - deeply engaged employees by aping your rivals' talent-management practices. Potential hires need to know what's unique about your company. By creating "signature experiences" that convey your firm's values and heritage, you can attract the people who are most likely to be productive for the long term. MARCH Reprint R0703G

Why Employees Are Afraid to Speak James R. Detert and Amy C. Edmondson

In a word - self-preservation. And they're just as afraid to share innovative ideas as to blow the whistle. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705B

Performance Measurement

The Cost of Myopic Management Natalie Mizik and Robert Jacobson

A study of 2,859 firms shows that companies unwisely cutting costs to artificially improve performance are fooling no one for long. Their stock rises sharply right afterward but falls precipitously in the next few years, as poor management comes home to roost. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707E

Higher Net Price - Or Bust Paul Calthrop

When it comes to judging the success of innovations, the important measure to track isn't sales; it's net prices. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705G

Maximizing Your Return on People Laurie Bassi and Daniel McMurrer

An innovative tool can measure how effectively your company manages human capital and, unlike current HR metrics, can predict organizational performance. Use this new survey to find out where your company stands. MARCH Reprint R0703H

Productivity Is Killing American Enterprise Henry Mintzberg

When they cut R&D, underinvest in their brands, and - worse - cut worker and middle management ranks, leaders are merely punishing their employees (and stockholders) for their own inability to create real value, says this McGill University professor. Productivity improvements come from better management or applying new technologies, not from making fewer people do more work. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707G

The Strategic Secret of Private Equity Felix Barber and Michael Goold

The real reason private equity firms earn such high returns is so simple that most people overlook it: Those firms buy to sell rather than to keep. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709B

Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

How do you ensure today's actions will help your company reach tomorrow's goals? By using the balanced scorecard to link long-term strategic objectives with short-term budgetary needs. JULY-AUGUST Originally published in 1996 Reprint R0707M

Research and Development

Getting Unusual Suspects to Solve R&D Puzzles Karim R. Lakhani and Lars Bo Jeppesen

Your problem solvers could be not only out in the wider world but also in the wide reaches of your own organization. FORETHOUGHT, MAY Reprint F0705H

Novartis's Great Leap of Trust: A Conversation with Daniel Vasella Andrew O'Connell

CEO Daniel Vasella explains why his company is placing a big bet on China's future as a world scientific power. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703F

Where More R&D Dollars Should Go Jim Scinta

Companies are expecting to spend more on R&D this year, but they're putting it in the wrong place - too much on new project development and not enough on the basic research that will produce tomorrow's revenues. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707H

Risk Management

A Growing Focus on Preparedness Darrell Rigby and Barbara Bilodeau

Scenario-planning tools are getting better, and companies are using them more effectively to prepare for an uncertain future, according to the latest results from Bain & Company's ongoing 14-year survey of corporate tool use. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707D

HBR CASE STUDY: Boss, I Think Someone Stole Our Customer Data Eric McNulty. With commentary by Bill Boni, John Philip Coghlan, Jay Foley, and James E. Lee

Flayton Electronics, a regional chain, faces threats to its reputation after a possible data breach. How should the firm address the interests of stakeholders - especially customers - in this information -age crisis? SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709A, Reprint Case only R0709X, Reprint Commentary only R0709Z

HBR CASE STUDY: The Dark Side of Customer Analytics Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris. With commentary by George L. Jones, Katherine N. Lemon, Michael B. McCallister, and David Norton

A customer data-sharing deal between two companies could reap easy money for both. But things could get complicated if customers find out how their personal information is being used. How can the companies leverage the data responsibly? MAY Reprint R0705A, Reprint Case only R0705X, Reprint Commentary only R0705Z

Reputation and Its Risks Robert G. Eccles, Scott C. Newquist, and Roland Schatz

Reputations make or break companies, yet most leaders inadequately manage reputational risk. Understanding the three factors that affect this type of risk is the first step in building a process for identifying, measuring, and controlling threats. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702F

Scorched Earth: Will Environmental Risks in China Overwhelm Its Opportunities? Elizabeth Economy and Kenneth Lieberthal

China's environmental problems are so bad they're beginning to constrain the country's GDP growth. Why, then, are multinationals paying so little attention to them? Failure to factor environmental issues into corporate strategy may turn China's seemingly enormous promise into a nightmare for many firms. JUNE Reprint R0706F; HBR Article Collection "China Tomorrow, Prospects and Perils, 3rd Edition" 2129

HBR Articles List - 2007 - Part 5


Managing Global Accounts George S. Yip and Audrey J.M. Bink

Global account management may not be right for everyone - but when it fits, it increases both profits and customer satisfaction. Here's a guide for choosing when to offer GAM and to whom. SEPTEMBER


Cognitive Fitness Roderick Gilkey and Clint Kilts

To be as sharp at 60 as you were at 25, you'll need to do some mental pushups. Here's how you can strengthen your brain's neural networks and cognitive abilities. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711B; HBR Article Collection "Get in Shape to Lead" 2613

Crisis at the Summit George D. Parsons and Richard T. Pascale

Some superstars thrive on the adrenaline rush of mastering a challenge. Once they're at the top of their game, however, the rush disappears, and a dangerous affliction can set in. If they don't recognize the early warning signs, these talented performers may derail what should be a brilliant career. MARCH Reprint R0703E

Find the Gold in Toxic Feedback Fernando Bartolomé and John Weeks

Even rude or irrelevant feedback can be useful, but only a rare few can put ego aside and extract the hidden value. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704F

How Leaders Create and Use Networks Herminia Ibarra and Mark Hunter

One test of leadership capability is whether you can leverage social contacts into business results. You may do a lot of networking, but is it the right kind? JANUARY Reprint R0701C; OnPoint 1727

The Making of an Expert K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula, and Edward T. Cokely

To become an expert, you must discard the myth that genius is born, not made. Scientific research overwhelmingly shows that elite performance comes primarily from years of practice, dedicated coaching, and relentless effort to understand and correct mistakes. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707J

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy

Want to accomplish dramatically more and do it better? The answer is not working longer hours but increasing your capacity for work through systematic rituals that recharge your four key sources of energy. OCTOBER Reprint R0710B

My Extreme MBA: A Conversation with Rory Stewart Lew McCreary

Negotiating leadership challenges in hostile territory takes a balance of principled commitment and canny pragmatism. OCTOBER Reprint R0710H

Realizing What You're Made Of Glenn E. Mangurian

If you hit rock bottom, would you recover? Here's the story of an executive who did - and learned volumes about resilience and leadership in the process. MARCH Reprint R0703J

Surviving Your New CEO Kevin P. Coyne and Edward J. Coyne, Sr.

Your company just hired a new CEO, and you figure that a reorganization - maybe even a few terminations - could be on the way. You're not worried, though: Your solid record and excellent reputation as a senior executive mean you're safe. Right? Wrong. MAY Reprint R0705C; HBR Article Collection "Managing Up, 2nd Edition" 2099

What to Ask the Person in the Mirror Robert S. Kaplan

No matter how talented and successful you are, you will make mistakes. But the higher up the ladder you go, the fewer people there are to tell you when you've faltered. To assess your performance, you should periodically ask yourself a series of pointed questions. JANUARY Reprint R0701H; OnPoint 1730; HBR Article Collection "Habits of Highly Effective Managers, 2nd Edition" 1728

Strategy and Competition

The Battle for China's Good-Enough Market Orit Gadiesh, Philip Leung, and Till Vestring

From China's fast-growing middle market for reliable-enough products at low-enough prices will emerge the world's leading companies. Ignore it at your peril. SEPTEMBER Reprint R0709E; HBR Article Collection "Doing Business in China" 2487

Competitive Advantage on a Warming Planet Jonathan Lash and Fred Wellington

Whatever business you're in, your company will increasingly feel the effects of climate change. Firms that manage and mitigate their exposure to the associated risks while seeking new opportunities for profit will gain a competitive advantage over rivals in a carbon-constrained future. MARCH Reprint R0703F

Finding Your Next Core Business Chris Zook

It may be hidden right under your nose. Here's how to evaluate your current core and where to look for a new one. APRIL Reprint R0704D; HBR Article Collection "Growth Strategies That Work - Again and Again, 2nd Edition" 1904

The Four Principles of Enduring Success Christian Stadler

When a company is doing well, how would anyone know if it could improve? A landmark benchmarking study - comparing prosperous companies with firms that have done even better - points the way. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707D

How Managers' Everyday Decisions Create - or Destroy - Your Company's Strategy Joseph L. Bower and Clark G. Gilbert

Every time a manager allocates resources, that decision moves the company either into or out of alignment with its announced strategy. This powerful insight will change how you think about driving strategy in your business. FEBRUARY Reprint R0702C; OnPoint 1831

If You Love Your Information, Set It Free David Weinberger

Organizations that fear sharing their data with aggregators might be surprised to learn they can benefit from letting other firms disseminate their information online. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706A

Managing Differences: The Central Challenge of Global Strategy Pankaj Ghemawat

To build competitive advantage, executives need to manage the differences that arise at the borders of markets. Three types of strategy are at their disposal: adaptation, aggregation, and arbitrage. The trick is figuring out when to use which ones. MARCH Reprint R0703C; HBR Article Collection "Choosing the Right Global Strategy" 1866

Managing Our Way to Economic Decline Robert H. Hayes and William J. Abernathy

Unlike European and Japanese managers, American managers have sometimes avoided the hard, make-or-break decisions concerning technological competitiveness. Examining how this shortsighted neglect contributed to U.S. economic decline several decades ago offers useful lessons for today's companies. JULY-AUGUST Originally published in 1980 Reprint R0707L

Mapping Your Competitive Position Richard A. D'Aveni

A price-benefit positioning map can quickly show how your product or brand stacks up against your competitors' - not as you hope it does, but as your customers actually see it. NOVEMBER Reprint R0711G

Outdoor-Apparel Start-Up CEO Chris Van Dyke on New Ways to Feed Customers' Passions Andrew O'Connell

Chris Van Dyke, the CEO of the outdoor apparel start-up Nau, offers some intriguing ideas about how to engage a generation of customers who are comfortable shopping online and eager to enter into a dialogue with the companies they buy from. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709F

Private Equity's Long View Walter Kiechel III

When getting a company ready to sell in the short term, it turns out, PE firms employ many of the best strategy practices - use debt aggressively, focus on cash flow, reduce costs, concentrate on the dominant part of the business and sell the rest - that make for success in the long term. They just do it in months, not years. FORETHOUGHT, JULY-AUGUST Reprint F0707A

A Road Map for Natural Capitalism Amory B. Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken

Some farsighted companies have shown that it's possible to offer better products and more-innovative services at a significantly lower cost by being up to 100 times more efficient in the use of natural resources. Can you compete if you don't follow suit? JULY-AUGUST Originally published in 1999 Reprint R0707P; HBR Article Collection "Going Green, Profitably" 2280

Set Up to Fail: A Conversation with Paul Ormerod Gardiner Morse

Most organizations bend over backward to avoid failure. They shouldn't, says economist Paul Ormerod. History shows that failure and success are inherently random, so firms should innovate and adapt. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706G

Six Rules for Effective Forecasting Paul Saffo

The wise consumer of a forecast is not a trusting bystander but a participant and, above all, a critic. Here are six commonsense rules for distinguishing good forecasts from bad - and for developing your own. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707K

A Staged Solution to the Catch-22 Andrei Hagiu and Thomas Eisenmann

Companies looking to launch a two-sided platform - between, for example, credit card users and merchants, or search engine users and advertisers - must overcome the reluctance of one side to sign on until it's confident the other side will be well populated. It's a common business quandary, but Google and Charles Schwab both found a way around it. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711B

Strategic Insight in Three Circles Joel E. Urbany and James H. Davis

Executives can delineate their corporate strategy with three simple circles: one for what customers value and why, one for how customers perceive the company's offerings, and one for how customers perceive competitors' offerings. The overlap (or lack thereof) will provide valuable insights. FORETHOUGHT, NOVEMBER Reprint F0711E

Strategies to Crack Well-Guarded Markets David J. Bryce and Jeffrey H. Dyer

Despite barriers to entry, companies trying to break into highly profitable industries can defy half a century of economic logic and actually make money. MAY Reprint R0705E

Strategy Lessons from Left Field José Santos

Rough schooling helps multinationals from small or developing countries become formidable global competitors. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704A

Take Your Third Move First Jeff Cares and Jim Miskel

Through the co-evolutionary war game, strategists can better understand the forces that influence complex competitions. FORETHOUGHT, MARCH Reprint F0703A

To Succeed in the Long Term, Focus on the Middle Term Geoffrey A. Moore

Why do so many companies fail to thrive past their first generation of offerings? It's not because their R&D groups aren't hatching new ideas. It's because mature organizations have a disconcerting tendency to eat their young. JULY-AUGUST Reprint R0707F

The Upside of Falling Flat Stefan Michel

The failed McDonald's hotel project is a good example of a "real option" - a set investment for an uncertain but potentially high return - and shows that the company is willing to nurture innovation. FORETHOUGHT, APRIL Reprint F0704B

The Wealth of African Nations Vijay Mahajan

Despite Africa's regional poverty, the continent's gross national income per capita is greater than India's. That represents a huge potential market for enterprises worldwide. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706C

Which Levers Boost ROI? Margeaux Cvar and John A. Quelch

CEOs looking for ways to improve ROI should examine the practices of similar companies in other industries. FORETHOUGHT, JUNE Reprint F0706B


CEOs Misperceive Top Teams' Performance Richard M. Rosen and Fred Adair

CEOs tend to have a rosier view of senior management's performance than other top team members do, according to new research - and it looks like the former need a reality check. The authors offer three simple questions that can provide one. FORETHOUGHT, SEPTEMBER Reprint F0709H

The New Deal at the Top Yves L. Doz and Mikko Kosonen

Consumers today want integrated solutions and services - so companies need integrated strategies. These won't fly, however, as long as business units are run like fiefdoms. It's time for interdependence and collaboration at the top. JUNE Reprint R0706G

Managing Risk and Reward in an Innovation Portfolio

Is It Real? Can We Win? Is It Worth Doing?
By: Day, George S.,
Harvard Business Review,
Dec 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 12

From 1990 to 2004 the percentage of major innovations in development portfolios dropped from 20.4 to 11.5 - even as the number of growth initiatives rose.

The aversion to Big I projects stems from a belief that they are too risky and their rewards (if any) will accrue too far in the future. Certainly the probability of failure rises sharply when a company ventures beyond incremental initiatives within familiar markets. But avoiding risky projects altogether can strangle growth. The solution is to pursue a disciplined, systematic process that will distribute your innovations more evenly across the spectrum of risk.

Two tools, used in tandem, can help companies do this. The first, the risk matrix, will graphically reveal risk exposure across an entire innovation portfolio. The second, the R-W-W ("real, win, worth it") screen, sometimes known as the Schrello screen, can be used to evaluate individual projects. Versions of the screen have been circulating since the 1980s, and since then a growing roster of companies, including General Electric, Honeywell, Novartis, Millipore, and 3M, have used them to assess business potential and risk exposure in their innovation portfolios; 3M has used R-W-W for more than 1,500 projects. I have expanded the screen and used it to evaluate dozens of projects at four global companies, and I have taught executives and Wharton students how to use it as well.

George S. Day ( is the Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor, a professor of marketing, and a co-director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in Philadelphia. His most recent article for HBR, "Scanning the Periphery" (written with Paul J.H. Schoemaker), was published in November 2005.

Systematic Errors in Processing Information in M&As

Deals Without Delusions. By: Lovallo, Dan, Viguerie, Patrick, Uhlaner, Robert, Horn, John,
Harvard Business Review,
Dec 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 12

Our work has shown that companies that aggressively leverage acquisitions for growth are at least as successful in the eyes of the capital markets as those that focus on purely organic ways to grow. Nevertheless, recent research from McKinsey & Company reveals that approximately half of acquiring companies continue to pay more for acquisitions than they're worth.

when executives take a targeted debiasing approach to M&A, deals can be more successful. The approach requires executives first to identify the cognitive mechanisms at play during various decision-making steps and then to use a set of techniques to reduce bias at specific decision points, thereby leading to sounder judgments.

Confirmation bias.
Underestimation of cultural differences.
The planning fallacy.
Conflict of interest.

The Bidding Phase: Avoiding the Winner's Curse
McKinsey survey suggested that successful acquirers are much more likely to exit when competitors initiate a bidding war: 83% of the successful companies withdrew at least sometimes, compared with only 29% of the unrewarded (not so successful)companies.

One technique for avoiding the winner's curse is to tie the compensation of the person responsible for the deal's price to the success of the deal - for example, to the percentage of estimated synergies realized.

The Final Phase biases

Once an initial bid is accepted, the acquirer has an important opportunity for additional due diligence, since it now has much greater access to the target's books. The final negotiation phase also encompasses the deal's legal structuring (for example, the exact composition of payment cash or stock). In this final phase of due diligence, the goal is to honestly evaluate the investment case in light of the more detailed information now available from the target. Two biases can come into play.

The first stems from a tendency to underreact to surprising news.
The sunk cost fallacy can cause an acquirer to continue pursuing the target even when it shouldn't.

Dan Lovallo ( is a professor of management at the University of Western Australia Business School in Perth and a senior adviser to McKinsey & Company. He is a coauthor of "Delusions of Success: How Optimism Undermines Executives' Decisions" (HBR July 2003).

Patrick Viguerie ( is a director in McKinsey's Atlanta office.

Robert Uhlaner ( is a partner in the firm's West Coast office.

John Horn ( is an associate in its Washington, DC, office.

Breakthrough Thinking from Inside the Box

Breakthrough Thinking from Inside the Box.
By: Coyne, Kevin P., Clifford, Patricia Gorman, Dye, Renée,
Harvard Business Review,
Dec 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 12

Most managers and professionals are quite capable of thinking effectively inside a box. They live with constraints all the time and automatically explore alternatives, combinations, and permutations within their confined space. We have found that if you systematically constrain the scope of their thinking (but not too much), people are adept at fully exploring the possibilities, and they can regularly generate lots of good ideas - and occasionally some great ones. Setting the right constraints is a matter of asking the right kinds of questions: ones that create boxes that are useful, but different, from the boxes your people currently think in.

Ten years ago, as part of a larger project for McKinsey's strategy practice, we led a team of consultants who developed such an approach to brainstorming. It involves posing concrete questions and orchestrating the process for answering those questions.

The most fertile questions focus the mind on a subset of possibilities that differ markedly from those explored before, guiding people to valuable overlooked corners of the universe of possible improvements.

Ideas for better Brainstorming

Ensure that everyone is fully engaged
Focus every discussion using your preselected questions
Do not rely solely on one brainstorming session.
Narrow the list of ideas to the ones you will seriously investigate right away

Kevin P. Coyne ( is the founder of Kevin Coyne Partners, an executive-counseling firm in Atlanta, and previously was a director of McKinsey & Company. Patricia Gorman Clifford ( is a senior strategy expert in McKinsey's office in Stamford, Connecticut. Renée Dye ( is a senior consultant in the firm's strategy practice and is based in Atlanta.

Making Relationships Work - Marriage

Making Relationships Work.
By: Coutu, Diane,
Harvard Business Review,
Dec 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 12

A Conversation with Psychologist John M. Gottman

The best science we have on relationships comes from the most intense relationship of all - marriage. Here's what we know about it.

Few people can tell us more about how to maintain good personal relationships than John M. Gottman, the executive director of the Relationship Research Institute. At the institute's Family Research Laboratory - known as the Love Lab - Gottman has been studying marriage and divorce for the past 35 years.

Successful couples, he notes, look for ways to accentuate the positive. They try to say "yes" as often as possible.

It sounds simple, but in fact you could capture all of my research findings with the metaphor of a saltshaker. Instead of filling it with salt, fill it with all the ways you can say yes, and that's what a good relationship is. "Yes," you say, "that is a good idea." "Yes, that's a great point, I never thought of that." "Yes, let's do that if you think it's important." You sprinkle yeses throughout your interactions - that's what a good relationship is.

I want to stress that good relationships are not just about knowing when to fight and how to patch things up. We also need humor, affection, playing, silliness, exploration, adventure, lust, touching - all those positive emotional things that we share with all mammals. Something that's been so hard for me to convey to the media is that trivial moments provide opportunities for profound connection.

I think that men need to learn how to embrace their wives' anger.

Using Real option Approach in Calculating Customer Lifetime Value

The Flaw in Customer Lifetime Value.
By: Schoder, Detlef,
Harvard Business Review,
Dec 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 12

Companies have been using real options for a long time to optimize their investment portfolios. It's time they applied them in the valuation and management of their investment in customers, too. Here's a five-step process for bringing real-options analysis into the NPV calculation:

Estimate the future purchasing behavior (that is, the probability of purchase and dollar amount expected to be spent) for a set of customers, using the common RFM (recency, frequency, and monetary value) approach. This determines expected revenues.

Calculate costs generated per customer per period.

Use those two inputs to estimate the profit contribution for each customer over the time horizon under consideration, for example ten periods.

For each period, determine whether the expected future profit contribution for that customer might be negative.

Finally, calculate the CLV that includes the option value (the value of abandoning that customer). What would be saved by dropping him at any given period?

The difference in CLV using the real-options approach versus the traditional approach was, in some cases, as much as 20%. More important, some negative CLVs actually turned positive when the value of the real options was considered.

See Michael Haenlein, Andreas M. Kaplan, and Detlef Schoder's "Valuing the Real Option of Abandoning Unprofitable Customers When Calculating Customer Lifetime Value" in the Journal of Marketing, July 2006.)

Detlef Schoder ( is a professor and chairs the Department of Information Systems and Information Management at the University of Cologne in Germany.

BestArticles From HBR - LIST

100 YEARS 1908-2008


Three types of best articles

M = McKinsey Award Winner At Harvard Business Review.

B = Best Seller list The best-seller list includes the top 100 articles as measured by cumulative sales.

C = Classic Third, Articles republished as "HBR Classics" or "Best of HBR." HBR has published 71 classics since the first one, in 1965.

1940s & 1950s
Low-Pressure Selling
Edward C. Bursk
Winter 1947;
republished July-August 2006

Barriers and Gateways to Communication
Carl R. Rogers and F.J. Roethlisberger
July-August 1952;
republished November-December 1991

How to Deal with Resistance to Change
Paul R. Lawrence
May-June 1954;
republished January-February 1969

Marketing Myopia
Theodore Levitt
July-August 1960;
republished September-October 1975 and July-August 2004

New Framework for Corporate Debt Policy
Gordon Donaldson
March-April 1962;
republished September-October 1978

Creativity Is Not Enough
Theodore Levitt
May-June 1963;
republished August 2002

Positive Program for Performance Appraisal
Alva F. Kindall and James Gatza
November-December 1963

What Do You Mean I Can't Write?
John Fielden
May-June 1964

Exploit the Product Life Cycle
Theodore Levitt
November-December 1965

Manufacturing - Missing Link in Corporate Strategy
Wickham Skinner
May-June 1969

Pygmalion in Management
J. Sterling Livingston
July-August 1969;
republished January 2003

Beyond Theory Y
John J. Morse and Jay W. Lorsch
May-June 1970

Myth of the Well-Educated Manager
J. Sterling Livingston
January-February 1971

General Managers in the Middle
Hugo E.R. Uyterhoeven
March-April 1972;
republished September-October 1989

Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow
Larry E. Greiner
July-August 1972;
republished May-June 1998

Production-Line Approach to Service
Theodore Levitt
September-October 1972

What Kind of Management Control Do You Need?
Richard F. Vancil
March-April 1973

Managing the Four Stages of EDP Growth
Cyrus F. Gibson and Richard L. Nolan
January-February 1974

The Focused Factory
Wickham Skinner
May-June 1974

Market Share - A Key to Profitability
Robert D. Buzzell, Bradley T. Gale, and Ralph G.M. Sultan
January-February 1975

A Case for Historical Costs
Robert N. Anthony
November-December 1976

Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?
Abraham Zaleznik
May-June 1977;
republished March-April 1992 and January 2004

Power, Dependence, and Effective Management
John P. Kotter
July-August 1977

Choosing Strategies for Change
John P. Kotter and Leonard A. Schlesinger
March-April 1979

How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy
Michael E. Porter
March-April 1979

Managing Your Boss
John J. Gabarro and John P. Kotter
January-February 1980;
republished May-June 1993 and January 2005

Marketing Success Through Differentiation - Of Anything
Theodore Levitt
January-February 1980

Managing Our Way to Economic Decline
Robert H. Hayes and William J. Abernathy
July-August 1980;
republished July-August 2007

Major Sales: Who Really Does the Buying?
Thomas V. Bonoma
May-June 1982;
republished July-August 2006

Managing as if Tomorrow Mattered
Robert H. Hayes and David A. Garvin
May-June 1982

What Effective General Managers Really Do
John P. Kotter
November-December 1982;
republished March-April 1999

The Globalization of Markets
Theodore Levitt
May-June 1983

Quality on the Line
David A. Garvin
September-October 1983

Information Technology Changes the Way You Compete
F. Warren McFarlan
May-June 1984

Yesterday's Accounting Undermines Production
Robert S. Kaplan
July-August 1984

From Control to Commitment in the Workplace
Richard E. Walton
March-April 1985

When a New Manager Takes Charge
John J. Gabarro
May-June 1985;
republished January 2007

How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage
Michael E. Porter and Victor E. Millar
July-August 1985

The Productivity Paradox
Wickham Skinner
July-August 1986

From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy
Michael E. Porter
May-June 1987

Competing on the Eight Dimensions of Quality
David A. Garvin
November-December 1987

The House of Quality
John R. Hauser and Don Clausing
May-June 1988

Tough-Minded Ways to Get Innovative
Andrall E. Pearson
May-June 1988;
republished August 2002

The Power of Unconditional Service Guarantees
Christopher W.L. Hart
July-August 1988

Real Work
Abraham Zaleznik
January-February 1989;
republished November-December 1997

Eclipse of the Public Corporation
Michael C. Jensen
September-October 1989

The Competitive Advantage of Nations
Michael E. Porter
March-April 1990

What Leaders Really Do
John P. Kotter
May-June 1990;
republished December 2001

Why Change Programs Don't Produce Change
Michael Beer, Russell A. Eisenstat, and Bert Spector
November-December 1990

Teaching Smart People How to Learn
Chris Argyris
May-June 1991

The Balanced Scorecard - Measures That Drive Performance
Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton
January-February 1992;
republished July-August 2005

Staple Yourself to an Order
Benson P. Shapiro, V. Kasturi Rangan, and John J. Sviokla
July-August 1992;
republished July-August 2004

What Is a Global Manager?
Christopher A. Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal
September-October 1992;
republished August 2003

Building a Learning Organization
David A. Garvin
July-August 1993

Putting the Balanced Scorecard to Work
Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton
September-October 1993

Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work
James L. Heskett, Thomas O. Jones, Gary W. Loveman,
W. Earl Sasser, Jr., and Leonard A. Schlesinger
March-April 1994

Good Communication That Blocks Learning
Chris Argyris
July-August 1994

Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave
Joseph L. Bower and Clayton M. Christensen
January-February 1995

Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail
John P. Kotter
March-April 1995;
republished January 2007

Competing on Resources: Strategy in the 1990s
David J. Collis and Cynthia A. Montgomery
July-August 1995

The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape Strategy
Adam M. Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff
July-August 1995

Thriving Locally in the Global Economy
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
September-October 1995;

Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System
Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton
January-February 1996;
republished July-August 2007

What Is Strategy?
Michael E. Porter
November-December 1996

The Hidden Traps in Decision Making
John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa
September-October 1998;
republished January 2006

Strategy and the Internet
Michael E. Porter
March 2001

Skate to Where the Money Will Be
Clayton M. Christensen, Michael Raynor, and Matt Verlinden
November 2001

The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy
Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer
December 2002

Fixing Health Care from the Inside, Today
Steven J. Spear
September 2005

Regional Strategies for Global Leadership
Pankaj Ghemawat
December 2005

Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and
Corporate Social Responsibility
Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer
December 2006

The list is published in HBR as

Influential Articles. Harvard Business Review, 00178012, Jan2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

Linda A. Hill on Leadership

Where Will We Find Tomorrow's Leaders?
By: Hemp, Paul,
Harvard Business Review,
Jan 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

Linda Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, has looked at leadership from many perspectives. In the early 1990s, she led the development of Harvard's required MBA course on leadership. Her research into the challenges faced by first-time managers resulted in the book Becoming a Manager: How New Managers Master the Challenges of Leadership (Harvard Business School Press, second edition, 2003).

Leadership is about making emotional connections to motivate and inspire people, and our effectiveness at doing this has strong cultural overtones.

What other leadership approaches have you seen in emerging economies?

I've been especially interested in what I've seen at HCL Technologies, an Indian information technology company, which has been described as having the world's most modern management. The first tenet of HCL's change strategy is called, somewhat provocatively, Employee First, Customer Second. The aim is to attract the very best talent - a tall order in the competitive Indian labor market but crucial for the company's growth - and empower employees to take the lead in coming up with innovative ways to create value for customers. This distributed leadership model is based on communities of interest: tight-knit groups that pull together people from various functions and locations. Each community comes up with new ideas and then competes with the other groups for funding in HCL's internal market. According to HCL president Vineet Nayar, the strategy - which is supported by the savvy use of social-networking technology - will have succeeded when it "destroys the office of the president." That is, as the communities of interest evolve, the leaders of the groups will begin to share leadership of the company with Vineet.

"Leading from behind?"

I was reading Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. At the time, I was working on an article about leadership in the twenty-first century, and I came across a passage in which Mandela recalls how a leader of his tribe talked about leadership: "A leader, he said, is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind."

To me, this take on the shepherd image embodies the kind of leader we increasingly need: someone who understands how to create a context or culture in which other people are willing and able to lead. This image of the shepherd behind his flock is an acknowledgment that leadership is a collective activity in which different people at different times - depending on their strengths, or "nimbleness" - come forward to move the group in the direction it needs to go.

Could you say that the shepherd knows the ultimate destination but leaves it to individuals in the flock to determine how to get there?
That's one way to put it.

Why Mentoring Matters in Professional Service Firms?

Why Mentoring Matters in a Hypercompetitive World.
By: DeLong, Thomas J., Gabarro, John J., Lees, Robert J.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jan 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

Today's professional service firms (PSFs) are so busy making money that they've lost the art of making talent

our research reveals that 67% to 85% of all the professionals in PSFs have an extreme need to achieve.

The truth is that in today's PSFs, with their limited resources, associates can no longer just expect to be assigned a mentor; they also have to learn how to attract one.

One particularly interesting approach developed at McKinsey & Company is to encourage associates to "build [their] own McKinsey." members of the firm are counseled to seek out the subordinates, peers, and partners toward whom they naturally gravitate because of mutual chemistry, interests, and goals.

A wise leader told the group that only by supporting one another could they be competitive (in the market place). He created team metrics that encouraged them to work together not against one another.

More than any other type of organization, PSFs live and die by their intellectual capital. If you fail to nurture this talent, you will lose the heart and soul of your firm, as well as the very people you recruited to give you an edge in a hypercompetitive world.


By: Porter, Michael E.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jan 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

IN ESSENCE, the job of the strategist is to under stand and cope with competition.

Successful strategy execution

MASTERING the Management System.
By: Kaplan, Robert S., Norton, David P.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jan 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

Successful strategy execution has two basic rules: understand the management cycle that links strategy and operations, and know what tools to apply at each stage of the cycle

Robert S. Kaplan ( is the Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School in Boston. David P. Norton ( is the founder and director of the Palladium Group, based in Lincoln, Massachusetts. They are the authors of The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage (Harvard Business School Press, forthcoming in 2008).

Strategy - Some Opinions

By: Montgomery, Cynthia A.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jan 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

Purpose should be at the heart of strategy.

The need to create and re-create reasons for a company's continued existence sets the strategist apart from every other individual in the company.


Transforming Giants.
By: Kanter, Rosabeth Moss,
Harvard Business Review,
January 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 1

Companies such as IBM, Procter & Gamble, Omron, CEMEX, Cisco, and Banco Real are moving as rapidly and creatively as much smaller enterprises.

At Procter & Gamble, the values and standards captured in the company's statement of purpose, values, and principles (known as the PVP) enable managers in diverse locations to respond quickly and effectively to business opportunities or crises.

A strong, broadly internalized guidance system obviates the need for controls that stress obedience and instead promotes autonomy.

People are more inclined to be creative when their company's values stress innovation that helps the world. Banco Real, the Brazilian arm of a European bank, discovered this when it put social and environmental responsibility at the core of its search for differentiation. The result was a spate of new financial products, including consumer loans for green projects (such as converting autos or houses), microfinance for poor communities, and the first carbon credit trading in the region.

If values and standards served no other purpose in a company, they would still serve as motivational tools. They offer people a basis for engagement with their work, a sense of membership, and an anchor of stability in the midst of constant change.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter ( is the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School in Boston. Her latest book is America the Principled (Crown, 2007). She was the editor of HBR from 1989 to 1992.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


By: Gottfredson, Mark, Schaubert, Steve, Saenz, Hernan,
Harvard Business Review,
February 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 2

Within a few months at most, incoming CEOs and general managers must identify ways to boost profitability, increase market share, overtake competitors - whatever the key tasks may be. But they can't map out specific objectives and initiatives until they know where they are starting from. Every organization, after all, has its distinctive strengths and weaknesses and faces a unique combination of threats and opportunities. Accurately assessing all these is the only way to determine what goals are reasonable and where a management team should focus its performance-improvement efforts.

Diagnosis Template for new CEOS

Analyze Costs and Prices

--Construct cost and price experience curves.
--Determine costs relative to competitors'
--Assess the profitability of your product lines.

Evaluate Your Competitive Position

--Compare your returns and market share with those of your rivals.
--Measure your market size and trends.
--Assess your firm's capabilities

Understand Your Industry's Profit Pool

--Study customer needs and behavior by segment
--Track customer retention and loyalty
--Anticipate profit-pool shifts

Simplify, Simplify

--Gauge the complexity of your products or services
--Assess the complexity of your organization
--Determine where you can simplify processes

Building Blocks of the Learning Organization

Is Yours a Learning Organization?
By: Garvin, David A., Edmondson, Amy C., Gino, Francesca,
Harvard Business Review,
March 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 3

Organizational research over the past two decades has revealed three broad factors that are essential for organizational learning and adaptability: a supportive learning environment, concrete learning processes and practices, and leadership behavior that provides reinforcement.

strategies with Which Local Companies are Beating MNCs

How Local Companies Keep Multinationals AT BAY.
By: Bhattacharya, Arindam K., Michael, David C.,
Harvard Business Review,
March 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 3

In many emerging countries, after liberalization and entry of global companies, local companies have staved off challenges from multinational corporations in their core businesses, have become market leaders or are catching up with them, and have often seized new opportunities before foreign players could. Many of them dominate the market today not because of protectionist economic policies, but because of their strategies and execution.

A Six-Part Strategy used for Success

Create customized products or services.

Develop business models to overcome key obstacles present in emerging economies

Deploy the latest technologies

Take advantage of low-cost labor, and train staff in-house

Scale up quickly

Invest in talent to sustain rapid growth

Many companies pursue one or the other of the success strategies just described. What distinguishes winners is their ability to pursue several, or often all, of them simultaneously and to execute them well.

Arindam K. Bhattacharya ( is a Delhi-based partner and managing director, and David C. Michael ( is a Beijing-based senior partner and managing director, of the Boston Consulting Group.